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I have very little electrical experience, so apologies in advance.

I have three E27 bulb sockets/holders - each has its own footswitch and mains plug (they were sold separately like this.)

What I really want to do is join all 3 so that they are operated off the same footswitch* (then I can then put them all on the same floor stand as if they were essentially one lamp.) They don't need to be individually switchable - I just want them all to be operated by one footswitch, and not to have to use 3 plug sockets. This is in the UK.

Is there a footswitch I can buy that would allow me to do this, or is there some way I can bring the cables together before they enter the footswitch, and then run just one into the footswitch?

I wondered about the possibility of wiring the 3 bulb holders to each other and just having a single cable running back to the switch but I can't find a way of getting into the bulb holders to do this (and anyway it is probably beyong my electrical skills to do safely,) so I think I am stuck with having 3 separate cables coming back to the footswitch. But if anyone thinks that's doable without too muich hassle then I'd be interested in that solution.

I hope this makes sense?

Pics of one of the bulb holders below - the other two are identical.

The end solution doesn't have to use a footswitch, that's just what they currently use.

bulb holder foot switch holder 3

Click for full size

3 Answers 3

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I think the simplest & safest way to do it properly would be to get a buss-bar junction box [about £1 from B&Q, Screwfix etc.] You can usually get these in black or white.

enter image description here

Clip your one switch after the switch box leaving a foot of spare, trim & insert brown/blue each into one of buses. You then have three other clamps on each bus to connect your three output pairs of wires, one to each lamp, each now clipped after the switch. In effect, you now have one switched power source coming in & 3 unswitched lamp units coming out. It doesn't matter if you have more than 2 busses in the box, just so long as you have 4 clamps per bus, so you're not sharing any one hole.
As you screw down the lid, the cables should then each trap into one slot in the box, preventing pull-out. You can't see from the picture but the cable clamp is often variable on these by turning the top to trap the correct gauge of cable.
The finished construction does not need to be fastened down to anything, it can be loose on the floor. So long as everything including the cable clamps is secure, you're good to go.

BTW, avoid either of these two types. Though not absolutely wrong for the job, they are designed for solid-core cable. The buss-bar system should work better for stranded cables. Plus, it's easier to get all your cables in & nicely fastened down without juggling 4 wires into one hole.

enter image description here enter image description here

Images from DIY Doctor - Electrical Wiring – How to Wire a Junction Box to Extend Circuits for Sockets and Lights

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    Great this seems like a neat way of solving it - thank you! Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 11:38
  • Most welcome. Wish you luck. :) Please remember to click the tick-mark by the answer that helped you the most.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 11:39
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In the US we would use a multiple outlet strip. Commonly referred to as a "surge protector" but there are some that actually provide surge protection and some that don't. For simple lighting loads, you only need multiple outlets. Then you use the switch on the strip and leave the other switches "always on". This only works if the other switches truly interrupt power, but that is normal for light switches. (It is not normal for computer power supply switches which typically send a signal to turn the power on/off with a tiny part of the computer effectively always on.)

I'm having a bit of trouble finding a good UK product. Most of the strips I found either have a switch for each outlet or have no switch at all. Here is one example, but it requires adding a cable/plug:

Masterplug 4 receptacles with switch

Be careful what you get. I used Amazon here as a way to find stuff, but some things (including, as far as I can tell, this product) are from reputable manufacturers and some things are not.

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  • Thank you - that's one option, but I'd really like to get away from having 3 plugs, I just want to use one mains plug if at all possible. Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 14:23
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    This sort of does eliminate the 3 plugs, since you plug all 3 into this power strip and then only the power strip plugs into the wall. You can also eliminate the need to footswitch by leaving all 3 footswitches "on" and turn power to all of the lamps on and off using the power strip's switch. This answer doesn't involve semi-permanent modifications to your lamps which could be a good thing. Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 16:23
  • @FredricShope true, but it's hard to operate that switch with a foot.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 22:33
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A semi hack job would be to cut the plug and switch off of two of the lights and disassemble the switch on the other one and run the two wires into the switch and connect with appropriate connectors or solder them to where the existing light is connected to the switch. The sockets are very low amperage so overloading won't be a problem. Modifying the lights will void any certifications or warranties. Since you've got little experience with electrical stuff, You might want to bring it into an appliance repair store and have them do it.

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  • My thoughts, too. The drawback/difficulty with this one may be getting the 3 cords safely into the foot switch. The switch (and most/all inline switches) has enough room for one cord in, one cord out. A sharp knife, rotary tool or similar will easily make the "out" hole big enough for 3 cords, but will, likely, lose the cord clamp that relieves stress on the electrical connections by physically holding the cords in the switch body. This part can and should be overcome by modifying the internal clamping, otherwise there's risk of cord separation and a short.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 15:26
  • Also, an appliance repair store might decline the opportunity to make such a hack job, but might have a suitable enclosure that can handle 4 cables in/out into which they could install the switch.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 15:27
  • Yes thanks - I was wondering about this option, but had the same worries. The buss-bar junction solution seems like a good way of solving this Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 11:38

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