Need to Rewire European Lamps in US?

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Old 03-21-07, 09:15 AM
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Question Need to Rewire European Lamps in US?

Hi,
I've got a pair of Euro wired lamps (French or Argentinian I think) with in line switches and a two light cluster. Is it neccesary to rewire the entire lamp, including the light sockets, to be safe for resale in the US or can I simply attach a Euro to US plug adapter at the end of the power cord?
These are incandescent lamps with no transformer involved.
Thanks!
 
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Old 03-21-07, 09:35 AM
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As covered in this other post also made this morning:

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=172832

you need to completely replace all the wiring (internal and external) and the sockets and the bulbs.
 
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Old 03-21-07, 10:05 AM
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I recently purchased an European table lamp from a U.S. company that specializes in overstock/surplus sales. They simply supplied the Europe/US plug adapter, and it works fine. It has an inline switch and the cord appears to be identical to U.S. zipcord. I figure if its rated for 240 volts, then it certainly should be OK for 120 volts. The only other change that had to be made was to change the included 240 volt Euro bulb for a 120 volt bulb.
 
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Old 03-21-07, 10:11 AM
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"I figure if its rated for 240 volts, then it certainly should be OK for 120 volts."

Bad, and dangerous, logic. While it may be okay in this case, it is not okay to carry such logic through in general. I can think of many reasons where this logic fails amd could cause a fire.

For example, consider a baseboard heater. A 240 volt heater might need 16 amps, or a 20 amp circuit. That would be 12 gage wire. The same wattage heater, run at 120 volts would need 32 amps, or a 40 amp circuit. If you kept the same wire, 12 gage, you would soon have a fire.
 
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Old 03-21-07, 10:33 AM
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Smile Need to Rewire European Lamps in US?

Thanks John, Beachboy, and Racraft for the replies. These replies raise a few questions. The cord is similar to zip cord but it is definitely a smaller guage than you find on most US wired lamps - Is this in itself a fire hazard? ( In other words, does US current carry a higher wattage than Euro thereby making this a more hazardous practice?) Also, the US bulb appears to fit into the socket without any trouble. Is there something wrong with this end of the application? Does the bulb draw an inappropriate amount of current through the thinner guage wire / Is the socket itself constructed any differently? Etc...
It's not a problem for me to rewire the lamps and put new sockets on (although the look of the vintage sockets on this piece are very nice and it will change the aesthetic of the lamps) so I'm not persueing the questions out of a desire to avoid the work - I just enjoy the education and expertise from others.
Thanks again,
Mark
 
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Old 03-21-07, 10:34 AM
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Amperage is a much bigger fire hazard than voltage. To get the same light output on 120 volts as 240 volts, you need to double the amperage. Double the amps through fixed resistance wire produces four times the heat in the wire. That could mean trouble (or not, but how would you know?).

Foreign fixtures designed for use in the U.S. are fine. The problem arises only with foreign fixtures not designed for U.S. use.
 
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Old 03-21-07, 10:33 PM
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It might be safe, it might not be. It is not in the position of thie board to approve your import lamps for US use, you have to seek that directly yourself, with the approval authoirites, or take steps to use UL approved components in the device.
 
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Old 03-22-07, 08:31 AM
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Thumbs up

Thanks for the guidance provided by everyone who responded to my question. I plan on rewiring the lamps later today. I'd much rather be safe than sorry when it comes to any electrical device.
Great Forum!
Mark
 
 

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