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Old 11-10-2010, 05:22 PM   #1
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How to properly troubleshoot this problem?


Long story short...

We hired a company to redo the plaster on the ceiling recently. There was a fan that we planned to remove, and replace with a regular light that needed to come down anyway. I helped the contractor remove the fan since he said he'd take it. In the meantime we had two wire nuts on the exposed wiring while he completed the job.

Fast forward to yesterday where I attempted to installed a new light fixture in it's place. I got the light up, and went to the wall switch to remove the old fan control. I swapped it out with a regular switch, and got nothing.

All I had was two wires coming from the ceiling, and two at the box for the switch. Am I missing something?

I've checked the box, and all the breakers are on, and I'm not getting any power to wires that go to the box the switch was located in. The fan control also only had a two wire setup.

What could the problem be? A bad breaker at the service panel? In the meantime I've turned off that breaker just in case.

How can I troubleshoot this? I cannot easily access the wiring since the house has a second story.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:13 AM   #2
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The power is most likely coming into the ceiling box first. Get a voltage tester and see. The ceiling is the only place you did anything/disturbed right? Then it makes perfect sense that's where you should start.

Find the hot wire in the ceiling box and connect it to the black going down to the switch. Connect the white wire from the switch to the light or fan. The white wire should be remarked with tape or a black magic marker to show it's the switch leg.

Ps......Connect all whites together except for the remarked switch leg.

Last edited by J. V.; 11-11-2010 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:12 PM   #3
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... and we just caught the guy who's putting in all those [email protected]#$ backwards switch loops!

I prefer your method, J.V., and was on your side in a few arguments about such, but apparently it's actually code: the re-marked white conductor of a switch loop is the NON-switched hot.

Our way, the guy replacing the light fixture 10 years from now is presented with white and re-marked white. I don't see what the problem with this is, but the code people decided he should see white and black instead.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
Find the hot wire in the ceiling box and connect it to the black going down to the switch. Connect the white wire from the switch to the light or fan. The white wire should be remarked with tape or a black magic marker to show it's the switch leg.

Ps......Connect all whites together except for the remarked switch leg.

Wrong

You must use the black wire from the switch as the swtiched wire. You can not set it up so that two white wires are connecting to the fixture. Connect the white from the switch to the black power wire. Connect the black from the switch to the fixture black.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:25 AM   #5
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Wrong

You must use the black wire from the switch as the swtiched wire. You can not set it up so that two white wires are connecting to the fixture. Connect the white from the switch to the black power wire. Connect the black from the switch to the fixture black.
That is correct. Sorry. White hot, black switch leg.
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Old 11-12-2010, 03:40 PM   #6
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J.V. - Yes, at first all that was disturbed were the wires on the ceiling. Before I swapped out the old fan switch, I tried to turn it on to see if I could get power to the new fixture. Nothing happened, so I figured I should put in an ordinary switch, and try again. Still nothing...

That was my next step is to take the fixture down, and test the wires there. I'll let you know what I find.

One thing I forgot to mention is the wiring for this part of the house is still knob and tube. If this makes any difference...
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:39 PM   #7
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Don't ever say nob and tube....ever. when we find it in a house, it MUST come out
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by heartlessmcfly View Post
Don't ever say nob and tube....ever. when we find it in a house, it MUST come out
per whose code? It isn't an NEC requirement. Do you have local codes that require it's removal?
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:51 PM   #9
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Where i am...if we find it, it must be removed. Long island, ny
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:36 AM   #10
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per whose code? It isn't an NEC requirement. Do you have local codes that require it's removal?
Often times, it's the insurance company that requires its removal.
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