Fabric wrapped wires?

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Old 10-10-11, 05:12 PM
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Fabric wrapped wires?

Hi all, I'm back with yet another rookie question...

I'm replacing a light fixture, and found that the wires in the ceiling box are ancient fabric wrapped stuff (my building was built in 1928, recently renovated in 2006). Is this safe? All the other wiring I have exposed in my unit is shiny new Romex. I know that the much maligned knob and tube wiring was fabric wrapped; hope that is not what this is.

Here's a photo:


And just to be absolutely sure: attaching my new lamp's ground wire to the green ground screw in the mounting hardware will ground it properly, right? There is no ground wire in the ceiling box.

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-10-11, 05:39 PM
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Most modern fixtures require 90 wire but that is 60. You would need a fixture rated for 60.

attaching my new lamp's ground wire to the green ground screw in the mounting hardware will ground it properly, right?
Very unlikely. No evidence it is wired with metallic conduit. Best course of action abandon wires and run new cable from main panel or nearest subpanel.

Edit: After reading PCBoss' post I took a second look and yes that may be BX but the grounding value of older BX is uncertain.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 10-10-11 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 10-10-11, 06:55 PM
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Your wiring is most likely ungrounded. I think you probably have old BX cable. Yours does not look like it has dried out too much and become brittle, but hard to say for sure.

As Ray said, many new fixtures require 90 degree C rated insulation. You do not have that. There can be a workaround, but it would involve rewiring or a junction box.
 
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Old 10-10-11, 08:56 PM
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Yikes. Did not even know about the 60/90 distinction. So, when the place was renovated in 2006 a new light fixture was installed in this box. Does that mean the contractor knowingly put in an unsafe fixture? (wouldn't be terribly surprising as the builder went bankrupt halfway through the reno...)
 
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Old 10-11-11, 03:43 AM
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Most, but not all, newer fixtures have the requirement.

Your contractor may have ignored the requirement either through ignorance or did not care and installed it anyway.
 
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Old 10-11-11, 12:30 PM
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Well, considering that the other 33 units in my building likely have the same wiring, I'm not sure if I'm improving things much by changing the wire.

Also, I assume I have made things a touch safer, because I replaced a fixture with two 13W bulbs with a fixture with a single 13W bulb. Also the new fixture's bulb hangs much lower.
 
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Old 10-11-11, 12:51 PM
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Well, considering that the other 33 units in my building
OOps you should have told us that. For liability reasons if you are a renter you shouldn't touch the wiring. Even the owner unless he was a licensed electrician shouldn't work on the wiring. In some places it may even be illegal.

Also, I assume I have made things a touch safer, because I replaced a fixture with two 13W bulbs with a fixture with a single 13W bulb. Also the new fixture's bulb hangs much lower.
That should help.
 
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