bulb socket to outlet adapter - question

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Old 01-12-11, 02:04 PM
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bulb socket to outlet adapter - question

Hi,

I have several light bulb sockets in my basement (currently with regular bulbs). The kids use it as a play area and so I want to instead put in fluorescent light fixtures that basically will plug in to an adapter that goes in the bulb socket. [I have plastic covers for the bulbs in case they are hit/shatter). The cords on the fixtures are 3 prong (grounded). All the adapters I've seen are 2 prong.

What is the best/safest way to do this? As you can see, I'm no electrical expert.

I'm using fixtures that hang by chains so that I can have them hang within the ceiling boards (I don't want the flush mount kind) - to provide more light.

Can I simply use a 2 to 3 prong adapter in this situation?

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-12-11, 02:14 PM
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Best would be to replace the light with a receptacle. There are other details you need to observe but that is the basics.

If you want to do this we would need to know if there is a ground wire at the light and if the lights are wired with Romex.

 
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Old 01-12-11, 02:41 PM
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Thanks for the reply! I did know that was an option but was hoping to avoid that in case we decide to put the bulbs back (when the kids get older). But you think that's the safest option?
 
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Old 01-12-11, 03:07 PM
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I think changing to a receptacle from the fixture is the best way to go. The socket adapter goes not utilize the ground that is needed for safety, and sometimes proper operation of the fixture.
 
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Old 01-12-11, 04:04 PM
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My old man did this 25 years ago and there have been no problems. However, I would replace the socket with a receptacle if the job needed to be done now.
 
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Old 01-12-11, 04:21 PM
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Thanks!

Thanks for all the replies!

I took a quick look and it looks like it might not be that bad to change it to an outlet (the box is already there). So, I'll take a look inside to find the answers to the other questions - hopefully it'll be easy to change them (as I think I'd have about 6 to change!).

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-14-11, 12:53 PM
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I checked the wiring

[I wasn't sure if I should start a new thread or not.... will do if no replies here.]

I checked the wiring and there is no ground wire in the box. Also, I'm not sure what specifically to look for regarding Romex. There are a lot of wires/nuts in the box due to all the fixtures down in the basement (I presume).

Given that there is no ground wire, do I need to connect my own ground wire from the box to the green screw, or can I bypass that altogether and just connect the black/white wires??

Thanks!!
 
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Old 01-14-11, 01:10 PM
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Given that there is no ground wire, do I need to connect my own ground wire from the box to the green screw,
That will only work if the boxes are connected with metal conduit.

If you have Romex and no ground wire you have four options.

Simplest replace the lamp holders with ungrounded, two prong, receptacles. They are still available but you might have to special order them.

Next up would be to install a GFCI at the first receptacle and feed the downstream ones from the load side. This would allow you to install three prong receptacles but they would have to be marked No equipment ground.

Next option would be to use a GFCI breaker. This would also allow you to use three prong receptacles but again they would be ungrounded. They would have to be marked No equipment ground.

Some florescent lights seem to work better on ungrounded circuits then others. Since none of the above provide a ground I would buy one light and test it using a screw in receptacle and grounding adapter. If it works fine you can proceed with one of the above.

The final method would be to run a ground wire to each box from the main panel or rewire the whole circuit using NM-b with ground.

First though if you have Romex be sure they didn't just cut the ground off. If there is visible cable look at the writing. If you can't then in the box see if you can strip back a bit more of the sheath to look for a snipped off ground wire.
 
 

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