DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Electrical and Wiring > Amateur Wiring: or, am I an idiot for trying this?




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Old 07-31-2011, 07:19 PM  
Chameleon
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Default Amateur Wiring: or, am I an idiot for trying this?

So, I am wanting to exchange the hideous bathroom light fixture with a shiny new one. It seems like a simple job but I have never worked with electrical systems before in my life and I'm nervous about doing something dumb that gets me killed. I'm hoping to be able to do this myself because (a) we don't have a lot of free cash for an electrician and (b) I'd, well, just like to be able to do something of this nature myself for the satisfaction of it.

So, my question is two-fold:
1. Is installing a light fixture something a rank amateur should even try and if so,
2. What should I keep in mind so I don't end up crispy? Obviously I know to shut the breaker first and properly keep track of the hot, ground, and neutral wires (assuming I can tell them apart).

Thanks!



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Old 08-01-2011, 10:21 AM  
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As long as you're not wiring a three-way, it's very simple. Make sure the breaker if OFF, not just the wall switch. Also, make SURE this is dead by using a voltage meter/tester.

Once you have that done, black to black, white to white. If you have a ground, it goes under the green screw.

Do you have a pic of the new light and the old light w/the wires? I could tell you exactly how to wire it. Thanks!



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Old 08-01-2011, 11:11 AM  
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pictures!!!

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Old 08-09-2011, 06:45 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeVilla View Post

If there is no light shining when you turn off the switch, there is no need to kill the breaker too. Just make sure nobody touches the switch while you are working.

For someone who has not done this before DO NOT trust just turning the switch off, it could switch the netural instead of the hot. You would have no idea what the person before has done, Shut off the breaker!
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:51 AM  
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Turn off the breaker to the circuit.
Remove the mounting screws for the old fixture and pull it down.
There will be two wires or maybe three if there is a ground. Those are the only wires you need to be concerned about in the box. If there are other wires LEAVE THEM ALONE.
Remove the two wires and connect them to the new fixture. white to white and black to black. Could be also red to black instead of black to black.

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Old 08-10-2011, 08:58 AM  
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Let the adventure begin! YES, replacing a light fixture can be done by an amateur but I would suggest asking around for someone who has experience to walk you through it. Read the instructions carefully and SLOWLY work through them step by step. This is NOT a race! You can also find beginner home electrical books at Home Depot.

If there is no light shining when you turn off the switch, there is no need to kill the breaker too. Just make sure nobody touches the switch while you are working.

The black-to-black and white-to-white is accurate but remember to attach the ground (bare copper) wire to the fixture too. Attaching the fixture to the wall might seem tricky but its not.
You need to kill the breaker. PERIOD. Then do your work. You have no idea if whats in your walls is even wired right, or back-fed.

TURN THE BREAKER OFF.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:39 AM  
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If there is no light shining when you turn off the switch, there is no need to kill the breaker too. Just make sure nobody touches the switch while you are working.
Really, dude?

I do a lot of electrical work for my father who is a MASTER ELECTRICIAN. You should ALWAYS turn the breaker off. No exceptions.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:44 PM  
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Default No Neener-Neener

Look, I don't want to get into a "neener-neener" here about electrical safety. However, my guess is your Master Electrician has worked on live circuits many times -- as have I. Careful use of a circuit tester confirms the presence of line energy.

But ask yourself: If the light is NOT illuminated and the cicuit tester indicates NO line energy then why do you also have to trip the breaker way out by the garage (or basement) -- unless you are charging by the hour?

On a daily basis, I change out fixtures, receptacles, dimmers, and timers. I am careful to test the lines and WHEN IN DOUBT I trip the breaker. Otherwise, I use my brain.

All that said, for an amateur, it is probably best to trip it. Assuming he can find it!

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Old 08-10-2011, 08:51 PM  
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I've seen many examples of previous owners' wiring catastrophes, resulting in hot neutrals and/or grounds, that I have to vote with those who say TURN OFF THE STINKIN' BREAKER!

My wife's cousin was a retired electrician, with more than 35 years of experience twisting wires. Yup, you guessed it--he electrocuted himself not too long ago in Colorado, trying to install an outlet on the front porch of his house WITHOUT TURNING OFF THE POWER AT THE BREAKER.

Need I say more?

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Old 08-10-2011, 09:26 PM  
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We should never advise anyone to shortcut safety here! What people do when they think they now what they doing is up to them but safety first should always be stressed.



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