Understanding Light Fixture Wiring

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  #1  
Old 12-04-13, 09:02 AM
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Understanding Light Fixture Wiring

I replaced a light fixture. Everything is working, but I want to understand the wiring in the ceiling box.

The old (and new) fixture is bundled with 2 other white wires. There are no white wires in either switch box (3 way). What are the two white (neutral I presume) wires in the ceiling connected with the fixture white.

Why isnt there just one neutral in the ceiling box?
 
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Old 12-04-13, 09:12 AM
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You have power in and power continuing out to other parts of the circuit.
 
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Old 12-04-13, 09:15 AM
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What color wires in the switch box? How many in each? Do you have conduit? You did look in the back of the switch box not just at the switch?
 
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Old 12-04-13, 09:22 AM
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The light is controlled by a pair of 3 way switches which I also replaced. In each switch box there was only 3 wires... at one a red on common, and a pair of oranges on travelers. At other switch was a yellow on common and the pair of oranges on travelers.

In ceiling box there was the yellow (hot) connected to fixture hot. And the pair of whites connected to fixture wire white. There was also the oranges passing thru the box and perhaps a red or black tucked in the back that I didnt touch.

So what are the pair of neutrals? It wouldnt be power in power out in this case.

And if you can guess what the wires were that were tucked in the back.

Thanks
 
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Old 12-04-13, 09:26 AM
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The circuit requires two parts to operate. A hot to each device and a path back to the panel. The neutrals follow the path of the hots.
 
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Old 12-04-13, 09:36 AM
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The circuit requires two parts to operate. A hot to each device and a path back to the panel. The neutrals follow the path of the hots.
I understand that, but there are 2 neutrals joined with the fixture neutral. Is the second one is "the path back to the panel" for outlets prior to light fixture?

ANd if that is the case, did I make a mistake by not pigtailing a length of wire so removing the fixture doesnt interupt power to the rest of the circuit?
 
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Old 12-04-13, 09:46 AM
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Removing the white fixture wire will only interrupt the circuit if the other two whites become disconnected.
 
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Old 12-04-13, 10:03 AM
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Was the proper way to wire this to add a pigtail?

Is what I did acceptable?

Would an electrican have added a pigtail to the two neutrals and connect the fixture to that?
 
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Old 12-04-13, 10:07 AM
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What you did was fine. A pigtail would have just added another splice that was unnecessary.
 
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Old 12-04-13, 01:52 PM
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What you did was fine. A pigtail would have just added another splice that was unnecessary.
Thanks, that makes sense about the added connection... I was just worried about 'breaking the neutral chain' sort to speak. As long as your sure an electrician or proper procedure doesnt call for that extra pigtail then I luckily dont have to take it down to add it!!

The old fixture was hooked up the same way. Someone used the orange wirenuts that came with the fixture to make that connection (2x#14 and 18 fixture).... I dont think that was the right nut for that though? I used a yellow wirenut instead.... hopefully that was the right choice.

THe old neutral wires looked very corroded under that orange nut, almost black silverish color. I snipped them back for the new light.
 
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Old 12-04-13, 08:11 PM
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Someone used the orange wirenuts that came with the fixture to make that connection (2x#14 and 18 fixture).... I dont think that was the right nut for that though? I used a yellow wirenut instead.... hopefully that was the right choice.

THe old neutral wires looked very corroded under that orange nut, almost black silverish color. I snipped them back for the new light.
That sounds exactly right. If everyone took the care to think through the work and proceed with common sense the way you did, there'd be less work for those of us who get paid to do it.

That's not all bad, because there'd also be fewer house fires.

The house neutral comes to the ceiling box and is spliced there to continue to another load. There doesn't appear to be a neutral in either of your switch boxes, but that's OK. In your case, with individual conductors in conduit, one can be added if and when it's needed - and that meets the current code requirement.
 
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