Help with old 1926 house wiring


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Old 02-18-18, 08:32 AM
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Help with old 1926 house wiring

Hi Everyone, I want to install a new track light on the ceiling of a home that was built in 1926. The switch only has 2 wires and I don't see a neutral anywhere.

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The ceiling fixture has been covered for I don't know how long and when I removed the cover this is what it looks like.

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Can anyone advise me on how to connect a new track light to this ceiling fixture? And would I be able to use LED's with a dimmer switch? I recall reading somewhere that dimmers need a neutral wire?

Thanks for any advice
 

Last edited by PJmax; 02-18-18 at 12:17 PM. Reason: enlarged/enhanced/relabled pics
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Old 02-18-18, 12:05 PM
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Looks like there is 2 cables in that switch box neutrals are probably spliced and tucked back in the back of the box, at the ceiling box you have it marked switched hot and hot, where did you take your readings and what device are you using?
Geo
 
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Old 02-18-18, 12:22 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Added some details to your diagrams for clarity.

At the switch box.... you don't need a neutral. A dimmer would connect to the same two wires that are currently on the switch. Make sure there is room in that old switch box for a dimmer. Most of those old boxes didn't have enough room for a dimmer.

At the light..... your fixture connects.... black wire to switched hot and white wire to the "not hot" or neutral splice.

BE ADVISED.... with this old wiring brings many problems and headaches. Just touching those wires can cause the insulation to crack off the wires. That can create shorts where none existed.
 
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Old 02-18-18, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I took the readings using a voltage tester with a pointy end that I can pierce the insulation with. Getting 120 on the hot wires.
The insulation is definitely brittle and feels like it will fall apart if I handle it too much. Im afraid of creating a dangerous condition if I lose too much insulation off those wires. Debating if I should just get a licensed electrician to have a look. Thanks again for the replies.
 
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Old 02-18-18, 12:49 PM
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You can do it yourself jut work cautiously.
 
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Old 02-18-18, 01:10 PM
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I'm gonna give it a try myself, thanks again for your help.
 
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Old 02-21-18, 05:16 AM
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This is just me and I m not an electrician but do own a old house with very brittle wires that fall apart. Every time I open a box, any box, the first thing I do after disconnecting the wires is getting small pieces of electrical tape and wrap around each wire for as far back as my fingers can safely reach without compromising the tightness/seal of the tape (you want to make sure tape is not falling off). This method ensures that whatever insulation is there stays there and furthermore the tape acts as a protective barrier when you are shoving the wires back in which can damage the original insulation. The official method of fixing this is heat shrink tubing. But reality is most of these boxes are so small the heat shrink tubing and heat gun is not practical to use.

Again i m no electrician but this method has worked well for me. I also tape around all receptacles where the screws are. It doesnt hurt at all.
 
 

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