A Dummy’s DIY: How To Change an Electric Plug

Now, I can imagine that this seems totally random – after all, so far I’ve basically only talked about books, school and travelling.
However, I recently got what Google Translate tells me is called a “floor luminaire” in English, but is basically a standing lamp (?). Small problem: in Belgium, most plug sockets have a grounding, which the lamp’s electric plug didn’t really account for, so I got my dad to teach me how to change it (as much of a dummy I am, that’s how handy he can be) – and since I actually succeeded at getting the thing to work – I figured I’d teach you all how to do it as well!

Now, of course, I can speak only for Belgian plugs, but I imagine it is pretty similar in other countries – in case of doubt: google it!

Now, let’s get started!

What you’ll need

  • A wire cutter                          (that’s this fun thingy here –>
    A screwdriver
  • A sharp knife (along with parental supervision, if you’re younger and want to try this)
  • A spare electric plug
  • A pair of scissors
What you do:
Step 0: Make sure you’re not connected to any electricity! (Safety measures and all that)

Step 1: Using the scissors, cut off the old plug as close to the old plug as you can get. Once you’ve cut off the old plug, you can just dispose of it – either throw it away, or if there’s a chance you might still be able to use it, put it aside somewhere!

As you can see, the cable-cover was actually quite damaged, but you’re supposed to cut right above the old plug, the white thing, as low as possible

Step 2: Usually, the plug consists of 2 parts: the part where the actual electrical stuff is, and then a sort of cover-hat (I have no idea what this is called). These two parts are screwed to each other. Unscrew them (and make sure to put the screws and the electric part somewhere you can find them again easily!) and put the cable through the hole in the cover-hat. You want it to be on the wire already, but out of your way.

In my case, because I was working with a really short cable that was hanging down, I ended up using a hair pin to keep it up there:

Step 3: Using the sharp knife, carefully cut through the outer protective layer of rubber/plastic. Be careful though, because inside of that cable, there are 2 or 3 smaller cables, which is where the actual copper wires are, and you don’t want to cut into those – just the outside layer!

You will then see the three (usually, especially in newer cable) wires: two in random colours, and one with stripes on it – in the pictures, that’s the green one, with yellow stripes – this striped one is the grounding cable.

I was just doing this sitting on my dorm floor, so enjoy the view of my floor, my carpet, a bit of my purce, and the sharp (kitchen) knife I used to cut the black cover away!

Step 4: Using the wire cutter, carefully cut away approximately 1cm of each of the covers from the three individual cables. Once you have the cover cut off, you’ll see a bunch of fine, copper wires. Twist these together, so that they seem to form one, thicker, wire.

You can see the three stages of cover-cutting here: the blue cable, on the left, has yet to be cut; the black one,in the middle, has had its cover cut off and the green one, on the right, has been twisted together

Step 5: Now take the electric part, you’ll see that there are 3 different screws still in there:

One on the one side


One on the other side


And one on the bottom

These screws are going to hold the three copper cables, so you want to unscrew them. As you can see on the last picture, both the left and the right side have two holes – the bigger ones are for the screws that keep the plug-hat in place, the smaller ones are where you put the two normal cables. In my case, that’s the blue and the black cable – so the ones that aren’t the grounding wire.

It doesn’t really matter which side you put where, just make sure that you’ve pushed the copper completely into the holes, and that you tighten the screws so that you can basically lift the plug without it coming loose.
For the grounding wire, you want to make sure that you put it in the right hole:

In this picture, you can see that the little clasp, which is supposed to hold the cable, has fallen against the screw, this is what you don’t want


Even though it’s blurry, I think you can see the difference: I just turned the plug around, so that gravity could do its job and make sure that there’s a nice opening for you to put the cable – so between the little golden thingy and the screw, not between the golden thingy and the black on the bottom!

Once you’re done screwing all the cables into place, it should look something like this:

As you can see, I kind of had to force the wires a bit because the striped one, which had to go in the centre, was placed on the outside. The blue and the black cables are on the outsides, and all of the screws have been tightened enough that the cables can carry the plug.

Step 7: slide the plug-cover down the cable so you can put it back on the electric part of the plug. Usually, there’s some sort of indentation so you can easily get it in the right angle! Take the screws (I did tell you to put them somewhere you could easily get them again!) and screw them back in so that the cover and the electric part are back together:

And you’re done! You’ve now officially changed an electric plug!
And if you’re anything like me, that’ll make you so proud of yourself, that you’ll just want to use it non-stop – which would be why I’ve basically stopped using my normal lighting, just so I could have this “floor luminaire” on instead – it’s really cosy anyway, so this is definitely a win-win!

So, as this is my first ever DIY-post, did you like it? I do apologise about the blurriness of the pictures – I don’t actually own a camera, so I had to make do with my phone, which doesn’t really have optimal quality, even when there’s natural light (which I didn’t) and everything! Let me know what you thought below!


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