How do I connect wires on multi-light fixture

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  #1  
Old 03-17-07, 09:47 PM
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How do I connect wires on multi-light fixture

I have a new fixture that has 5 wires coming out of it. 2 Blacks, 2 Whites, and 1 Copper

The light box I'm installing it into has 9 wires. 4 Blacks, 4 whites, and 1 copper.

I tried installing it by connecting 5 capped connections.
-1 black to 1 black
-1 black to 1 black
-1 white to 1 white
-1 white to 1 white
-1 copper to 1 copper

The remaining 2 blacks were grouped and capped
The remaining 2 whites were grouped and capped

When I turned it on, however, nothing happened.
What gives? What did I do wrong?

When I removed the old fixture, I think the extra cords were grouped in some fashion, but I can't remember how. Does that have something to do with it?
 
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  #2  
Old 03-17-07, 11:05 PM
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It has a lot to do with it. Anytime you remove fixtures or devices, you should diagram and label all wires.

Unless you can determine how the conductors connect, it becomes a guessing game - which I don't recommend.

It may be time to consider calling a pro who can trace the connections.
 
  #3  
Old 03-17-07, 11:42 PM
ddr
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Rdn2113 is absolutely correct: not knowing what wires connect where is right at the heart of the matter. In addition, it was dangerous to just join wires together and power them up without knowing what they are for; the only one you got right for sure was connecting the bare coppers (grounding wires). Iím surprised you didnít trip a breaker. (If, by the way, the breaker is still on, I would shut it immediately until you get assistance.)

Personally, I feel you should get an electrician in (no offense, but you donít seem to have enough electrical experience to trace circuits). In addition, unless the ceiling box is a deep one, 8 current carrying conductors sounds a little cramped, even with 14 AWG wires; an electrician can make sure the box is wired safely to code.

If you plan on going ahead and doing it yourself, at least post back before doing anything else and describe what type of box the wires are in (metal or plastic), the type of cable (nonmetallic [Romex] or metallic) and how the wires enter the box (at four places with two wires each, etc.). It would help if you can tell us the depth of the box and its width; as I said, eight wires sounds a little cramped.

Once you reply with this information, we can better assess your situation and either talk you through it or suggest getting a pro in if it sounds like you need it.
 
  #4  
Old 03-18-07, 06:02 AM
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You should not have undone any wires except those that were connected to the old light. Then you should have connected the same wire to the new light fixture.

To figure out how to connect the existing wires you will need to know what is on the circuit.

Is there a switch involved? Is the switch wired as a switch loop most likely yes).

Is there more than one circuit involved? Probably not, and based on having played the guessing game I certainly hope not.

Which set of wires bring power into the box?

What testing tools do you have. If the answer is nothing then go to the store and buy a two wire tester.
 
  #5  
Old 03-18-07, 07:42 AM
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Thanks for your help everyone. I don't understand why this is so much more difficult than the other fixture. In my dining room, there was a light box that contained only 3 cords. 1 black, 1 white, 1 copper. My fixture also contained only 3 wires, 1 hot, 1 neutral, 1 copper. Connecting those together was easy enough.

So I took this one down expecting the same sort of simplicity. But I found the 9 wires like I said, and the fixture had 5, so just assumed it was black to black and white to white as usual. Not so much I guess.

Im pretty sure when I removed the fixture from the light box there were 4 capped connections. I remember there were multiple blacks and whites from the ceiling that weren't connected to anything capped. Then there was the copper to copper.

Can someone explain why it makes any difference? I thought all blacks were hot wires, all white were neutral, and the copper was always ground. If this is the case, why is this light fixture any different from another box with the same number of wires?
 
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Old 03-18-07, 09:15 AM
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Can someone explain why it makes any difference? I thought all blacks were hot wires, all white were neutral, and the copper was always ground. If this is the case, why is this light fixture any different from another box with the same number of wires?
This is way to involved an explaination to go into here. Purhaps you should read a good book on residential wiring and then come back with specific parts that you do not understand. We may be able to help get you over the tough spots.

As for your current problem, you need to know what wires are in what cables and where those cables go. EG: one cable 14 guage 2 wires goes to power.

Once we know all of the wires in your light box and where they go, we can help you figure out how to wire the light back.

Also please look into the switch box and tell us what wires are in what cables in there. At the same time check to see if anything else in your house is not working, while this light box is all disconnected.
 
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Old 03-18-07, 10:03 AM
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In the other fixture you wires, power went first to the switch, both the hot and the neutral. Switched power, meaning the switched hot wire and the neutral, then went to the light. At the light all you had were the neutral and the switched hot.

In your current dilemma, you likely have power coming in, a switch loop, and then power going out to two other places on the circuit. If you have a switch loop, you must wire the switch loop very different from other wiring.

Answer the questions that have been asked and we can help you sort it out.
 
  #8  
Old 03-18-07, 05:33 PM
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Thanks to everyone who posted advice. I did a little research, tested the wires, traced them to the switch box, and got everything back the way it was before and then set up the new light fixture correctly. The new light is now shining brightly. Thanks!
 
  #9  
Old 03-18-07, 06:07 PM
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In a properly wired house, black wires are always hot, and bare wires are always ground. But white wires are not always neutral, and this fact trips up a lot of DIYers.
 
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