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Old 09-16-2012, 02:03 AM   #1
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


how do you test a light fixture's wires? i tested all of the electric in my new house today, and while a few receptacles tested bad with an outlet tester, most of them worked no problem. The problem is, only three light fixtures (out of about fifteen) will light up a bulb, but there cant be that many problems with just light fixtures when the receptacles on the same circuits work. Is there any way to test the fixture, or just the wires so i will know where the problem is?
I have an OHMMeter but really dont know how to use it

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Old 09-16-2012, 06:15 AM   #2
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


Power is daisy chained from one receptacle or light switch to the next. There may be loose connections at one or more receptacles or light switches along the daisy chain.

To use an ohmmeter, first turn off the power to the area or subject to be tested. Touch the two probes to the two respective places between which you want to measure the resistance (or continuity or lack of continuity). At least one of the two places must be a wire that is not hooked to parts of the electrical system not part of the test or a screw terminal with no wires to other parts of the electrical system attached to it.

Sometimes the two places are too far apart for the meter probes to reach. In this case stretch a long single conductor wire, say 12 to 16 gauge, to reach one of the two places.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-16-2012 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:49 AM   #3
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


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Originally Posted by firsttimeremode View Post
how do you test a light fixture's wires? i tested all of the electric in my new house today, and while a few receptacles tested bad with an outlet tester, most of them worked no problem. The problem is, only three light fixtures (out of about fifteen) will light up a bulb, but there cant be that many problems with just light fixtures when the receptacles on the same circuits work. Is there any way to test the fixture, or just the wires so i will know where the problem is?
I have an OHMMeter but really dont know how to use it
So then HOW did you "test" all of the electric in your house???
How did receptacles test "bad"?

IMO strong opinion, if you don't even know how to use a meter you should really be going around testing everything since you don't even know what to test or what the results mean.

Is this house new, or new to you?
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:11 AM   #4
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


One of these is a simple tester for outlets.
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...&storeId=10051
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:53 AM   #5
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


First off, I would not use an ohm meter on house circuits. If you accidently get on a hot circuit the meter is instant toast. And as earlier mentioned the test points will often end up being too far apart. If I understand what you are saying, your outlets pass the plug in tester but the ceiling fixtures do not work. I would initially suspect a neutral wire has come loose. They are often bundled together in larger number then the hot wires and can break loose when being jammed back into a junction box. Great tool for tracking down home wiring issues is a voltage tick. It is a pen shaped gizmo that will light up, buzz, or both when you hold it close to a energized conductor. This makes it real easy to tell at a glance if there is power at a given point without fumbling around for two bare metal points. If it indicates you have power at your light fixture then the neutral wire is disconnected. (You have verified there is a good bulb in there already I trust) No indication of power tells you the switch is off or the hot wire is not hooked up. You can use a voltmeter too but the tick is just faster.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:22 AM   #6
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


By ohm meter he means multimeter but ya sticking an meter on ohms on live power is a bad idea. Our safety authority is pushing for fusible tests leads on all meters if it hasn't already passed to prevent possible meter explosions.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:33 AM   #7
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


Quote:
Originally Posted by firsttimeremode View Post
how do you test a light fixture's wires? i tested all of the electric in my new house today, and while a few receptacles tested bad with an outlet tester, most of them worked no problem. The problem is, only three light fixtures (out of about fifteen) will light up a bulb, but there cant be that many problems with just light fixtures when the receptacles on the same circuits work. Is there any way to test the fixture, or just the wires so i will know where the problem is?
I have an OHMMeter but really dont know how to use it
Turn off the power first. Take the fixture down and with a known working bulb put your "ohmmeter" leads across the lamp wires. If the bulb is good you will get a reading. Set your meter to 1K. If you don't get a reading, check the bulb with a working lamp and / or "wiggle" the wires while the meter is attached. As said earlier, don't use an ohmmeter on a live circuit.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:15 PM   #8
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


If you have a multimeter, you likely have a meter that will test AC, DC and resistance, aka "ohms." If you can show these guys your meter, either with a picture or a link to the same model for sale somewhere, they can probably tell you how to set it the dial, and then how you can use it to see if you have power to the fixtures in question.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:14 PM   #9
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


i have a plug-in meter that has two green lights and one red light on it, and when you plug it into a receptacle it lights up telling you if it is miswired, a wire is missing, or if it is wired correctly. if the receptacle is bad, then it doesnt light up at all. that is what i used to test receptacles. i also went around with a lamp and plugged it in to every receptacle, and only about three didnt light up, the same that didnt pass the meter test. i later discovered that those three were on a single circuit that had been disconnected from the breaker. i bought a new breaker. but with the light fixtures, i took the bulb out of the lamp and put it into every fixture in the house, with power supplied to the whole house. only three lit up. it may be bad breakers, miswired fixtures, or just bad fixtures. if those three arent the problem, im gonna be pissed because i will have to tear down the ceilings to check the wires. im hoping there is a meter to check the wires without going to destruction mode
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:17 PM   #10
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


Speedy Petey, i know how to use the plug-in meter, it didnt light up at all on three receptacles, in the kitchen and one bedroom. the house is new to me, its actually built in the seventies
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:20 PM   #11
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


joecaption, that is exactly what i used to test the receptacles

this is the ohm meter i have
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Electronic...lster/19262695
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:09 AM   #12
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


I am not an expert (I have done my share of stupid things) but you seem to be just starting out.

It might be a good idea to pair up with a knowledgeable friend who has done this sort of work.

With bare electrical wires, it's easy to get shocked if not careful. I personally use a non-contact voltage tester and/or continuity tester
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:18 AM   #13
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


What exacitly was the results of the test?
Besides bad, wrong polarity, no earth, no power ?
And please be aware that a lot of testers can give funny readings.

So we need to know more !
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:50 AM   #14
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


dmxtothemax: its not hard to read a plug-in outlet tester, it has three lights. if the two green light up, its good. if nothing lights up, the receptacle is bad. anything else, you have a problem. and the light fixtures i tested with a light bulb
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:51 AM   #15
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How do you test a light fixture or bare wires?


allthumbsdiy: i dont have any friends in the area, besides my family and while my mom knows how to hook up breakers and change out switches and receptacles, she doesnt know how to test wires

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