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Old 08-27-2013, 02:35 PM   #1
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ceiling light stopped working

Yesterday one of my ceiling lights stopped working. It's wiring is fairly old, the cable that runs through the box has ground, brown, black and red wire.

The wall switch is fairly new, installed by an electrician. It's cable is ground, black, red and white. I found the atic junction box where the cable from the wall splices to the cable from the ceiling fixture. Black to black, red to red, ground to ground and brown to white.

For the lamp, one of the light's wires was wired to ground and the other to brown. Inside the fixture the reds were spliced together, blacks spliced together and the last brown was capped.

In the wall switch, the black is capped and the 2-way switch has one red and one brown on it.

This configuration has worked for 9 years I guess.

In ceiling:
Brown to gnd: 40V
Red to gnd: 40V
black to gnd: 120V

At wall switch:
White to gnd: 40V
Red to gnd: 40V
black to gnd: 120V

I don't know why this circuit stopped working, or what I can do to fix it. The 40V is strange but clearly there has been a voltage on the neutral/red for a while, since the electrician wired this way. I get why the lamp worked when wired to ground and brown, since this gave the potential difference, presumably the red/brown wires used to have more than 40V.

Any ideas on what can be done?



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Old 08-28-2013, 06:49 AM   #2
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where are you from ?? country, state ??


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Old 08-28-2013, 04:00 PM   #3
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Pictures would help to maybe determine what the problem is
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:43 PM   #4
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I think the brown might be an old white. Reading seem to indicate an open neutral.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:04 PM   #5
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Here is a photo, maybe it helps.

So red goes to the switch, comes back as a brown (white) and connects to the lamp. The other lamp wire connects to ground. Somehow this worked for the lamp for 10 years until 2 days ago. I don't know why the brown and red read 40V, how it used to light the lamp, and what changed the other day.

BTW, I'm in British Columbia, Canada
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Last edited by shmish; 08-29-2013 at 11:12 AM.
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