Problem installing light fixture


Old 07-30-04, 07:59 AM
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Problem installing light fixture

I tried to switch two light fixtures in my house last night. I successfully uninstalled both light fixtures and reinstalled one of them. When I tried to hook-up the second I couldn't get it to work.

It may sound strange, but there are two electrical wires coming out of the hole in the ceiling for the fixture that I couldn't get to work. If I connect the light only to wire 1, the light goes on and stays on and the switch doesn't work. If I install the light only to wire 2, the light doesn't work and the switch doesn't work. If I hook all of the wires and the light together, then the light works and the switch appears to work (because it is backlit), but the breaker trips when I try to turn off the light or dim it. I know I should have paid more attention to how the old fixture was wired and labeled the wires as I uninstalled the old fixture, but I didn't. Hindsight is 20-20.

Any idea on what I need to do to get this to work?
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Old 07-30-04, 09:03 AM
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These exactly symptoms are reported here mutiple times a week.

You have a switch loop. One cable is the power feed and one cable is the switch loop.

The best thing to do is to carefully record how the old fixture was connected before you remove it, and connect the new one the same way. However, perhaps it is too late for this advice. It usually is.

So you need to figure out which of the two cables is the power feed and which is the switch loop. You've already done all the experimentation necessary. When you connected the light to just one cable, and that light was on, then that was the power cable. This is what you called "wire 1". So "wire 2" is the switch loop.

So connect the power cable black wire to the switch loop white wire. Tuck these two wires in the back of the box and do not connect them to the light. You now have left the black wire from the switch cable and the white wire from the power cable. Connect these to your light, black-to-black and white-to-white.
Old 07-30-04, 12:00 PM
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Thanks -

I'll give it a go and let you know how it goes.
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