Light fixture problem -installing gone wrong

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  #1  
Old 02-19-07, 08:17 AM
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Unhappy Light fixture problem -installing gone wrong

I'm trying to install a new light fixture in my basement. The old fixture was a single light bulb fixture. I removed the old fixture - and unfortunately didn't tape the wires for id purposes. As I installed the new fixture - I did white to white..black to black. As I now had more wires since it was a two fixture light vice the earlier one light, I pulled out additional wires that were in the box to do this thinking that I had to attach a black from each of the light bulbs to a separate black in the box and same w/white. I turned it on...one light bulb worked, the second didn't. AND...the light switch didn't work to turn the light on/off. I guess I connected too many wires together and connected the light switch wires to the fixture. So...

1. a little late to ask this now..but can I replace a one light bulb fixture w/a two light bulb fixture with the existing wiring?

2. Now that I've messed up and confused all the wires....how do I know which wires go for the light switch and which wires go to the fixture?

3. Finally, the wires to the fixture were attached only w/tape. Everything says to use wire nuts - just out of curiosity - does it matter?

Advice and suggestions would be welcome. Thank you.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-19-07, 08:25 AM
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1. Of course.

2. You are going to have to figure this out by one of many ways. Follow the wires, look at the wiring at the switch, use an analog meter or two wire tester, etc. Or call an electrician.

3. Tape is not an approved method. Wire nuts are needed.
 
  #3  
Old 02-19-07, 09:05 AM
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Thanks Bob. I was afraid I was going to have to keep trying and that there was no easy answer. One last question for you...the two black wires that are coming from the light fixture (one from each bulb)...do I wire them together and then wire those two joined wired to ONE wire in the ceiling light fixture box? Or, does each of the wires from the bulb need to attach to a separate wire in the ceiling fixture box?
 
  #4  
Old 02-19-07, 09:12 AM
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The two black wires from the light fixture are wired together and then treated the same as if they were just one black wire. Same for the white wires.

So the answer to your either/or is your first statement.
 
  #5  
Old 02-19-07, 09:17 AM
jn
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Connect the 2 black wires going to the 2 new lights to the 1 black wire that is in the box and was connected to the black going to the old light. Connect all 3 of these wires in 1 wirenut.

Connect the 2 white wires going to the 2 new lights to the 1 white wire that was connected to the white going to the old light. Connect all 3 of these wires in 1 wirenut.

Put the other wires you pulled out of the box back the way they were.

Nothing should be just taped, all connections should be wirenutted.
 
  #6  
Old 02-19-07, 02:54 PM
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OK..I'm still working on this. I've now been able to Identify the two lines that work the light. So the light goes one. BUT...the light switch won't turn it on/off. After I got the light wiring, it left two black wires and two white wires which I assume are for the light switches (two switches control this light._) So...I wired the two blacks together and the two whites together..but the light switches still aren't working. What am I doing wrong. I've spent so much time on this 'easy' task I hate to throw in the towel now and call the electrician! Suggestions??
 
  #7  
Old 02-19-07, 04:45 PM
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Exactly what do you have coming into the box? It sounds like 3 sets of wires. Is it a 3 way switch (one light controlled by 2 different switches at opposite ends of the room)?

Without more info, it sounds like you have power coming into the box at the light. The other 2 sets of wires are the loop through the switch - 1 set goes to the switch and another set returns from the switch. It also sounds like you know which wire is hot, since you were able to light the fixture.

Shut the breaker off. Mark with tape the black wire (B1) you had connected to the new light fixture and connect it to one of the other black wires from the switch loop (b2). Connect the white (W1) to W2. Take the black wire that is left and connect it to the new fixture black wires. Connect W3 to the white wires on the new fixture.

This should work. Since you will be guessing which wire goes to the switch and which one returns, the switch may work opposite (up may be off, down may be on). If so, just reverse the 2 black wires at the switch.
 
  #8  
Old 02-19-07, 05:34 PM
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Most likely one of those other sets of wires provides power to some other area of the house, and the other set is a switch loop.

Tell us the wiring at the switches and we will go from there.

As an alternative, buy and read a book on wiring or at least google the term "switch loop" so you learn what a switch loop is and how one is wired. You really should not have been attempting this project without this knowledge anyway.
 
  #9  
Old 02-19-07, 07:33 PM
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I've spent so much time on this 'easy' task I hate to throw in the towel now and call the electrician! Suggestions??


