How Do You Wire a 3 Terminal Lamp Socket

A light bulb is an excellent addition to any home. It can provide lighting when it’s dark and make your room look brighter, but the only downside is the amount of energy that goes into powering them, especially if you leave them on for long periods.

If you want to save money on your electricity bills each month, then this article will tell you how to wire a 3 terminal lamp socket so that it doesn’t waste power by just sitting there not being used.

There are many different types of light sockets, and each one has a specific way to be wired. However, the 3 terminal lamp socket is the most common type found in homes, so it’s essential to know how to wire it. It can be tricky if you don’t have any experience with wiring, but luckily we have provided step-by-step guides on how do you wire a 3 terminal lamp socket. So read on to know the instructions!

How Do You Wire a 3 Terminal Lamp Socket

8 Reasons Why You Should Wire a 3 Terminal Lamp Socket:

1. It’s easier to wire a 3 terminal lamp socket than an extension cord. So you only need one receptacle box, and you don’t have to worry about it overheating and burning down your house.

2. The wires usually come with connectors pre-attached, so there is no stripping necessary; you just push the bare copper ground wire into the green-colored terminal screw.

3. If you make a mistake, you can easily disconnect the wires from the lamp socket and try again, unlike an extension cord where you have to cut off the plug and start over with a new cord.

4. You can use any plug-in lamp or fan UL listed; they make them for anywhere globally, unlike an extension cord where you can only use it for appliances made in North America.

5. It’s easier to add a switch inside the lamp socket because there is room inside for extra wires and clips. Unfortunately, you can’t add switches to an extension cord; if you want to control a cord with a switch it has to be the kind of extension cord that comes with a built-in switch.

6. They make 3 terminal lamp sockets for anywhere in the world, so if you move and want to take your lamps with you, they work as long as there is electricity where you’re moving too. Unfortunately, if you have an extension cord, the plug-in part will only work in North America (they make them for other countries, but it’s hard to find them).

7. When you wire a 3 terminal lamp socket, you don’t have to worry about connecting both ends of the cord; all you need is one end connected, which makes your lamp cord complete. With an extension cord, you have to connect both ends.

8. When you wire a 3 terminal lamp socket into an electrical box, you don’t have to worry about the cord touching anything that conducts power; because of the way they are wired, it’s impossible for them any bare copper wire in contact with anything metal inside the light fixture

Connecting Both Ends of the Cord

Instructions: How Do You Wire a 3 Terminal Lamp Socket 

Step 1:

Turn the power off at the breaker box.

Step 2:

Remove the old socket from the lamp if it has one. If you are replacing an old socket, remove it by loosening or removing any screws that hold it in place and pulling on the wire leads to free them of their grip in the socket. If there is not a fixture already inside of your lamp, skip to the next step.

Step 3:

Push each wire through a hole in the new socket. Ensure you have enough wire from the old socket to reach the lamp from an existing nearby outlet box and enough extra wire to make a neat connection with your wiring.

Step 4:

Strip off about 3 inches of insulation from each wire using the wire strippers. You can use a knife to strip off any insulation on the wires and then connect it to the new socket by twisting together each exposed wire and screwing down a terminal lug onto it.

Step 5:

Take each black wire and fasten it to either side of the silver screw terminals on one side of the socket. Do the same with your white wires and gold screw terminals.

Step 6:

Fasten the socket to the lamp by screwing in its base. You can then push your new bulb into the socket, turn on the power at the breaker box, and test your work.

Step 7:

Turn off the power before you begin doing any additional repairs or installations.

Step 8:

If you are satisfied with your job but wish to cover the socket, you can screw a cover over your lamp.

Surround Your Wires With Electrical Tape

Some Helpful Tips:

1. Make sure you surround your wires with electrical tape or heat shrink tubing. This will prevent them from coming into contact with each other and ensure that they do not contact any metal in the lamp socket, base, or cord cap.

2. Twist the hot lead to the brass screw, and twist the neutral to the silver screw. The ground will get connected to the green screw, but be sure that you get a good mechanical connection with your wrench for each of them.

3. Tighten one wire at a time and make sure you tighten the connection until it is nice and snug. Please do not allow any metal from your screwdriver to touch the other two wires while you tighten them.

4. A good connection will not vibrate loose if you tap on it. If it does, try tightening things up a bit more or start over with a new wire and another wire nut.

5. Once the socket is wired, test it to make sure that everything works as intended before continuing on down your string of sockets.

6. The socket base can either be plastic or metal; make sure you use the appropriate screws for it.

7. If your lamp cord has a molded plug on it, remove it and replace it with a matching receptacle rated at 15 amps max.


When wiring a 3 terminal lamp socket, it is essential to be aware of the polarity. The black wire should always go into one side of the middle terminal and then out on the other side, attaching to either end terminal. If there are only three wires, one of them is hot, and two must be neutral.

The other wiring pattern has all three being hot so make sure which type your electrician uses when they wire the socket for you! Wiring a 3-terminal lamp socket can seem intimidating at first glance, but with these simple steps mentioned on how do you wire a 3 terminal lamp socket, anyone can do it!

If you are not 100% sure which way your wires were initially installed in the outlet, contact an electrician for help before proceeding with this project!

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