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Old 05-29-2010, 09:58 PM   #1
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shop light to switch to extension cord


hi to all,

i have 3 shop lights that i will be using in a screen printing light box. i want to wire the shop lights to a light switch that is mounted on the light box and then to an extension cord that will be the power source. I just want to make sure i do this right so i dont have any problems. I think i just take the 3 shop lights and combine them connecting white to white and black to black and ground to ground using 14/2 wire. at that point i would hook the 3 lights to a pigtail one for each group of wires(black, white, and ground). then this is where i dont really know where to go, i think i should take the black pigtail and hook it to one of the screws and the white pigtail to the other screw and the ground to the green screw? so my question is am i doing this right? does it matter what wire(black or white) goes to which screw? please help!


Thanks

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Old 05-30-2010, 01:19 AM   #2
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shop light to switch to extension cord


maybe take a picture of what your planning on building, so we can suggest materials to use.

as far as how to wire. Hook all the whites together. The blacks from the lights will hook to one screw on the switch, and the other screw will get power from your cord. Green ground screw will hook to your grounds

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Old 05-30-2010, 08:59 AM   #3
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shop light to switch to extension cord


Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy21 View Post
... The blacks from the lights will hook to one screw on the switch...
He should connect a pigtail to the black wires first before putting under the screw (only one wire under a single screw).

@OP.
Your setup would put the lights in series which would;
1) mean they all go out if one burns out
2) be dim as the voltage across each bulb would be only ~40V (120V/3)

Hook it up as Jimmy suggests. This is putting the lights in parallel (same as how you would in your house). Don't put more than one wire under a single screw, instead cut a short piece of black wire and connect it to the switch, then connect all the black wires from the lights with a wirenut to this short piece of wire. The black of the extension cord will hook to the other post on the switch. The white from the extension cord will connect to the whites from the lights. I would put the connection in a junction box and connect the ground from the extension cord to the ground screw of the junction box.

Hopefully this is good advice, its the way I would do it. Maybe a real electrician can give me a thumbs up or thumbs down.
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:24 AM   #4
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shop light to switch to extension cord


Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy21 View Post
maybe take a picture of what your planning on building, so we can suggest materials to use.

as far as how to wire. Hook all the whites together. The blacks from the lights will hook to one screw on the switch, and the other screw will get power from your cord. Green ground screw will hook to your grounds

I made a stand(1st pic), but I made some modifications to help me fight for space. So I found a light box(pic 2, without the cfl's and the extra plug switch, like i said I made some modifications so it would work for me) that I wanted to build and just built it at the bottom of the stand so I would not have 2 big units to move around. To get the light I need to expose the silk screens for my screen press I need to use 3 dual two foot bulb units. I did buy a electrical junction box to hook the wires up in and mount the switch and face plate. i also have 14/2 wire.

So the proper way would be to pig tail the white wires from the lights to the white wire on the extention cord and then pigtail the black wires from the lights to one side of the switch and the black wire from the extention cord to the other screw on the switch right? thanks for the help!
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shop light to switch to extension cord-screen_printing_press.jpg   shop light to switch to extension cord-exposureunit1web.jpg  
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:27 AM   #5
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shop light to switch to extension cord


Quote:
Originally Posted by tdeg807 View Post
He should connect a pigtail to the black wires first before putting under the screw (only one wire under a single screw).

@OP.
Your setup would put the lights in series which would;
1) mean they all go out if one burns out
2) be dim as the voltage across each bulb would be only ~40V (120V/3)

Hook it up as Jimmy suggests. This is putting the lights in parallel (same as how you would in your house). Don't put more than one wire under a single screw, instead cut a short piece of black wire and connect it to the switch, then connect all the black wires from the lights with a wirenut to this short piece of wire. The black of the extension cord will hook to the other post on the switch. The white from the extension cord will connect to the whites from the lights. I would put the connection in a junction box and connect the ground from the extension cord to the ground screw of the junction box.

Hopefully this is good advice, its the way I would do it. Maybe a real electrician can give me a thumbs up or thumbs down.

First off thanks.

So the way I said do it from the get go would work but it would just be dim right and like you said if one burns out then they all go out right?

So the proper way would be to pig tail the white wires from the lights to the white wire on the extention cord and then pigtail the black wires from the lights to one side of the switch and the black wire from the extention cord to the other screw on the switch right? thanks for the help!
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:35 AM   #6
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shop light to switch to extension cord


i appologize for the drawing. i just wipped it up with paint quickly but it's pretty much standard for wiring any three light off one switch and the easiest to do. If you plan on bringing all your wires back to the switch box then it's a different scenario. In your case your going to flourescents so the round junction boxes would be the light fixtures....follow this diagram and it will work just fine.
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Last edited by andrew79; 05-30-2010 at 09:38 AM. Reason: more posts
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:38 AM   #7
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shop light to switch to extension cord


If your using CFL's, they may not even light up. I don't know how CFL's react in series.

I'm not an electrician, but this is the way I would do it

It looks like your box has more stuff in it though (plugs and tubes). Maybe if you made a full wiring diagram, one of the electricians here can tell you if it looks good.

Last edited by tdeg807; 05-30-2010 at 09:39 AM. Reason: my text diagram didn't work.
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:55 AM   #8
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shop light to switch to extension cord


Remember the switch is supposed to be off in the down position. If feeding the switch first, I agree, split the black at the switch and splice the white from the lights to the white from the extention cord, if you have to use an extention cord. Properly sized cord for the lights and the distance. Try to keep the extention cord out of the line of travel.
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:01 AM   #9
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shop light to switch to extension cord


Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew79 View Post
i appologize for the drawing. i just wipped it up with paint quickly but it's pretty much standard for wiring any three light off one switch and the easiest to do. If you plan on bringing all your wires back to the switch box then it's a different scenario. In your case your going to flourescents so the round junction boxes would be the light fixtures....follow this diagram and it will work just fine.

thanks for the diagram, it helps. but I am not using the cfl's. I am using the 2 foot shop lights. but I am sure it would be the same either way right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdeg807 View Post
If your using CFL's, they may not even light up. I don't know how CFL's react in series.

I'm not an electrician, but this is the way I would do it

It looks like your box has more stuff in it though (plugs and tubes). Maybe if you made a full wiring diagram, one of the electricians here can tell you if it looks good.

yeah thats why i said i made some modifications. I am not using the cfl's or the extra plug on the side. I just want to wire the 2 foot shop lights. I think if I pigtail the white wires from the lights to the white from the extention cord and the pigtail from the black wires from the lights to one side of the switch and the black from the extention cord to the other side of the switch I should be good and the pigtail from the lights for the ground to grounding screw along with the ground from the extention cord. I think I have this right now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by boman47k View Post
Remember the switch is supposed to be off in the down position. If feeding the switch first, I agree, split the black at the switch and splice the white from the lights to the white from the extention cord, if you have to use an extention cord. Properly sized cord for the lights and the distance. Try to keep the extention cord out of the line of travel.

Thanks for the input, I will do this.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:07 PM   #10
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shop light to switch to extension cord


Quote:
Originally Posted by suthernkumfert View Post
thanks for the diagram, it helps. but I am not using the cfl's. I am using the 2 foot shop lights. but I am sure it would be the same either way right?

yup one switch and three lights. I gather from your earlier post that your abandoning everything else thats in the box

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