Pay attention next time. ( I mean that nicely and respectfully).

The electrician could have been in and out in less than 20 min. Pay them for an hour (min)... everyone is happy.

I admire your desire. Good luck and keep us posted.

Please be carefull!!!!
 
  #10  
Old 02-19-07, 07:56 PM
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Believe it or not, I did research before I started this project. But unfortunately, often you don't know what you don't know until you get stuck.

I have a light with a four-way switch - three separate switches can be used to turn my light on/off. At the light fixture box in the ceiling, I have three cable junctions coming in - two with a black, a white and a ground wire and one with just a black and white wire. So..in total, I have three black, three white and two grounds. The ground are already twisted together. I have identified the one black wire that is hot. And that's where I'm stuck.

I've reviewed numerous wiring diagrams, but mostly three way is available. I don't have red travelers in my ceiling fixture. The few four-way diagrams I've found have only three wires at the light fixture - one white, one black and one ground.

I have tried numerous combinations but can only manage to get the light to work via the circuit breaker - the light switches can turn it on/off. I just have to get the right combo - but in reviewing the diagrams and research it seems like it could be white/black, white/white, black/black and then white/white to white on light fixture and black/black to black on light fixture...or all three black together to black on light fixture and all three white together to white on light fixture, etc.
 
  #11  
Old 02-19-07, 08:14 PM
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STOP- Take a deep breath,sit down and relax.

I have a light with a four-way switch - three separate switches can be used to turn my light on/off. At the light fixture box in the ceiling, I have three cable junctions coming in - two with a black, a white and a ground wire and one with just a black and white wire. So..in total, I have three black, three white and two grounds. The ground are already twisted together. I have identified the one black wire that is hot. And that's where I'm stuck.#


How did you identify the "hot" black? Did you chck this with the white in the same cable (perhaps the neutral). Try this.

With all these wires disconnected, what else does NOT work?
 
  #12  
Old 02-20-07, 04:02 AM
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Don't worry, I took a very deep breath...I went to bed after that posting.

I found the hot wire by using a tester. If it I touch that one black wire to two (one at a time) of the white wires, I got a strong signal on the tester. If I touch that black wire to the third white wire, I got a much weaker glow on the tester. Touching the other black wires in any combo - to whites, ground, etc - I get no glow on the tester. And I tested it the other way - to see if one of my whites was coded hot as seen in some three-way switch diagrams. But no combo with whites (white/white or white/black) seemed to give me a glow.

Maybe that's not the right definition of a 'hot' wire - but that's what I meant - the only wire that made the tester glow in any combo w/the white wires.
 
  #13  
Old 02-20-07, 05:15 AM
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As I said earlier, you most likely have power coming in on two wires, power going out to somewhere else in the house in two wires, and a switch loop.

I will be happy to tell you how to proceed, but first I want you to confirm this by telling me the wiring at the other switches. Tell me in complete detail.

I also want you to confirm that two of the wires power other portions of the house. Check the other items on the circuit and verify that with all the wires connected as they are these items work, and with all the wires disconnected that they do not work. This will also help you identify which pair of wires feeds the rest of the circuit.

Assuming I am correct about what you have, the wiring is trivial. We could have, and should have been done by now. You need to do your part.
 
  #14  
Old 02-20-07, 11:29 AM
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a FOUR-WAY setup? That's a horse of a different color, and much more complex for an amateur like you or me.

Complicating factors:

1) Even leaving out the use of X-10 receiver and slave switch technology, these are more complex than a simple single toggle switch-single light setup.

2) There is more than one correct wiring configuration for a three-way or four-way setup, check here: http://www.act-solutions.com/kingery07.htm

3) Wires connected to switches using standard Romes may be using the white wire as a hot rather than a neutral, If done right it will be wrapped with electrical tape, or marked some other way, to redesignate it as hot, both at the switch and the other end at the fixture junction box. But there's no guarantee that whoever installed it did this. Don't assume that a wire must be a neutral just because it's white.

You are going to have to sort out how this was set up to begin with, in order to see which wires to connect to your new fixtures.
 
  #15  
Old 03-04-07, 07:19 AM
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I got it. Once I figured out which wires were for the four-way, which was the hot black and which was the white to the fixture it all came together. Thanks for everyone's help.
 
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