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Whyjune1st 12-14-2012 12:23 PM

Chandelier wiring problems
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Hi I'm new to this forum so thanks for the help in advance.

Just bought a new house and I'm trying to replace the chandelier. Took the old one down and wired up the new one. Turned the electric back on and two of the five bulbs filled with smoke and one broke. I'm just wondering what I did wrong and what I can do to fix it. I left the old box/mounting bar and connected the new wires to the old ones. Neither of the two wires from my ceiling were labeled so I just arbitrarily picked which ones I connected. (I'm guessing that's my problem). Also the old fixture did not seem to be grounded at all (no third bare wire and nowhere to hook the new ground wire to). So I took the ground screw out of the new bar that came with the chandelier and put it in the old mounting bar and grounded it to that. I'll post pictures so you guys can see what I did. Any help is appreciated.

Whyjune1st 12-14-2012 12:25 PM

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Sorry. Wouldn't let me upload more than one at a time. Also not sure why it's posting them upside down.

tylernt 12-14-2012 12:38 PM

The chandelier in the second pic looks old, is that the one you just installed? Is the new chandelier new out of the box with bulb also new out of the box, or was it a used fixture that came with used bulbs?

Also, I don't see wire nuts on the wire connections in the first pic...?

oh'mike 12-14-2012 12:42 PM

Check the package of bulbs---I had a similar problem once and the bulbs were LOW VOLTAGE!!!

I always thought they had different bases---but no--there are low voltage with chandelier bases---

Whyjune1st 12-14-2012 12:45 PM

Both pics are of the new out of box chandelier. It's an antiqued but brand new fixture from lowes.


When I tested the light there were wire nuts on, I just took them off right before the picture was taken.

tylernt 12-14-2012 12:48 PM

Ah, I see. Ok, your installation looks good then from what I can tell.

It looks like the bulbs didn't come with the chandelier though, correct? Is it possible you accidentally bought a pack of low-voltage bulbs?

Whyjune1st 12-14-2012 12:54 PM

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Here's a link to the bulbs used and a pic of the box showing the bulb requirements. Thanks again.


oh'mike 12-14-2012 12:58 PM

Look at the package you actually bought----I bet they are low voltage and you thought you bought the 120 volt ones---

tylernt 12-14-2012 01:00 PM

Wow this is turning out to be quite the mystery. It looks like you have the right chandelier with the right bulbs. Maybe you just got a batch of bad bulbs, someone at Sylvania was asleep at the controls at 4:58PM on a Friday.

If it's not the bulbs, the only thing I can think of that might cause this was if you somehow had 240V coming in on those wires. I've never ever heard of 240V lighting in a residence before, so that seems really really unlikely. Do you by chance have a multimeter you could use to test with?

Also, is this light controlled by a single switch or can you turn it on/off from multiple switches?

Whyjune1st 12-14-2012 01:01 PM

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Unfortunately I don't think that's it...

tylernt 12-14-2012 01:06 PM

Well then I'm back to

1. bad bulbs
2. 240V somehow

Wiring up the hot and neutral backwards would not result in blowing bulbs. It would be a little unsafe, as the bulb threads would be "hot" instead of the little nub down in the bottom of the socket, so it could be a shock hazard if you replaced bulbs while the fixture was powered. But, it should not blow the bulbs.

Your choices now are to try more bulbs, or put a multimeter on those wires.

oh'mike 12-14-2012 01:08 PM

Get out your tester-----see if you have one power up there or two----possible you have 220 going on---

Do you have an electrical tester? With two wires? Not a non-contact tester---

Also possible you have a bad pack of bulbs----if you have some other bulbs,even night light bulbs--try them---

Whyjune1st 12-14-2012 01:10 PM

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I do not have a multimeter but I will post a picture of the previous chandelier. It's pretty run of the mill so I don't think it would have any crazy wiring. It is on a single dimmer switch. It may be the bulbs because while I was installing them I did notice the one that actually broke was cracked already when I put it in. I just thought something was very wrong when two filled with smoke and one broke.

tylernt 12-14-2012 01:12 PM


Originally Posted by Whyjune1st (Post 1072996)
It may be the bulbs because while I was installing them I did notice the one that actually broke was cracked already when I put it in. I just thought something was very wrong when two filled with smoke and one broke.

Aha, the smoking gun. Bulbs are supposed to be under vacuum or filled with an inert gas. If those bulbs were not adequately sealed, either as a manufacturing defect or damage during transit, the presence of oxygen would cause the filaments to smoke or burn.

If you take the dead bulbs back, Lowes should replace the pack at no charge.

oh'mike 12-14-2012 01:14 PM

Try some new bulbs---not from the same batch----unless you did some other work on the wires---the bulbs are the number one suspect--------

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