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Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical #5428737 05/14/20 04:13 AM
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BEETLE Offline OP
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My knowledge regarding about automotive electrical is just plain "average". I did some installation on my own vehicles in the past (back in the 80's) on accessories such as car stereo, alarm system, fog lights, add on tachometer and they all have everything in common about wiring, Black is ground and Red is power source. To make a long story short, I was installing a Light Post for my lawn and I got confused with the instructions on a 3 wire installation. The instruction state Black is power source, White is neutral and Green is ground. I researched on line that these colors are standard in home electrical. This beats the heck out of me. If I am going to install these 3 wires (without reading the instruction provided) coming from the Light Post to the home electrical plug outlet and with my knowledge about automotive electrical I would do it the wrong way and I could end up with getting an electric shock. stooges

Last edited by BEETLE; 05/14/20 04:15 AM.

84 Isuzu P/up - Fram PH3950 - QS HM 10w-40
08 Ford Escape - Napa 31348 - Motorcraft 5w-20
98 Ninja 250 - Wix oil filter - RotellaT6 - 5w-40
Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5428743 05/14/20 05:28 AM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Partner, you might be best to not attempt wiring anything with AC (low or high voltage, single or poly phase) for safety.

Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5428760 05/14/20 06:44 AM
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Donald Offline
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If your not familiar with home wiring then maybe best to leave it to an electrician.

Boats have a standardized list of what all the wire colors are to be used for.

And boats and RVs may have both 12V wiring and 110/220V wiring.


2015 Ford F-250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5428778 05/14/20 07:15 AM
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doitmyself Offline
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Sometimes the white wire can be hot!

Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5428784 05/14/20 07:20 AM
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97K15004WD Offline
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The NEC is the best place to look for guidance. Also, some books at your local library should help.

There are different standards for different swaths of industry (marine, automotive, etc.) Home wiring is standardized by the NEC and your local building codes to prevent fires and possible fatalities. Outdoor wiring not properly grounded is a big deal as you could seriously hurt yourself or others.

Please study up before moving forward with this project - protect yourself and others.

Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: doitmyself] #5428792 05/14/20 07:30 AM
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Donald Offline
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Originally Posted by doitmyself
Sometimes the white wire can be hot!


The white should never be connected to one of the two legs of 220V electricity. But if there is an appliance in the circuit and you are between the white wire and the neutral bus then there will be electricity flowing. And you could get zapped.


2015 Ford F-250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: doitmyself] #5428801 05/14/20 07:43 AM
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supton Online Content
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Originally Posted by doitmyself
Sometimes the white wire can be hot!

Noticed that in my house recently, on a switch, and my reading on the subject was that, when this occurs, the wire is supposed to have black tape wrapped around it, to indicate it's now hot (or switched hot).

OP, if the three colors are confusing, then I'd get someone else to hook it up for you. If you know any home DIY'ers there is a good chance one of them will be willing to help. I realize some localities may require a licensed electrician to change a light bulb, but you may be lucky where you are and can just have Joe Schmoe do it.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 205k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 159k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k, his
Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5428848 05/14/20 08:27 AM
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mk378 Offline
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The hot white wire is found in a situation of a ceiling light and a wall switch, with the power fed to the ceiling box and a regular 2 conductor with ground wire run down to the switch. When the switch is on, the white wire becomes "hot" and sends power back up to the light.

That is something that might be encountered in existing houses. Do not wire new installations that way because many "smart" switches will require a neutral wire, and not having one at the switch box limits options to replace the switch later.

In any case, treat all wires as hot until you're sure you've turned off the right breaker(s) and confirmed the circuit is dead.

Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5428863 05/14/20 08:42 AM
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JLawrence08648 Offline
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All 100% accurate information, adding, NEC code now requires all new wiring at switch boxes to have a neutral white wire whether being used or not.

120v wiring, the hot wire is always black unless someone wired it wrong. It does happen. As mentioned, there are switch light applications when the white wire is used as the hot and then it must be wrapped with black tape. I have a bottle of black nail polish in my electrical bag and paint the white wire black as electrical tape can unwrap. Consider owning a non contact voltage tester pen.

The mistake I see often is re-wiring extension cords with the plug where the wires are not placed in the correct screws. Using a ohm meter is invaluable. With the female plug, the black hot goes to the smaller slot opening, the neutral white wire goes to the larger slot opening.


2019 Hyundai Santa Fe SEL Plus, 2.4
1992 Acura Vigor GS, 2.5
Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5428876 05/14/20 08:51 AM
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I hire an electrician


1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD - 100k
1995 F150 XL 4.9 reg cab 5MT - 253k 5w30
2016 Mazda6 Touring 6MT - 81k 5w30
2006 Buick Lucerne CXL 3.8 50k 5w30
Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5428886 05/14/20 08:56 AM
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PowerSurge Offline
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The only way to know for sure which wire(s) actually have voltage is to test them. If you’re not comfortable doing that, you need to hire someone. It only takes a few milliamps to kill you. I’ve seen energized ground wires before, believe it or not.


1993 Porsche 964, 2001 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning, 2004 Chevrolet Corvette, 2018 Toyota Tundra and a few others
Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5428915 05/14/20 09:22 AM
Joined: Feb 2012
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BEETLE Offline OP
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Hello I'm the OP. I contacted an electrician and he told me he's going to do it for $50.00 just for the connection. All I need to buy is a 50 ft 3 wire outdoor underground cable (Southwire brand), an electric digital timer and a 3-Way Straight Blade Grounding Plug. He said it will only take 30 mins. He'll drill a hole from the outside and fish the wire from the inside of the house to connect to a plug and program the timer. To bury the underground cable it will take an additional $100.00. I declined, I said I am going to that myself.
Lessons learned, I guess I am going DIY only up to 12V and not beyond that. Thanks for all the replies.


84 Isuzu P/up - Fram PH3950 - QS HM 10w-40
08 Ford Escape - Napa 31348 - Motorcraft 5w-20
98 Ninja 250 - Wix oil filter - RotellaT6 - 5w-40
Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5428966 05/14/20 09:59 AM
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You need 14-2 UF-B, it must be buried 24" unless it's in green plastic tubing then it's 18", under sidewalks it's 12". Next, unless it starts off 24" under the ground, you need the green electrical tubing on the outside of the house where it enters the ground. You can't have unenclosed wire on the outside of the house.I

For $100 to bury the wire 24", I'd pay the $100 for someone else to do it.

Last edited by JLawrence08648; 05/14/20 10:01 AM.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe SEL Plus, 2.4
1992 Acura Vigor GS, 2.5
Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5429102 05/14/20 12:24 PM
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Dave9 Offline
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It is very common that positive on a vehicle electrical system is not red, though more often ground is black.

As others stated, either hire an electrician or spend more time learning code, best practices, and becoming one with a multimeter.

Re: Automotive Electrical vs Home Electrical [Re: BEETLE] #5429217 05/14/20 03:16 PM
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Oildudeny Offline
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Yes automotive vs home electric two different animals.. Hire a licensed electrician have it done right and enjoy your lights.

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