Today was one of those great days were I learned a new skill. I now know how to repair a lamp that no longer works and if you read along I will teach how to repair one too! It is so easy that even if you have never touched a single electrical wire in your whole life you will be able to fix a broken lamp switch in less than thirty minutes. Here is how my story began. (If you want to skip the story and get straight to the “How to Guide” scroll down a few paragraphs.)
A few weeks ago one of the end table lamps in our living room blew a bulb. I didn’t think much about it at the time I simply put in a new bulb like I had dozens of times before and went about my life. The only difference was the bulb I decided to use this time was one of those new and expensive I might add LED bulbs. You know just trying to do my part to save the planet and all plus hopefully save myself some cash if these bulbs were all they were suppose to be. Anyways, all was going good until one day like two weeks later we were watching TV when that same lamp went out again and of course I was instantly furious. I just knew that LED bulb was going to be worthless. So I changed the bulb again but this time it I noticed a slight smell kind of like burning wires. If you have ever smelled an electrical fire then you know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven’t it kind of smells like a mixture of burning plastic and a strange metallic smell. This is when I realized that it wasn’t the LED bulb it was actually the lamp. So I informed my wife that we would need to buy new end table lamps. About a week later my wife tells me that she can not find any lights that she likes in any of the stores in our small town and that she would like to go shopping in Louisville. Being a typical tight wade husband this didn’t sound like much fun, not to mention potentially expensive. So that is when I decided that I could probably fix this lamp while also saving us time and money and look like a super genius to my two young boys.
Having dealt with some wiring in the past I new there couldn’t be much to fixing the lamp but just to be sure I dismantled it. Sure enough the only parts were the six foot cord, two screws and the light switch/socket. So off to Lowe’s I went! There in the electrical department I found a switch that looked just like the one that was on the lamp and it only cost $5. Once home I removed the cord from the old switch and replaced it with the new one I had just bought. I put the lamp back together and wah lah the light worked and has ever since. To tell the truth it was way easier than I had expected and it actually took me longer to go to town and back than it did to fix the lamp.
Now I understand that the story above probably isn’t much help if you are looking for help on how to repair a lamp of your own so below you will find a step by step guide that will walk you through everything you will need to know.
Step by Step Guide on How to Repair a Lamp
- New Lamp Switch
- Flathead and Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Sharpie or Colored Marker
- The first and most obvious thing you will want to do before working on your lamp is to make sure it is unplugged. I shouldn’t have to explain that being electrocuted isn’t fun and can become dangerous very fast.
- The next thing you will want to do is remove the lamp shade. You will typically have one of two types of lamp shade mounts. The first type actually clamps around the light bulb and can be gently pulled off and sat to the side. The second type is what you see in the picture below. To remove this shade all you need to do is unscrew the locking nut on top of the lamp.
- To remove the lamp shade bracket you will need to slide up the locking ring on each side of the bracket then squeeze the bracket and it should come right out. Now your lamp should look very similar to the picture below. At this point you can remove the bulb. And this is were the interesting stuff begins.
- In this step you will be dismantling the light switch itself so that the wire can be removed. You will notice about three quarters of the way down the switch there is a section where the two pieces fit together, it kind of looks crimped. To take the top section off (the part the bulb fits into) gently twist it back and forth while also pulling up. You should slowly start to see and feel the switch coming apart and should soon see the wire.
- Now remove the outer casing to expose the wire screws. You will notice that there is a silver screw and a gold screw. Take your sharpie and mark one of the wires. It doesn’t matter which one as long as you remember the one you marked, I picked the silver one. The reason for this is so that when you put the wires on the new switch you can but them on the same colored screws. I will admit that switching the wires might not matter at all but I am not an electrician and choose to put things back the way I find them. If for no other reason than to increase my odds of getting things right. Also you may have to untie the two wires before starting the next step. The manufacturer loosely ties them so that the cord can not be pulled out from the bottom of the lamp.
- This next part is the trickiest part of the whole project and is were the pliers come in handy. You want to unthread the remaining section of the switch from the lamp, the rounded upside down dome part. In the picture below you will see a small nut directly under the dome all this does is hold the lamp together it has nothing to do with removing the switch. And yes I learned this the hard way. Don’t worry if you bend or smash the dome while removing it. This will just be thrown away when you are done. There may or may not be a small set screw holding the dome on. If there is just loosen it before you try to unscrew it. Tip: Righty tighty lefty loosey
- Now you are ready to put on your new switch. Start by dismantling it if it isn’t already.
- Thread the bottom dome section over the wires. Then screw the dome onto the lamp. Retie the wires in a loose knot, screw them to the new switch and complete the assembly of the switch.
- Now reverse the directions from steps 1-3.
Congratulations! You have now learned how to repair a lamp.