Parallel Series Party light wiring problem

lion1143May 16, 2010

I'm trying to string a couple sets together without the plugs. Unfortunately I already cut off the plugs and now I'm not sure which wires are together. The plug is not polarized and it looks like one wire to the bulbs and two wires to the other side of the plug. There are a total of three wires. What is realy confusing is that the plugs can be plugged in either way as either side is polarized. Where should I start and what will happen if I connect the wrong wires? Any help would be extremely appreciated. Signed a Rookie in PA

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You're worrying me, Lion. I may be misjudging you, but my concern is that if you don't know how to figure out which wires to connect, you may not have the electrical expertise make a secure, safe connection.

In any case, when you're done, you'll no longer have a UL approved light set.

Assuming these are series-connected low voltage strings, typically one wire contains all the lamps in series (call that the hot side for the sake of simplicity), a second is the return (call that neutral), and the third feeds a hot with no lamps in it to the plug at the end of the string. A simple continuity tester will tell you which wire is which.

My suggestion to you is to throw those lights out. Smash them, even, so no one can trash-pick and mess with them. Go to the store and buy two new sets, and this time don't cut them up. Plug them together they way they're meant to be used. That way you know they're safe and UL approved.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:21AM
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"UL Listed" is the official designation.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 8:51AM
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Do I connect the lamp string together? And then the other two? I'm aware that I will lose the UL Listing, but I think that would be the case with any "custom" application. Also, I will have an electrician either supervise or check my final connections-I'm trying to get a head start before he gets here. All feedback is appreciated. Thank you!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:03AM
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