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Ok...first a disclaimer...I am so not a DIYer!
I'm scared of breaking things and/or hurting myself, but being a new young female homeowner I am trying to gain some confidence and skills so I don't have to call someone in every time something breaks.

For one of my first DIY projects, I am trying to rewire a halogen floor lamp, including installing a new internal dimmer switch.

I apologize in advance but I need to ask a series of seemingly really stupid questions....

Ok, First, I think I need to rewire the top part of the lamp because the lamp wire is too short to be threaded through the pole and connected to the dimmer inside the pole. Is there anything I need to know about rewiring that top part? I know that I need to pay attention to the ribbed wire vs. the smooth wire and which screw they are attached to in the socket part but why is there a small white cloth-like covering on the wires? Is this insulation? And why is the wire tied in a knot? Is this knot necessary? (pic attached)

Once I rewire the top part correctly I need to attach the dimmer.
1.) The dimmer switch has two short wires on one end.
I understand I need to connect these wires to the cord at the bottom of the lamp (the one that gets plugged in!)
I can do this, using the wire nuts provided with the dimmer. I know I need to make sure to connect the white wire to the ribbed wire (the live wire) and the black wire to the smooth wire.

2.) When I am connecting the dimmer to the lamp wire at the top, I know to again connect the white wire on the dimmer switch to the ribbed wire. But then there is a huge amount of excess cord. I am assuming I don't want all that wire to bunch up in the pole,or does it not really matter?

Extremely grateful for any advice.
Teasing totally allowed, within reason.

Thanks so much.


Retired Moderator
25,768 Posts
The knot first---That is needed to keep the connections from getting pulled out of the socket--

The ribbed wire is the neutral--not the power---the switch should interrupt the power--switch goes on the smooth wire.

both wires from the dimmer go to the smooth (power) wires-one to the outlet cord--the other to the socket.

The dimmer wires can be shortened to suit your installation.---Mike---
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