Click…click…click.

Click.

Click-click.

That’s the sound of a lamp with a three-way bulb.

It was my grandfather trying to find the right level of light to read by.

I think one almost never gets it right the first time.

So you turn it on…up…up.

Off.

Then you realize two clicks will get you there.

I bet you do it to…right?

Wait. You don’t have a 3-way lamp?

Let’s convert one together.

Convert Lamp to 3-Way Switch

Here’s my little tiki desk lamp. I hardly use it because it never seemed to offer the right amount of light. It was either too much or too little depending on the time of day.

My tiki lamp.

My tiki lamp.

So I thought I’d see if I could replace the on/off switch with a 3-way lamp switch. And since I’ve been switching all of the bulbs in the house to LED, go ahead and jam a soft white LED bulb in there. I honestly didn’t know you could get a 3-way LED bulb until CREE sent us some to try out.

Dad blogger upgrades lamp with LED bulb Review

The CREE 30/60/100 LED bulb actually uses 90% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb. It’s rated for 25,000 hours of use—so go ahead and leave it on everyday for the next three years. It’s about $22 and available exclusively at Home Depot.

I went to the hardware store and picked up this 3-Way Turn Knob Socket. It was about $5. I’m thinking I can just use the switch with socket instead of the whole brass housing.

I went to the hardware store and picked up this 3-Way Turn Knob Socket. It was about $5. I’m thinking I can just use the switch with socket instead of the whole brass housing.

Oh, and here’s all the stuff you’ll need. Lamp. Switch. Bulb. Screwdriver.

Oh, and here’s all the stuff you’ll need. Lamp. Switch. Bulb. Screwdriver—and that could be a philips or flathead screwdriver. I chose flathead ’cause it was the first one I grabbed out of the toolbox.

I started by taking stuff apart. Depending on your lamp, you might have to replace the whole socket assembly. Again I’m thinking I can just replace interior switch/bulb socket.

I started by UNPLUGGING THE LAMP. Then I took stuff apart. Depending on your lamp, you might have to replace the whole socket assembly. Again, I’m thinking I can just replace interior switch/bulb socket.

DIY Dad blog Replacing a lamp socket

If you’ve never done this before, you’ll find this is pretty simple stuff. I pulled the socket out of the housing while feeding some of the lamp cord (wire) up through the base.

Here’s the new socket assembly. I’ll compare the switch against the old switch to see if it will fit in the lamp’s switch housing.

Here’s the new socket assembly. I’ll compare the switch against the old switch to see if it will fit in the lamp’s switch housing.

Looks like they are identical in depth, so it should fit. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to unscrew the old switch housing from the lamp base and replace the whole thing with your new housing. It’s easy, just take it apart.

Looks like they are identical in depth, so it should fit. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to unscrew the old switch housing from the lamp base and replace the whole thing with your new housing. It’s easy, just take it apart.

You’ll notice that the switch has both gold and silver terminals. I just matched up the wire on the old terminal to the new terminal and tightened the set screw.

You’ll notice that the switch has both gold and silver terminals. I just matched up the wire on the old terminal to the new terminal and tightened the set screw.

A quick tug on the wires ensured they are tight and I started to reassembly the housing.

A quick tug on the wires ensured they are tight and I started to reassemble the housing.

New switch in place.

New switch in place.

And screwed the top of the housing back on.

And I screwed the top of the housing back on.

I put the CREE 3-Way LED bulb in place…

I put the CREE 3-Way LED bulb in place…

And Bam. Works great.

And Bam. Works great.

I like the soft white light from the LED bulb, and with three levels to choose from, I can have the right lighting at my desk for drawing or working late on the computer.

I like the soft white light from the CREE LED bulb, and with three levels to choose from, I can have the right lighting at my desk for drawing or working late on the computer.

My photos don’t really show the three levels of light, so I made this quick video. Enjoy it in all of its vertical-ness:

Remember, unplug the lamp before you try any of this.

Thanks for checking us out. Let us know what you think in the comments. Tell us about LED bulbs, or stuff you took apart. Maybe you didn’t get it back together. We’ve done it too. Or let us know what you can #CreateWithCREE .

Oh and check out Cree for the 3-Way bulbs, as well as dimmable LED bulbs in all shapes and sizes.


Disclosure: Dadand was supplied product and/or compensated to create this post. Despite that, the opinions expressed by Dadand are our own. To provide as much transparency as possible, Dadand makes every reasonable effort to disclose the source of all products and services reviewed.

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