bedroom ceiling fixture


Old 02-24-02, 11:05 AM
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Unhappy bedroom ceiling fixture

Can anyone please help with this? I have never ran into pigtailing before so I am stumped as to what needs to be done. I have removed an old fan and light fixture and have replaced it with a standard celing light fixture. At the celing fixture black is connected to black,white is connected to white and the grounds are connected.

The light will not work when the wall switch is turned on. I looked inside the wall switch and it does not look like the one in the other bedroom.

All of the blacks are not connected together, nor are all of the whites or grounds. The person who use to live in this house was an electrician. It would appear the he pigtailed this switch when he installed the ceiling fan and light fixture together. How do I get this celing light that I installed to work? Do I have to undo his pigtailing and if so how. I am new at this.

Thanks to anyone who can help.
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Old 02-24-02, 11:20 AM
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Try reading the following link that shows you having to run you power source into the light box through the switch leg and then back to the hot of the light fixture. Take a look, it should help you to understand better.

Tell us how you come out.

Good luck

Old 02-24-02, 12:26 PM
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I understand why he did what he did. What I do not get is how to undo it. Do I need to connect the light fixture differently, instead of black to black/white to white?

Remember I am a layperson. I understand black to black/ white to white but I understand nothing else.

This guy has wired this one switch in the following manner. There are 4 wires coming into this box. If I am looking into the box there are two on top and two at the bottom. The top left black wire is wired into the top of the wall switch. The remaining 3 black wires are pigtailed with the top left white wire. All of these wires are pigtailed to the lower switch. I therefore assume that the top left wire is the one going to the ceiling light fixture.

The remaining 3 white wires are all wired nutted together along with all 4 bare wires.

There are only two wire nuts in this wall switch box.

Do I disconnect the one white wire that is pigtailed to all of the black wires and connect it to the other 3 white wires and at the same time disconnect all of the ground to the white?

Thus, I would then have 1 black wire going to the top of the wall switch, the remaining 3 black wires wire nutted together then plugged into the bottom of the wall switch. All 4 white wires would be nutted together and all 4 ground wires would be nutted together. Does this seem correct?


Old 02-24-02, 01:15 PM
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Keifer, I'm afraid you might be confusing a lot of people with your use of the word "pigtail". A simple connection of wires with a wire nut is not referred to as a pigtail.

Another terminology problem is your use of the word "wire" when you mean either "cable" or "wire". A cable is a collection of wires.

I'm also assuming that when you said "lower switch" you meant the lower connection on the switch.

Furthermore, I'm hoping that when you said "the remaining 3 white wires are all wired nutted together along with all 4 bare wires," that you didn't actually mean that white wires are connected to bare wires. True?

After all that, I must agree with you that the wiring you describe makes no sense, unless the guy cheated. He wanted separate power feeds for the light and fan, but he didn't have enough wires. So he use the white and black as separate power feeds, and used the grounding wire as the neutral. This is quite dangerous, but he wouldn't be the first guy that did it. This theory only holds water if the white wires and bare wires are really connected to each other as I hope they were not.

It would help tremendously if you could tell us exactly how the old light/fan fixture was connected, and what wires are present at the ceiling box.
Old 02-24-02, 04:18 PM
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Sorry for the confusion. No the guy was a complete idiot, yes 3 white wires are wire nutted to 4 ground wires, real smart huh.

You are correct about the switch my mistake.

I will try to clarify what I have. I believe your assumption is right on the nail head.

At the ceiling fixture I have a black on black, a white on white, and a ground on ground. I do not know how the old fixture was wired.

The wall switch is wired as I mentioned earlier.

I am afraid that he did cheat. The remaining 3 white wires are wire nutted to 4 bare ( ground wires)inside the wall switch box.

It surprises me that the fool did not burn his house down. I have the power to this room turned off.

If I connect all of the black (3) together which will go into the black on the lower part of the switch, ( I would just be removing the one white ) and connect all of the white (4) together and all of the bare(4 grounds) together will this solve my problem and will the fixture work without any problems.
Old 02-24-02, 06:26 PM
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Well anything is possible, since once a guy cheats there's no way of telling what else may be wrong.

Yes, I'd connect all the bare grounding wires to each other and not to anything else. Then I'd connect the white wire in with the other white wires (and nothing else) instead of in with the black wires. Leave three black wires pigtailed to one switch screw, and connect the other black to the other switch screw. Then I think you should be able to connect your new light to the black and white at the ceiling as is normally done.

There's a pretty good chance all will be okay then, but I suggest you afterwards test everything on the circuit to see if it all still works.
Old 02-24-02, 06:49 PM
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You are the man. Everything works just fine. Thank you again. I thought I was on the right track I just needed someone who knew more than me to advise me. Thanks again.

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