How Do Touch Lamps Work? (Trouble Shooting Tips For Touch Lamps)

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Discover what a touch lamp is, how they work, and some of the clever designs and different ways you can use them. My favorite is the friendship lamps and the touch lamps for children. I must say your kids will love the animal touch lamps…

Plus we finish with answers to the most commonly asked questions about touch lamps including troubleshooting tips…

How does a touch lamp work?

What Are Touch Lamps & How Do They Work?

As the name suggests, touch lamps are lamps that, unlike regular lamps that are activated with a mechanical switch (like a flip), are activated by human touch.

Touch lamps work by having built-in sensors that detect when someone touches the lamp; when you touch the lamp, its system notices as it denotes the need to create more electrons to fill you and the lamp. This leads to the circuit of the lamp detecting this difference and reacting by turning on/off the lights.

Some of the touch-sensitive lamps can be switched to dimmable offering you a chance to change the brightness of the lamp with multiple touches and adjust it according to your preference; usually, these lamps offer you three choices to choose from, and you can simply adjust your touch lamp light by touching it multiple times and with that getting different types of light.

Touch lamps are ideal for desks and nightstands, as you won’t have to lose time at night or while you are working searching for the switch.

Troubleshooting Various Touch Lamp Problems:

Touch lamps are usually trouble-free however no matter what product or technology we talk about from time to time they are going to have issues. We have tried to address the most commonly faced touch lamp issues below…


Why Won’t My Touch Lamp Work?

Our touch lamps usually work like magic: you touch them and the magic light comes out; and if you want to regulate the intensity of that light, you just touch it once or twice more. So magical!

Yet this doesn’t mean that it runs on some magical power, so if your touch lamp stops working, there is a reason for it; here are some of the reasons why your touch lamp is not working:

  • Damages cord – maybe your pet chewed through the cord, or it got damaged in some other way, so if your touch lamp stops working, check the batteries or inspect the cord and see if that is the reason. You may need to replace the batteries/cord.
  • Issues with the outlet – check if the outlet is still working. Unplug your touch lamp and move it aside, then get another appliance like a hairdryer, plug it in, and see if it works. If the other appliance works then you know the issue is with the lamp, if it doesn’t try then the issue is with the outlet and you need to call the electrician. You can also plug your touch lamp in another outlet and see if the lamp works, just to double-check.
  • Damaged light bulb – check the light bulb and see if its filament is broken; if this is the issue, you will need to replace the bulb. Check what type of light bulb it is or better yet, take it with you to the hardware store and buy a new one.
  • Wires, socket wiring, or touch control – if any of the above isn’t the issue, then the issue comes from the inside of the lamp, and either you have issues with the wires or you need to replace the touch control and restart your lamp.

Here is a video showing you how to replace the touch control…

Why Does My Touch Lamp Flicker?

In most cases when your touch lamp starts to flicker or blink, it is because the power usage of another electrical appliance is messing up with your touch lamp’s sensors and your lamp is reacting to their electrons.

Notice when your lamp starts flickering and check which other appliances or electrical items are operating at the same time. In most cases, you will notice that the flickering occurs while a certain other appliance is in use as well, and the power usage from that appliance is probably the cause for the flickering of your lamp.

If you want to solve this issue, all you need to do is get your touch lamp away from the air of the motion that causes it to flicker and put it on another electrical circuit. This usually stops the flickering.

Why Won’t My Touch Lamp Turn Off?

In most cases, when the touch control gets damaged by some minor power surges your lamp stays in permanent “on” or “off” mode.

The touch control (touch board) box will fail on most touch lamps eventually. If the touch board becomes defective, your lamp will not go off even if you turn the switch manually. To fix the problem, you would need to replace the touch control box which is located inside your touch lamp. Replacing this small component may fix your lamp. The replacement process is relatively simple and easy.

To solve this, you will need a new touch-control box, pliers, screwdriver, and tape and you will need to restart your touch lamp.

