Instructions for Wiring Lamps


Lamps have two or three wired connections, depending on the materials used to make the lamp. If your lamp is entirely made of non-conductive materials, such as plastic, then you usually only need two wires as it's not wired to ground. However, if the lamp is made predominantly using metal, which conducts electricity, then you need a third wire connected to ground.

Things You'll Need

  • AWG 16 gauge wire with a pre-wired plug (dual or tri-core, depending on the lamp)
  • Wire strippers
  • Knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Determine if the lamp you want to wire has two or three terminal connections. You can do this by removing the light bulb and then unscrewing the outer rim on the light bulb holder from the lamp casing using your fingers. Pull the light bulb holder away from the lamp casing and you can see if it has two or three terminals.

  • Use dual core AWG 16-gauge wire that has a pre-wired plug on the end, if the lamp has two terminals, or tri-core AWG 16-gauge wire that has a pre-wired plug on the end, if it has three terminals. Ensure the wire is the length you need to connect between the lamp and the plug socket. Using wire that has a pre-wired plug means that you can be certain the plug wiring conforms to the National Fire Protection Association guidelines, which makes wiring the lamp easier.

  • Feed the wire on the opposite end from the plug into the base of the lamp so it comes out through the hole where you removed the light bulb holder earlier. Pull about 6 inches of wire out from the light bulb holder so you can prepare the wire.

  • Remove about 1 inch of plastic from the outside of the wire using wire strippers or a knife. This gets you to the two or three colored internal wires. Strip ¼ inch of colored plastic from the end of the two or three wires.

  • Loosen the two or three terminal screws on the light bulb holder using a screwdriver. If it has three terminals, one is on the side of the light bulb holder which is the ground connection, and is generally a slightly larger screw.

  • Insert the two-tone green wire under the screw on the side of the light bulb holder labeled "T", if it has a ground connection, then tighten the screw using a screwdriver.

  • Insert the other two wires under the other two terminal screws. The wires are colored gray or white for negative and black red or orange for positive, but it doesn't matter which terminal the wires connect to for a lamp. Tighten the screws using a screwdriver. Ensure the connections are secure.

  • Push the light bulb holder towards the lamp casing. You can make it easier if you gently pull the wire from the base of the lamp, as this draws the light bulb holder into position. Replace the outer rim onto the light bulb holder and screw it into place on the lamp casing using your fingers.

  • Replace the light bulb into the light bulb holder. Insert the plug into the wall socket. Turn on your wired lamp.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can get wire with a pre-wired plug from electrical stores.

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