I just received a fairly large electric shock when trying to turn on the lamp on my nightstand while I was sitting in bed. When we purchased the lamp, it was 110v however we had it changed to 220v since we live overseas. The lamp base is vintage copper metal. I'm pretty sure I was touching the copper when I was shocked. The shock was so intense it left a burning sensation on my finger, I saw "white" and it flipped the main fuse for our whole house. I had to manually flip the main fuse back on. I have been using the lamp for several days with no problem (we just received it in our shipping container) however another lamp we had the voltage changed short circuited when I tried putting in a light bulb so I'm guessing the rewiring was done wrong on all the lamps. I was holding my 6 month old son's hand as he slept when I was shocked. I'm worried that I became a conductor for the current and maybe he felt it but he seems to be okay. Didn't even wake up. Is there a need for me to be worried for myself or my son? Obviously, we are going to take the lamps to a local electrician here and have them fixed.

  • was that main fuse a GFCI? Either way voltage mandates the insulation used, redoing 110 for 220 means using wires with thicker insulation. Jan 13, 2015 at 12:10
  • Thank you for your response. I'm sorry but I don't know what GFCI means. I'm not familiar with electricity problems. I will be sure the new electrician uses thicker insulation. Is there a certain gauge or something I could tell him to use? (sorry if that's a stupid question)
    – Jennifer
    Jan 13, 2015 at 12:16
  • Ground Fault Current Interrupter, essentially means that if you touch a single live wire the electricity shuts off. If the breaker is a GFCI then there will be a test button on it. Jan 13, 2015 at 12:21
  • Thanks for the explanation. No, there is no test button on it. I'm a bit freaked out now to use the lamp even when we get it fixed. If, once it's fixed, I plug it into an extension plug that is grounded would that stop me from getting shocked-just in case?
    – Jennifer
    Jan 13, 2015 at 12:34
  • only if the lamp has a grounded plug (and the ground is connected properly), you can ask the electrician to ground the base of the lamp Jan 13, 2015 at 12:39

2 Answers 2


No need to worry about you or your son, but the lamps were obviously done wrong, or at the very least the work was extremely shoddy.

Have them re-done by someone who knows what they are doing in your area.


Even if the baby was shocked, there would be nothing to do about it now. If it did not wake up, then it's a safe bet there were no psychological effects.

Lucky you weren't standing in a puddle of water when that happened or you would be dead and your finger would just be a black stump made out of charcoal.

People who get electrocuted generally do not exhibit any permanent effects except that they sometimes leave a word out of sentence.

Converting a lamp to a different voltage is not a good idea, unless it is very valuable and rare lamp (like over $1,000), because it takes a lot of expertise and skill to do everything correctly and safely (as you found out).

You cannot use American bulbs with 220v lamps, so you not only have to change the wiring, you have to change the socket also.

Insulation standards are completely different for 220v, so the lamp's wiring, posts and possibly interior design have to be changed.

Normally the solution to using a foreign electrical fixture is to use a plug adapter.

  • Lol "generally do not exhibit any permanent effects except that they sometimes leave a word out of sentence." Are you referring to slight brain damage ???
    – jbord39
    Oct 2, 2016 at 14:28

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