Installing Light

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by mechi, Jul 1, 2017.

Help Support House Repair Talk by donating:

  1. Jul 1, 2017 #1

    mechi

    mechi

    mechi

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    1
    I want to install a new light fixture in my kitchen so that it matches a light fixture that's already there (kitchen has 2 light fixtures on ceiling). My brother said it's easy and he would do it even though he's never replaced a light before and knows nothing about electrical wiring.

    We thought it would be just connecting white to white and black to black. But today when I examined the other fixture that's already installed to see how the wires are connected I saw there are 3 plastic connectors, one looks like it has 3 black wires twisted into it, the other looks like it has white wires in it (can't tell how many), and the third has me dumbfounded, it looks like there is a white wire and a red wire twisted into it. The light fixture has 2 wires, one white and the other white with black stripes. I was expecting the striped wire to be connected to the red but I'm pretty sure it's the fixture's white wire. I can't see where the striped wire is connected.

    The new fixture has one white wire and one black wire plus a bare copper ground wire, and now, with the exception of the ground wire we're not sure to what they are suppose to be connected?

    Also, the new light fixture looks like it has aluminum wires and I'm pretty sure the wires in the ceiling are copper, does that matter?
     
  2. Jul 1, 2017 #2

    bud16415

    bud16415

    bud16415

    Fixer Upper Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    Messages:
    5,255
    Likes Received:
    1,853
    Location:
    Erie, PA
    That’s the reason two people that know nothing about electricity shouldn’t mess around with it. It is something that can be self taught it is very dangerous to both you directly in the form of electrocution or to your home in terms of fire.

    Your description I don’t think is near enough to start explaining to you what to do. You need to learn the basics of home wiring first and the different ways a switch can power a light etc.
     
  3. Jul 1, 2017 #3

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

    Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,875
    Likes Received:
    1,286
    Location:
    Sussex County, NJ
    If the light is controlled by a switch, that could explain the third wire.
     
  4. Jul 1, 2017 #4

    mechi

    mechi

    mechi

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes the light is controlled by a switch.

    I agree with you bud, I don't want to do anything unless I know exactly what to do.
     
  5. Jul 1, 2017 #5

    joecaption

    joecaption

    joecaption

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2,294
    Likes Received:
    380
    If the old light worked then just disconnect the old lights black and white wires and reconnected the new light exactly the the way the old one was and it should work.
    Most likely your seeing tinned copper wires, not aluminum.
     
  6. Jul 2, 2017 #6

    mechi

    mechi

    mechi

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    1
    That's what I was thinking but the old fixture I want to replace is a ceiling fan, it has an additional blue wire. Am I correct in saying that the blue and black wires from the fan are both connected to the same wire in the ceiling? And if so would this be the ceiling wire I connect the black wire from the new fixture to? (I haven't removed the ceiling fan so don't know how the connections look).
     
  7. Jul 2, 2017 #7

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,716
    Likes Received:
    700
    Yes, the black and the blue conductors from the ceiling fan positive feed for the fan, (black), and the lights, (blue).

    Connect the white conductor from the new fixture to the white conductors in the ceiling junction box which are not connected with any other colored conductors.
     
  8. Jul 2, 2017 #8

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

    Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,875
    Likes Received:
    1,286
    Location:
    Sussex County, NJ
    Normally you would connect white wire to white wire, black to black. But if you are replacing a fan that had separate switches for the light and for the fan, you will have an extra wire, and when you are finished, you will have one switch that isn't needed. It would be best to remove that switch and make sure that extra wire is dead and well covered so that it can't make contact with anything accidentally.
     
  9. Jul 2, 2017 #9

    afjes_2016

    afjes_2016

    afjes_2016

    Established Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2016
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    165
    Sounds to me like there may be a switch loop possibly and power could be going from the light fixture box to another location feeding power to that location.

    Do you have any electrical meters or testers etc.

    Again as bud16415 stated, from the use of your terminology (or lack there-of) for this I would suggest you get an electrician in to do this hook-up. This is for your own safety and the safety of the home.
     
  10. Jul 2, 2017 #10

    bud16415

    bud16415

    bud16415

    Fixer Upper Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    Messages:
    5,255
    Likes Received:
    1,853
    Location:
    Erie, PA
    We are up to thread 10 now and I haven’t seen any mention of shutting the power off before anything else is worked on. That’s the trouble with guiding someone with self admitted zero knowledge on the topic of electricity. I’m assuming the fixture is on the ceiling and the simple task of climbing up there could be a problem given most step ladders are now aluminum and excellent conductors to ground. Once you think you have the power off you have to remove wire nuts and there is always the chance something could still be live. afjes mentions a meter or a tester. That requires first figuring the lines are dead and uncovering the ends of wires and then turning the power back on and testing live wires without blowing your new meter out having it set on the wrong setting.

    There is so much to conceder when walking someone with zero knowledge thru a first repair safely converting a fan / light to just a light, as simple as that sounds to us that have done it many times.
     
    afjes_2016 likes this.
  11. Jul 2, 2017 #11

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Messages:
    2,471
    Likes Received:
    175
    Had a job like this one but installing a two-way motion detector.

