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Old 11-03-2012, 03:06 PM   #1
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Newbie Question about wiring ceiling light


Hello,
I bought a new ceiling light. Looked easy in store, so I decided to buy it to give it a try. Instructions say : connect black to black, white to white and ground (bare or green) together.

BUT, on my old light when I pulled it down, it has two whites that are taped together and then connected to one black wire that is screwed to the light fixture screw and two teal (possibly green) connected to light fixture screws. Any ideas?

Should I connect the two taped whites to the white wire on the new light, black to black and the two teal looking wires to the bare copper wire??? What has me confused is the two teal looking wires are connect to the old and the whites are taped together not connected.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Jayson
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:41 PM   #2
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Newbie Question about wiring ceiling light


What's your location ?

That taped termination to the white wires is not allowed. Should be a wire nut or push connector. It would appear that this is one of a series of lights (*at least two) that is switched. You should determine which wires are hot ... teal or white. My guess would be the white is neutral and the teal is your switched hot. Incidently I don't think it is two teal wires but the insulation is removed from the teal and then that bare section is wrapped around the screw. That metal box should have a grounding conductor bare or insulated green terminated to it. There is no ground connection for that type of light fixture since it is plastic. I also can not tell it if there are more wires in the box. The fixture box appears to be an octagon metal style that is set too deep from the finished surface of the drywall.. you should correct that while your at it. The teal colored wire suggests you have metal conduit with individual wires inside.

Knowledge of how to use a voltage tester would help you a great deal in your situation. You need to be certain what is hot and what is neutral before connecting your new fixture. Typically white is neutral but can be hot .. you just never know for sure how people do things that are not knowledgeable. Do not connect the teal to your bare ground !!!


Last edited by Stubbie; 11-03-2012 at 05:01 PM. Reason: OP said he had a bare grounding conductor
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:02 PM   #3
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Newbie Question about wiring ceiling light


Thank you for your reply.

I believe you are right about the teal wire only being one wire with a portion of the rubber removed. After you mentioned that, a closer look, verifies that.
On the new light fixture, which is metal, it only has a black cable, white cable, and then a bare copper grounding cable that goes from the frame to the bracket and then is suppose to be connected to the ground green or copper cable from the box, which doesn't sound like it is there. If I connect the two back cables and the three white cables, what happens with the teal if it is hot?

At the light switch, there is only a single black and white wire that goes to the box.
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:09 PM   #4
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I did a bit of editing in my last post just to be more clear. If you only have a black and white wire at the switch box then that suggests white is hot at the switch box but it may be either constant hot or switched hot. Problem is something like a junction box must be somewhere .. where the wires are spliced in order to get teal to the light fixture box.

Is there more than one light switched?

Take a picture so we can see into the ceiling metal fixture box.

Last edited by Stubbie; 11-03-2012 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:11 PM   #5
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Also, that box needs to be lower, not as high as it is. That will mean fixing that part also, before you can put back up the fixture and hook up the wiring.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for your help.

On the box there are three holes with wires. I took a picture. A white wire comes out of two of the holes and the black wire comes out of the center hole by itself and the teal wire looks like it is a single wire that goes through both holes with a piece of rubber missing from the center to connect it to the screw.

On the switch box there is only a single black and a single white - no other wires.

There is only one light switched.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:34 PM   #7
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Kill those pictures and stand back a little, and do not zoom in as if you are trying to make out a bug on the wall. As for those boxes, what was your question again. I can tell you that with the sloppy picture of the ceiling box, that the wiring needs to be properly secured, and cannot tell from the crappy picture you posted, but I would have to guess that it is too small for the number of wires in it.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:11 PM   #8
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If the light is functioning properly now, then take the two wires off the old light and connect them to the new light. It will function the same as the old one.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:21 PM   #9
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Ok Jayson

I'm about 99.9% sure how its wired. The single black wire is actually a romex carrying the black and white that goes to the switch. If you took the tape off you will see the black wire unbroken and connecting to the light fixture and the whites (3 of them) connected together. The teal wire is your neutral.

Someone messed this up pretty good ...

So what is happening is one of the whites that is not in the black romex coming from the switch is bringing power to the fixture box. One white is taking power to some other location and the white in the romex is taking constant power to the switch. The black wire in the romex is taking switched power from the wall switch to the light. Teal is your neutral. You have a conduit and romex mixed wiring method.

Pretty resourceful wiring from someone ....

If your in the USA this is not correctly using the white wires . The teal may actually be gray which can be a neutral in some cases.

Anyway to be sure ... turn the power off at the circuit breaker or fuse box .. in your case you cannot remove power from the fixture box by turning off the switch ... so take warning.

Take the tape off so we can see if it is wired the way I explained and we we go from there. You need a voltage tester to do this safely.

Last edited by Stubbie; 11-03-2012 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:27 PM   #10
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I just saw Joes post and he is as always short and to the point and correct. You will however need to get a grounding (egc) wire to your new fixture since it is metal housed.

My point here is that even though to get the new fixture working it is as simple as Joe stated there are a few safety (code) violations that need to be corrected. Understanding how the wiring is configured helps us correct those issues.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:28 PM   #11
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stubie, the switch is wired as a Switch leg. Nothing messed up about it. Just that the box in the ceiling does not have the wires secured, and probably passing power to another light or outlet.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
stubie, the switch is wired as a Switch leg. Nothing messed up about it. Just that the box in the ceiling does not have the wires secured, and probably passing power to another light or outlet.
Agreed except that my point is that white is bringing power into the light fixture box and a white is taking power somewhere else. The white in the switch loop is fine.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:25 PM   #13
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I agree that box is messed up, but unless the OP is prepared to trace the conduits and to pull new wires into the conduit this may be beyond DIY repair. The cable from the switch also needs to be properly secured to the box.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
I agree that box is messed up, but unless the OP is prepared to trace the conduits and to pull new wires into the conduit this may be beyond DIY repair. The cable from the switch also needs to be properly secured to the box.
My feelings also ....

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