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I've got a box of sockets like this:

light socket

I was planning to mount a few of these on the ceiling, but am wondering about safety since the hot wire is essentially exposed, and would be very close to one's fingers when changing a bulb. I stopped at the hardware store and saw sockets just like these, except they had cardboard around the upper portion. Would I be ok wrapping electrical tape around the upper portion, or does anyone have better ideas? I also thought about wrapping tape on it then putting a cover like this over it. Thanks.

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You are right to be concerned about safety. Attempting to use the sockets as they are is a hazard, the exposed conductors are an electrical and safety concern. What you have is a replacement part for repairing a damaged fixture.

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As @mikes said, this is a replacement part - NOT a complete fixture. Rather than cobbling up some mess of electrical tape, just buy a plain porcelain (or plastic, though oddly the porcelain are often cheaper, and I assume the reason you are contemplating this at all is to keep costs down) lampholder that is designed for the job, and don't create an electrical and fire hazard.

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If you want a pendant type, these are also inexpensive and safely insulated. For a little more, they can be dressed up with a shade or a frosted glass disk.

enter image description here

  • True, I am trying to keep costs down, but I'm also going for a more industrial look in my shop, so I was avoiding the standard ceramic sockets. Thanks for the feedback! – Trevor Hartman Mar 2 '15 at 1:36
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    @TrevorHartman - The porcelain light socket fixtures are about as industrial / steam punk as they come. – Michael Karas Mar 2 '15 at 1:43
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    Black electrical tape isn't steampunk, any late Victorian/Edwardian style steampunk electrics will be using lots of glass, ceramic and hard rubber for insulation. Go for safe. – Fiasco Labs Mar 2 '15 at 1:54
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    Also, Stay away from insulation tape on the socket, IF someone uses incandescent bulbs, the tape could start to melt if it gets too hot. – Hightower Mar 2 '15 at 6:40
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    @TrevorHartman porcelain pendant light socket, images, looking for what I was looking for worked for me. I think the picture came from 1000 bulbs - ebay is unlikely to be the best place to find these, I think. It's a standard, current production Leviton part, street price around $2, sites that think you are a fool price upwards of $6. Drill a hole in a cheap stainless salad bowl and get more metal. – Ecnerwal Mar 2 '15 at 17:50

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