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Old 07-07-2012, 08:54 PM   #1
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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.

-Wil

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Old 07-07-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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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.

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Old 07-07-2012, 09:19 PM   #3
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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.

Thanks,
-Wil
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:18 PM   #4
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Overhead Lighting Question


You may also want to pick up an Ideal Vol-con tester. It willbe more helpful than the non-contact tester.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:29 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 07-08-2012, 06:46 PM   #6
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Sounds like a loose/bad neutral (white) wire.

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

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