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Old 12-29-2011, 09:16 AM   #1
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Problems with installing new ceiling light.


This is my first post so please be kind.

My wife and I purchased a track light fixture yesterday to replace the ceiling light in our kitchen. From the box in the ceiling we have 3 sets of black and white wires. Two blacks had been wound around each other with a third that was solitary. Two whites had been wound around each other with a third that was solitary. The new lighting fixture has one white, one black, and a ground.

I have tried some combinations and can't seem to get it figured out.

1.) I connected the two black wires that were wound around each other to the black of the fixture and did the same for the white (connected the two white ones wound together to the white of the fixture), and I then connected the solitary white to the solitary black. The result was that the fixture got constant power but would not turn off with the wall switch.

2. I connected the solitary black and white in box to corresponding wires in fixture and capped off the two sets of wound together black and whites and ended up with no power going to the light.

3. I connected all 3 blacks in box to black on fixture and all three whites to white on fixture. This resulted again in a fixture with power but could not be switched off with the wall switch.

The previous fixture was just a two 60 watt bulb light (no fan or anything).

I'm guessing my biggest mistake was not paying enough attention to the existing setup when I took it down but I haven't perfected my time machine yet, so I am wondering if anyone has any ideas. I am clearly clueless when it comes to electrical but feel like I am of at least moderate intelligence and should be able to do this without needing a costly professional to come by for a simple fixture installation. Any ideas? I can post pics when I get home from work if that would be helpful.

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Old 12-29-2011, 09:28 AM   #2
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Problems with installing new ceiling light.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcpiebald View Post
I'm guessing my biggest mistake was not paying enough attention to the existing setup when I took it down but I haven't perfected my time machine yet, so I am wondering if anyone has any ideas.
Keep a camera handy in the future too.

Quote:
I am clearly clueless when it comes to electrical <-- yep

...but feel like I am of at least moderate intelligence and should be able to do this without needing a costly professional to come by for a simple fixture installation.
What you're dealing with now is NOT fixture installation.
Your problem is "rough in" wiring that now needs to be fixed.
After it's fixed... you can get back to that "simple fixture installation" thing.

Quote:
Any ideas?
Beyond learning some of the elementary basics of residential wiring?

Invite your handiest neighbor over, the one who owns some electrical meters, to help you identify what you have up there:
1) which of those is the "feed" (always hot; fed from the breaker)
2) which of those is/are the "feed through"
(extend that always hot to other light fixtures)
3) which of those is/are the "switch leg"
(goes down to the switch that controls the light).

Once each set of wires is identified... the rest of the job of getting that "rough in" wiring back to where it should be... should be straightforward.
Be REAL careful when checking live wires.

hth


Last edited by TarheelTerp; 12-29-2011 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:06 PM   #3
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Problems with installing new ceiling light.


Not sure what the lone black and white wires were doing. Were they wire nutted or taped by themselves? Is it possible they used to go to another fixture that was removed? If they were not spliced together originally you should probably leave them that way.But for sure get a meter and I.D. all wires. Make sure power is off and get a helper as suggested.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:14 PM   #4
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Problems with installing new ceiling light.


Thank you both very much for your responses, as they have led me to educating myself on the issue further. I am a new homeowner and enjoy learning the basic home maintanence skills. I have done some research and will test and identify the wires when I get home. In addition, I have another fixture on the ceiling on the other side of the kitchen that I can perhaps use as a reference. Thanks again.
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