# Convert a 300 Watt Torchiere Lamp into a Dual 20 Watt CFL

13 Steps
The torchiere is a popular floor standing indirect lamp. Unfortunately, most use a high wattage Type 'T' lamp that is extremely hot in use. I have seen several warnings about these type lamps causing fires. And they are very inefficient. This will show how I converted my 300 Watt lamp to an energy efficient and cool 20 Watt CFL type bulb for less than \$10 in parts.This modification results in a savings of 280 Watts. With the addition of the second 20 watt CFL, the savings comes down to only 260 Watts.

As these lamps may differ from the one I used, please use these instructions as a general guide and not an exact procedure.

This should not be attempted by anyone unfamiliar with the safety precautions required when working with high voltage.

After I finished this, I found almost the same thing already on the site By McSensei. However, as mine is slightly different, I will leave it.

I have added a second 20 Watt CFL at the suggestion of lemonie - Now with twice the light
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## Step 1:

The torchiere is an indirect light, shining a powerful cone of light off of the ceiling and walls. It is also an extremely hot lamp, making the protective cage seen over the bulb necessary. At 300 Watts it is probably the biggest energy hog of any of my light fixtures. And as you can see, it gives off a fairly harsh light when viewed directly.
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onemoroni1 says: Apr 11, 2013. 7:10 AM
Nice project. I sometimes see these old lamps in thrift stores and wondered about purposing them. As I'm sure you know there are narrower CFL bulbs to bring the height down.
Afarigh says: Dec 14, 2012. 9:15 AM
That is very innovative
Rigidman says: Oct 5, 2012. 2:27 AM
Components of an electrical circuit or electronic circuit can be connected in many different ways. The two simplest of these are called series and parallel and occur very frequently. Components connected in series are connected along a single path, so the same current flows through all of the components.[1][2] Components connected in parallel are connected so the same voltage is applied to each component.[3]

A circuit composed solely of components connected in series is known as a series circuit; likewise, one connected completely in parallel is known as a parallel circuit.

In a series circuit, the current through each of the components is the same, and the voltage across the circuit is the sum of the voltages across each component.[1] In a parallel circuit, the voltage across each of the components is the same, and the total current is the sum of the currents through each component.[3]

As an example, consider a very simple circuit consisting of four light bulbs and one 6 V battery. If a wire joins the battery to one bulb, to the next bulb, to the next bulb, to the next bulb, then back to the battery, in one continuous loop, the bulbs are said to be in series. If each bulb is wired to the battery in a separate loop, the bulbs are said to be in parallel. If the four light bulbs are connected in series, there is same current through all of them, and the voltage drop is 1.5 V across each bulb, which may not be sufficient to make them glow. If the light bulbs are connected in parallel, the currents through the light bulbs combine to form the current in the battery, while the voltage drop is 6.0 V across each bulb and they all glow.

In a series circuit, every device must function for the circuit to be complete. One bulb burning out in a series circuit breaks the circuit. In parallel circuits, each light has its own circuit, so all but one light could be burned out, and the last one will still function.

That wasn't too difficult
Rigidman in reply to RigidmanOct 5, 2012. 2:41 AM
Oh one more thing I solder my wires. just anal retentive about that I refuse to use plastic connectors of any type. they can fail and if you have a lot of wiring you have a lot to chase when one does fail. Later
Rigidman in reply to RigidmanOct 5, 2012. 2:35 AM
I googled it. I'm not an expert but I know the difference. I've added sockets to my house. Changed 2 110 to 220. Had to isolate that socket because several sockets are usually on 1 circuit. I was told I didn't have to but found out later if I didn't my house would've burned down.
SIRJAMES09 says: Dec 21, 2011. 11:30 PM
I think some people need to give it a rest.

In short, if you do not know what the heck you are doing, DO NOT DO IT!

The guy is putting safety first like a responsible adult SHOULD.

