Installing a lighting fixture - simple wiring question

I was installing a lighting fixture in my new place, and the instructions that came with it were generic, not tailored to the actual fixture I got.
The lighting fixture is the type that has a plug-in on the bottom, and a place for two bulbs higher up. So, the plug has the white and the black wire, and so does the socket. Is there any reason that I shouldn’t have attached both of the black wires to the black lead and both of the neutral to the white lead? I can’t think of any other way to do it, so I just twisted both the wire from the plug and from the socket onto the main one, and then put the cap on.

Was that the correct thing to do? Or can you only put one wire at at time on?

Yep, that’s the way to do it. Incidentally, it is not necessary to twist the wires together before screwing the wire nut in place. the wire nut will hold the conductors tightly together, and not twisting them first makes rewiring easier in the future.

Not to nitpick (too much), but with loose electrical connections such as lighting fixtures the wires should always be twisted together (preferably with pliers) before the wire nut is twisted onto the connection. In many cases the wire nut will make the connection properly, since it is threaded, but – especially in a three wire connection – the twisting and turning involved in shoving the wires back into the junction box will often loosen the connection more than the wire nut alone can tighten it (remember, there are only about four small threads inside the wire nut, and with a 12/3 wire that isn’t much contact area). First rule of do-it-yourself wiring – make every connection as tight as you can.

Second rule of do-it-yourself wiring – buy plenty of fire insurance.

Thank you both so much! Now I won’t have to worry so much when the power gets turned on Friday :slight_smile:

I don’t know what your wiring code says, but where I am, that practice is not permitted. Twisting of the wires is mandated, to ensure the physical retention of both wires within the connector.

The fixture you describe sounds like something for a bathroom, maybe? Or something over a kitchen sink?

Keep in mind that if the fixture is remotely switched, you’ll have no juice at the plug-in when the switch is off. Makes it tough to keep your toothbrush charged…

Also, if the fixture is in a bathroom or near the kitchen sink, it should be on a circuit that’s protected by a GFCI device, for safety.

I (also) always twist the wires before screwing on the wire nut. But even then you’ll sometimes run into problems:

a. It can be difficult to hold on to the conductors while twisting the wire nut. This problem is exasperated when you have more than two conductors and/or the wires are of large gauge. The end-result is that, after tightening the nut, one or more conductors will invariably pop out of the wire nut. :mad:

b. Pushing the wire nut back into the fixture will sometimes cause one or more of the conductors to pop out of the wire nut. :mad:

I can’t count how many times the above has happened to me. So I came up with a solution: Before screwing the wire nut on, tightly bundle the wires together with a cable tie. The cable tie should be on the insulation at about 1/2” away from the copper. This will ensure no conductor “slips out” while you’re screwing the wire nut on, and it will relieve stress on any individual wire when you’re pushing the wire nut back into the fixture or box.

I prefer to use the crimp-type wire connectors for larger wire bundles. They make a much stronger and more secure connection than the twist-on types.

I agree. I hate wire nuts.

I also just realized there may be a disadvantage when using the “cable tie” technique: after tightening the wire nut, some people like to tug on each wire to make sure it’s secure inside the nut. You can’t do this check when using the cable tie technique. If anyone is concerned about this, I would suggest removing the cable tie after tightening the wire nut. (In this case, the cable tie serves to simply keep each conductor from falling out while you’re tightening the nut…)

This is very educational. Thanks, guys, for all your help.