The short: what to do with ground wire from pendant light when converting to hanging lamp?

The long: I've found several tutorials on how to add a plug to my wired pendant light, and I've determined that I can give it a go with an extension cord. I think I've figured out which wire is hot and which is neutral (though they're both the same color - found out that the neural side is ridged on the plastic cover, and hot is smooth). In disassembling the light, I find what I assume is the copper ground wire attached to the metal bar the light hands from, but not running the full length of the cord. As I disassembled the hardware to get to the cord (as well as remove the heavy decorative bar that would make it hang down too low), the ground wire came off. The only thing left is the regular old lamp wire - is that all I need to attach to the extension cord wires, or do I need to somehow reattach the ground wire? Thanks!!!enter image description here

  • 1
    Can you provide some pictures of your fixtures and the ceiling box? Extension cords should not be used for permanent wiring.
    – JACK
    Apr 3, 2021 at 20:32
  • Ooh, already disassembled... These are the pieces: drive.google.com/file/d/1m2-xB5jIXrqCpae2kV6dwuBWJthR9wIT/…
    – Tracy
    Apr 4, 2021 at 0:15
  • So what should I use if not an extension cord? I was planning to cut off the female end and splice the two cords together and secure all connections with electrical tape. The lamp will remain plugged into an outlet that is controlled by the light switch.
    – Tracy
    Apr 4, 2021 at 0:17
  • I tried to view the photos without luck. What type and gauge of cordage are you attempting to use to suspend the light /receptacle? Do you have an approved cord grip from the fixture to the canopy? What is the length of the cord? I could provide code references with these answers.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 4, 2021 at 15:52
  • I uploaded picture to the original post. I haven't decided on what cord I'm going to use. I was just planning to buy a ceiling hook. I've not thought through all the logistics of hanging yet.
    – Tracy
    Apr 5, 2021 at 0:08

1 Answer 1


Sounds like the ground wire would have attached to the ceiling mount which in turn would have grounded the chain and any metal attached to that. The value in the earth is if, some how, the live comes lose and touches the metal rather than potentially electrocuting you it will be connected by all that metal to earth and trip the breaker. You want the earth connected to a metal part that touches everything. Typically the mounting point would have a green earth screw to attach the earth to.

  • I'd also note that if in the conversion you have removed all the exposed metal (i.e. all that is left is the wire, lamp, glass cover, etc) then from an electrical safety point of view you don't need the earth.
    – jonathan
    Apr 3, 2021 at 20:47
  • if there are no exposed conductive parts on a lamp fixture no ground is required. At least under UL /NEC requirements.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 4, 2021 at 15:44
  • Can you verify from the picture I added that there are no conductive parts? There is metal on the lamp shade supports and some where the 3 bulbs will go. I assume those are okay at all lamps have those...? Pardon my ignorance...
    – Tracy
    Apr 6, 2021 at 4:27
  • The round ceiling mount looks metal and would need to be earthed. That said the flat metal plat to the left which holds the mount to the ceiling box has an earth screw and assuming you use both of them them and connect the earth you are good. Did the lamp always hang just on the cord? I'd be much more worries about the cord pulling out vice the earth issues.
    – jonathan
    Apr 6, 2021 at 12:00
  • The ceiling mount would not be used. Just the cord to a hook. It used to have a decorative metal and glass ball (or acrylic) bar through which the cord was strung. That is heavy. The remaining lamp parts are not very heavy.
    – Tracy
    Apr 7, 2021 at 14:16

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