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Replacing wall light.

1964 Views 5 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  schnitz411
Hi all-
Hoope you can help me with what I think is a pretty simple thing I can't get figured out.

I have a switch that controls a wall receptable (for a sconce). Prior installation was messy and frankly I forgot to make careful notes about what was what.

Now I am having trouble getting the new one connected correctly.

It's a simple two-way switch arrangement, and there are other things farther down the circuit I am pretty sure.

Attached are the images of the receptacle and switch diagrams.

On the diagram I used purple instead of white for clarity.

However, the inside of the box and wiring is filthy and it looks like there was some paint at some point, so I really can't tell the difference between white and black (red at least teh red shows through the crap clearly).
There are also ground wires which I omitted from diagram.

The lighting fixture has black and white wires.


Thanks for the assist!


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1 - What exactly does "the new one" refer to? The switch, receptacle, light fixture, or all 3? What did you change?

2 - If I am reading your post correctly, the light fixture plugs into a receptacle and isn't hard wired. Or are you talking about a different fixture than the sconce?

3 - Before you changed anything, was the top half of the receptacle unswitched and the bottom half switched?

4 - Turn off the power, remove the switch and receptacle. Undo all connections and seperate all the wires, and write down how many sets of wires each box contains and what color wires belong to each set (eg switch box - 2 sets - set 1 - black, white, bare - set 2 - black, red, white, bare). Post the results.

5 - If you have a meter and feel comfortable doing so, turn the power back on and test to find the feed by touching the bare ground with one probe and each of the other wires for the corresponding set with the other probe. When done, shut the power back off and cap each wire with a wirenut.
Apologize for lack of clarity and confusion of terms. To clarify:

"new one" is the new sconce, a hard-wire fixture replacing a different hard-wire fixture. It's just the receptacle where I am putting the actual hard-wired fixture and the switch that controls it. There are no outlets involved. The fixture just turned on/off by the switch.

The diagram attached/below from the first post has my wire sets in both locations, and here is a written version in case you can't see the attachment from before.

If you did it "by set" with the switch totally removed it would be
Two sets:
set 1: white, black, red, bare
set 2: black, white, bare

[this part I haven't taken apart...its how it was]: 1 red (connected to the top of the switch); 2 white (coming out of different sides of the box and joined by a wirenut and not going to the switch -- just in and out of the box); 2 black (also coming out of different sides of the box and joined by a wirenut together to a third black wire that goes to the bottom screw of the switch)

2 sets
set 1: white, black, red, bare
set 2: white, black, bare
(the bare actually looks like it comes out of one set and into the other (no nuts))
(also because of the filthy nature of the box/wires, I am not 100% sure which of black and white is which)

My meter is a "no contact meter" which I realize was a poor choice now for this application, as it reads a current if anything within an inch or two is live, which makes it pretty useless for figuring out which wire in the box is live and which isnt.
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Give this a try - red wire to the black wire on the light fixture, white to white, bare to green/ground screw


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had a question but nevermind you answered it when I re-read
Worked like a charm.
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