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paulusa 03-28-2011 01:46 PM

How to identify ground when all wires are the same
Hello All,

Ok, feel like a big dummy, but i need some help. My wife bought a new pendant light fixture. As i was prepping it to be hung, i measured the amount of slack i needed in the wire and cut it. When i stripped the wire, it became clear that all 3 wires are exactly the same in apearance. They have no markings at all to identify hot neutral and ground. When i realized this (in a panic) i noticed little tags on the tip of the wire that identified them, that's it.

So with that back ground, is there an easy way to identify which are which? I'm installed dozens of fixtures over the years, but i'm no "real" electrician. I'm assuming that i would melt the fixture down, or start a fire if i wire the ground in wrong.

Any help would be really appreciated.


rditz 03-28-2011 01:59 PM

do you own a multi-meter?? if so, set it to the Ohms/resistance setting. Touch the black lead to the body of the light and then the red lead to each of the 3 wires (one at a time). only one should allow the meter to go to 0 ohms. that is your ground wire.


paulusa 03-28-2011 02:01 PM

Rod, you may have just saved my marriage! :) Thanks a lot!

rditz 03-28-2011 02:05 PM

I could not function without some of the simple tools that I have, like a multi-meter, pencil tester and the plug-in tester...

good luck.


daveb1 03-28-2011 02:14 PM

While you have your meter out be sure to check for the neutral and hot connections of the fixture.The side of the light socket goes to the neutral and the base of the light socket is the hot.

darren 03-28-2011 07:48 PM

Check the wires really closely, one should have a rib on it or something to identify it. If you find this, that wire will be your neutral.

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