I have a swag style pendant lamp that I want to hard wire into the ceiling. I cut the plug off the lamp cord and wired it directly to the neutral and hot wires in the ceiling recess. I made sure the neutral and hot wires went to the corresponding terminals in the lamp socket. There is a ground wire in the ceiling recess, I have not touched this as my wiring does not have a ground and I am not sure what to do with it.

Anyway, when I turn the light on nothing happens. I can confirm the hot wire is energized as my live wire detector beeps when it is next to it. It beeps all the way down to the lamp holder.

The lamp holder appears to be wired correctly, it has power to it and a fresh bulb but nothing happens.

I've never wired anything like this before so it's entirely possible I've messed something up or misunderstood something fundamental.

Edit: I should mention when I first wired this up I had live and neutral reversed in the lamp socket and got a short when I turned it on. I don't think the fuse is blown because I get power and I changed the bulb to make sure the bulb was not blown either.

  • does the lamp bulb work? Dec 11, 2014 at 18:25
  • I used a fresh bulb after I shorted the circuit. I guess it's an assumption it's not a dud. I'll have to test it when I get home. It would be the simplest explanation though.
    – Simon
    Dec 11, 2014 at 18:44
  • 4
    If having live and neutral reversed caused a short, then that wasn't your only problem...
    – keshlam
    Dec 11, 2014 at 20:23
  • I was also using an old 3 terminal lamp socket and wired the hot to the black terminal (black to black), which made sense to me until I did some reading and found out black to brass, neutral to silver. The third terminal being used for a separate bulb socket. Many mistakes were made.
    – Simon
    Dec 11, 2014 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


This is assumes we're talking a screw in bulb socket like a medium base A26. You can adapt the below for other socket types.

The first thing to do is test the socket itself. Best way to do this is to use a multi-meter set to AC and an appropriate voltage setting for your supply voltage. Using the test leads, touch the bottom pin and the metal of the base exterior (the part the bulb screws into). It should read your supply voltage. If it does not then there is an issue with the socket itself. If it reads the correct voltage, either your bulbs are bad or they are not making contact with the socket. With the power off, try using a screw driver to gently lift the bottom pin up a bit and then try your bulb again.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. From what you are saying it looks like I've done everything right but there is a bad connection somewhere. I'll try your diagnostics tonight.
    – Simon
    Dec 11, 2014 at 19:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.