To explain the difference between series & parallel, one has to start from the begining of electrical technology & progress from there.

In English, that means that when you first started going to school at the age of about 5 or 6 yrs old, you went to kindergarden or 1st grade, not Yale college.

I support the author & how he has written this. He is trying to cover your butt so to speak because there are idiots in the world that will try anything even if & when they do not have a clue what they are doing or getting themselves into.
bben46 (author) in reply to SIRJAMES09Dec 23, 2011. 2:46 AM
@SirJames09
If you look at the date stamps, most of these comments are a couple of years old. And If they choose to not take my advice, Well, I tried to warn them. Maybe I need a legal disclaimer. Unfortunately, you cannot teach either common sense or basic wiring practices with an instructable. For the basics of wiring, you need a small book, for common sense, either you have it - or you don't.

Bben's legal disclaimer - just like the big companies use to hold down the lawsuits by people who do dumb things: Do this at your own risk, I cannot be responsible for your lack of knowledge or common sense. Electricity can shock, kill, cause serious burns and fires if this is not done carefully or properly. Be afraid, or at least respect electricity. If you do actually understand electricity you will be afraid. I have been working with it for 48 Years - and I am afraid of it. That's what has kept me alive all this time.

With any wiring, no matter how much you think you know, or how simple the project, always double check before throwing the power on - the life you save may be your own.
SIRJAMES09 in reply to bben46Dec 23, 2011. 9:23 AM
Dear Sir:
Years ago, I had bought not one but several books on Electricity...unfortunately, I lost them in a divorce(she tossed them in the trash) I still remember SOME of the stuff I read, but not not all. Anyway, my point is, I have always been afraid of electricity & always stay away from anything I am not sure of. I'll install light switches in walls, outlets, GFCI's, but when it comes to serious wiring(like running wire from room to room, adding a circuit, etc) that's when I'll have no problem calling for help from an electrician.

Making & rewiring a lamp is easy for me as I have done it so many times, but like you say, I ALWAYS double or triple check my work B4 plugging it in.

I TY Sir for sharing this instructable for it has given me the ideas I need to switch my torch lamp over from what it is now to the corkscrew bulbs you show in the instructable.

Take Care Sir & God Bless. :)
SIRJAMES09 says: Dec 21, 2011. 11:36 PM
bben46, I TY for sharing this as I DO understand basic electrical & I understood everything perfectly.

I think you did a great job of explaining everything & the pics reinforced that.

5 stars Sir.. TY.
smcan22 says: Mar 14, 2009. 7:39 AM
I really like what your doing here but it is an "instructable" - why not explain the difference between wiring them in parallel instead of in series? What makes not knowing that the qualifier for trying this out?
bben46 (author) in reply to smcan22Mar 14, 2009. 12:40 PM
If you don't already know the difference then you should not be playing with 120 VAC. This is one of the most basic things you NEED to know to do any electrical wiring. Light switches are wired in series, lamps in parallel. Basic electrical wiring practices may be a subject for another instructable, but it will be a very long one. I recommend taking a short course at a local tech school. The one near me offers a short course in basic wiring for homeowners. - How to wire a new light with a switch, how to change a circuit breaker. How to add an outlet, that kind of stuff.
SIRJAMES09 in reply to bben46Dec 21, 2011. 11:31 PM
AMEN!

tehbizz in reply to bben46Jul 2, 2009. 3:44 PM
I agree with smcan22. If you put up the instructable, you need to at least give a little back knowledge for people that may not know. I was actually going to try this but your comments regarding parallel vs. series are a turn off. This site is for sharing information and helping people do different projects, not tell us we can't do things.
SIRJAMES09 in reply to tehbizzDec 21, 2011. 11:33 PM
and the author has done just that.

If you do not know the difference between series & parallel, then you should NOT be messing around with electricity. PERIOD.
bben46 (author) in reply to tehbizzJul 2, 2009. 4:59 PM
This instructable is simple if you have a basic understanding of electricity. But as anything involving high voltage should not be attempted if you do not. The 'Back knowledge' required is not something that can be taught in a short article. Household current can kill or badly injure those who do not understand the danger and how to work with it safely.
magicdust in reply to bben46Aug 24, 2009. 12:47 PM
Get real, folks. I totally agree with the author, BBen46. Series vs. parallel is basic stuff that shouldn't bog down an instructable writer. If every instructable required every bit of knowledge explained it would seriously impede the flow of the essential information. I had no problem and actually appreciated not having to skip through YET ANOTHER explanation of basic electrical circuits!
wiml says: Feb 27, 2009. 8:20 PM
It's not immensely important, but you're usually supposed to wire the neutral wire to the threads and the hot wire to the contact in the base of the socket... it doesn't matter electrically, but it keeps the hot/dangerous contact farther away from possible fingers etc.
bben46 (author) in reply to wimlFeb 28, 2009. 3:26 AM
Unfortunately, these lamps are wired with a 2 prong plug. And I have seen several instances of older 2 prong wall outlets being wired backwards. So, even if you wired it 'right', you stand the chance of the hot being connected to the metal frame of the lamp. In that case, if someone touched the lamp and a grounded object, they stand the chance of being electrocuted. So, the manufacturers of the lamps isolate BOTH sides of the power from the chassis. It's always a good idea to check chassis to a ground, using a voltmeter, with the lamp plugged into the outlet it will be used on and powered up.
SIRJAMES09 in reply to bben46Dec 21, 2011. 11:20 PM
you can always add a 3rd wire & ground it yourself with a 3 prong male plug too.

Again, just another thought, brain fart suggestion etc.
static in reply to bben46Mar 19, 2009. 4:06 PM
While many(most?) of the all American" 5 tube AM broadcast receivers, would have a hot chassis when plugged into an improperly wire recep circuit, I have yet to see a lamp holder that neutral connection connected to an exterior metal component. Not to say none exist, so it would be a good idea to inspect the lamp holder to be used visually and with an ohm/ continuity meter. I had a the same project in mind for a couple of garage sale lamps, I was given, but I doubt I would have remembered to document the process for an instructable. Good job with the instructable The good thing about this hack it allows one to use higher wattage lamps, if their need dictates them. I used to live in a mobile home that had no ceiling light, just a switch outlet. In that instance a higher wattage torchiere lamp was called for. A simple device is available to check to see if the receps are improperly wired at the home supply stores. One can do the job with a simple neon test lamp, but the plug in tester trouble shoots and ID any fault in the time it takes to plug it in and look at at. >\$10 it's worth the money.
While you are out getting the tester get the one that tests for and also for proper operation of GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter) circuit breakers or outlets >\$15.00 at most stores. Also here is another trick I learned plug in a Iron or other item that draws at least 900 Watts while checking, it will show up a weak hot or neutral leg. Also with the new ARI (Arc Fault Interrupter) Circuit breakers that are required in Sleeping areas by the electrical code there may be a tester for those, and if anyone has seen these please post where and the brand name please and price if you know.
Pazzerz in reply to bben46Mar 2, 2009. 3:56 AM
I have yet to see any lamp that has any wiring attached electrically to the lamp frame. It wouldn't be allow to be sold. On another note, and its just my preference, I can't stand the light from those bulbs. They are irritatingly white, almost bluish white. If someone could come up with a shroud to 'color' the light to make them more like incandescent bulbs, I may start to buy them, otherwise they aren't worth the irritation to me. Good instructable. Those nasty halogens are a pain because they burn so hot and you have to be so careful how you handle them when you install them.
denniep in reply to PazzerzMar 17, 2009. 11:36 AM
Good news on the irritating light color! There are plenty of bulbs available now which are not the bright, bluish white light. Most bulbs in this area (Austin TX) are NOT that anymore. Those are labelled "natural daylight" which I thought I would prefer. But all others not labelled that are the warmer color, although somewhat dimmer. These bulbs have come a long way in the last couple of years. I am encouraging everyone in my world to switch after realizing that lighting was 2/3 of my electric bill (and I have great natural light and rely on it as much as possible). My recent conversion is saving me at least \$20/month, even as a minimal user. The sub-CFL's are readily available in packs of 5 or 6 (?) for around \$10, which I considered reasonable. Basically, my investment will pay for itself in 2 months, accounting for needing to buy various sizes and opting for the better price of the packs. My research was done mostly on the City of Austin Energy website which I linked. The color of the light is discussed there as well. The packaging of the bulbs still leaves much to be desired however, so the online research made a big difference for me.
Pazzerz in reply to denniepMar 17, 2009. 4:30 PM
Packaging.... Thats a whole new can of worms.... I had bought a pack of 3 and of course it was a welded plastic package. Even with scissors cutting around the edge I ended up with 1 good bulb. I'm putting out a reward for the one who brings me the the head of the jerk who came up with this packaging idea. Off with their heads! =P
wiml in reply to bben46Feb 28, 2009. 10:45 AM
Whups, by "threads" I mean the threads in the socket (not the lamp chassis). (I was responding to your note in step 8 that it doesn't matter which way you wire the socket.) Good point about older 2-prong outlets and unpolarized plugs though.
SIRJAMES09 says: Dec 21, 2011. 11:17 PM
just a thought, suggestion or brain fart...

