How To Wire Light Fixture Cord Wires

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How can I determine how to connect the wires of a light fixture cord? How to Identify and Connect Light Fixture Cord Wires.

Guide to Wiring Light Fixture Cords

Electrical Question: How can I determine how to connect the wires of a light fixture cord?

  • I am replacing lights under the shelf on my desk with fluorescent fixtures which are wired in parallel, as I have learned how to do here.
  • I want to use the electrical cord that I cut off from the old light to power the new fixtures, since it is already attached to the desk and shelf.
  • How can I determine which wire in the cord to attach to the white wire in the fixtures?
  • And which to attach to the black?

Background: Johnny, a Homeowner from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Additional Comments: I love this site. It is an excellent resource for me.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Johnny.

Wiring Light Fixture Cord Wires

Application: Wiring a Light Fixture Cord.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, comprehension, and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.

How to Identify 120 Volt Light Fixture Cord Wires

Electric Light Fixture Cords have Two Distinct Indicators

  • Flat Light Fixture Cords have two indications that are fairly easy to identify which will reveal how each wire is connected.
    • The side of the cord that has Lines on one side identify that side as the neutral.The neutral wire of a 120 volt circuit is typically the white wire.
    • The side of the cord that has a Smooth surface identifies that side as the power. The power wire of a 120 volt circuit is typically the black wire.

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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.


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