    Had to make diagrams of what cables and what wires were in each box, had to open and reclose all three boxes eventually over several days, had to remove some wire nuts to check voltages.
    In some cases had to separate wires that were in the same Wirenut to find which connected to the load or source and which were pass-through to other loads.

    The risk of screwing up the existing working setup is high.
     
  12. Jul 2, 2017 #12

    mechi

    mechi

    mechi

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes I now about making sure there's no power going through. We haven't done anything yet, I'm just asking questions to see if this is something we'd be able to do.

    There's only one normal light switch that turns the ceiling fan on. The fan has pull chains that control what's on - fan, light or both. The fan is broken so I want to go back to having the type of light fixture that was there before.
     
  13. Jul 2, 2017 #13

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Messages:
    2,471
    Likes Received:
    175
    Forgot to mention; more than once I have thrown a breaker before working in a junction box only to find that more than one breaker powered that same box.
    Test all connections with respect to ground or neutral. For an old, remodeled house I wouldn't put much faith in wire colors.

    If you have the fan instructions or can pull them off the Web, they will explain the color code for the broken fan before you pull the fan. You may be able to narrow down the possibilities from this.
    You want to find two wires that give you 120v controlled by the switch. For increased safety, you also want to find which of these two is neutral, which is a separate procedure.

    I suppose you can test what's under the Wirenuts by soldering a safety pin to a test lead and poking the point under the nut, but you'd have to insulate the pin and you don't know for sure if the pin is making contact.
    Jabbing through Romex insulation to prevent disturbing the Wirenut connection is also not so easy.
    Somebody should maybe invent a Wirenut with a tiny test hole.

    And wear eye protection!
    Shorting the hot wire to neutral or ground tends to cause little molten globs of copper at 2000F to fly through the air. :hide:
     
  14. Jul 2, 2017 #14

    afjes_2016

    afjes_2016

    afjes_2016

    Established Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2016
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    165
    I am going to basically stay out of this one as I am not comfortable enough with the lack of knowledge from Mechi. No offense to you please, don't take it wrong. What bud16415 said is true. I only asked about the meter and testing equipment to show you that there is more to knowing how to "hook up wires" than just looking at them.

    For those that are going to assist please remember that you must distinguished between the two light fixtures that Mechi is referring to in his posts. What I mean by this is -

    So be sure when you reply to make it clear if you are talking about the fixture he wants to replace or the one he took apart to get an idea of what he has to do with the one he has to replace.

    I am now "bowing out" unless I see something in this thread that needs to be addressed.

    Also "wuzzat" you said what?? - REALLY????

    :down:NO NO NO!!!!! Mechi please don't do this!!!!!!:down:


    Also wuzzat "with all due respect" please don't confuse the OP with incorrect terminology by saying this
    There is no such thing as a two way.
    There is a 3 way and 4 way.
    3 way you can control a device from two locations.
    4 way you can control a device from three or more locations.

    and if you had to
    then it was a 4 way.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  15. Jul 2, 2017 #15

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Messages:
    2,471
    Likes Received:
    175
    Balancing safety with necessity with cost with expediency is a tricky tradeoff.
    I guess OSHA has a few things to say on this subject.

    In view of the previous replies and since almost everyone is naturally afraid of electricity (and why not?) at this point I'm going to give the adult OP the benefit of a doubt.
     
  16. Jul 2, 2017 #16

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,716
    Likes Received:
    700
    Wazzit said "motion detectors". which do in fact exist, however you, on the other hand, further confused the issue, by "assuming" he was referring to switching.
     
  17. Jul 2, 2017 #17

    afjes_2016

    afjes_2016

    afjes_2016

    Established Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2016
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    165
    Electricians are not afraid of electricity-electricians "respect" electricity because in their classes they learn they must.

    Snoonyb if you are referring to me then I was referring to the terminology of "two way" not motion sensor.
     
  18. Jul 3, 2017 #18

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,716
    Likes Received:
    700
    Your quote from post#14;Also wuzzat "with all due respect" please don't confuse the OP with incorrect terminology by saying this
    Quote:
    Had a job like this one but installing a two-way motion detector."
     
  19. Jul 3, 2017 #19

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

    Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,875
    Likes Received:
    1,286
    Location:
    Sussex County, NJ
    Apparently, Wuzzat is off his meds again.
     
  20. Jul 5, 2017 #20

    mechi

    mechi

    mechi

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    1
    We got it done. Once the fan was lowered away from the ceiling I knew to what wires the new light is to be connected. The only difficulty we ran into was attaching the light's bracket to the ceiling. The metal box in the ceiling had one side going further into the ceiling than the other, preventing the bracket from being level when attached. I noticed that the fan used a much longer screw on that side so I used that screw with the bracket and it worked.

    Thanks everyone for the help and advice.
     
    slownsteady likes this.

Share This Page