How to Wire 3 Wire Light to 2 Wire

In this short guide, I’ll focus on connecting a 3-wire light to 2 wire connection.

What happens when your light has three wires, and the connection point only has two? This is a common situation.

In general, you might get three different wires with your light fixture; black, white, and green. Connect the black wire (hot) to the home electrical system’s black wire. Do the same for the white wires (neutral). And connect the green wire (ground) to the metal electrical box.

Continue reading for more detail.

Wiring a 3-Wire Light to 2-Wire Connection

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, this is a common situation. When it happens, you might get confused about which two wires you should connect to the main electrical supply. But in truth, if you have the basic knowledge of hot, neutral, and ground wires, you can solve this issue quite easily.

If you are connecting a three-wire light to 2 wire connection, follow the below guidelines.

  • Connect the light fixture’s hot wire to the main hot wire.
  • Connect the light fixture’s neutral wire to the main neutral wire.
  • Connect the ground wire to the metal electrical box. It will make a proper ground connection for the light fixture.
  • You can leave the ground wire free. But this is not the recommended method of NEC, and you might end up damaging your light fixture or getting an electric shock.

How to Identify Hot, Neutral, and Ground Wires Correctly?

To connect a three-wire light switch to a two-wire connection, first, you should identify the wires correctly. Otherwise, you might connect ground to neutral or neutral to hot. So, to avoid this, you must have basic knowledge of the home electrical wires’ color codes.

Color Codes

neutral and hot wires
Video | eztv online

In a single-phase connection, the black wire is the hot wire. It carries electricity from the main electrical panel to the source. The white wire is the neutral wire, acting as the return path for the electricity.

If you see the green or bare copper wire, it is the ground wire. And this ground wire acts as an alternative path for current in an emergency.

2 Wire and 3 Wire Light Fixtures

In most US households, you can find two wire light fixtures. These two wire fixtures come with hot and neutral wires. So you won’t have any trouble connecting them to the two-wire connection.

But when it comes to 3 wire light fixtures, they come with an additional third ground wire. And it would be best if you connected the ground wire to a good grounding point.

Importance of the Ground Wire

When wiring a three-wire light switch to a two-wire connection, most people leave out the ground wire. But this is wrong, and you wouldn’t do this if you knew the role of the ground wire.

The main purpose of the ground wire is to provide an additional path for the current to travel. As you already know, the neutral wire is the first choice of traveling path for the current. But during electricity overload, it looks for an alternative path to travel to the ground.

If the ground wire is not present, the electricity will choose your body as the alternative path, and you’ll get shocked. That is why the ground wire is far more important than most people like to believe.

Is it Safe not to Connect the Ground Wire to the Light Fixture?

damaged light fixture wiring
Video | eztv online

The light fixture might get damaged during an electrical overload without a proper ground connection. Or sometimes you might get shocked or electrocuted. Connect the light fixture’s ground wire to the metal electrical box.

When there are wire connections, these types of metal electrical boxes will often be present. So, connect the ground wire to one of the metal box’s screws. It will make a proper ground connection for your light fixture circuit.

Safety Precautions You Should Take during this Process

Before you complete the wiring process, make sure to turn off the main circuit breaker. Also, check the wires with a voltage tester even after turning odd the main breaker.

Video Reference

eztv online

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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