Replacing missing light fixture

Old 01-27-15, 12:43 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Replacing missing light fixture

I don't intend to sound rude, but do want to spare the details as to not waste your time. I can provide any further info needed.

House built in 1950. Wiring in question appears to be newer than the rest in the house.

I have two different sets of wires. Both have a black and white. It appears that this light is running to one switch and even when disconnected, doesn't appear to affect any other lights or switches.

The light I'm installing a 50W dimmable recessed light fixture.

When I connect the light wires to both black and white coming from the house, the light turns with switch but when I turn the light switch off, it trips the breaker. When I connect the light to one set of black and white wires, the light stays on regardless of the switch position. When I connect the light to other set of white/black wires, I get nothing.

Any ideas? Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Old 01-27-15, 12:48 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,265
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
There is a 3 way switch somewhere that controls the same light.
Old 01-27-15, 12:50 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,993
Received 4,153 Upvotes on 3,730 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

You have incorrectly connected your fixture to a switch loop. The following diagram illustrates it.

Name:  switchleg.jpg
Views: 294
Size:  13.3 KB

You will need to be able to measure 120vac to find which cable is the feed in/hot side.
Old 01-27-15, 01:08 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,008
Received 210 Upvotes on 181 Posts
I agree that you have a switch loop situation. You need to identify which cable goes to the switch to correct this.
Old 01-27-15, 04:26 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I've checked all light switches and there doesn't appear to be any others that affect it.

PJmax - Thank you for the diagram and the welcome... I'll check this in the morning as I've become frustrated and opened a beer... I'm not near good enough to even attempt any electrical work with an ounce of beer in me.

I believe this will help tremendously.
Old 01-27-15, 06:27 PM
Handyone's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 4,807
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Just a little training/tip.
Notice in PJ's diagram that the hot wire at ceiling box is "broken" by sending it down to switch and back up to hot light connection.
Also notice when the hot is sent down to switch, it is via the white wire. This is so when the hot comes back up to light, it is black. That's what you would expect to see at light, a white neutral and black hot.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: