EU or US Wiring ? The Answers for my Lamp !
You have just acquired or are being about to purchase an old European lighting and you have some questions about wiring. We are going to try to help you.
Can I use the old wiring of my lighting ?
NO ! You cannot.
Until 1960's, the threads were protected with cloth. Such wiring systems were unsatisfactory because of the danger of electrocution and fire. So the usage of this wiring is dangerous and forbidden. Your lighting has to be rewired. Generally, an old lighting not rewired by a professional must be serviced.
What is the difference between EU and US sockets/bulbs ?
There are two standards in the US. Generally, the Edison standard is used. The most common formats are E12 (candelabra) and E26/27 (medium). This is the screw system that all the American people know. E26 means Edison 26 millimeters (diameter).
But bayonet sockets/bulbs is a standard as well although less known. Bayonet sockets are especially present on old lamps coming from Europe. Bayonet bulbs are available in the US in specialized stores or on the internet. The most common formats are B22 and B15. Edison or Bayonet sockets/bulbs can be used without problem.
These two standards are used in Europe. In the Art Deco period, the standard was bayonet, a fastening mechanism consisting of a cylindrical male side (bulb side) with one or more radial pins, and a female receptor (socket side) with matching L-shaped slot(s) and with spring(s) to keep the two parts locked together. The most common formats are B15 and B22. B22 means Bayonet 22 millimeters (diameter).
Now, the Edison system has become the most used on new lamps. It is another standard. The candelabra format is different than the US one. E14 (E12 in the US) is candelabra and E 26/27 is medium. But bayonet bulbs are still very present, especially on old lightings. It is because the old European lightings were originally wired with bayonets sockets.
To use US E12 candelabra bulbs on a EU E14 base, an adaptor E14 to E12 must be used.
Can I replace bayonet sockets by Edison ones ?
Yes you can. But it is not always a good solution.
The most often, it is possible without problem. But sometimes, the diameter of the lamp stand is not the same as the Edison socket one. In the pre-1960's period, several diameters were used. If both diameters are different, there are two possibilities : placing an adaptor between the lamp stand and the Edison socket or using the bayonet socket with an adaptor B to E. But an adaptor can increase the length of the whole and the bulb can touch the shade or go beyond the shade too much. In this case, the usage of bayonet sockets/bulbs is the best solution.
Can I use bayonet bulbs in the US ?
Yes, you can. Bayonet socket/bulb is a standard in the US too.
As European people can use Edison bulbs, American people can use bayonet bulbs as well. It is not very known in the US, but bayonet bulbs can be used without any problem and it is legal. Ask your electrician, he knows that. Another difference between Europe and the USA is the voltage. Europe uses 210/220/230V and the USA use 110/120V. US 110V bayonet bulbs are available in US specialized stores or on the internet : for example here. They are available in LED, incandescent, ...
What is the difference between EU and US plugs ?
EU and US plugs are different. The lamp must have the plug corresponding to your country.
Are your lightings wired ?
Yes, at ADCGL's, we rewire all our lightings for a EU or a US usage depending on their destination, unless it is specified in the description. We wire with Edison sockets each time that it is possible, elsewhere with bayonet sockets. The plugs are chosen to be used in your country (EU or US).