Lights connected in series vs parallel?


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Old 12-22-19, 12:49 PM
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Lights connected in series vs parallel?

Hi,

I'm a bit confused on how parallel is actually wired. I understand the concepts behind series and parallel, but curious about the actual implementation.

For instance, I have a switch that controls two separate patio light. If these were to run in series, wouldn't I see two different set of wires coming into the switch?

The reason I ask is I recently swapped out the switch for a "smart" one, and suddenly only one light works, and when I go to unscrew the light that doesn't work, the other one turns off (and turns back on when I screw it in).

When I opened up the gang box, the wiring coming into the switch looked standard, but I believe all of the "white" ones were twisted together (it's a 3 gang box), and the only thing I can think of is the white for this specific pair of lights needs to be connected only to the switch.

I'm a bit confused and trying to debug it.

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-22-19, 01:45 PM
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You need to tell us about all the wiring in the switch box except the grounds.
Was there a white wire connected to the old switch?
 
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Old 12-22-19, 02:10 PM
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If the 2 light bulbs are rated 120 VAC, they are wired in parallel with the switch controlling the hot line to the lights. While there is an electrical code for wire insulation colors, corners are cut when there is no permit obtained for the wiring. Best to get a multimeter and measure voltages.
 
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Old 12-22-19, 04:13 PM
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Thanks for the comments. I can pop open the gang box tomorrow.

What specifically shouldI be looking for to report back here? Am I just measuring to determine which cables are hot?

Anything else I should be measuring/checking for?
 
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Old 12-22-19, 04:23 PM
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The easiest thing to do is to pull the devices out of the box without un-wiring them and post a picture or two...... How-to-insert-pictures.

If all the white wires were connected together....... you wouldn't arbitrarily move one to a switch. A switch loop is a very specific application where the power comes into the light...... not the switch.

In your application..... it sounds like you'll find a feed in to that box. You may find one common feed wire/hot connects to all three switches.
 
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Old 12-23-19, 04:48 AM
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Hi, did you connect the smart switch to an existing switch that you removed ? Hopefully you didnít break apart any splices in the switch box.
If it worked before you have no need to worry about Series or Parallel circuits.
Geo
 
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Old 12-23-19, 10:07 AM
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Hi @Geochurchi,

I did swap an old switch for a new smart one. I'm pretty sure I just connected wire for wire, but I do remember that the white (nuetral) wasn't connected to the original switch (they were all just bundled together in the box).

What do you mean by "breaking up splices"?
 
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Old 12-23-19, 02:17 PM
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Smart switches don't normally swap 'wire for wire'. You need to install per the smart switch instructions.
 
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Old 12-24-19, 04:37 PM
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Removing any connectors and separating any wires.
Geo
 
 

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