Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical


Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-07-2012, 08:54 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3
Share |

Overhead Lighting Question

Hello everyone,

I am a first time poster here on the forum, but likely not the last time. I have searched for this information, but have been unsuccessful. I am new to owning a home, and am learning all of this on the fly. With that in mind I ask you to keep answers basic for someone who does not know all that much about how this works. Thank you for your help.

The overhead light in a room in our newly purchased house does not work. I have tried changing bulbs, but that did not fix the problem. Therefore I believe that either the light fixture or the wiring must be messed up. I removed the light fixture to see the black, white, and grounding wire. Using a voltage detector, the detector light comes on when touching the black wire, but does not come on when touching the white wire. Is this what is supposed to happen, (meaning that the fixture is messed up) or is there a problem with the white wire (indicating a wiring problem)? Or am I totally off base? Thank you for your help.


WCTucker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
Licensed Electrician
k_buz's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 4,340

Overhead Lighting Question

What you are describing is normal. Does the tester only light/beep when you have the switch on? If so, it seems like the wiring is OK and I would look at the connections to the fixture. After that, I would check the little tab at the bottom of the socket is making contact with the lamp. (Turn off the breaker that controls that light, take a screwdriver and bend the tab up just a little bit).

If none of this works, you could try changing the fixture, but its is rare and incandescent fixture goes bad.

__________________________________________________ ______________
Answers based on the National Electric Code. Always check local amendments.

k_buz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2012, 09:19 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3

Overhead Lighting Question

Thanks for your help k buz.

Yes, the voltage detector lights up on the black wire when the switch is on, but it does not when it is off. It never lights up on the white wire.

I tried redoing the connections again. I have had done some overhead lighting before making those connections, without having a problem. Redoing the connections did not make the light work this time.

The other part of your answer I found a little confusing. What I think you mean is that the tab at the bottom of the fixture where the light bulb attaches may have been compressed and by pulling it up, good contact can be made. (I'm thinking that is what you meant). I tried doing this as well, but alas once again it did not work.

It looks like I'm making a trip to Lowe's tomorrow to see about a fixture, unless anyone else has any other suggestions. I'll let you know how it goes.

WCTucker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2012, 11:18 PM   #4
Licensed electrician
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 7,570

Overhead Lighting Question

You may also want to pick up an Ideal Vol-con tester. It willbe more helpful than the non-contact tester.
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
Jim Port is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 12:29 PM   #5
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3

Overhead Lighting Question

Bought and installed a new fixture, did not fix the problem. Knowing that i have limited experience in these matters, should my next step be to call an electrician, or to get that ideal vol-con tester (or would a multimeter work?). I saw the vol-con tester at lowe's today, but I did not get it as I hoped the problem was the fixture.
WCTucker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 06:46 PM   #6
Electrical Contractor
kbsparky's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,368

Overhead Lighting Question

Sounds like a loose/bad neutral (white) wire.

Check the connections in the switch box for a loose wirenut.


Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to kbsparky For This Useful Post:
andrew79 (07-08-2012)

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lighting question Laxguy83 Electrical 7 05-16-2012 01:56 PM
Upgrade Svc., Overhead; Bill vs. Estimate Question Rpsjr Electrical 6 04-22-2012 03:15 AM
Lighting Controller Timing Installation question roidrage152 Electrical 1 12-02-2011 01:53 PM
Recessed Lighting Noob Install Question?? help! windycitystyle Electrical 1 01-20-2010 11:53 AM
Overhead lighting Run to lights first then switches, 14/3 to both switches? twilightcall Electrical 4 07-10-2008 04:18 PM

Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.