How Do I Reset My Touch Lamp?

If you want to reset your touch lamp you can do so by replacing the touch control. As we mentioned previously, you will need a new touch-control box, pliers, screwdriver, and tape for the reset. Here is how the process goes:

  • Remove the shade of the lamp to get access to the lamp harp, then, by squeezing both sides of the harp towards each other, try to release the harp from the saddle which is beneath the socket.
  • Check the bottom, see if you will need screwdrivers to remove the bottom or if you can pull the lid without unscrewing anything; remove the bottom.
  • Once you remove it, you will get access to the insides of your lamp; inside you will find the touch control box with 4 wires (black, red, white, and yellow, or depending on who produces it, they can also be black, grey, white and yellow) attached to it.
  • Grab your tape and wrap a piece of it around the lamp wire that connects to the black wire from the touch control, and do the same to the one that connects the red(or grey) wire.
  • The next step is to untwist the connectors which are holding the lamp wires to the touch control wires and carefully pulling apart all of the wires.
  • Now that you have undisturbed access to all the wires, follow the yellow wire from the touch control to the ring terminal which is attached to the threaded nipple connected to the body of the lamp. You will notice that it connects to the nipple with a locknut which you will need to twist counterclockwise using a pair of pliers to remove it from the nipple.
  • Once you do this, simply slide off the ring terminal from the nipple and remove the old touch control box.
  • The next step is to get the ring terminal which is connected to the yellow wire on the replacement touch control and slide it over the lamp wires that are coming out of the nipple, and then slide it over the nipple. Finally, secure the ring terminal with the locknut to the nipple.
  • Once you do this, you need to take care of the black and red/grey wires: match the black wire from the touch control box to the taped lamp wire which is from the body of the touch lamp; then, twist one of the wire connectors on to the black and the lamp wire in order to hold them together. Once this is done, remove the tape and repeat the same with the grey (red) wire.
  • The remaining wire connectors need to be twisted onto the two remaining wires that come from the lamp and the white touch control wire which will hold them together.
  • Once you finish that, you are done with the inside, so now you can reconnect the bottom of the lamp with the base by using a screwdriver or simply putting on the lid.
  • Now you just need to reassemble the lamp by once again grabbing the sides of the harp together, squeezing and inserting them into the harp saddle. When you finish this, then simply replace the shade and secure it, and you are done!

Convert A Regular Lamp Into A Touch Control Lamp

Interestingly enough, with touch control, you can easily turn your regular lamp into a touch control lamp. If you want to turn your home lamp into a touch lamp you will need to get a three-way touch control module which you will wire inside the lamp.

Make sure that you turn on the lamp and unplug it, then move it to a sturdy surface before you start removing the bottom, opening it up, and wiring the base.

Also while you are working inside it, be extra careful as you will have to cut through the lamp cords; additionally, make sure that you wrap the ribbed wires with colorful pieces of tape that will help you know which of the wires is the neutral wire.

You can find many instructions online which in detail explain the entire process, and give you specific instructions on how much to cut off and what to do to turn your regular lamp into a touch lamp.

Nevertheless, if you want to play it safe and not waste your time trying to build one, you can buy a touch lamp from the store. All you need to do is decide which type!

15 Varieties Of Touch Lamps:

When it comes to buying a touch lamp we are truly spoiled for choice as you will see from all of the different types of touch lamps below and of course, each type of lamp also has an offshoot of a variety of styles as well providing you with hundreds of different shapes, colors, designs, and even animals to choose from.

Any of these items would be an ideal gift as well…


Animal Touch Lamps

Animal touch lamps are one of the cutest touch lamps. These models have a glass on their base and the glass is carved with animal print; animal touch lamps come in many different colors which you can change.

You simply touch the base to turn the lights on. Besides animals, there can be also carved cars, flowers, and other objects like basketball, cartoon characters, etc.

