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Old 08-15-2011, 12:00 PM   #1
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Replacement of old light fixture


I am trying to replace an old fluorescent light with a newer wall mounted vanity light in my kitchen. The house electrical system is still partially knob and tube. After disconnecting the old fluorescent light, I found only two cables coming from the wall (no ground). They were both black. I tested them both to find which one was the hot wire using a simple voltage tester (black pin to one of the wires in the wall, red pin to the ground in a nearby outlet), and I found that both wires seemed to be hot.
I do not expect this to be a 220V circuit (the fluorescent light I removed was a 120V fixture, and the kitchen is not on a 220V circuit breaker. The only 220 breakers are for the air conditioner and for the dryer).
Could I have made a mistake checking if the wires were hot? Should I buy a voltmeter and measure the exact voltage of the two wires? Any other suggestions?
Thank you,

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Old 08-15-2011, 12:15 PM   #2
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Replacement of old light fixture


What exactly are you trying to achieve, besides making sure that the circuit is dead. With Knob and Tube, I personally do not mess with it, and if anything, do not touch it with a ten foot pole. That is why I am glad that our home, when we purchased it in 2003, had BX.

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Old 08-15-2011, 06:32 PM   #3
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Replacement of old light fixture


Do not rely solely on the simple voltage testers,
Most electricains will tell you they can give false readings.
Instead use a anologue style volt meter,
Or a good old simple test lamp,
If a lamp lights up when connectted to these two wires,
Then thats confirmation it is working.
You should consider installing an earth
if the new fitting has any metal.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:20 PM   #4
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Replacement of old light fixture


Thanks dmxtothemax!

I am about to buy a voltmeter and i will test it again,

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Old 08-16-2011, 07:21 PM   #5
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Replacement of old light fixture


If you buy a volt meter,
make sure it is a anologue style type
with a low impedance input.
DO NOT BUY CHEAP DIGITAL,
as they have a high impedance input.
Which is were the problem lies.
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