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Old 08-28-2010, 11:45 AM   #1
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Help with ceramic lamp holder


I'm replacing a basic ceramic lamp on my basement ceiling. I took off the old fixture and was baffled with the what I saw underneath. I was expecting to see a black, white, and copper ground but instead see a mess of wires. I attached pictures of the wires and the new fixture. If anybody has any ideas of how this gets hooked up it would be much appreciated!!


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Old 08-28-2010, 12:43 PM   #2
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Help with ceramic lamp holder


It looks like someone improperly used the screws to connect the two white wires together. Can you confirm that both whites were under the silver screw on the old fixture?

If so splice the two whites and a short pigtail of white together and connect to the silver screw. Connect the black to the brass screw and re-install the fixture.

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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 08-29-2010, 06:00 PM   #3
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Help with ceramic lamp holder


Tried connecting the two white wires to the silver screw with a pigtail. Didn't work, just threw the breaker. Maybe I need to call and electrician. Anybody have any other ideas? Thanks!
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:23 PM   #4
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Help with ceramic lamp holder


How was the old light fixture connected?

You have four places, two white wires, one black wire, and the bare wire group. What is the voltage between every combination of two of those places?

Looks to me that whoever wired up that fixture originally made some mistakes that the next person (you) found confusing.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:34 PM   #5
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Help with ceramic lamp holder


If you have a test light you could test for hot to ground and hot to neutral. You could also check for continuity with a multimeter from neutral to ground. Once you figure out what each wire is doing the connections should be more evident.

I could tell you a complicated test procedure with oscilloscopes, a known good ground, and an incandescent light bulb, and a hair dryer.
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