These touch lamps are great as gifts, since they are perfect for desks or beds, and are adored by both kids and adults.


HROOME Modern Cute Dog Adjustable Wooden Dimmable Beside Desk Table Lamp Touch Sensor with Night Light for Bedroom Office Kids(Warm white 2800-3200k)

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Shapes Touch Lamps

Touch lamps can come in many different styles and shapes. Besides the traditional lamp shape, the touch lamps can also come in some interesting shapes such as…

The shape of a light bulb, fruits – grapefruit, then the shape of different flowers, like roses, tulips, or trees, they may even come in shapes of bees and birds; just like with the regular shaped touch lamps, these too are turned on by touching the base and can provide different types of lighting including different colors, depending on the model’s specifications.


Moon Lamp,3D Moon Light with Wooden Stand Rechargeable Moon Lamp Night Light 16 LED Colors Remote Touch Control Dimmable Decorative Moon Light for Baby Kids Bedroom Birthday Party (A)

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Colors Touch Lamps

Touch lamps can come in different colors as well. Usually, these lamps have a cylindrical shape that simply transitions between the shade and the base, almost merging the two.

Some models of the color touch lamps also have wireless speakers; on the top of the lamp there is a circle made from a different material than the shade and you simply touch it to turn the lamp on and off or change the colors to suit the occasion.

There are different models: some include different levels of brightness: light, medium, and bright; others have fixed light mode with 6 colors and a dynamic mode; and third include both options. Choose whatever works for you the best and enjoy the light that comes in different colors.


ROYFACC Night Light Touch Sensor Lamp Bedside Table Lamp for Kids Bedroom Rechargeable Dimmable Warm White Light + RGB Color Changing

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Battery Touch Lamps

Battery touch lamps use batteries as their power source. These are without cords which makes them a lot safer and easier to move around without worrying whether there is a power outlet nearby.

Moreover, they add to the aesthetic value of the home. These also can come in different shapes, dimensions and can offer fixed, dimmable lights or multi-color lighting.


Light It! By Fulcrum, Lanterna, Wireless LED Touch Lamp, Battery Operated, Silver

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Electric Touch Lamps

Electric touch laps are the usual touch lamps that use a cord to be connected to a power source – an electrical outlet. Make sure that the wattage of your electric touch lamp is appropriate and corresponds to the wattage of your outlet before you plug them in.


3-Way Touch Control Dimmable Table Lamp with 2 USB Charging Ports, 2 AC Outlets, Modern Bedside Lamp Nightstand Lamp for Bedroom Living Room Office, 60W Equivalent Vintage LED Bulb Included

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Touch Lamp Clocks

Touch lamp clocks combine two of the most needed items in one: a clock and a lamp; these are practical, and since they are a combination, you will get to save up on space on your desk or nightstand.

They can come in a traditional lamp shape where the clock is visible in the middle of the base, or in some modern shape where the clock is shown on the lower part of the base.


LEDGLE Desk Lamp, Table Lamp 8W LED Desk Lamp LCD Screen, USB Charging Port, 3 Lighting Mode, 5-Level Dimmer, Touch Control, Built-in Clock, Calendar, Thermometer-Black

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Bedside Touch Lamps

The main purpose of the touch lamp usually is to be used as a bedside lamp, therefore all the other types, clocks, friendship, color, electric, battery, etc., will be different types of bedside touch lamps from which you can choose.

When choosing your bedside touch lamp make sure that it has adjustable lighting and a dimmable setting to ensure you get proper light for every occasion.

Choose the model that works well with the overall aesthetic of your bedroom, and at the same time offer adjustable lighting and some other useful features like USB chargers or clocks that will save you space.


Ore International K313 White Glass Floral Touch Lamp, Brushed Gold

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Floor Touch Lamps

One of the most adored and used types of lamps is the floor lamp; from halls to the living room, these lamps are as decorative as they are practical.

