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I have 2 antique sconces (candelabras) that I used for years hard wired in one of my previous homes. I would like to switch them to plug ins because of several factors that I won’t detail unless asked.

The sconces arms each have green wires with copper looking threads. (No markings or ridges to tell the difference between them). Below these is a small black box with two black cords - silver wiring. Both of the black cords says 600v. (There is no grounding wire that I’m seeing?) The black box wires. are to power the little toggle to turn the light off and on.

I played around and had one of them lit using an extension cord with female end cut off, etc. It worked perfect until I tried to show my husband and then it sparked when I tried to plug it in. My husband (whom I thought understood electricity), played around with them for awhile and got frustrated when he could get them lit but not the toggle to turn off and on.

I feel pretty certain I can get these working again, but I don’t like to just play with wiring (as my husband was doing). That does not seem safe to me to not understand what and why I’m doing something.

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I’m providing pics and if anyone could help me I would be grateful. If it’s outside my range I’m happy to use an electrician, but with pandemic and at risk household members that won’t happen soon and home improvement is really the only thing keeping me sane currently.

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. I hear you on "keeping sane", but I'd be worried about you "keeping alive"; please be careful. – Daniel Griscom Apr 25 '20 at 17:29
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Assuming USA, the cord-end plug you are using (technically called the "cap") should have a wide prong (which correlates with the neutral conductor) and a narrower prong (which correlates with the "hot" conductor).

The switch needs to be wired to only "make-or-break" the hot conductor. In other words, follow the wire from the narrow-prong side of your cord-end plug and connect that to one (either one) of the wires/terminals on the switch. The other wire/terminal on the switch should be connected to one of the wires/terminals on the light socket. The correct socket wire/terminal to connect to is (generally speaking, there are a wide variety of socket designs...) the one that leads to the contact in the bottom/center of the socket where the tip of the bulb-base would contact.

The other (neutral) wire from the cord-end plug would connect directly to the other socket wire/terminal. That socket wire/terminal leads to where the bulb contacts the socket "shell" contact surface.

If this does not make sense to you, you probably should stop. Be aware that converting a manufactured fixture by changing the wiring is fine unless there is a problem and your house burns down because of it. Your fire insurance company will wag their finger; worse, they will likely not cover any losses.

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  • Thank you. I do think I understand this answer and will be trying this out later today. We are pretty serious DIY’ers who have remodeled several homes, etc. I’m not as comfortable with wiring, but this makes sense. I do think once/if I get them working I should have an electrician check them out before hanging them though. Thanks for your help. I will let you know!! – Annie Lucile Apr 26 '20 at 13:58

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