How can I install a wall lamp

Connect the lamp and mount it correctly: step-by-step instructions

Whether for a new purchase or a move: If you want to connect your lamp to the ceiling or wall, you should pay attention to a few things. We show how it works correctly and safely.

"And God said: Let there be light! And there was light." Who does not know the Bible quote. And really: If you want to connect a ceiling or wall lamp in the house and apartment, it is no magic work.

However, you are not allowed to actually do everything yourself that you trust yourself to do. Because: Layers are actually not allowed to connect a lamp. The so-called Low Voltage Connection Ordinance (NAV) prescribes this in Section 13.

No handyman is threatened with a fine if he installs a lamp himself, because no one punishes the "offense". However, if damage is caused by a layperson's mistake, expect insurance to fail to pay.

The term lamp is often used colloquially, but in technical jargon it actually means luminaire. Experts only refer to a lamp as a light source such as a light bulb, LED or halogen lamp.

You need this tool

If you still want to connect a lamp, you should have the following tools on hand:

  • screwdriver
    Also: screwdrivers.
  • Voltage tester
    Also: phase tester. An electrical test device that is used to check voltage. Sometimes already integrated in the screwdriver. Note that the electrical conductivity can be impaired, for example, by the respective substrate. If you are standing on a non-conductive surface, the light does not light up at all or only slightly - and gives an incorrect test result, which can have dangerous consequences.
  • Luster terminal
    The name comes from Lüster (chandelier). It connects the lamp cable with the connection cable that comes from the ceiling or the wall. Important: The ends of the stranded wires (also: cable strands) should always be provided with wire end sleeves. The reason: This means that they are not damaged, for example by the rotating clamping screws of the luster terminal. Today, however, there are luster terminals with wire protection that do not require wire end sleeves.

If you want to attach a ceiling light, you also need a stable ladder.

Wall and ceiling: attach the lamp

Regardless of whether you want to mount your lamp on the wall or ceiling, you should first drill the corresponding holes for the lamp holder. Make sure that you do not place too close to the electrical cables - which are covered by plaster - or drill too deep.

Should you nevertheless have damaged an electric line, call an electrician immediately and have the problem corrected professionally.

Differentiate between cables, colors and abbreviations

Luster terminal: brown outer conductor (phase), blue neutral conductor (N), yellow-green protective conductor (earth). (Source: Schöning / imago images)

There are usually three power cables or wires hanging out of the ceiling or wall, which can be easily distinguished by their colors. They have very different functions:

  • The protective conductor (earthing) is usually yellow-green, rarely red sheathed. It bears the abbreviation PE. This cable ensures safety, especially when the lamp is made of an electrically conductive metal.
  • The live outer conductor (phase) is sheathed either brown or black. This cable bears the abbreviation L and supplies the electricity.
  • The neutral conductor (N) is mostly blue, sometimes gray - especially in old buildings. It leads the current away from the lamp and closes the circuit.

In apartments in old buildings, sometimes only two wires protrude from the wall or ceiling: the outer conductor and the neutral conductor.

Power cables with wire strippers: If the cables are too long, you can also shorten them professionally. (Source: Chromorange / imago images)

Connecting the lamp: step by step

If you want to connect a lamp, you should do the following:

  1. First switch off the fuse for the lamp in your fuse box, also known as the power distribution box. Important: just turning off the light switch is not enough.
  2. Now check that you have turned off the correct fuse. To do this, hold the phase tester by the wires and press the button on its handle. Attention: If a red lamp lights up, you have switched off the wrong fuse.
  3. When you have switched off the correct fuse, loosen the screws on the luster terminal slightly so that the three cables of the lamp fit into it.
  4. Now use the luster terminal to connect the three cables from the wall or ceiling with the cables of the same color from the lamp. Pay attention to this order: first protective conductor (yellow-green), then neutral conductor (blue / gray), last outer conductor (brown / black).
  5. If only two cables protrude from the wall or ceiling, then it is the neutral and outer conductor. Important: If the protective conductor (earthing) is missing, only so-called double-insulated lamps should generally be connected. You can recognize this by a certain symbol: a square frame with another square inside.
  6. Finally, tighten the screws on the luster terminal and switch the fuse on again to check whether the lamp can be switched on and off.

Connect the wall lamp: With the help of the luster terminal, the three cables from the wall are connected to the cables of the same color from the lamp. (Source: Niehoff / imago images)

If you want to lock or remove a lamp, proceed in reverse: first the outer conductor (brown / black), then the neutral conductor (blue / gray), and finally the protective conductor (yellow-green). Make sure that the luster terminal remains on the live side - here: ceiling or wall - and is not dismantled with the lamp cable. Otherwise, the terminal-free power cable will carry electrical voltage, for example when the light is switched on, and can be dangerous if touched.