I was dismantling a lamp to make sure everything was alright with it after two bulbs died very prematurely. Found it was a bad batch of bulbs thankfully, but now I'm unsure of how I rewire it together. I know I need to screw the cord on but I don't know which cord should go where. Should have taken photos as I dismantled it!

Any suggestions?


inner lamp socket outer lamp socket original cord with loops

  • if you are unable to determine how to re-assemble the socket, then how would you know if something is wrong when you disassembled it?
    – jsotola
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 1:34
  • Choose UL-listed bulbs that are listed for multi-voltage 120-240V, and you'll have a lot less trouble. They don't care about voltage spikes, they just see it as temporarily being in Europe :) Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 3:16
  • @ Harper the UL listing is only a safety thing this is how DLC became a thing because they require more than a 90 day warranty. DLC or design Light Consortium listing usually requires. 5 year warranty. UL has no warranty requirements.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 16:14
  • @EdBeal True, UL does not inspect for quality, but UL acts as a "bouncer" that keeps the worst of the cheap junk out of the US bricks-and-mortar market. (mail order, you're on your own, thanks Jeff Bezos). Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


Assuming that the lamp cord is polarized you want to make sure that the hot side of the two wire conductor is attached to the center (copper) terminal on the socket. The common side of the cord is connected to the outer (silver) terminal.
The hot side is the one that plugs into the narrow slot in a polarized receptacle. The wider plug blade can only fit in the wider slot on the receptacle and is the common or neutral wire. You can also tell hot from common by feeling both sides of the lamp cord. One side is smooth (hot side) the other side is usually ribbed (common or neutral side).
You also want to make sure that the the screws are sufficiently tightened.
If the plug on the lamp cord isn't polarized with a wide blade or prong on one side and a narrower blade on the other you should replace the plug or the entire lamp cord with one that is polarized.


If it's not a polarized plug then it doesn't matter which wire goes to which terminal. If the plug is polarized, the two prongs are different sizes, Then the wire going to the larger prong needs to be connected to the silver terminal on the socket and the wire from the smaller prong gets connected to the brass terminal. You should be able to follow the wires into the plug to determine which is which or better yet, use a continuity tester

  • Actually I deleted that prior to your comment. But I don’t know of a non polarized UL listed light fixture being sold in the last 20 years if not longer.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 16:17
  • @EdBeal I agree but I wanted to cover the other 35 years that I've been doing this stuff ( not an internet electrician lol) stay safe out there.
    – JACK
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 16:22

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