Can I plug this in?

I have a desk lamp I inherited from my European brother-in-law. It works fine, or at least it did last month, when I had it on my desk in my office.

This month I moved to a new house, and as I was unpacking I came upon this lamp and went to plug it in. That’s when I found out the plug is all wrong.

It’s a two-prong plug, but the prongs aren’t parallel and side-by-side. One prong is flat, and the other in circular. I googled european plugs and didn’t find anything that looks like this. I tried plugging it into an unplugged power strip, and the two prongs fit fine if I plug them both together in the third hole - but that could just be coincidence.

(You would think I should already know about the odd nature of my lamp, but my brother in law set up my desk for me last time I moved, including this lamp. Once it’s working, you don’t think about checking to see if it’s strange.)

Anyway, I really don’t want to experiment and blow up the house. Does anyone know whether or not I need an adapter for this, and if so, what kind?

Cut off the plug and put a standard 2-prong plug on. You don’t want to be powering the lamp using the ground pin, which is what it sounds like you are doing.

Well, I’m not doing anything to it yet, except plugging it into an unpowered outlet to see if it fits. But I know for a fact it worked once. I figured someone could tell me what kind of plug it is so that I can go buy an adapter.

My best guess is that the adapter got lost in the move. Alternatively, my BIL plugged it into the ground pin, and it worked. Is that possible?

Yes, but decidedly unrecommended. The Earth ground, AKA safety ground, is not meant to be a current-carrying part of any circuit; it is there strictly as a safety measure. Nevertheless, it CAN be wired to work that way–it just shouldn’t be.

Sure. The neutral and ground should both be at roughly zero voltage. It’s not safe practice, but electrically it will work. If it’s been working on normal US 110 volt service, just replace the plug. If “before the move” when it worked, it was in Europe, you’d need to make sure it works on our voltage.

Can you post a photo of the plug?

Yes the grounding slot will function the same as the neutral slot. So it is possible. It even sounds like a good idea to some people till they get shocked touching a random metal cased appliance.

Sounds like it may be a Japanese plug. Myself I’d go with the 50 cent solution mentioned above and just replace it with a regular 2 prong plug

You need to find out what NIMA standard it conforms to. APC has a good guide on their website I believe. It may be a 20A plug

I’m afraid my camera is still packed. It’s really just two prongs, side by side, like: | O

I’m not at all sure that the lamp is European; that was just what came to mind when I realized it was unusual. It may well be that he plugged it into the ground pin.

Since I have no idea what I’d be doing, I’m not going to be cutting wires and taping new plugs on.

Anyone want a new lamp? It’s free, and *probably *won’t burn your house down.

No, a US 20 A plug has flat blades at right angles to one another. In any case, finding the appropriate NIMA standard, while certainly edifying, won’t do much practical good. Simply changing the plug is the way to go here.

Take it to a lighting store. Chances are good to excellent that they can either show you how to do it properly, or do it for you.

There are replacement plugs that require you just to insert the wire end and that then use pins to pierce it and complete the circuit. So all you need is a pair of scissors to cut off the existing plug.

I don’t recommend this type. The sort with screw terminals is much more reliable and safer, as well.

As well, these only work properly if the power cord is “zip cord”, the flat molded type with the wires side by side. While zip cord is nearly universal on lamps sold in the US for the last 20 years, that’s not the typical cord for euro products, current or past.