Light Switch Not Working, New Light Fixture

Closed Thread

  #1  
Old 04-13-04, 08:58 AM
averytoledo
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question Light Switch Not Working, New Light Fixture

I recently installed track lighting but the dimmer did not work. I replaced the dimmer with a switch and still the light does not turn off? what do I do to get it to work.

the wiring for the light is as follows: two white wires, two black wires and one red wire. upon wiring the track light, I noticed that only one white wire would allow the light to work. if I used the other white wire it would not go on. the original light fixture used the two white wires together and the two black wires together. the red wire was capped. the track lighting had a spot for a ground which I assume is the red. I get a reading using a voltmeter from red and black and also from white and red, therefore I assumed that the red is ground.

as for now I have to turn the circuit breaker off when I want to turn off the lights. the light switch is next to a switch that controls the outlets in the living room. there is only two wires on the outlet switch black and red. the black wire comes out of one switch and goes on to the next switch. the one red wire is connected to the outlet switch and a new red wire is connected to the light switch.

Any suggestions
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-13-04, 11:44 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,815
Likes Received: 6
It sounds like the RED should be the switched hot.

The RED is NOT the ground. Grounds are bare or green.

Use a non-contact voltage detector on the red wire while someone operates the switch. If the switch works the red wire connect the fixture black to the red wire from the ceiling.

Your comment about only one of the white wires allowing the fixture to work seems to need clarification. Can you please expand on this? Are both whites tied together?
 
  #3  
Old 04-13-04, 12:09 PM
averytoledo
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
clarification

The two white wires from the ceiling were twisted together and then connected to the light fixture. the same for the two black wires. The red wire was just capped and in the ceiling.

So when I tried to wire the track light, I noticed that only one of the two white wires would make the lamp go on, so I twisted them together just like it was originally and connected it to the track lighting.

let me be more specific about the wireing instructions.
It told me to attach the White wire to the silver screw, the black wire to the copper screw, and the green wire to the green screw.

I do not have a green wire, I have a red wire.

where should I put the red wire?
Where should I put the two twisted black wire?
Where should I put the two twisted white wire?

remember I get a 120 volt reading when I connect the test meter to the red wire and either the black or white wire.
But when I connect the black and white together I get a zero.

how do I wire this thing?
 
  #4  
Old 04-13-04, 02:43 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Assuming that a red wire is ground is sometimes a fatal assumption. In North America, a red wire is never ground!!! You are lucky to still be here to post.

I infer that you replaced a previous light fixture with your track lignting. Is this true? If so, how was the previous light connected?

You reported a few voltage readings, but please say exactly what test instrument you were using, and the state of the wall switch when you made the test.

Most likely you should attach the white from your track lighting to the two whites in the ceiling, the black from your track lighting to the red from the ceiling, and leave the two black wires in the ceiling connected only to each other. But don't do this until we get further information. It is dangerous to guess when it comes to electrical work.
 
  #5  
Old 04-13-04, 03:18 PM
averytoledo
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks for prompt reply

yes I am switching light fixtures.

the previous installation is as follows: the light fixture itself had two Grey copper wires. the wires from the ceiling had two whites twisted together, two blacks twisted together, and one red capped. The white and black wires were attached to the old fixtures. two black wires that were twisted together were attached to one of the Grey copper wires of the light fixture. The other two twisted black wires were attached to the other Grey copper wire. the red wire was in the ceiling capped off.

the new track lighting has a screw for the following:
White wire to go to the silver screw.
Black wire to go to the copper screw.
Green wire to go to the green screw.

this is per the instructions on the track lighting?

I have no green wire.


I used a digital multimeter to measure the ac voltage.

what do you think? Thanks for all your help, I really appreciate it.
 
  #6  
Old 04-13-04, 04:18 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
A digital voltmeter is easily fooled by phantom voltage, and is thus not a reliable instrument in many cases. A $15 voltage "tick" tester is a better tool in most cases. Even a $2 neon circuit tester is more reliable for separating true voltage from phantom voltage. A digital voltmeter really has few practical uses in home wiring, and it misleads more than it helps.

Can I infer that the previous light fixture was correctly operated by the switch? It wasn't a pull chain, remote controlled, or motion controlled light by any chance? And the switch is not a 3-way switch? And you didn't change any wiring at any switch?

Please confirm or refute each of my many inferences.

The track light's silver screw is connected to both white wires in the ceiling (with a white pigtail), just like the old light's white wire was, right? If not, it should be.

The track light's copper screw is connected to both black wires in the ceiling (with a black pigtail), just like the old light's black wire was, right? If not, it should be.

If you have no grounding wire, then the track light's green screw should be connected to the box if it is metal. If the box is not metal, then the green screw should be left unconnected.

If the red wire was not connected to anything before, it should not be connected to anything now either (if all of my inferences are true).
 
  #7  
Old 04-14-04, 10:21 AM
averytoledo
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
you were right about the green screw

it was solved earlier today. the answer was to attach a wire from the box to the green screw in order to ground it.

further, the red wire and white wire were used to connect the fixture.

I was informed that the two black wires were connected to the outlets int the room.

my question now is:

Is that safe to just attach a wire to the box in the ceiling and use that as a ground?

and

are those black wires for the outlets supposed to me in the ceiling? What would it be used for?
 
  #8  
Old 04-14-04, 12:41 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
The grounding connection is a safety improvement, but it's not what made it work.

There are many reasons why those black wires might be in the ceiling box. Most wiring is done daisy-chain, box to box to box. Sometimes not all the wires are needed in a particular box, but they still pass through. If you were ever to replace that light with a ceiling fan, you'd need those black wires.
 
  #9  
Old 04-14-04, 02:57 PM
averytoledo
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thank you so much

Thank you John Nelson

Wanted again to thank you for your time in answering my question. I was skeptical that anyone would answer me, let alone fast enough to get this thing working. Again your time is really appreciated.
 
Closed Thread

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes