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Re: Wiring flourescent lights

George writes:
> The switch should connect to either the
>  black or white 110v wire from the ballast (typical color coding). One is
>  better than the other for safety reasons (hot vs neutral, the reason most
>  110v two prong plugs are now annoyingly polarized) but I'm not an
>  electrician so I always forget which is which. I would guess you want the
>  switch to break the hot side.

Wiring should always be done according to National Electric Code rules, both 
for safety and for insurance purposes.  The switch MUST go in the hot side, 
NEVER in the neutral side.  The reason for this is so that when the switch is 
off, all current is cut off to the appliance or device being powered.  If you 
switched the neutral side, there would still be a full 115 volts being 
applied to one side of the circuit, and the appliance would always pose a 
shock hazard, even when switched off.  Switching the hot side removes all 
voltage to the appliance, and leaves the appliance grounded for safety when 
it is switched off.  To wire otherwise is a violation of NEC code, and could 
possibly introduce some liability issues should someone be killed or injured 
by the appliance, or should there be a fire and the fire or insurance 
inspector later discovers the appliance was not correctly wired according to 
code.  The black wire should be the hot side, and white should be neutral. 
(The National Electric Code mandates that the lighter colored wire should be 
ground.  The exception is green, which is ALWAYS ground, and can NEVER be 
hot.  On the 110 v polarized 2-prong plugs, the wider prong is always the 
ground; the narrower prong is hot.  It is customary for appliance cord to 
carry a rib or ribs over one conductor.  The ribbed side of 2-conductor wire 
should always be the ground side.  When doing your own wiring, it is always 
best to do your work as conservatively as possible, and that means to use 
3-conductor wires with a 3-conductor plug.  By wiring the third (green) wire 
to the metal frame or metal case of the appliance or lighting fixture, the 
frame or case is permanently grounded and should never pose a shock hazard, 
which is of special interest for an electrical item being used around water.  
The electrical department of hardware stores should carry little paperback 
booklets that illustrate or describe how wiring should be done to conform to 
NEC.  They're usually very inexpensive booklets, and will help keep you out 
of trouble.