Lighting Fixture and adjacent Electrical Outlet Won't Turn Off

Old 06-21-14, 04:56 PM
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Lighting Fixture and adjacent Electrical Outlet Won't Turn Off

Hi all - I've reviewing previous threads on similar topics, and this seems like a great forum for asking lighting and electrical questions. The moderators and other guests seem responsive, patient and knowledgeable. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

I am a new home-owner and not experienced in electrical. This is my first time putting up lighting.

I am attempting to install a lighting fixture to a ceiling junction box. It is a new condo, and this ceiling junction box has not been used before. There is a light switch close-by with two switches. One of the switches (SWITCH A) does not turn anything on or off, so I presume that it is connected to the ceiling junction box (I recognize that this may be incorrect; it's a guess). The other switch (SWITCH B) leads to an adjacent electrical outlet.

The lighting fixture contains:

1 black wire
1 white wire
1 clean copper wire (the ground)

I opened the ceiling junction box (see photo attached) and found:

1 black wire;
1 white wire;
1 orange wire;
1 green wire

I used a Mastercraft Digital Multimeter to test which wire might be "hot". The BLACK wire and the ORANGE wire both registered; in fact, the ORANGE wire sparked when I touched it and connected it to GREEN wire via the Digital Multimeter.

Following a review of the instructions included with lighting fixture I spliced the BLACK wire from the junction box to the BLACK wire to the lighting fixture, and spliced the WHITE wire from the junction box to the WHITE wire from the lighting fixture.

When I turned the breaker back on, the ceiling light came on, but it did not turn on or off when I used SWITCH A or SWITCH B. Also, to my surprise, SWITCH B stopped functioning as well, and the power to the electrical outlet no longer turns off.

I went to the light switch and opened it (see attached). The light switch contains:

1 blue wire
1 purple wire
1 orange wire (blue, purple and orange together are SWITCH A, on left)
1 yellow wire
1 black wire (yellow and black together are SWITCH B, on right)
1 green wire

There was no WHITE wire in the Electrical Switch.

So: any thoughts as to why the Lighting Fixture and Electrical Outlet won't turn off? And any thoughts on what to do about it?

A few comments:

- I suspect that the ORANGE wire in the junction box is the correct wire to connect the BLACK wire in the lighting fixture to, but it is encased in plastic and I don't have a wire stripper (I tried to use a pair of scissors, but I just cut the orange wire off a few times). I'll buy a wire stripped if the Forum recommends it.

- I am open to the idea that I have opened the wrong Electrical Switch. There is another Electrical Switch, further away, that also doesn't seem to connect to anything.

- I'm also open to the idea that what I'm trying to do is dangerous, and I should hire and watch an electrician in order to DIY next time.

Thanks, all. All thoughts welcome.

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Old 06-21-14, 05:31 PM
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I never saw those colors in a switch box. A switch normally doesn't have a white wire. The only way to check those switches is to separate the black wires in the ceiling & test then one at a time. Uncap the white wires but leave them twisted together. Use them to test the blacks.
Old 06-21-14, 05:36 PM
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Welcome to the forums!
responsive, patient and knowledgeable
Then we have Ray just kidding. Yes, very knowledgeable, etc.

The orange or brown wire is probably tied to the switch that operates the receptacle. Using a meter turn the receptacle switch off and see if you get a reading from orange to ground. If not, cap it off and just use the black, white, and bare wires, which are tied to the other switch. Let us know how that works.
Old 06-21-14, 05:47 PM
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Connect the orange to the fixture black and white to fixture white in the ceiling box ,the Orange wire appears to be a 3 way switch probably connected to the other switch across the room. What makes you think that the other switch controlled the outlet? Please leave the switches as they are for now.

Old 07-02-14, 07:34 PM
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That worked exactly. I connected the orange to the black and the white to the white, and it works. Thank you so much, Geochurchi, and also to Chandler and Pulpo for responding.
Old 07-02-14, 07:43 PM
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Glad you got your light working.

That wiring setup is very common and is set up for a ceiling fan where you would switch the light with the orange wire and connect the fan part to the black.

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