But what I do to keep all the wires where they belong, is I put a wee bit of flux & solder on just the end of the wires. not a lot, just enough to hold all the teeny tiny strands of wire together, then after it cools enough to handle, THEN I wrap it around the screw. For me, it makes for a nicer looking contact AND a safer one.

Again, just a thought
SIRJAMES09 says: Dec 21, 2011. 11:11 PM
so far(step 4) I like the way you're writing this...safety first & everything falls in behind that. smart. very smart. :0).
teamteor says: May 13, 2009. 8:27 AM
Nice job, I consider doing this. The one thing I worry about is the fact that all of my torch lamps use a dimmer switch, and not a regular on/off. I am not sure that these bulbs are compatible with dimmers. The other thing is to just mix this Instructable with one that makes a replacement bulb from LEDs. Nice job! Tom
SIRJAMES09 in reply to teamteorDec 21, 2011. 11:08 PM
now your Corkscrew shaped bulbs I'm not sure about, but MOST incandescent light bulbs will do fine with or without a dimmer switch.

I too have one of these 300W lamps & I'm trying to talk my roommate into letting me convert it to a lower wattage bulb...
n0ukf in reply to teamteorFeb 7, 2010. 10:45 PM
I have found dimmable fluorescents, Though two things to consider, they only dim to about half or a little less light before cutting off, and they're more expensive.
magicdust in reply to teamteorAug 24, 2009. 12:56 PM
Dimmers aren't compatible to florescent solid state ballasts! I've found the dimmer circuits are prone to failure and expensive to replace. My dimmer burned out and I replaced it with a regular equipment switch by dremeling out the shape needed. If you don't want to do that, you will probably need to bypass the dimmer circuitry on the dimmer switch board.
Hammerhead46 says: Mar 3, 2009. 6:17 AM
I really like this BUT I would disassemble the lamp and replace the switch AND the wire inside the pole.
I took one of these apart recently as I needed the dimmer for a project and the way the wire inside was twisted from being assembled scared me to death. Also the insulation had been scraped down to the wire in 3 places. Fire Starter anyone?
What did you use your dimmer for? Does anyone know how to keep the "touch switch" circuit AND wire a CFL? I have not been able to use CFLs in any of our touch lamps.
I used the Dimmer on a 15 W lamp that I use on my computer and or Ham station at night so I can see to wright and or type without having a light that bothers my wife. She sleeps at night and many times I can't so I surf or listen to the radio and make notes.