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Old 06-15-2011, 04:06 PM   #1
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Replace light switch


I need to replace a light switch with the right color. I pulled out the old switch and found one wire not connected and can't figure out how to reconnect. The light fixture is a fluorescent kitchen light and the wire supplying that is actually the cord and not romex.

3 wires total coming into the box. 2 are romex and 1 is the light fixture cord. The blacks from the romex are connected to the brass screws and the two whites are tied together. The cord from the fixture is just a typical white cord with the plug cut off with two wires. One of them is connected to one of the brass screws with one of the blacks. The other is just free and I think it disconnected from something when I pulled out the old switch.

Advice appreciated.

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:26 PM   #2
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Replace light switch


It should connect to the white wires.

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:45 PM   #3
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Replace light switch


I tried that but when I turned the breaker back on it sparked and shut the breaker back off. Maybe I missed something.
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:49 PM   #4
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Replace light switch


We might need pics.

Without a neutral connection, the light will not work.
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:53 PM   #5
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Replace light switch


Here is one.
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:55 PM   #6
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Replace light switch


One, you can't have 2 wires under one screw.
Two, zip cord is not allowed to be install inside a wall like that.

What else does the switch turn on besides the light fixture?
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:01 PM   #7
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Replace light switch


Doesn't turn anything else on. Assuming the cord was proper romex should I do pigtails instead?
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:24 PM   #8
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This seems to be working. Can I just cap the free wire from the fixture?
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:38 PM   #9
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Replace light switch


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The light fixture is a fluorescent kitchen light and the wire supplying that is actually the cord and not romex...
...The cord from the fixture is just a typical white cord with the plug cut off with two wires...
Ummm...what you have here is a non-compliant set-up. Can't use cord(s) in place of the fixed wiring.

The light fixture should have a proper box mounted for it to attach to, and a proper cable fished down to the switch box.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:42 PM   #10
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Replace light switch


Ok. So when I fish a new wire will it connect like I have it here, other than connecting the ground? So can I directly connect the fixture to the new romex rather than install an outlet in the ceiling?
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:05 PM   #11
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Replace light switch


If it is working then I would say the zip cord goes somewhere other than the fixture. Disconnect the one lead from the zip and pull it out of the box.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:10 PM   #12
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If it is working then I would say the zip cord goes somewhere other than the fixture. Disconnect the one lead from the zip and pull it out of the box.
I'm wondering if someone used the cord because the black of the original romex is bad.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:11 PM   #13
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Replace light switch


(Referencing your 2nd photo) If you are saying the light is now working, something is wrong, and possibly serious.
The cord being connected to the 2 blacks should send power up to the light. The cord wire that isnít hooked up should be the return back down, and normally would be hooked to the neutrals (the white ones with the yellow wirenut), assuming that cord was even wired to the light correctly. If the light is working without that free end of the cord hooked up, the light is getting its return path some other way, and could be dangerous.
Iíd shut the breaker off (verify the correct one) and open up the light fixture to see whatís going on inside there. Be aware there still could be power present at that light via a different circuit.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:15 PM   #14
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Replace light switch


Here is a picture of the light. Perhaps whoever installed it just used the cord that came with it? I tested the cord and when only one if the sides if the rip cord was connected nothing happened but when I touched the other side to the other black it lit up.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Ok. So when I fish a new wire will it connect like I have it here, other than connecting the ground?
A switch box that has a feed cable in and a load cable out would be connected like your cables already are, minus the zip cord.

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So can I directly connect the fixture to the new romex rather than install an outlet in the ceiling?
Possibly, depends if the fixture is made to allow direct wiring. If you get it opened up so we can see the 'guts' and post a picture, we might be able to tell if it can be direct wired.

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