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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3542
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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can you wire a metal halide light in series with normal lights?

This answer was rated:

can you wire a metal halide light in series with normal lights? I have a MH light I got for free and would like to install it in my riding arena. name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!


1) Lights are never wired in series, they are always wired in parallel to one another.


2) Many metal halides have a 120, 208, 240 277-volt quad tap ballast. 2 blacks suggest that it can only be wired as 220 volts. If the fixture does not contain a white or a gray neutral wire and only 2 blacks, then that's a 220 volt fixture. Double check if this fixture allows for various voltage inputs on an internal tap transformer. The wire taps originating from the transformer should be labeled indicating the desired voltage.


The spec sheet I am reviewing shows that it can be wired for either 120, 208, 240 or 277 voltages


If wiring to 220 volts, a 220 volt double pole breaker will be required and cannot be mixed into an existing 120 volt lighting branch circuit.


3) Will it be connected to another 120 volt light fixture or a 220 voltage?


4) The green wire is used as the grounding wire only.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

it will be connected to another 120 v fixture in the building, running off one switch. all the lights in there are already wired and working, i just thought I'd remove one of them and install the MH light in it's place. there is a removable plate on the side of the fixture, i'm guessing this will give me access to the transformer you mentioned, i'll go check. the rating plate on the fixture has all the voltages you mentioned listed.

1) Yes, remove the plate to confirm the wire taps originating off of the transformer. The wire taps should be labeled with a tag identifying them as 120, 208, 240 or 277VAC. If connecting to the existing 120 v branch lighting circuit, then you will need to locate the wire tap for 120 volts on the transformer and there should also be a white neutral wire.


2) Also make sure the total wattage of the lighting circuit does not exceed the branch circuit breaker. For example, a 15 amp breaker is recommended to not be loaded more than 1440 total watts. A 20 amp breaker is recommended to not be loaded more than 1920 total watts.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

the 208v wire was hooked up, i removed it and put the 120v wire in it's said there should be a white neutral wire, where does that go?


1) The internal wires of the light fixture should have a white or a gray neutral wire originating somewhere inside the fixture. The neutral wire on the fixture gets connected to the white neutral house wire at the ceiling box.


2) The neutral wire may also be labeled as "common" inside the fixture.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

found the common wire in the fixture, it's hooked up to another wire, but can't really tell where it goes, i wonder if it's hooked up to one of the two black wires coming out the top of the fixture? If i expose the wire ends and use a meter i should be able to determine which one is live and which is neutral correct?

1) You can visually look at the light bulb socket. On any lighting fixture, the exterior portion of the threaded shell (portion where the bulb screws into) is the neutral connection. The middle portion located at the inside bottom of the socket is the hot connection. You can either visually trace the wires out or you can use a continuity meter to determine the neutral. Very possible that the neutral is spliced to another existing neutral. There should be a lone white or gray neutral wire that you can just splice onto and cap off with a wire nut once you install it at the house ceiling box.


2) The hot wire as I mentioned originates in the middle portion of the socket and will somehow be connected to the variable tap transformer wire which you have already identified as the hot.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

ok, the common wire was wing nutted to one of the two black wires coming out the top of the fixture at the box. I hooked that one up to the other two white wires and I now have light. thanks much for your help!!!

Awesome.... great job on your behalf....... way to go!


Hope this helps.........If you have any additional questions, let me know and I'll be glad to answer them for you.


Otherwise, don't forget to rate me before you log Off.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

will do and have a great day!

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