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    Light fittings

    There is a vast array of light fittings available in many designs and producing a wide variety of lighting effects. The seven most widely used light fittings are described below.

    Pendant lights

    A pendant light is suspended from the ceiling and is the most common light fitting. Its main components are described below.

    Lamp holder

    Although lamp holders are available with a porcelain cover, generally they will be made from plastic with a metal bulb holder. The metal bulb holder will have either a bayonet cap (BC) connector or an Edison screw (ES) connector. A light bulb with a corresponding connector fits into the lamp holder.

    Batten lamp holder

    A variation where the ceiling rose (see below) and the lamp holder are combined in a single unit eliminating the need for a flex.

    Angled batten lamp holder

    This is another variation where the lamp holder is angled to its base and is designed for wall mounting, particularly in lofts and cellars.

    Ceiling rose

    This component is where the flex of the pendant light is connected to the lighting circuit cable. A ceiling rose is sufficient to hold lightweight pendant lights but heavier lights such as an electric light chandelier must be fixed to a joist with a chain.


    The electric flex connects the lamp holder to the lighting circuit cable. It is now possible to buy a complete pendant light set with the ceiling rose and lamp holder pre-wired to the flex.


    Decorative lampshades conceal ugly bare bulbs and diffuse the light.

    Surface-mounted ceiling lights

    In place of a ceiling rose, flex ceiling lights with a hollow base-plate can be connected directly to the circuit cable. The hollow base-plate may include a terminal connector block for connecting the light circuit cable. Other surface-mounted ceiling lights have a flex tail connected to the circuit cable by a separate terminal block concealed in the base-plate.

    Recessed ceiling lights

    Recessed ceiling lights are set into the ceiling with all connections made in the ceiling void. This type of light fitting is ideal in rooms with low ceilings. Recessed ceiling lights are also called downlighters.

    Wall lights

    Wall lights come in many designs but the most popular are surface-mounted fittings and adjustable spotlights. Wall lights can be supplied either from the lighting circuit in the ceiling void or from a fused spur running from a ring main circuit.

    Track lights

    A length of metal track is screwed to the wall or ceiling. The contact runs along the length of the track allowing a number of small light fittings to be attached anywhere along the track. When fitting a multi-spot track lighting system make sure it will not overload the circuit.

    Fluorescent lights

    Fluorescent strip lighting is very economical but not very attractive. The light fitting with the starter mechanism is fixed directly to the ceiling.

    Strip lights

    Strip lights are used over mirrors and inside cupboards. The light is usually provided by slim, tubular, tungsten, filament bulbs. A micro-switch can be fitted inside a cupboard or wardrobe so the light comes on automatically every time the door is opened.

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