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Old 09-09-2011, 09:09 PM   #1
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


I have a few questions regarding wiring lights (exit signs)...
  1. If I got a plug body and wire, then wanted to wire two or more lighting fixtures to that plug, should I wire it in parallel or series?
  2. If that plug body was going to be plugged up to an outlet receptacle that can conduct up to 20 amps of electricity maximum, does the wire from the plug body have to be 12 AWG wire, or can it be smaller wire (like 14 AWG) since it is plugged into an outlet receptacle?
  3. If I was going to use 12 AWG wire for the neutral and hot wires with that plug body, does the ground wire also have to be 12 AWG, or can it be a different size (I ask this because I have a problem finding common wire sizes for ground wire).
  4. Is it safe to cut off the end of an extension cord, then wire it to a light?
I would have asked this in my previous thread but I was starting to go a little off topic, and the thread was getting too long.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:25 PM   #2
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


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Originally Posted by TssCman123 View Post
I have a few questions regarding wiring lights (exit signs)...
  1. If I got a plug body and wire, then wanted to wire two or more lighting fixtures to that plug, should I wire it in parallel or series?
  2. If that plug body was going to be plugged up to an outlet receptacle that can conduct up to 20 amps of electricity maximum, does the wire from the plug body have to be 12 AWG wire, or can it be smaller wire (like 14 AWG) since it is plugged into an outlet receptacle?
  3. If I was going to use 12 AWG wire for the neutral and hot wires with that plug body, does the ground wire also have to be 12 AWG, or can it be a different size (I ask this because I have a problem finding common wire sizes for ground wire).
  4. Is it safe to cut off the end of an extension cord, then wire it to a light?
I would have asked this in my previous thread but I was starting to go a little off topic, and the thread was getting too long.
1 - wire the two lights in parallel.
2 - The size of the cord depends on the load using that cord,
so a standard size plug will suffice for you.
3 - Ideally the ground wire should be the same size as the hot wire and
neutral wire, so it can carry the full fault current.
4 - It is safe, but might not be up to code,
there are many variables, so maybe yes, maybe no!
codes vary from place to place,
and situation to situation.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:25 PM   #3
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


Please stop before you attempt this. In the other thread you were given some of these answers including that there was no way to do what you were proposing safely.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:28 PM   #4
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


DMX, the OP is propsing to use an extension code in place of permanent wiring. This is against the NEC in the US. They also want to use parts not in compliance with the UL listing for how the parts should or can be used.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:47 PM   #5
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


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DMX, the OP is propsing to use an extension code in place of permanent wiring. This is against the NEC in the US. They also want to use parts not in compliance with the UL listing for how the parts should or can be used.
Well, I wasn't going to use an extension cord, I was just going to use the plug body. I haven't bought any supplies, and I was asking these questions to make sure that I did everything safe.

After taking advice, then arguing back, I have realized that there is no possible way of doing this project in a safe manner that code will agree with.

Would it be safer to just remove an outlet, then connect those wires to new wires with wire nuts (the wire connections will be inside of a grounded electrical box, then the wires will run through conduit to the exit signs).
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:02 AM   #6
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


Running the wires thru a conduit is a better idea,
provided you use the correct wire.
Using flexable cord is not allowed.
You should use proper permanent wiring.
And I am not sure that connectting lights,
to a power circuit, is also allowed.
I suspect not .
You need to take power from a lighting circuit,
not a power circuit.

Do it right !
Or dont do it at all !
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:41 AM   #7
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


Don't worry, I won't do anything until I have a plan to have everything wired correctly and safely (that's why I'm asking you all of these questions).

Is it still safe to wire it to an outlet though, or did you say that because it would make sense to have it wired with all of the other lights. I'm probably just going to wire it to the wires where a ceiling light would go.

I have a question, after inspecting the wires on the ceiling, I've noticed that there is no electrical box. It looks like that someone just cut a hole in the ceiling then just sent wires through, is this common, or did a DIYer do it? Also, I'm not sure if there is even a ground wire. The wires were painted over, so I can't see the wire colors, but there are two large wires (I'm guessing hot and neutral), then a small wire. Is the small wire the ground wire? The light may be attached to a switch. Where do I get ground from if there is no ground wire?

I have attached three images of the wires.


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Old 09-10-2011, 07:53 AM   #8
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It looks like that someone just cut a hole in the ceiling then just sent wires through, is this common, or did a DIYer do it?
It's common, yes. It (the wire) can come through the hole and go directly inside, say, a 4' fluo. fixture. Or any number of other fixtures.

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Old 09-10-2011, 08:09 AM   #9
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It's common, yes. It (the wire) can come through the hole and go directly inside, say, a 4' fluo. fixture. Or any number of other fixtures.

DM
Oh, so I can just knock out an electrical box knockout on the back, send the wires through that, then mount it?

So what is that thin wire for?
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Old 09-10-2011, 08:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
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It's common, yes. It (the wire) can come through the hole and go directly inside, say, a 4' fluo. fixture. Or any number of other fixtures.

DM
Most fixtures require an electrical box. Fluorescent lights are one of the few exceptions in that the fixture is used as a box and is listed that way.
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Old 09-10-2011, 08:27 AM   #11
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


I will have to remove a knockout on the back of an electrical box, then send the wires from the ceiling through the back of the electrical box, then mount the box on the ceiling.

Anyway, does anyone know what the thin wire in the images are for?

As to my previous question, is it safe or unsafe to wire an exit sign/emergency light to the wires that an outlet would be connected to?
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:59 AM   #12
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


  1. If I wire two or more exit signs/emergency lights in parallel to those wires sticking out of the ceiling, would I have to use a resistor or anything in part of that circuit?
  2. what is the thin wire in the images are for?
  3. is it safe or unsafe to wire an exit sign/emergency light to the wires that an outlet would be connected to?
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:11 AM   #13
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


Good chance if you look closely at that hole, you'll see armored cable in it. Its probably BX cable. Tell us if it is armored cable in the hole.

Personally. I strongly, repeat strongly recommend that you also pick up a few books on basic electric. Not to be insulting, but by your questions, you have a very small understanding of it.
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:21 AM   #14
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It's hard to tell because of the drywall, but to me it doesn't matter if it is BX or Romex, etc, because I was just wondering why there was no electrical box.

It's okay, but mostly I will just be connecting the wires of an electrical device to pre-installed wires, it can't really get simpler than that. It's just I don't know how or where to get power properly from (I would use the ceiling electrical if I could find a ground for the electrical box, and I probably can't use the wires for the outlet).

If anyone knows the answer to my questions, it would be appreciated if you could post them.
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:26 AM   #15
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Wiring Lights To A Plug


Often, to get answers, you must give the answers to the questions asked of you. If you don't help people help you, it can be hard to get help.

For the most part. You won't gt answers if you are attempting anything that is in violation of code. So it does matter what your connecting.
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