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What is the difference between a luminaire, lighting outlet, lampholder, and lamp in the National Electrical Code (NEC)?
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
A luminaire is what most people would call a light fixture, it’s the complete assembly that includes the lampholder and lamp. A portable luminaire is one equipped with a cord and plug so that it can be moved around.
A lighting outlet is an outlet intended for the direct connection of a lampholder or luminaire, such as a electrical ceiling box.
The lampholder is the device that mechanically supports and provides the electrical connections for an electric lamp. An example would be a bulb socket for an incandescant lamp, or the pull-chain lampholder at right. The NEC specifically states that “a lampholder itself is not a luminaire."
A lamp is the device that is attached to create the illumination, such as a lightbulb.
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