3 Wire Chandelier

Old 11-22-00, 04:06 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Red face

I am replacing our dining room chandelier. The problem is the old one has three wires going into it (all the way down the chain and inside the chandelier). My house is 90 yrs old and no way is one of these a ground. I can't tell if there are any more wires in the ceiling besides the three that exit for the light fixture. There are other outlets in the room, and all are active with the light fixture removed. It also appears that there is a second switch for the light that has been disconnected. I will probably end up taking apart the chandelier to see what happens with the three wires (the light bulb sockets use only two wires). Just wondering what the deal is with the three separate wires.
Old 11-22-00, 05:16 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a

My guess is that two of the wires are electrical, and one is structural.
Old 11-22-00, 05:49 PM
BoatMech's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Los angeles
Posts: 572
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts

John Nelson is right. When a fixture is rather heavy the manufacturer will often install a steel support wire to help hang the wieght of the fixture. Also some fixtures as you discribe have the fixture wired half and half. You mentioned a second switch that was deactivated. This fixture may have one switch that turned on 1/2 the lights of the fixture and another switch that turned on the second half of the fixture. This was common wiring design before dimmers were broght into the industry.

Good Luck

Old 11-22-00, 07:30 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a

Thanks for the responses. I disassembled the light and the third wire did nothing; it just had black tape on the end way down inside the chandelier. The odd thing about this whole thing is that all three wires are the same - gold fabric sheathed electrical wire. Not only that, but there is a third wire coming out of the ceiling that appears to be original to the house (old-style brittle sheathing) just like the other two wires. All three wires were spliced in and black-taped! I doubt it was for structural support as the chandelier has a heavy chain.

Anyway, I labled the wires before I cut them and took the chandelier down and used a meter to determine which wires were needed and capped the third wire at the ceiling. I put up the new fixture and all is well.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: