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02-06-2009, 05:20 PM   #1
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## Series or Parallel Outlets

Hello,
The more I read this subject the more I get confused. I have been told (not questioning anyone just tyring to educate myself) that I can wire multiple receptacle outlets either by pigtailing the wires or runing the wires to one set of screws and then from the second set of screws to the next receptacle outlet. Now, if I am understanding what I am reading (which I am probaly not) the only way you can wire in parallel is to use pigtails (??) and if you wire from set of screws to set of screws then you are wiring in series (??). Ok, so where and how does this statement takes effect: "When wires are part of a three wire circuit, it is not permitted to feed the white conductor through by using the two screws on the side of the receptacle because removing a receptacle could place 120 volt loads in series on 240 volts" I am assuming a "three wire circuit" is a 12/2 cable with a ground, or is this where I am mistaken? Thanks for your time and help in advance.

02-06-2009, 05:39 PM   #2
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All receptacles are wired in parallel. The terms series and parallel are often misused when talking about house wiring. The "three wire" circuits they are referring to are multi-wire branch circuits.
http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_multi...anch_circuits/

Last edited by jerryh3; 02-06-2009 at 05:42 PM.

02-06-2009, 05:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by jerryh3 All receptacles are wired in parallel. The terms series and parallel are often misused when talking about house wiring. The "three wire" circuits they are referring to are multi-wire branch circuits.
Thanks for your time and response. So wether you are using pigtails or using the set of side screws you are wiring in parallel? Forgive my ignorance but what exactly are "multi-wire branch circuits". Thanks again for your time.

 02-06-2009, 05:50 PM #4 Member     Join Date: Mar 2005 Location: Welland, Ontario Posts: 13,448 Rewards Points: 13,696 Blog Entries: 11 A MWBC is a circuit that use two hot wires and only one neutral. The hot wire share the neutral. The hot wires must be on opposite legs of the service. The service wires feeding your house work on the same principle. Two hot wires and a neutral.
02-06-2009, 06:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Bocolo Thanks for your time and response. So wether you are using pigtails or using the set of side screws you are wiring in parallel? Forgive my ignorance but what exactly are "multi-wire branch circuits". Thanks again for your time.
Yes, either way they are wired in parallel. Check out these diagrams. (They show DC circuits but the principles are the same)
Points 2, 3, 4 would be the brass terminals of the receptacle. 7, 6, and 5 would be the silver.

 02-06-2009, 07:17 PM #6 Member   Join Date: Jan 2009 Location: Boston, MA Posts: 241 Rewards Points: 150 Ok. I think I am beginning to understand. Because there are two sets of electrically common points no matter how you wire receptacles they are parallel. To make sure I understand. If I wired three lamps and connected the black source to the black on the lamp 1, then white from lamp 1 to black on lamp 2 and white from lamp 2 to black on lamp 3 then white from lamp 3 to white on source. This will be a series wiring? If any lamp was out the others will not function because of the break in the circuit? Correct? What applications would require to wire in a series if the above is true? Why wire in series? Thanks once more for your time and responses.
 02-06-2009, 07:57 PM #7 Member   Join Date: Dec 2007 Location: Baltimore, MD Posts: 1,802 Rewards Points: 1,000 I think you got it. Light switches, timers, photocells, are applications of series wiring in residential AC circuits. In DC circuits, batteries, speakers, resistors, can be wired in series for different effects. Last edited by jerryh3; 02-07-2009 at 07:49 AM.
 02-06-2009, 07:59 PM #8 Member     Join Date: Mar 2005 Location: Welland, Ontario Posts: 13,448 Rewards Points: 13,696 Blog Entries: 11 You are correct. The only thing wired in series in your home is a switch. It is in series with the fixture to be able to turn it off.
02-06-2009, 08:40 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your replies and help. I understand this now.

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