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How to wire six recessed ceiling lights in a series

Updated April 17, 2017

Wiring recessed ceiling lights sounds like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. The theory behind series wiring is easy enough to understand, and easy to execute, using only basic tools and materials to get the job done.

A series of recessed lights are always operated by a switch, which feeds them electricity from the house's main grid. By wiring the lights a certain way, you can allow the switch to activate them all at once.

Locate the light nearest to the switch that will be powering the series, and familiarise yourself with the location of the light's positive and negative power terminals, usually denoted by a "+" and a "-" symbol.

Power terminals are always on the bases of recessed lights, near where they're mounted to the frame of your house. That means you'll need to perform this project before the insulation and drywall are put up, hiding them. Also, make sure the power is off before beginning this project.

Put on your safety gloves and solder the first light's positive power terminal to the next-closest light's positive terminal with a short length of wire, and so on, until you reach the sixth light. Solder each connection solidly.

Note: Recessed lighting modules (the lights, casing, and power terminals) will be mounted in your ceiling as mirror-images of one another. That means that the power terminals will always be facing the same direction and in a straight line with the next terminal, making them easy to find.

Wire the first light's negative power terminal to the negative terminal of each successive light until you reach the sixth light.

Solder each connection solidly, and allow all solder to dry before attempting to power these lights.

Warning

Do not wire a switch connected to your building's power grid to these lights before attempting this project, as the danger of electrocution is very real. A soldering iron runs at extremely hot temperatures. Take pains to ensure that neither you nor your wires get burnt.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety gloves
  • Soldering iron
  • 2% silver solder
  • Heavy-gauge wire
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About the Author

Jordan Gaither is a degree-holding communications major with a successful freelance career. He's been writing professionally for over a year, and has just recently made the jump to full-time freelancer. Among others, he's been published by Internet Brands, Apartment Ratings, eHow, CV Tips and the Examiner.