Antique Floor Lamp Wiring Problem

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Old 12-15-10, 04:09 PM
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Antique Floor Lamp Wiring Problem

Hello,

I appreciate this forum and any advice anybody has regarding my wiring problem.

I have an old Stiffel floor lamp. It has a base, a pole, and one decorative arm that ends with a light socket. The light bulb can be turned on and off at the socket, or it can also be turned on and off by pulling on an outer casing that surrounds the pole, which moves up and down via a spring.

Unfortunately, the pole came out of the base today, disconnecting the wiring at the base. The light wont work anymore.

When I opened up the base to take a look at the wiring I got confused:

1. There was a cloth covered, single conductor stranded copper wire hanging free from the bottom of the pole into the base. The cable containing this wire goes all the way up the pole, through the arm and into the socket.

2. There was also a plastic piece attached to the bottom of the base, with two silver wires coming from it. This plastic piece has two small metal circles in opposite corners of the piece. I have no idea what this is.

3. There was also a standard two prong power cord inside the base, with two stranded copper wires inside.

Here's what wire connections were left after the fall: One of the power cord's copper wires was attached to one of the silver wires from the plastic piece.

That's it.

The other copper wire from the power cord, the other silver wire from the plastic piece, and the single conductor copper wire hanging from the bottom of the pole were all unconnected.

Does anyone know what the plastic piece is, and what it's purpose is? Does anyone have any idea how to connect the remaining unattached wires, so that I can safely turn the light on?

Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 12-15-10, 05:47 PM
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Pictures might help. Can you take pictures? http://forum.doityourself.com/electr...your-post.html
 
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Old 12-15-10, 06:36 PM
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Thanks. I'll try to get some pictures taken tomorrow.
 
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Old 12-16-10, 02:21 PM
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Photos

Here are two images of the wiring at the base of my floor lamp, with the main wire from the light bulb socket showing behind the black piece and the brown power cord. As i said in the original post, I have no idea what the black piece is and its interrationship with the two wires from the power cord and the main wire from the socket.



 
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Old 12-16-10, 03:30 PM
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The black is a switch.
it can also be turned on and off by pulling on an outer casing that surrounds the pole, which moves up and down via a spring.
I would almost bet that is a standard pull switch that goes to a chain that goes to the piece that moves.

I would also guess that the switch on the light socket does not turn the light on unless that switch in the base is on. Is that correct?

Is there a white wire coming down into the base or is there a piece of lamp cord? If lamp cord does the insulation on one of the conductors have a ridge. Do you have a multimeter.

I could probably take a good guess now but I like all the facts first.
 
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Old 12-16-10, 08:38 PM
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Thanks for your reply Ray:
I would also guess that the switch on the light socket does not turn the light on unless that switch in the base is on. Is that correct?
I'm not sure, but it makes sense that one is dominant to originally turn it on, because you can have the light on and turn it off with either the knob on the light socket, or with the piece that moves.

"Is there a white wire coming down into the base or is there a piece of lamp cord? If lamp cord does the insulation on one of the conductors have a ridge. Do you have a multimeter."
No, it's not a white wire. It is a twisted brown cord, which I think is plastic, but may be hard rubber. I was wrong in my original post saying it was cloth covered.

I'm not sure what a ridge is. At the end of the cord is a stranded copper wire. I don't have a multimeter, but if it would save me money I could buy one.

Hope that helps.
 
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Old 12-16-10, 09:18 PM
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The rib actually runs the length of one of the two conductors of modern lamp cord but that isn't what you have. You have older wiring and my guess is the plug does not have one wide blade and one narrow blade.

Your basic connection will be one wire of the cord into the lamp will connect to one wire from inside the lamp.

The other wire from inside the lamp to one side of the switch. It doesn't matter which side.

The other wire from the cord into the lamp to the other side of the switch.

Safety info. In modern lamps the plug has a wide blade the neutral, and a narrow blade the hot. The neutral is always connected to the shell of the lamp. The reason being if the hot is connected to the shell of the bulb holder and you touch it while changing a bulb and are grounded you could get a shock. Also switch should be on hot side but very old fixtures didn't use polarized plugs so it didn't matter.
 
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Old 12-17-10, 09:45 AM
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Ray, following your connections: With the one wire inside the lamp, I am connecting that one wire to two other wires (a) a wire of the power cord wire and (b) a wire of the switch, which results in a three wire combination.

That leaves me with one power cord wire and one switch wire, which are connected in a two wire combination.

All told there are two connection, one a three wire and the other a two wire.

If you don't mind, could you explain ground/neutral/hot aspects of this "old" connective arrangement?
 
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Old 12-17-10, 09:55 AM
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Ray, following your connections: With the one wire inside the lamp, I am connecting that one wire to two other wires (a) a wire of the power cord wire and
Stop. Do not follow my instructions. I think I misunderstand the wiring of the lamp. Do you have more then 2 wires from the lamp? I thought it was 2.
 
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Old 12-17-10, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Stop. Do not follow my instructions. I think I misunderstand the wiring of the lamp. Do you have more then 2 wires from the lamp? I thought it was 2.
The lamp wire, which is sticking out of the pole behind the switch in the picture, looks like one stranded copper wire. As I said though, the cord is twisted, like the image below .

I don't know enough about wiring to know that if the cord is twisted, that means there's two wires. However, if there are two wires, how come they weren't easily identifiable when I opened the lamp?

The lamp fell, the light didn't work, I opened up the base and I saw one stranded copper wire. If there were two that were previously connected, wouldn't they be visible?

Here's what the cord looks like:

Besides this cord, there's the switch and the power cord.
 
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Old 12-17-10, 02:15 PM
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Can you untwist that to give you two insulated wires.

Edit: Blew up your picture and it sure looks like two rubber and cloth covered wires twisted together.

 

Last edited by ray2047; 12-17-10 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 01-01-11, 03:55 PM
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Working with Stiffel lamps, the pole in the base serves as an off/on switch by pushing the pole downward. It is a push base switch. You can turn the light on or off by the socket at the top or by moving the up or down to turn off/on. You have a cord coming from top socket, if you open that you have two leads, a hot and a neutral. The black switch in the base is a push switch. You also have a cord coming in, that is your main power source. Take the hot side of the main power source and hook it to the base switch. Now take the hot cord from the socket and go to other side of the base switch and then take all your neutrals (one from socket and one from main power cord) and put together and the lamp will work.
 
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