Please help with light fixture wiring

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  #1  
Old 11-06-13, 05:19 PM
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Please help with light fixture wiring

Ok here it goes. I am new to anything electrical. I bought my first home in January. My kitchen had an outdated dome type ceiling with 6 fluorescent lights under it and a ceiling fan/light in the center. I removed it all. The lights and fan had worked from the same switch. The light on the fan never worked even after replacing the bulb. I bought a second hand vintage chandelier type light with 4 small bulbs that I want to hang in the center of the kitchen where the fan had been.
When I took down the old lights I did not keep track of what wires connected to what, I thought I would remember and of course I didn't. Oops :/ Anyway, when I went to hang the new light I saw that there are 6 wires coming from the ceiling. The colors are white, brown, green, red, yellow and blue. The 2 wires on the light fixture are the same color. Nothing to set them apart. The 6 colored wires go from the center of the ceiling,across the ceiling and into a hole at the top of the wall above the light switch. After trying every possible color combination with the 6 wires and the light to no avail, I then removed the light switch plate and saw that the switch has 2 black wires and one white wire attached to 2 screws on the right side. The 2 black on the top and the white to the bottom screw. The one pair of black and white wires come from the top of the little metal box. The other black wire comes from or maybe goes out a hole in the right side of the metal box to I don't know where. I have now bought 2 cheap voltage testers. One is a non contact and it reacts to every wire that I point it at. The other tester is the type with 2 wires coming off with points and it does not react to any of the wires in the light switch. I am stumped at what to do next. I do not want to rip out a section of my wall to find where the six wires go. Please help!
 
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  #2  
Old 11-06-13, 05:39 PM
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Could you take pictures of this 6 conductor wire and your switch box?
 
  #3  
Old 11-06-13, 05:56 PM
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Ok, the wire is loose from the switch because I took it off so I could pull out the switch further.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 06:14 PM
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Well you have two completely different sets of wires for one thing. Somewhere in your house the cable from your switch box meets with your fixture cable. I personally have never seen a light fixture wired with 6 conductor before. Maybe one of the old dudes in the forum could point out whether or not this is ok or scabbed in.
I'd start with getting power to the switch so you can at least identify your feed.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 06:18 PM
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I think the switch has power because it was working the lights that I removed. I'm pretty sure that the 6 wires are connected to the light switch just above the switch within the wall. You can tell that someone did a patch job on the plaster wall there.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 06:26 PM
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Your previous post stated you metered out the wires in the switch box and had "no reaction", 0 volts?
With your one wire disconnected, and the switch off, place the black lead of your volt meter on the box (assuming it has a ground wire attached) and then touch each wire one at a time with the red lead. Do you get any readings?
 
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Old 11-06-13, 06:50 PM
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No there is no reading, but there is also no ground wire.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 07:38 PM
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The cable is not as near as I can tell approved cable for interior wiring. Are any of the leads hot when measured to white? From what I am seeing no box no approved cabel you probably need to start from scratch. You do need to find the other end of that cable so you can safely abandon it. Can you post a picture looking straight into the switch box?
 
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Old 11-06-13, 08:55 PM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "measured to white"? Thanks for your help so far.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 09:02 PM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "measured to white"?
One probe on white and the other probe on a color other than white.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 10:35 PM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "measured to white"?
With your multimeter set to the lowest value for AC voltage that is greater than 120V, and with the switch made up and switched on, hold one of your meter probes to the white wire in the ceiling. Touch the other probe to each of the wires in that cable in turn. Note the reading for each combination and post back what you find.

No ceiling box and no approved cable. You've got a bit of work to do before hanging the chandelier.

The 2 wires on the light fixture are the same color. Nothing to set them apart.
Look at those wires closely to see if one of them has printing on it. Or, does one of them have ridged insulation while the other is smooth?
 
  #12  
Old 11-07-13, 07:32 AM
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Ok, so I went into the wall and found where the multi colored cable was connected. Only three of the colored wires were being used and the other three were just wrapped back around the covered grouping of wires. The colored wires were connected to one black wire coming off the top screw of the switch. I discovered that the other black and white wire were coming to the switch to bring it power i'm assuming since it is the old type of wiring used throughout the house. So now I am going to take out the colored wire completely. What do I need to buy and do now to connect my light back to the black wire which I assume is the hot wire.
 
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Old 11-07-13, 07:43 AM
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Install xx-2/G cable from the switch box to the light. If the circuit is 20A use 12-2/G; if it's a 15A circuit use 14-2/G cable. Install a chandelier-rated (fan-rated) box for the light.

In the switch box, splice the two white wires together and connect the two black wires to the switch. Splice the ground wires together and connect them to the box it it's metal and to the switch. In the ceiling, connect the ground to the box and to any available grounds for the fixture. Splice the fixture's neutral wire to the white wire and the fixture's hot wire to the black.

