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How to wire an outlet in series

Just to clarify, a common power line with multiple outlets is always wired in parallel because no current would flow through an outlet if something was plugged into each outlet to complete the circuit, and even then the line voltage would be shared (reduced) between the individual outlets, rendering the entire line inoperable. So it is more like a series of outlets along a common power line, but wired in parallel with it.

It is not too difficult to connect a series of outlets to a common line. It’s a good way to wire outlets together if you want them all controlled by a single switch. You’ll need to have some basic confidence in working with electricity, but this is basically a beginner’s job. You probably already have the tools at home. Plus, you’ll just need some power cord.


Before working on the electrical system, make sure the power is off in the area in question. Locate the breaker in the main electrical panel that supplies the wire or circuit you’re working on and turn it off. You can use a multimeter to check for current at the outlet.

Lay the cable

Disconnect the hot wire, neutral wire, and ground wire from the first outlet, but leave them in the receptacle. Now you need to run a cable from the second to the first outlet. For new construction, this is quite simple. Drill holes in the studs and run the cable from outlet to outlet through the holes.

For older buildings, you will have no choice but to take out some of the drywall to do this. On the side of each box is a small knockout plate. Tap this out with a screwdriver. Leave about 20 cm of cable exposed in each box, then cut off the ends with a knife.

Cut the branches

To wire outlets in series, you’ll need to cut off branches. These are short pieces of wire. Cut three of them, one for the hot wire, one for the neutral wire, and one for the ground wire. Remove 1.25 cm of insulation from both ends of each wire and set them aside.

Wire the socket

Now you are ready to wire the second outlet. Cut 10 cm from the sheathing of the wire in the junction box. Separate the three wires and remove 1.25 cm of insulation from each. Finally, screw the ground wire or the green wire to the metal screw in the junction box.

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