How to change an E27 bulb lamp holder

by Mars

Emboldened by our recent electric escapades, I turned my attention to fixing (replacing) an E27 bulb lamp holder that was damaged by our British Short Hair kitten when she pulled the lamp to the ground that shattered the Bakelite holder.

On that note, most lamp holders are made from Bakelite (polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride) which is a century-old synthetic plastic that’s used because of its electrical non-conductivity and heat-resistant properties. This stuff is brittle. Exceptionally brittle. So it’s no surprise that the light holder was damaged when our kitten pulled the lamp to the ground.

My wife had called an electrician cum light fixer and he quoted us £60 to fix the lamp.

I decided to look into it, and I’m glad I did. Changing lamp bulb holders is no difficult. It turned out to be really straightforward. The only thing that took time was to find the right sized holder to fit the socket cavity. After some intricate measurements, I purchased one off Amazon for £5.

I got the old holder out, and screwed in the new base.

This is the only “tricky” bit. E27 bulbs, I found out, need to be connected in a specific way.

The line connection must run to the base of the E27 fitting, and the neutral cable must connect to the outer thread. Looking at my holder below the blue (neutral) cable connects to the bit that runs up the side of the holder. The brown (line) wire connects to the pin that runs across the bottom of the holder. It’s that simple.

To explain it further, let’s look at an E27 bulb. The neutral (blue) is on the thread (side) and the line (brown) connects to the bottom of the bulb.

In bayonet fittings, for your reference, either of the pins in the base can be line or neutral and polarity doesn’t matter.

Top tip

This is hugely important. Many of these lamp holders click or screw in when you assemble them and can’t be undone. So do not assemble/tighten the holder before you’re 100% certain that everything has been wired correctly because in most cases this can’t be undone.

So before tightening I tested everything to ensure there was power and light.

And that’s it. Really simple. Tighten everything, put the lampshade on and you’re done. It cost me £5 for the new holder and I’ve learnt something new that will now allow me to seamlessly change most lamp holders.

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