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Old 12-31-2010, 09:07 AM   #1
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Replacing a Light Fixture with many wires


I am new to the site and new to owning a home. I am trying to replace a light fixture in my dining room. I took the old fixture off and made note of how it was wired. However, when I tried to wire my new fixture in a similar fashion, it did not work. There are three sets of wires coming into the box in the ceiling where the fixture gets mounted. Each set of wires has a hot(black), neutral (white), and a ground (bare) which gives me a total of 9 wires coming out of the ceiling.

When the breaker is on, there is one "hot" line and the other two have no power. I have tried many combinations but I have not been able to get all three switches working properly at the same time. The dining room light (where the new fixture is being installed) will either not work at all, or will stay on and will not respond to the switch.

There are three independent switches on this circuit. There are no outlets and none of the switches are three-way. I do not know how to wire this properly so my new fixture, as well as the other two switches on the circuit, work properly. I realize the power needs to somehow be jumped, I just can't wrap my brain around it! Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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Old 12-31-2010, 09:22 AM   #2
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Replacing a Light Fixture with many wires


How was the old light wired?

In your description, you can disregard the equipment ground (bare conductor). Just focus on the black and white wires.

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Old 12-31-2010, 09:35 AM   #3
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Replacing a Light Fixture with many wires


The old light did not have identifying colors on the wires. There were just two wires coming out of the top of it. It had one wire tied into two hots and neutral and the other wire was capped with two neutrals and a hot. I tried to duplicate this, but it was unsuccessful. Thanks for replying!
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:07 AM   #4
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Replacing a Light Fixture with many wires


Take a picture and post. What you may have, is the hot coming in, and then feeding a outlet downstream, and a "Switch leg". That means that the white on the switch should have been taped with Electrical tape to identify it as a "Hot". Go to the switch on the wall, look at the wiring. Then go find the dead outlet, and look at the wiring. If it was wired properly, you would have the Black tied to the White going to the switch, the black from the switch to the light. Then the White from the light tied to the White on the feed. For the outlet, it would be wired black to black, white to white. Grounds should all be tied together, with the box & light tied also into it.

There are also testers called "tone testers" that you clip to a dead circuit, and then use a remote device to hear the signal to help determine where wiring runs.

Go pick up Black & Decker's "Complete guide to home wiring". It has some really good diagrams of wiring for switches, outlets, etc. there are also some diagrams that Stubby has linked at the top of this forum.
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:08 AM   #5
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Replacing a Light Fixture with many wires


What you have is power in, power out and a switch loop. You did not have a neutral spliced to the blacks. This was part of a switch loop.

You will need to identify which cable goes to the switch. The white from this cable will splice to the other 2 blacks. The fixture white will splice to the other 2 whites. The fixture black will splice to the black in the cable with the white that goes to the switch.
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:36 AM   #6
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Replacing a Light Fixture with many wires


I have to ask why do you take apart all the wires? You probably thought you needed to fix the problem when you saw a white and a black connected together. You only needed to disconnect the two wires connected to the fixture.
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Last edited by joed; 12-31-2010 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:17 AM   #7
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Replacing a Light Fixture with many wires


This is why homes burn down, when people do not know what they are doing. Electricity is nothing to mess with. Worked around High amp/high volt ship to Shore when I was in the Navy, and I can tell you, that it is no fun when those lines catch on fire, because the shipyard did not take care to make sure that the outer rubber did not get damaged.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:37 AM   #8
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Replacing a Light Fixture with many wires


Thanks Jim! Power in, power out, and a switch! Everything works perfectly now, can't thank you enough.

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