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Old 04-05-2008, 08:28 PM   #1
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


I'm attempting to install a new fluorescent light fixture in my garage using the wiring from the current incandescent(?) fixture. The balast on the new fluorescent fixture has two wires coming out of it white and black. The problem I'm running into is that the current fixture has a lot more wires than expected. I've attached 3 pictures of the fixture box. It's hard to see, so here's a quick explanation.

There are two sets of wires(I'm assuming for two light switches) coming into the box on each side. Each set has a 3-wire group with black casing and a 4-wire group with gray casing. For organizations sake, I'll refer to each set as coming into the box from the left or right. The connections are:

Left 3 Wire(Black Casing):
  • Black wire connected to black wire on Right 3 wire(Black casing)
  • White wire connected to white wire on Right 3 wire(Black casing).This set was also connected to the light fixture.
  • Bare wire connected to all other bare wires coming from other sets
Left 4 Wire(Gray Casing):
  • Black wire connected to black wire on Right 4 wire(Gray casing)
  • Red wire connected to red wire on Right 4 wire(Gray casing)
  • White wire connected directly to light fixture.
  • Bare wire connected to all other bare wires coming from other sets
Right 3 Wire(Black Casing):
  • Black wire connected to black wire on Left 3 wire(Black casing)
  • White wire connected to white wire on Left 3 wire(Black casing).This set was also connected to the light fixture.
  • Bare wire connected to all other bare wires coming from other sets
Right 4 Wire(Gray Casing):
  • Black wire connected to black wire on Left 4 wire(Gray casing)
  • Red wire connected to red wire on Left 4 wire(Gray casing)
  • White wire connected to both black wires from the Left and Right 3 wire (Black Casing)set.
  • Bare wire connected to all other bare wires coming from other sets
Thank you to anyone who give me help on this.
Attached Thumbnails
Installing Fluorescents in Garage-box1.jpg   Installing Fluorescents in Garage-box2.jpg   Installing Fluorescents in Garage-box3.jpg  
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:36 PM   #2
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


which two were connected to the incadesent. those two would be tied onto your new light.
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:41 PM   #3
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


Right 3 wire white should connect to the white on the fixture.
left 4-wire white should connect to black on the fixture.

The 3-way wiring system should be rewired with the red and white used as travelers so the black would feed power to and from the common terminals on the switches. It would simplify life for anyone dealing with it later.
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Old 04-05-2008, 10:50 PM   #4
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


Why do people remove stuff without taking notes?
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:32 AM   #5
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
Why do people remove stuff without taking notes?

I'm not sure if you're trying to insult me, but that's kind of ludicrous considering this is a DIY forum...of course I don't know what I'm doing. I bought this house two years ago and I'm attempting to fix ALL of the mistakes the original builder/electrician made.

If you don't have anything useful to post, don't post!

If it wasn't intended as an insult to me, please ignore my rant and further explain your comment.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:46 AM   #6
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


Quote:
Originally Posted by NAIL View Post
Right 3 wire white should connect to the white on the fixture.
left 4-wire white should connect to black on the fixture.

The 3-way wiring system should be rewired with the red and white used as travelers so the black would feed power to and from the common terminals on the switches. It would simplify life for anyone dealing with it later.

Thank you for the useful input. Just some clarification:
  • Do I leave the two white wires connected on the 3-wires or just use one of them to connect to the fixture?
  • Using your suggested changes for a 3-way system, would I even need the set of 3 wires (black casing)?
Any insight as to why there are four sets of wires coming into this box?
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Old 04-06-2008, 06:48 AM   #7
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


Relabel the left 4-wire white with black marker and hook it up, but test it first against ground to confirm it as the ungrounded conductor.

The other 3-wire is needed to continue the power to other receptacles or lights.

Is this the only light controlled by this switching?

Last edited by NAIL; 04-06-2008 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:23 AM   #8
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


Yeah, that's what's strange. This is the only light that these two switches control. Would it be beneficial to post pictures of the switch wiring?
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:35 AM   #9
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


Looks like you wiring was messed up from day 1. There should not be 2 whites hooked to the fixture. White can carry power to a switch but cannot carry a switched hot back to the fixture.

It used to be acceptacle not to re-identify the white as a current carrying conductor, but is not anymore.
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:44 AM   #10
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


It's like taking the alternator out of your car and forgetting where all the bolts go.
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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC. If you're on the '14 already I feel sorry for you.
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:50 AM   #11
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


Quote:
Originally Posted by rzrbkpk View Post
I'm not sure if you're trying to insult me, but that's kind of ludicrous considering this is a DIY forum...of course I don't know what I'm doing. I bought this house two years ago and I'm attempting to fix ALL of the mistakes the original builder/electrician made.

If you don't have anything useful to post, don't post!

If it wasn't intended as an insult to me, please ignore my rant and further explain your comment.

It was a simple question, why didn't you take notes?
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:01 AM   #12
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


For all of you telling me to take notes...take notes on WHAT??? I took the light fixture off and it looked exactly like what you see in the picture. I DID NOT INSTALL this. I unscrewed two screws and this is what I got.

Quit turning this forum into some immature teenage chat room.
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:25 AM   #13
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


Is it just me or did he take what looks to be pretty good notes? Did you guys read the original post? He tells you what came from where, what 3 wires were attached to the fixture, and what he's not even touched.
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:35 AM   #14
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


Not noting which white wire was attached to the previous light fixtures black wire is not a sin, but is done by most homeowners all the time.

Just mark the proper white wire with black marking and lets move on.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:45 PM   #15
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Installing Fluorescents in Garage


On another note...to suffice everybody, here are my notes:

Step 1: Unscrew screw 1.
Step 2: Unscrew screw 2.
Step 3: Document all wiring.
Step 4: Post on DIY HELP board.

Last edited by Ron The Plumber; 04-06-2008 at 08:35 PM. Reason: Removed referenced remarks
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