Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting


08:32AM | 03/21/03
Member Since: 03/20/03
2 lifetime posts
Just replacing a light fixture. Did I get the connections right?


09:38AM | 04/17/03
Member Since: 04/16/03
8 lifetime posts
In a table lamp or appliance using #16 or #18 parallel zip cord, polarity is as follows:

Smooth = hot (live) - goes to NARROW pin on polarized plug.

Ribbed = neutral - goes to WIDE pin on polarized plug.

What sort of fixture are you hanging that you're using zip cord? Is it one of those chandeliers or swag lamps? Those are the only two types of luminaires that use zip cord (running alongside a chain) to connect to the mains.

All of the flush-mount fixtures I've seen use separate black and white high-temperature "pigtail" wires for connections to the conductors in the box, NEVER zip cord. Zip cord is not rated for that sort of application and will degrade from the heat put out by the bulbs!!

Be careful and consult a licenced electrician if you are in over your head!!!

Joe Tedesco

05:46PM | 04/17/03
Member Since: 07/27/02
140 lifetime posts
See the 2002 NEC:

402.8 Grounded Conductor Identification.

One conductor of fixture wires that is intended to be used as a grounded conductor shall be identified by means of stripes or by the means described in 400.22(A) through (E).

400.22 Grounded-Conductor Identification.

One conductor of flexible cords that is intended to be used as a grounded circuit conductor shall have a continuous marker that readily distinguishes it from the other conductor or conductors.

The identification shall consist of one of the methods indicated in 400.22(A) through (F).


10:27AM | 09/23/16
I am trying to put the plug on it and want to make sure I am right. Thank you


09:50AM | 09/24/16
Member Since: 07/22/04
649 lifetime posts
Yes the ribbed is supposed to be the neutral. However then you are assuming it's correct on the other end. What I always do is hold the continuity tester on the CENTER tab of the socket and determine the correct(hot)at the plug end.


07:28PM | 05/30/21
Wow, 2003. The question still resonates, though. I think the original poster is asking about a pigtail, and how you can know which wire should be connected to white, and which wire to black -- since neither of the outer wires are white, only black.

The key is that one side of the pigtail is "ribbed" and the other side is smooth. The answer is yes, the ribbed wire goes to white, and the smooth wire to black. The green is more obvious and goes to the neutral.


07:34PM | 05/30/21
Correcting my earlier post, the white wire is actually the neutral, but the instructions still apply: Ribbed wire to white, and smooth wire to black.

Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply choose button


Post new button or Login button