Ceiling light fixture

Old 01-29-03, 06:35 AM
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Lightbulb Ceiling light fixture

I am trying to replace a ceiling light fixture, and I am having a few problems.

1) Upon removal of the existing chandelier, I noticed that there is no junction box. Instead, there is just a mounting strap attached to the floor above with wood screws. Should this be a huge concern? the light I am hanging is considerably lighter than the existing light...but it seems odd to have the wiring connections just'up there" and not in a box. If I need a junction box, I can see no way of getting one in there, because the room above is finished space.

2) The wiring isold copper with black cloth...and there is no grounding wire present. Now, this worries me because the ground wire from the fixture attaches to the mounting strap. But it seems to me that, if there is a fault somewhere in the wiring, current will be flowing through the fixture...which is metal. The old fixture was wired in this manner and did not have any problems, but is this safe? If not, what are my options? Running new cable seems to a major undertaking...as the circuit contains ceiling fixtures in 4 rooms spread out over 2 floors...all finished space.

3) The last question is relevant only if the first two are solvable. When I pulled the old fixture out, I could find no indications of which wire is the hot. So, now I have two black wires hanging from the ceiling and I have no idea which one is hot. I tried using a little neon tester, but I didn't have a good ground to put one of the ends on...so the test told me nothing.

I thought this would be an easy project, but now it looks pretty involved. Thanks in advance for any help from the forum.

Old 01-29-03, 06:44 AM
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(1) All connections must be in a box. You can probably install a pancake box directly to the joist.

(2) You'll probably have to install this without grounding (unless you really want to add a new grounding wire back to the panel). Yes, it's not as safe, but you won't be in physical contact with a ceiling fixture much anyway. It's as safe as all 1950's wiring was.

(3) A $15 "tick" tester at Home Depot will easily allow you to tell which one is hot. And it's fun to boot!

If your new fixture says that it requires 90-degree wiring (likely), then you've got other problems. Look for this warning and post back.
Old 01-29-03, 06:54 AM
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Thank you John! I will check for the 90 degree warning and let you know.

With the pancake box, do I just knock out enough plaster for the box to fit? Also, I assume this can be done from below the ceiling, correct?

If I am going to install the fixture without the ground wire, I just snip that wire at the fixture end, right? Or, is it best to just attach that wire to the mounting strip?

Again, I thank you.


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