How to wire parallel lighting

Written by max stout
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How to wire parallel lighting
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There are two basic types of electrical circuits: a series circuit and a parallel circuit. In parallel lighting circuits, each light has its own direct path to the negative and positive sides of the circuit. In the event that one or more lights should fail, this type of circuit allows the remaining lights to continue to work. The time involved in wiring a parallel lighting circuit depends on the number of lights involved and the application, however any adult with a practical knowledge of electricity and a few tools can perform the wiring work.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Required length of black 14 gauge insulated wire
  • Required length of white 14 gauge insulated wire
  • Required number of light sockets
  • Required number of light bulbs
  • Required size single-pole light switch
  • Wire stripping pliers
  • Wire cutting pliers
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Flat-tip screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Combination pliers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut a length of 14-gauge black wire that will satisfy the distance from the power source positive terminal to the position of the single-pole light switch using the wire cutting pliers.

  2. 2

    Strip each end of the black 14-gauge wire using the wire stripping pliers in the amount required to fasten both ends of the wire to their respective terminals at the power source and at the single-pole light switch.

  3. 3

    Bend the stripped ends of the 14-gauge black wire into loops with the needle-nose pliers if necessary for securing to the terminals at the power source and the light switch.

  4. 4

    Secure the 14-gauge black wire to the switch terminal using the appropriate screwdriver or combination pliers. Do not attach the power source end of the black wire at this time.

  5. 5

    Cut another length of the 14-gauge black wire the distance between the light switch and the first light socket with the wire cutting pliers.

  6. 6

    Strip the ends from the 14-gauge black wire using the wire stripping pliers.

  7. 7

    Loop the stripped ends of the 14-gauge black wire using the needle-nose pliers as necessary to secure the wire to the light switch terminal and the first light socket.

  8. 8

    Secure the end of the 14-gauge black wire to the light switch terminal using the appropriate tip screwdriver or combination pliers.

  9. 9

    Attach the other end of the 14-gauge black wire to one of the two terminals on the first light socket using the screwdriver or combination pliers.

  10. 10

    Cut an appropriate length of the 14-gauge white wire the distance from the power source negative terminal to the first light socket using the wire cutting pliers.

  11. 11

    Strip each end of the 14-gauge white wire using the wire stripping pliers in an amount required to fasten both ends to their terminals at the power source and at the light socket.

  12. 12

    Bend the stripped ends of the 14-gauge white wire into loops with the needle-nose pliers if necessary for securing to the terminals at the power source and the light socket.

  13. 13

    Secure the stripped end of the 14-gauge white wire to the negative terminal at the power source using the appropriate screwdriver or combination pliers.

  14. 14

    Secure the other end of the 14-gauge white wire to one of the two negative terminals of the light socket using the screwdriver or combination pliers.

  15. 15

    Install light bulb into the light socket.

  16. 16

    Attach the 14-gauge black wire to the power source using the screwdriver or combination pliers.

  17. 17

    Energise electrical circuit.

Tips and warnings

  • Parallel circuits begin with a hot wire of black and a neutral wire of white which supply electrical power to the first light. The remaining lights are subsequently connected with the white wire to another white wire and the black wire to another black wire.
  • Parallel circuits are used in both low voltage and high voltage. If the application to be created is designed for use with high voltage, make certain that power has been disconnected or shut off before beginning work.
  • Always work safely with electricity and take appropriate precautions.
  • Never attempt to work on live circuits.

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