Under Cabinet Lighting / Wiring problem

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Old 09-15-12, 12:30 AM
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Under Cabinet Lighting / Wiring problem

Hey folks,

We moved into a house that has an exposed electrical wire coming out of a wall in the kitchen, directly above a wall plate with a switch. The wire has a black, a white, and a ground. I inadvertently touched the wires with the switch up, and got jolted. So, I know it works.

My thought was to pick up an inexpensive under cabinet fluorescent light fixture, and install it to the switch. The light fixture originally had a plug on the end of it's cable, designed to plug into an outlet. So, I opened up the fixture, and removed the power cable, thus exposing the black & white wires inside. There's no ground on the fixture. No green screw.

I attached the black wire from the power switch of the fixture to the black wire from the wall, and the white wire from the fixture, to the white wire from the wall. I just left the ground from the wall unattached to anything inside the fixture.

Reassembled the fixture, turned on the breaker, and hit the switch. Nadda. Nothing happened. I can't figure out how to get the damned thing to light.

Sorry if this is an amateur mistake. I have a little experience from soldering and radio/broadcast work, and I thought this would be an easy install. Any insight is appreciated.

Thanks for reading.
 
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Old 09-15-12, 04:02 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Does the cable come from a junction box or just from a hole in the wall? Is it switch controlled? Can you test the voltage across the black and white? Is the fixture fluorescent (they like grounds)? Sorry for all the questions. Just laying groundwork.
 
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Old 09-15-12, 08:23 AM
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My suggestion is to run the cable coming from the wall into a surface mounted box, (plastic Wiremold boxes work well) and install a receptacle (outlet) in that which will be controlled by the switch. Then just cord connect the light to that.

Another option is at the big blue home store, they carried a surface mounted box with 2 receptacles already installed on the sides designed for UC lights. I believe it was made by Utilitech, but I have not seen then for a while (not that I have been looking) so I am not sure if they still have them.
 
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Old 09-15-12, 09:56 AM
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Thank you both! I've read the forums often, and look forward to participation more!

Tolyn, I understand what you are saying - and will look at those options.

Chandler, here are the answers to your questions:

- It's a wire from a hole
- Yes, it is switch controlled
- No means to check the voltage at the moment, but can do that later today. I wondered if that was the issue. The label on the light indicates 120V, .3A
- The fixture is indeed fluorescent. There was no ground screw/wire on the fixture, so should I connect the ground wire coming from the house to the metal casing of the fixture, with a screw?

Thank you so much!
 
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Old 09-15-12, 10:48 AM
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should I connect the ground wire coming from the house to the metal casing of the fixture, with a screw?
Yes. look for a boss (a raised bump) with a tapped hole in the center of it, somewhere in the back of the fixture, and use an approved (green, hex-headed) ground screw to attach the ground there. You may need to scrape some paint away to get a good connection.

If you don't see a boss or a tapped hole, you can terminate the ground on one of the screws that hold the ballast in the housing.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 09:01 PM
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Thanks, Nashkat. I tried grounding to the screws holding the ballast, but the light still did not work.

Any other ideas are appreciated.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 09:45 PM
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Replace the ballast or replace the fixture.
 
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