Kitchen Pendant light junction box wire colors?


Old 11-09-04, 09:17 PM
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Kitchen Pendant light junction box wire colors?

Hello, First off I'm in the USA and my home was built in 1999.
I just removed my old lighthing fixture (not a fan nor does the new fixture have a fan) that was in my kitchen above the kitchen table. Of course, as many have done, I didn't make note of the previous connections which on the old fixture didn't have colored wires. It looked like a light greenish almost cord like wire that was splite down the middle so you would have two ends that would connect to the junction box. Now there was no black or white wires from old fixture. The ceiling junction box is like this:
Black wire-Wire nut on it and looks like it was never used on previous fixture
White wire-I would say was connected to the old fixture.
Red wire-I believe it was a player in the last connection being that the black was capped off already and white and red seem to be the only two that had a connection.
I'm thrown off by the red being that when you buy a new light they say connect the white with white and the black with black.
I do also see that I took off three wire nuts somehow. Oh and I have a copper ground from the junction box and the new light does have a ground wire also.
So new fixture has white, black and ground wires.
Junction box had white, red, black and ground.
The big question i'm getting at is does the white from new fixture go to white in junction box and does the black from new fixture go to red in junction box? What the worst that can happen if I connect this way? The light wont work? I would appreciate any of your expert answers.
Please let me know if you need any more info as I would like to complete this normally easy project some time this week. Oh and another question is also how far down this fixture hangs. Is it normally adjustable without a chain hanging down? I only have the cable coming up from the light to ceiling.

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Old 11-09-04, 09:30 PM
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Based on your description, I would connect just as you said. Fixture black wire to box red wire, fixture white to box white, and fixture ground to box ground.

In newer construction, it is common to use 3 conductor romex in ceiling light boxes, to allow for separate light and fan switching. I would bet that in the switch box that controls this light, you would see the other end of that capped off black wire from the ceiling box.

As far as the chain length, sometimes you can bend the links and remove them. Hard to advise without seeing the fixture.

Good luck with your project.
Old 11-10-04, 07:41 AM
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Yes indeed. White to white, and black to red.
Old 11-10-04, 10:35 AM
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Pendant Light Wire Colors

Thanks guys! I'll give it a try. I guess the black wire that's capped off in junction box is not of any use in this project. That's good to know. That's where the confusion came from being they say put white to white and black to black. Thanks for clarifying this.
As for the fixture length, the light doesn't have any chains. It's just a cable coming down. Maybe I can pull more lenght up into the junction box. I'll see.
I'll post back to let you know the results.
Old 11-10-04, 10:56 AM
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Tha black wire is quite possibly always hot, while the red wire is switched.
Old 11-15-04, 08:58 AM
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Kitchen Pendant Light Wires

Thanks guys! I put the light up yesterday and it does work.
I have a question about the cables that come from the junction box. They are much harder and tougher to bend than the fixure wires. I wire nutted them together before I stuffed them back up into junction box, tested light before stuffing and it worked. Turned power off again when stuffing back up and when I did the wire nut from the white came undone. Is there such a thing as tightening a wire nut too much? I thought I had it tight. I of course redid it and it seems ok now. I wonder though, what is a wire does come out in the junction box? What's the worst thing that can happen? Will the breaker trip? Will there be a fire danger?
Just curious on what can happen in such a situation.

Thanks again!
Old 11-15-04, 09:28 AM
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If a wire nut ever comes loose, throw it away and use a brand new one.

I suppose there is such a thing as tightening a wire nut too much, but that would be pretty darn tight.

If a wire nut comes loose, it could cause almost anything. Could cause an open circuit, in which things would stop working. Could cause a poor connection, in which high resistance creates heat and increase fire risk. Could cause a short, in which case the breaker should trip. Could cause the case of the device to become energized shocking the next person to touch it. In general, it's bad news all the way around.
Old 11-15-04, 12:17 PM
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Thanks for info. Wow, I guess lots can happen. I guess with the ground wires connected together that's an added protection. I do have those to ground screw. I think i better re-check my connections to make sure that I have enough wire stripped from the fixture and make sure enough is wrappred around the house wire. I can also use electrical tape at end of the wire nut connection from what I know to hold it in better. Is that a good idea?

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