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How to wire fluorescent lights in series

Updated February 21, 2017

Fluorescent lighting is an effective way to light a large area. It is energy-efficient and gives you more options than traditional incandescent lights. Fluorescents have different colour renderings that incandescent lamps can’t offer economically, such as plant lights for a greenhouse. Placing several fluorescent fixtures in a room will give you a tremendous amount of light while using a small amount of energy. One electrical circuit can handle more fluorescent fixtures than incandescent fixtures.

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Turn the electrical power off at the panel box. Following the manufacturer’s directions, use an electrical multitester to make certain the power no longer runs to the circuit.

Measure the distance between each fluorescent fixture. Cut a length of 14/2 nonmetallic cable (NM) that measures 30 cm (12 inches) longer than your measurement. Repeat this step for each fluorescent light you will wire in this series.

Use a dual NM cable stripper/cutter to strip six inches of plastic sheath from the NM cable. Use the same tool to strip 2 cm (3/4 inch) of insulation off of each end of the black and white wires that are inside the NM cable.

Start wiring the fixtures with the farthest fixture from the power supply. Using a length of wire you cut in Step 2, twist an orange wire nut to the black wire from the fixture to the black wire from the cut length of NM cable. Connect the white wires from the fixture and the NM cable in the same manner you connected the black wires. Use this same means of connection to connect the bare copper wire from the fixture to the bare copper in the NM cable.

Wire to the next fixture in the series from the fixture you wired first. Using another length of NM cable, connect the black wire that you connected to the first fixture, the black wire from the second fixture, and the black wire from the second length of NM cable together with an orange wire nut. Repeat the connections with the white wires and the bare copper wires. You will have three wires in each wire nut. Continue to repeat this step for the remainder of your fluorescent fixtures in this series.

Connect the last fixture to the power supply. Attach the black wire from the last fixture to the black wire from the power supply using an orange wire nut. Connect the white power supply wire to the white wire from the last fixture with another orange wire nut. Connect the bare copper wires from the power supply and the fixture in the same manner.

Turn the power back on at the breaker panel.

Warning

As with any electrical project, make sure that the power is disconnected in the area you are working.

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Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Electrical multitester
  • 14/2 nonmetallic cable (NM)
  • Dual NM cable stripper/cutter
  • Orange wire nuts

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.

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