Floor touch lamps usually come in modern, slicker designs and they usually use LED lighting. Some of them have a remote control which you can use to adjust the lighting from far. They blend in really well with any interior and are simple and easy to use.


IMIGY Dimmable 9W Floor Lamp, Office/Work/Living Room Reading Flexible Gooseneck Light with Touch and Remote Control, 5-Level Brightness and Color Temperature Dimmable Eye-Care Technology Light, White

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Friendship Touch Lamps

Friendship touch lamps are making your friendship connections stronger: the friendship touch lams come in sets of two lams that come pre-paired in a group or can be added to an already existing group.

These lamps are connected to power sources and Wi-Fi. The best part about this type of touch lamps is that when you touch your friendship lamp both your and your friend’s lamp will light the same color, reminding them that you are thinking of them.

I have a complete article about this one here… Long Distance Friendship Touch Lamp With WiFi (Show You Care)




Set of 2 Friendship Lamps by Filimin - Classic Design

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Living Room Touch Lamps

Besides on your nightstand and your desk, you can use your touch lamps in your living room as well. For your living room, you can choose between the floor touch lamps and the usual side touch lamps; for their living room’s side tables, people tend to get bigger, bolder, ceramic touch lamps that stand out and bring freshness to the room.

If you are more traditional, you can choose one with a traditional lamp design and fixed lighting; on the other hand, if you are more modern and practical, you can choose a model that offers adjustable light, has USB ports, and can be connected to Bluetooth.


Touch Lamp by Light Accents - Touch On Lamp - Modern Bedside Lamp 18" Tall with 3-Stage Touch Control Dimmer and White Fabric Drumshade - Touch Lamp Bedside

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Touch Lamp Styles

Touch lamps can come in many different styles from Scandinavian which is usually simple with natural wood and with beige/white shade and works well in modern, minimal homes, to modern design with base in different shapes from different materials (crystals, glass, plastic, metals) that work in contemporary, modern environments, to the industrial with exposed bulbs and rougher design which goes well with rustic, retro, and industrial interiors.

There isn’t a style in which the touch lamp doesn’t come in, all you need to do is choose one which works well with your aesthetics and interior.


Crystal Table Lamp Touch Control Dimmable Accent Desk Lamp Bedside Modern Table Light with Sliver Lamp Shade Night Light Fixture for Living Room Bedroom Kitchen, by Seaside village

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 Touch Lamps With Features 

Combining practicality and functionality, touch lamps seem to aim towards easing our lives: nowadays, you can find touch lamps with features like USB ports – they may have 1, 2, and 3 ports which you can use to charge your other electronics (just make sure the wattage is appropriate for the device).

They can come with Bluetooth through which you can regulate the lighting, and some may even come with a speaker which you can connect to your phone; other touch lamp models are smart and include not only speakers and adjustable lighting, but also, thanks to their Bluetooth and WI-FI they can offer you phone calls. There really are endless possibilities when it comes to touch lamps.


Macally Led Desk, Bedside & Nightstand Table Lamp with 4 High Powered USB Charging Ports - 3 Level Brightness Touch Sensor Control - Dimmable Warm White Light (LAMPCHARGE)

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Nursery Touch Lamps

Nursery touch lamps usually come in a smaller, simpler design, and in most cases, the shade and base of the lamp are ‘melted’ together giving you slicker look; moreover, most designs of nursery touch lamps are rechargeable so they don’t use wiring to avoid toddlers tripping over, breaking them and injuring themselves.

Nursery touch lamps have a dimmable option, and they offer timing functions and remote control functions which can come quite in handy when you need to turn out the lights but don’t want to walk around the room and wake up your baby!


