Problem with newly installed ceiling light


Old 08-03-16, 09:26 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Problem with newly installed ceiling light


This morning I took down an old ceiling light to install a new one. Within the junction box were a pair or red, a pair or white, and a pair of black wires plus a pair of bare (ground) wires. The new light came with wiring resembling speaker wire; that is to say two small wires both in a clear jacket, neither marked in any manner. The written install instructions indicated that the "white/ribbed" wire was to be connected to white and the smooth jacketed wire was to be connected to black. Neither of the two wires appeared white or ribbed. They both looked exactly the same. Additionally, there was no mention in the instructions about red wires.

I ended up putting the two red wires together in a wire nut without connecting them to anything. I convinced myself that one of the two wires attached to the light felt more ribbed than the other (in retrospect, they're the same) and attached that one to white with the other attached to black. I attached the two grounds and the new light's ground all to the ground screw appropriately.

I turned the breaker back on and tried the light. As soon as I flipped the switch, I heard a pop noise and the breaker flipped itself off. I haven't turned it back on yet.

I'm wondering what to check first. Current thoughts I'm having about this include:

Maybe the white/black are backwards, since the light has no real markings to indicate which is which.

Maybe attaching those two red wires to each other wasn't the right thing to do.

Any suggestions?

Sponsored Links
Old 08-03-16, 09:34 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,415
Received 62 Votes on 58 Posts
How was the previous light in this location wired?

What's the wiring at the wall switch?
Old 08-03-16, 09:40 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Regrettably, I did not make note of the wiring configuration on the old light when I took it down. Lesson very well learned as far as that's concerned.

I will take the switch plate off the wall to see what's going on in there and report back.

Prior to posting, I had located an old thread here in this forum which described a similar situation. The OP in that case successfully solved the issue by connecting the red from the ceiling to the black on his light. He did not connect the black from the ceiling to anything, and just left them connected to each other. I considered just trying that, but the idea of mixing and matching colors makes me very uneasy and I didn't want to do it without asking someone first.

Also, the house was built in 1976 in case that matters.
Old 08-03-16, 09:42 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 54,587
Received 511 Votes on 481 Posts
Connecting the fixture backwards will not cause a short.

If you opened splices up that the old fixture wasn't connected to then now you have problems.
If the red wires weren't connected..... why did you connect them ?
Old 08-03-16, 10:08 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The old wiring was a big mess. There were all kinds of splices, some involving tiny lengths of only an inch or two of wire, and some using clear jacketed wire. I had thought the best thing to do would be to remove all the old clutter and redo everything clean... I'm now realizing that was probably not the best plan, and that I should've put more effort into figuring out how it was laid out previously.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

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