Originally Posted by Nashkat1
Look at those wires closely to see if one of them has printing on it. Or, does one of them have ridged insulation while the other is smooth?
 
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Old 11-07-13, 07:46 AM
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Was this other connection in a junction box? I am confused by your description. Other then the multiwire cables were there four house wires at the junction you described? Can you post a picture?
 
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Old 11-07-13, 07:58 AM
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Was this other connection in a junction box?
I think from the earlier description that it was in the wall behind the plaster patch. The PO (not the OP) apparently did some "creative" wiring in this house.

We'll see.

David, in your photo, is there a second cable at the light fixture location?
 
  #16  
Old 11-07-13, 08:18 AM
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There were only three wires in the switch box, 2 black and 1 white. A black and white coming down from the top that were together and the other black running back up into the wall and connected to three of the six colored wires (see pic) then out to the light fixture. There are no other wires at the light fixture other than the six colored ones.Name:  Switch.jpg
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Old 11-07-13, 09:17 AM
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Even with the new photos I still think it looks like phone or T-stat wire was used to feed the fan. If so, complete hackery and needs total replacement.
 
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Old 11-07-13, 10:52 AM
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I did what you said and connected everything just like you said. At least I thought I did until I see now where you said "Install a chandelier-rated (fan-rated) box for the light", does this refer to a box of some kind up at the light? Right now the wire runs directly to connect with the light fixture. I had bought a dimmer switch so I tried that first and it did not work. I thought maybe the vintage light wasn't compatible with the dimmer so I connected it back to the old light switch. It still is not working. I tested the light by using an extension cord in an outlet and sticking the 2 light wires into it and the light worked. Am I missing something here?
I got rid of all the old wiring.
 
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Old 11-07-13, 11:11 AM
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You can't install the chandelier without a box. Have you used a multimeter to check if you have power at the switch?

You replied:
There were only three wires in the switch box, 2 black and 1 white.
But Nash instructed you to:
In the switch box, splice the two white wires together and connect the two black wires to the switch.
So which of the existing black wires did you use?
 
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Old 11-07-13, 11:40 AM
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I got rid of the one black wire in the switch box. It was the one wire that had been connected to the old multi colored wires. All that is gone. I used new 14/2 wire from the light back to the box. That gives me 2 white and 2 black now in the switch box.
I don't have a multi meter. I have a non contact tester and a voltage tester with a red sharp point on a wire and a black pointed one. The latter does not show any opower but it doesnt on any switches that I tested in my house, I think because none are grounded (I read this). The former tester reacts to the switch even if the breaker is turned off.
 

Last edited by davidbisok; 11-07-13 at 11:50 AM. Reason: additional info
  #21  
Old 11-07-13, 12:00 PM
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I used new 14/2 wire from the light back to the box.
What size is the breaker for this circuit? Do you have the ceiling box installed?

I don't have a multi meter.
You should get an inexpensive analog multimeter. Does your non-contact tester show power at the switch box?
 
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Old 11-08-13, 07:02 AM
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So instead of buying something new I went a different route all together and just ran the wires to an existing outlet that I knew was working. I changed it to the dimmer switch and it works perfect. Now I have a new problem though. The light is similar a vintage tole type metal chandelier with 4 candle looking lights. Well, one of the lights was leaning in toward the center so I tried to straighten it and I heard something snap and now that one does not light up. Ugh.
 
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Old 11-08-13, 07:20 AM
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Do you have the ceiling box installed?
You did install a ceiling box for the connections and to hang the fixture from, right?
 
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Old 11-08-13, 09:07 AM
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Yes I did I installed the box for the light
 
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Old 11-08-13, 09:51 AM
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So instead of buying something new I went a different route all together and just ran the wires to an existing outlet that I knew was working.
Do you mean you tapped power from a receptacle or from a different light circuit? Is the circuit where you picked up power a 15A circuit or a 20A circuit?

Now I have a new problem though. The light is similar a vintage tole type metal chandelier with 4 candle looking lights. Well, one of the lights was leaning in toward the center so I tried to straighten it and I heard something snap and now that one does not light up.
Oops! You broke something.

Have you tried replacing the bulb? Does that lampholder stand up straight and steady now?
 
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Old 11-08-13, 11:21 AM
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Welp, I put in a new bulb and it worked, idk, just happy it works.
I just used a box that had been an outlet for plugs before and disconnected that and connected the switch. I watched a video on youtube of how to do it. It is a 15A. I hope this is all ok. Thanks for all your help.
 
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Old 11-08-13, 04:34 PM
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You're welcome. Glad you got it all done and thanks for the feedback. In particular, thanks for verifying that the 14-2/G that you used is protected at 15A.

I hope you enjoy your new chandelier!
 
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