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How to Replace a Touch Lamp Sensor

Updated February 21, 2017

Having a touch lamp, especially one on your bedside table, makes turning your light off and on more convenient. Imagine being able to lay in one spot and simply reach over and touch your lamp like hitting the snooze button on an alarm clock. No more fumbling around for the switch in the dark. Although convenient, your lamp's touch sensor in can quit working and might need replacement. Replacement touch sensors are available at most home improvement stores. Repairing your touch lamp by replacing the touch sensor is less expensive than buying a new lamp.

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  1. Unplug your lamp from the wall and move it to a surface that will allow you enough area to lay the lamp on its side.

  2. Remove the bottom of the lamp. A lamp bottom can attach to the base several ways, depending on the manufacturer. They can screw on, snap on like a disposable container lid onto a bowl, or be glued on heavy paper or felt. If it is heavy paper or felt, carefully peel it away from the base so you can replace it.

  3. Identify the touch lamp sensor. The touch sensor is a small, white of black plastic square. Attached to the sensor are four wires, a black, white, a red or grey (depending on the manufacturer) and a yellow wire. Each wire is connected to a lamp wire on the lamp with the exception of the yellow wire; it has a ring terminal attached to the end of the wire that attaches physically to the lamp.

  4. Remove the touch sensor by first untwisting and remove the three wire connectors that connect the black, white, and red or grey wires onto the lamp wire. Disconnect the yellow wire from the lamp by removing the nut holding it to the nipple at the base of the lamp. The nipple is a small metal tube that has threads on the exterior and lamp wires thread through it. Remove the nut with pliers and remove the yellow wire.

  5. Install the replacement touch sensor by first locating the set of wires that leads from the lamp base to the lamp plug. Feel both of these wires: one wire has ribs along its entire length while the other wire is smooth. Connect the black wire from the touch sensor to the smooth wire leading to the lamp plug by twisting an orange wire connector onto both wires. Attach the yellow wire from the lamp sensor to the nipple on the lamp, replace the nut onto the nipple and tighten it with pliers holding the yellow wire in place. Locate the ribbed wire leading to the lamp plug and the ribbed wire leading to the lamp socket. Connect these two wires and the white wire from the touch sensor by twisting an orange wire connector onto all three wires. Connect the remaining grey wire from the touch sensor to the remaining smooth wire from the lamp together by twisting an orange wire connector onto the two wires.

  6. Replace the bottom of the lamp onto the lamp base.

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Things You'll Need

  • Phillips- or flathead screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Replacement touch sensor
  • Orange wire connectors

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.

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