Ah yes, the
famous Pifco Lamp, the well dressed Chopper just isn’t complete
without this desirable 1970s accessory.
you’ve scoured E-Bay and paid out your hard earned dosh and
aquired one have you? Well done, but have you tried lighting it?
The Pifco Lamp may look just right perched on your lamp holder,
but its totally useless unless you can turn it on, and no matter
how many hardware stores you trawl around, you just ain’t going
to find a battery to fit!!!!!!
The correct battery to fit your Pifco Lamp was discontinued sometime
in the late1970s. There is quite simply no modern alternative.
a few years, until the lamp itself was discontinued in the mid 1980s
an adapter was produced to allow fitment of two “D” cell
batteries. This allowed the lamp to function perfectly, and “D”
type batteries are available to this day . So, if you have an adapter
like this, you can ignore the rest of this article!
However, we have to accept the fact that the great majority of you
have no adapter, and therefore no way of using your precious lamp
for its intended purpose.
Well, help is at hand. Our good friend Paul Costin, in true Blue
Peter style has the perfect answer to your lack of voltage. Here,
in his own words is Paul’s modern adapter that can be built
from items easily available. You might have to ask an adult to help…….
Over to you Paul
The chrome lamp
generally made by Pifco during the 1970’s, used batteries, which
are now no longer available.
Apparently a converter was introduced to allow the use of more modern
battery types. However, I have only ever seen one of these and they
do not appear to be generally available nowadays. As a collector of
Raleigh Choppers I had purchased a number of these chrome lamps to
finish off my restorations, but found it infuriating that I could
not get them to work! I decided to find a modern alternative, which
I could use to convert the lamps. Finally, with readily available
parts, a drill, hacksaw and superglue, an hour or so of work, I was
able to successfully convert the lamps and use modern batteries. This
is a pictorial guide on how to do such a conversion. It depicts the
conversion of a Pifco lamp, but the theory works equally as well with
the smaller silver painted Ever-Ready or Exide Lamps.
The electric components I used for this I purchased from Maplin Electronics.
You will need;
One 2c battery box suitable for 2x LR14 1.5 volt batteries
One 2.5v 3a screw bulb (To replace the Pifco lamp bulb)
One PP3 Clip to connect battery pack to wires
One M4 bolt (with Phillips rounded head) and 2 nuts
A toothpaste tube cap about 5-8mm in length
One spade connector
Some foam or bubble wrap
that the M4 bolt is cut down to about 5/8 inch and screw one of
the nuts fully on to it. (This will act as a guide. It has to be
set into the battery holder and protrude 8mm maximum from it)
Place the other
nut into the centre of the battery box, as illustrated. It may be
necessary to enlarge the hole slightly to allow for the M4 bolt.
Connect the red wire from the PP3 clip to the
bolt, by wrapping it round several times, then place the bolt through
the hole in the battery box, connecting it to the nut on the other
side and tighten.
Now for the slightly fiddly bit! Using a toothpaste
tube cap or similar plastic item (I used a kitchen sealant tube
cap) I cut it down so that it was about 5mm in length. After this
I cut into one side of it in the middle so that I could push the
spade clip into it. Ideally a hacksaw should be used for this purpose
to allow a nice tight fit when the clip is pushed into it. Having
ensured that the clip fits snugly, connect the black wire to it.
The next step is to superglue the plastic cap
onto the red plastic underside of the Pifco lamp lid. The idea is
this, when the black “switch” on the lid is rotated clockwise,
it goes down and makes contact with the spade clip, thus completing
The reason why the toothpaste tube cap needs to be no longer that
5 mm is that if it were any longer there is a likely hood that the
lamp lid would not fit properly down as it would hit the top of
the battery holder. Try
to ensure that the toothpaste cap or similar item is affixed with
the small saw cut (for the spade clip) positioned as depicted
The battery holder is much smaller than the
pifco lamp holder and therefore a piece of foam or bubblewrap needs
to placed into the base of the lamp. It also serves another purpose,
because when the battery holder is placed into the lamp it needs
to be placed precisely. The Phillips bolt needs to align exactly
where the 2.5 Volt bulb screws through the lamp casing. The quantity
of bubble wrap needed is a bit of trial and error!
Once the bolt is aligned with the bulb hole
and it is ensured that there is sufficient packing under the battery
holder to stop too much movement, the 2.5-volt bulb should be screwed
down so that it meets the Phillips bolt centrally. This also assists
in retaining the battery holder firmly. The illustration above shows
the position of the battery holder within the lamp. The lense cap
can now be refitted and the lamp re-
download the full Word file complete with bigger illustrations CLICK
HERE (This is a big file - over 3megs)