Put Plug on Hardwire Track Light?

hillybelleAugust 21, 2012

I need to convert a hardwired halogen track light to plug-in and I want to know if I can use 15 Amp, 125 Volt 2-Pole 2-Wire, Non-Polarized Angle Plug on the wire and just plug it in a standard electrical outlet.

There is a converter but the cost is about 1/2 the cost of the fixture. The plug is a little more than $1 and I need a shorter wire than the converter plug has so I would have to cut that too.

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Generally speaking, you can't convert a fixture designed to be hardwired into a cord-and-plug fixture and maintain UL certification. The challenge is properly attaching cordage to a device that wasn't designed to have any.

Even if you decide to rewire this fixture yourself (against code), please make sure that you use a properly connected polarized plug so that the light sockets have the proper electrical orientation.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Thank you for your response. I think I understand what you are saying, however, the electrical outlet is in the ceiling and the cord from the fixture won't be removed. I would just add the plug to the existing cord and plug it in. So, I need a polarized plug as apposed to a non polarized plug. Does this mean that one side of the plug is larger than the other?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 8:41AM
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If your fixture was designed for hard wire installation, it doesn't have a cord. Instead, it some wires that are meant to remain inside the fixture. There's a different type of wire that is designated "cordage". Among other things, it's typically made up of stranded wire (as opposed to solid wire) for flexibility.

Yes, a polarized plug has one prong (for the neutral wire) that is larger than the other. It's important that it is connected to the fixture in the proper orientation to reduce shock hazards.

How are you going to turn this fixture on and off? Is the outlet in the middle of the ceiling switched?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 9:28AM
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"Even if you decide to rewire this fixture yourself (against code)"

The NEC does not actually address this.

Internal wiring is covered by NEMA and then the construction passes a listing lab (like UL).

If you use UL approved components in a workmanlike manor there is no prohibition on making things for your own use and using them (you could even se4ll tham if you are wiling to accept the liability that results).

Old fixtures and equipment are rebuilt all the time and used without issue.

Adding a plug is not nearly as touchy as cutting one off and hard-wiring.
In THAT case the standards get very touchy.
Cord and plug connected loads are pretty much outside the NECs purview (except the actual cor used to plug it in).

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 10:05AM
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