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Old 09-22-2011, 07:16 AM   #1
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Can't figure out kitchen light wiring...


hey, first off i am a total newbie with this sort of thing.

just moved into a house, and the previous owner had removed the kitchen light fixture.

i have a fixture that i want to install. here's my problem: at the hole where the light goes, there are 2 white wires, 2 black, and 2 red. each pair is held together with a wire nut.

looking at the light i want to install, there are 2 electrical wires, but neither one has a color. there is also a 3rd wire, but it is so thin -- about the width of a spaghetti before it's cooked -- that i'm thinking it's not even electrical?

as you can see i have no idea what i am doing. if any of you could tell me which wires to connect, i would appreciate it greatly. thanks!!

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Old 09-22-2011, 07:50 AM   #2
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Can't figure out kitchen light wiring...


White is usually neutral but could be a switch leg, if tied together I would guess they are neutrals. Connect white wire from fixture here. Black is usually hot, and in the case of a kitch junction box, probably a feed thru going to other fixtures. Red is often a switched circuit, usually from 3 way switches. Try connecting the black on the light to the red, and operate the switches. Green or bare(ground) on the fixture goes to bare in the box.

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Old 09-22-2011, 08:20 AM   #3
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Can't figure out kitchen light wiring...


The wire that connects to the screw shell of the fixture should connect to the white from the ceiling. Sometimes this is designated with a ridge on the cable or conductor.
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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:08 AM   #4
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Can't figure out kitchen light wiring...


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Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
White is usually neutral but could be a switch leg, if tied together I would guess they are neutrals. Connect white wire from fixture here. Black is usually hot, and in the case of a kitch junction box, probably a feed thru going to other fixtures. Red is often a switched circuit, usually from 3 way switches. Try connecting the black on the light to the red, and operate the switches. Green or bare(ground) on the fixture goes to bare in the box.
thanks for the info! unfortunately neither of the wires coming from the fixture are labeled with any color. is there a way to figure out which is the "white" wire from the fixture?

also, do you think the very thin wire I described from the fixture is the ground wire?
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:29 AM   #5
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Can't figure out kitchen light wiring...


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Originally Posted by 19mquinn79 View Post
thanks for the info! unfortunately neither of the wires coming from the fixture are labeled with any color. is there a way to figure out which is the "white" wire from the fixture?
It doesn't matter - just pick one. House power is alternating current.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:36 AM   #6
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Can't figure out kitchen light wiring...


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It doesn't matter - just pick one. House power is alternating current.
Functionally it does not matter. However, the NEC requires the neutral to connect to the screw shell threads and not the center tab. This is for safety in the event of accidental contact with the shell.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:02 AM   #7
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Can't figure out kitchen light wiring...


Quote:
Originally Posted by md2lgyk

It doesn't matter - just pick one. House power is alternating current.
My momma always said, I'f you can't say something inteligent, don't say anything at all. Or was that "something nice."

It does matter. When changing a light bulb you could come in contact with the housing on the fixture. This shouldn't be attached to the hot, in case you are connected to ground, in which case you would receive a shock.

When installing a light fixture with the "lamp cord" style of wiring without the color coding on which is to be hot and which is neutral, I use a continuity tester to figure out which wire connects to the threads where the bulb screws in. That wire is the "white" wire.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:45 AM   #8
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Can't figure out kitchen light wiring...


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Originally Posted by michaelcherr View Post
My momma always said, I'f you can't say something inteligent, don't say anything at all. Or was that "something nice."

It does matter. When changing a light bulb you could come in contact with the housing on the fixture. This shouldn't be attached to the hot, in case you are connected to ground, in which case you would receive a shock.

When installing a light fixture with the "lamp cord" style of wiring without the color coding on which is to be hot and which is neutral, I use a continuity tester to figure out which wire connects to the threads where the bulb screws in. That wire is the "white" wire.
thanks, great info.

so white goes with white, and the other goes with red at the box?
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:02 PM   #9
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Can't figure out kitchen light wiring...


White goes with white, unless a previous hack didn't re-code a white as hot when using as a switch leg. Black will go with something else, generally black, but it could be red. It's hard to tell without seing the wires and possibly also the wires of the switch(es) controlling it. Can you take a pic? Do you know what switch or switches control it?
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:55 PM   #10
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Can't figure out kitchen light wiring...


is there a switch on the wall that is/was for the light originally.the white is one connection for the light but the red or black could both be HOT.sas new home owner getting a volt meter is a must..if you could read the white to ground and to that red then black we could help better...and liek said a WHITE could be hot if goig/coming from a wall switch.if there is a wall switch pull it out and tell use the colors there

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