What is wrong with this picture


Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Background: I stripped down a couple of old PAR 56's on the weekend and found the following:


I apologise for the poor quality of the image (looking at the lamp base on a PAR 56 MFL lamp) but this is the closest focus I could get and I didn't have a tripod handy - so you'll just have to look past the camera shake.
Am I seeing bare wire just wrapped around the post? And it still works?
oh my goodness!!! wow! no solder, no electrical tape,nothing to keep you from getting shocked....that's hilarious and dangerous at the same time!
Ok - still looking for a bit more depth in the answers but you guys are on the right track.

Also - look at the second terminal. It has heat shrink over it, as did the first one. However, I cut away the heat shrink so you could see what was hidden by it.

Yes - the PAR can did have an earthing strap that was in good condition and correctly attached.
not using high-temp wire? I dont know if that matters for par56's......
i didnt notice the tumor..... hmm.
The colouration and "lump" are normal and the lump may even have a function other than being a casting mark. However, I don't know, so if anyone does know now is the time to speak up.

The question I am asking is in relation to the wiring of this PAR lamp. I don't really want to give the answer just yet as I want to see a few more responses.

If you think that something is wrong, say why you think it is wrong, what the possible consequences could be and what the fix is.

Don't worry about being wrong as you will probably point out something that I and other had not thought about.
its the type of wire used i'm pretty sure.
The positive and negative are reversed? It also looks like it was J-hooked or something funky. Also normally, I would not leave bare wire. Meaning that I only expose the amount of wire needed to solder or attact to the post, etc.

This is really starting to bug me given that I should be able to figure this out. I guess I have been fixing one to many movers and forgot about the basics. :roll:
Its singel strand when it should be hulti, leading to it getting bent and work hardened? polarity shouldnt matter, current is :) no matter which why it flows through a bulb which is why some lights have two white wires and a green one.
My random thoughts/observations in no order:

1. where is the creamic, and why did it break?

2. the heat shrink does not extend all the way down to the lamp, where someone could reach in and get a good shock, or the lamp would short out

3. the lack of a creamic connecter takes away a means of dispersing the heat

4. why would someone go through all of this work for a par lamp, it seems as if it was ment to be semi-permanent, which is a very bad and unsafe thing. I would not even trust this as a temp fix because there are too many things that could go wrong

5. the terminal looks as if it has been slightly pulled out of the lamp

6. if this lamp were to burn out, it would suck to try to relamp it if it were in the air and unable to come down

overall, this just screams unsafe!!!!

“Ok, it would not be a PAR Can if there was not a risk of electrical shock! It practicly says that on the label.” - Chris R. Ubinger

I was just playing around with a Kupo lamp cap handle today. Bought them in bulk really cheap for an install and while it did not fit well on my own lamp caps due to it being a different brand, they did still work well. The vendor was telling me that they have to sell PAR fixtures now with a screen over the lamp cap opening as the only way to get UL listing for the fixture no doubt due to similar problems. They have to sell it with the screen which they recommend to the customers that they just remove if not replacing it with the removable lamp adjusting knob. Don’t know why UL would require a cap when other companies such as TMB or Thomas and even Penn Fabrication don’t need to have them, but it’s a valid objection.

www.moonlightusa.com Look for the PAR Can exploded Pictorial. Very cool clip on lamp swivel tool given it fits the cap of you can. Even if it does not match the opening, it still functions for my needs in keeping the bulk of snow out of the cap. Takes me back to some old Colortran PAR fixtures that had a handle that allowed you to swivel the entire cap in relation to the can. Nice fixtures.

“Yes - the PAR can did have an earthing strap that was in good condition and correctly attached.” - Mayhem
I have found a constant problem on par cans to be that the earthing/ground wire while there becomes loose far too frequently in even if connected still being a high resistance connection in not doing any good. Always good to check to see if the rivet on the ground is loose and moves when changing lamps. When loose replace or in my case, I use a actual green grounding screw from the normal electrical industry and a stainless steel top lock nut that firmly locks that grounding ring into place. This with a high temperature ring terminal works well.

“not using high-temp wire? I dont know if that matters for par56's......” - sound_nerd
hmm, How hot can a 500w lamps get anyway???

“The positive and negative are reversed?” Bi-pin lamps don’t have a positive and negative, or in AC power terms, a hot and neutral.

I’m beginning to wonder how many people on this forum even have a PAR 56, or PAR 64 using the same lamp base. By the way as described to me, this 16ga solid core wire was pushed thru the opening in the lamp base pin hole than covered in shrink tubing.

Jeremy is getting close, touched on the subject but needs to think less about specific details in heat and more in general on how someone solved a problem they had.
Someone had a can with broken ceramics, and needed it immediately for a show or rental. They rigged this up as a temp. solution and either forgot about it, or decided to leave it. Am i close?
not to get off topic, but if i'm correct, the hot and neutral do make a difference, i have been told that if it is wired one way and then rewired opposite it will greatly reduce the life of the lamp.
maybe, but when initially wired it shouldnt matter which terminal you use for hot, and which for neutral.
looking at it again, it looks hardwired in, like, there is no cermaic plug thingy that the lamp is pushed into. Not only that, but the wiring is single strand, and I know that even normal extension cables in the US are multi strand. Futher than that, ,if they were trying to fix it, ,tthey could have atleast soldered it on to ensure a good connection. But atleast you said it did have shrink wrap on it....hey, did it come like that from the factory?

Users who are viewing this thread