I got a 70 years old chandelier from Turkey that is wired in 220V. The seller told me that the electric cable has been recently changed and that it will work in 110 or 220V.

I'm in Canada where the cabling is all 110V. The wiring of the chandelier is different from here and I was wondering if it's safe to use here... And if so, how to install it? My father is working in the home improvement industry and is able to install anything electric related but I want to make checks before.

2 Answers 2


There are a few things that would make me nervous about doing this:

  1. For a given wattage, bulbs rated for 110 V will draw over twice as much current as those rated for 240 V. For example, 60 W @ 240 V is 250 mA; 60 W @ 110 V is 550 mA. Are the supply wires going to be able to carry enough current for as many bulbs and at the wattage you want? The extra live wire is probably to allow independent control of parts of the chandelier from two light switches, so the limiting factor will be the neutral.

  2. In any light fixture that you could buy in the US or Canada, any exposed metal parts that could be energized in a fault would be grounded. Your photos don't show a ground lead -- is there one, and is it hooked up correctly?

My advice would be to talk to an antique dealer that specializes in lighting. I imagine that there's a market for importing and/or updating fixtures to current standards, and they would probably be able to put you in touch with someone who could do any work that's required.

Installation should be easy once it's ready. US wiring has color coded wires for live and neutral; if Canada is the same, you'd probably need to tag the neutral wire to indicate that it is neutral.

  • @Niall C. For your point I'm using 7 * 9W fluocompact bulbs (63W total). You are also right about the extra live wire. I contacted the seller and he told me that one wire is for the first 4 bulbs and the other one for the 3 last bulbs.
    – AlexV
    Oct 12, 2010 at 15:12
  • @Niall C. The chandelier is now installed and working correctly. Both the chandelier live wires are connected to the black wire of my ceiling, the chandelier neutral wire is connected to my white wire and I twisted the copper wire from the ceiling to the brass base of the chandelier. I will always use low wattage fluocompact bulbs with this chandelier. Do you see anything wrong with my setup?
    – AlexV
    Oct 12, 2010 at 15:18
  • 3
    @alexv: I'd prefer to see a more secure grounding connection, perhaps with a grounding clip or better yet, a grounding screw (though you'd need to drill a hole in the chandelier to attach the screw to). Other than that, the installation sounds OK from your description.
    – Niall C.
    Oct 12, 2010 at 16:40
  • @Niall C. Can you explain me how grounding clips and grounding screw are installed? Never saw them (I don't "play" often in home electricity).
    – AlexV
    Oct 12, 2010 at 16:53
  • 3
    @alexv: a grounding screw is drilled into a metal part of the fixture, with the ground wire from the electrical mains wrapped around it. The clip attaches to the edge of a metallic part on the fixture, with the ground wire fed through it so the clip holds it secure against the metal. The screw is more secure, but installing it might reduce the value of your chandelier; in your case, the clip might be better. If possible, install it where the fixture meets the ceiling box (I assume the top of the fixture is concave to allow wiring to be installed there) to prevent accidentally dislodging it.
    – Niall C.
    Oct 12, 2010 at 17:11

A 220 circuit in a residential application consists of two 110V lines with their AC voltage out of phase with each other. In your breaker panel you can see this as a double breaker with two hot lines going to the same outlet. So each of the two wires in your chandelier marked "electric", back in Turkey, would have been connected to one of the two 110V hot wires.

In your house in Canada, you'll use a single wire nut to connect both of those wires to the single black (hot) wire going into your ceiling box. Each of the two separate 110V "circuits" within the fixture will still be being driven by 110V, and you should have no issue with wiring ampacity within the fixture. The overall fixture's current draw on your home wiring will be doubled, but as long as your breaker doesn't trip when you turn on the light you're fine. If it does trip, just switch to lower-wattage bulbs.

As Niall C. indicated, do try to locate a ground wire, and if one's not provided use a piece of bare copper wire to connect the metal frame of the fixture to the ground wire in your ceilling box.

EDIT: Just noticed Niall's commend about the shared neutral, and he's right, the neutral will be carrying double the current if you use bulbs of rated wattage. I'd recommend halving the rated bulb wattage so you don't overcurrent that neutral wire.

  • 6
    Consumer electrical goods in Turkey use a single-phase 230V electric supply. A light fixture wouldn't be wired to two phases.
    – Niall C.
    Oct 10, 2010 at 14:21
  • And just to nit - the voltages are IN phase, otherwise the out of phase voltages would sum to something less than 110v (based on the difference in phase angle).
    – kkeilman
    Oct 12, 2010 at 19:05
  • 5
    @kkeilman not true; in North America at least, residential applications use a split phase system in which the two 120V hot legs are 180 degrees out of phase. While the phase-to-neutral voltage would sum to less than 120, the voltage between phases has an amplitude of 240V. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-phase. Oct 13, 2010 at 0:58
  • @Niall C. my bad, I assumed too much. I'll keep my nose out of international electrical issues from now on. :) Oct 13, 2010 at 1:01
  • I did not know residential service was split phase. For whatever reason I always thought it was single phase, learned something new today - thanks!
    – kkeilman
    Oct 14, 2010 at 0:30

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