DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

light fixture wiring

908 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  AllanJ
In this old house and renovated probably in the 70s, I was changing a ceiling light, but something didn't feel right.
The ceiling round box has 2 cables, both are 14-2 BX. One black wire is live-it goes dead when breaker is flipped off. Other black wire is dead. White wires are twisted and capped. The wires don't have any corrosion and insulation is in good shape.
At the switch, there are black and white wires. Both are dead with the breaker on.
The light fixture has 2 wires and a bare, braided copper (16 ga?). One was tied to the live wire and the other to the dead. Bare wire was on the ceiling box screw.
It looks like this fixture was wired so that the switch is on the neutral side. That is, by closing and opening the path on the neutral side, the bulb was turned on and off. This means the fixture was energized all the time.
Did I reason it right? Is it ok to use it with the fixture energized with the swtich in the off position? Feels like the new rules would ban this.
How to fix?
1. tie the live and dead black wires together in the ceiling box - take the power to the switch.
2. disconnect white wires in the ceiling box. One of them now becomes power feed wire from the switch (I'll mark it).
3. connect light fixture neutral to the neutral.
Is this good? I will check the continuity from the ceiling wire to the switch wire.
Thanks in advance.
1 - 2 of 6 Posts
Thank you for the reply. This is a din room light that hangs down on a chain. The fixture wires have clear insulation. I didn't id which was power and which was neutral, but I think these can be reversed although I try to id them.
One was connected (twisted and capped) to the live black wire. The other fixture wire was connected to the dead black wire. White wires were tied together. The switch box has one BX cable, black and white to single pole switch. I am assuming the switch box cable goes to the ceiling box, but it looks like a safe assumption. The light was working and this is the only switch for the light.
Again, though, asking here brought up enough words for me to google the question. Although most of the postings were about neutral wires in a switch box, I saw one discussion asking exactly my problem. I guess some switches were installed on a neutral line. Answers were that this is not allowed under the code, and that this can electrocute people unaware that the parts of the fixture are live even when they turn the switch off - such as when changing the bulb.
I plan to put the new light as is, we need the light today. As soon as I can, I will reconfigure the connections so that the power goes to the switch, not to the fixture.
If you would, how do I id such connections with 3 way switches?
Whoever did the work, it's interesting. Two separate bedroom lights have 3 way switches used as single pole switches. Some outlets are ground hole up and some are down. I can't guess if the installer knew exactly what he was doing or not.:smile:
See less See more
1 - 2 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.