Ceiling Box has Four Wires, but Apparently Not Switched?

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Old 11-15-10, 12:48 AM
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Lightbulb Ceiling Box has Four Wires, but Apparently Not Switched?

We've moved into a new apartment. Several rooms have covered ceiling boxes but no ceiling lights. Each room has one wall switch.

I've opened one of the boxes (removed the plastic cover) and attempted to install a simple ceiling light fixture. There are four wires in the box: black, red, white, and bare. (I assume the fourth wire is for ceiling fan/light). The black wire is always hot. The red wire is apparently always disconnected (no voltage). The wall switch apparently does not control the ceiling box. It apparently does not control any of the room receptacles either. So, by attaching the black and white wires from the box, to the black and white wires of the fixture, I can get light, but no switch control.

What's going on here? Am I missing something simple?
 
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Old 11-15-10, 01:50 AM
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Do you have a single three conductor cable at the switch? Are there any other cables at the switch? Does the switch have only two screws. What wires go to the screws? Be sure to look in the back of the switch box.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 02:52 AM
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Lightbulb

The switch is a standard On/Off single-pole toggle switch (no "3way" traveler). Actually, I can't see clearly to the back of the switch box. Wiring is covered with white paint, but it appears the two wires going to the switch are both black.

There is no other switch in the room.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 06:25 AM
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A typical setup lke this would be a black constant hot for the fan motor and a red switch controlled hot for the light.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 09:57 AM
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Actually, I can't see clearly to the back of the switch box.
You need to. Cut the power and pull out the switch and wires.We need to know if there are two white wires wire nutted together. From your first post we would expect to see a red, white, and black cable at the switch. The two blacks on the switch though would more likely indicate two 2-conductor black and white cables. One always hot the other going to some fixture.

The question is if the 3-conductor at the ceiling isn't at the switch where does it go? First though check if PCBoss is correct. Is the red hot with the switch on. If it isn't which you seem to indicate in your first post we will need to go from there.
 
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