Miroco Night Lights for Kids, LED Bedside Lamp for Baby Breastfeeding 100% Toddler Safe, Touch Lamp with USB and Stable Charging Pad, Dim Nursery Lamp Warm Night Light, Soft Eye Caring, Timer Setting

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Kids Room Touch Lamps

Touch lamps can be used by kids due to their simple, practical design. They are safe and they can come in different shapes that your kids love.

You can find them in all sorts of colors and shapes: like cats, bears, mice, books, or they can be extra cool like portable spherical orb-shaped night laps which kids can touch.

They may even be in the shapes of their favorite cartoon characters, like the big hero 6-night lamp, or have their favorite cartoon characters carved in the glass, which is the case with the animal touch lamps.

Other models include interesting designs which can take the shape of the moon, the stars, rockets, there really are endless options and you can choose one according to your child’s taste.

Some touch lamps may offer rainbow lighting or different color lighting and dimmer. It is always smart that you choose one with a set timing function and control it via your phone.


Night Light for Kids SCOPOW Portable Silicone 7-Color LED Smile Cute Children Night Lamp

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Office Touch Lamps

Office touch lamps usually need to be a simpler design, with adjustable lighting, but not multiple colors lighting as that will only bother your eyes while you are working.

This touch lamp is made by Taotronics and as such, you may also be interested in our article: Taotronics Is A Very Good Brand

We recommend that you choose an office touch lamp with a USB port as we know the struggle of finding a free outlet to charge your phone or iPad, but you can’t find one as all are taken by the computers, printers, speakers, and other office tech equipment. With the touch lamp with a USB port, you won’t have to worry about choosing between your phone or having light.


TaoTronics TT-DL13B LED Desk Lamp Eye-caring Table Lamps, Dimmable Office Lamp with USB Charging Port, Touch Control, 12W, 5 Color Modes, Philips EnabLED Licensing Program (Black)

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Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Touch Lamps:


Are Touch Lamps Safe?

Many lamps convert AC to safe low DC voltage for use in their various bulbs, ballasts, and circuitry. Touch lamps are no exception. They also have some tricks up their sleeves to make them even safer.

Being one touch away from light sounds practical and nice, and if you are wondering whether or not these are safe, don’t worry the touch lamps are perfectly safe, as the current that goes through is incredibly low.

That being said, we can’t guarantee that the touch lamps you make at home are also safe, so stick with the one designed by professionals.


What Is The Purpose Of A Touch Lamp?

Touch lamps are practical, comfortable, and quite convenient. Touch lamps were invented by Scott M. Kunnen from Freeport New York back in 1984; he then updated the design three years later and both times he patented the design.

Scott himself explained that the purpose of his new invention is to provide an electrical power control that will operate by touch instead of the usual wired electrical connection to the lamp.

Although almost any lamp can be turned into a touch lamp, including floor lamps, mostly, touch lamps are used for nightstands as they provide you appropriate light setting next to your bed so that you won’t have to get up and switch off the light or search for the switches in the middle of the night.


Do Touch Lamps Need Special Bulbs?

The light bulb is not part of the lamp and it won’t affect how your lamp works. Regardless, we do recommend that you read the owner’s manual and know which type of bulb works the best with your touch lamp and what the correct wattage is.

In most cases, you don’t need a special bulb for your touch lamp. Usually, your touch lamp has a mechanical switch, which means you can use any type of LED or CFL bulb.

However, please make sure that you know what type of switch your touch lamp has, as some lamps, talking specifically about those which are marked as dimmable, will require a dimmable bulb as well.

That’s why, before you head to the hardware store to buy your bulb make sure you know whether you will be needing a regular or dimmable bulb and what wattage it should be.

Hopefully, the above comprehensive guide about touch lamps has been enlightening for you (and that was an accidental pun), but now that I’ve started down that track the above advice certainly has shone a light on most issues so you will not be left in the dark about anything to do with touch lamps.

You may also be interested in… Best Happy Lamps For Seasonal Depression – SAD Therapy Lamps and the Top 10 Glass Table Lamps For Bedroom