Ceiling fixture help


I'm trying to replace an old ceiling fixture. Reason: one of the bulbs couldn't be removed and the socket was shot (but the bulb still worked until this morning).
The old fixture had (2) 60W bulbs -- each with a black and white wire "hard"-wired to their sockets (it was old). In the ceiling, there are (2) wires -- 1 black and 1 white (the wiring is old cloth-covered; originally the house had knob & tube/fuses).
The new fixture I purchased also had (2) 60W bulbs -- each with a black and white wire (so 4 wires total coming off the new fixture).
Trouble is, when I connect the fixture I can only get (1) bulb to light -- the black lead bulb. I've tried all black-to-black & all white-to-white wiring; one white/one black to black (and one white/one black to white) -- and I get the same result. Then I tried each black and white on the fixture together and then to the black and white in the ceiling -- this resulted in nothing (no light) -- and not even a circuit trip.
Any idea what could be going on?
Thanks for any help/insight you can offer!
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If you've tied the three black wires together and the three white wires together, and only one lamp lights, you either have a bad bulb or a bad socket

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Yeah, that's the weird thing -- I thought the same. So I tried the same bulb that worked in the other socket -- nothing.
Then I returned the fixture -- and got another one (same type/replacement) -- and it does the same thing.
Very odd. Doesn't make any sense.
The line doesn't end at this fixture, though -- it goes up to (3) other fixtures -- and there's also at least one outlet on the same line.
They're all working fine.
Any ideas?
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Additional outlets should not make any difference.
A bulb connected between the hot wire (white) and return (black) should light.
Is this a switched ceiling outlet? If so are you saying there are other outlets controlled by the same switch?
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This ceiling fixture is controlled via a single switch. The switch does not control anything but this fixture -- even though there is at least one other outlet that loses power when the circuit is off.
The house is 68 years old, but very well taken care of. It's new to me -- just moved in a couple of weeks ago. This fixture (at least the box itself) appears to be original to the house.
I though the black wire was hot -- and the white wire was neutral (return)...
Now remember, this is old, braided (cloth-covered) wire -- and, as such, it's a bit difficult to tell whether the white is actually white and the black is actually black (one is simply dingier than the other).
Should I try reversing the connection? Meaning -- maybe I'm wrong and the black is actually white and vice-versa...
Rich256 wrote:

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You are correct, black should be hot, and white, neutral. Try connecting only the two leads from one socket to the two house wires, if that works try just the other socket by itself. If one works and the other doesn't , you have a bad socket
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OK, I've just tried the following:
Connect only (1) lamp socket to the black/white coming from the ceiling.
One socket lights the lamp, one doesn't.
But the previous light fixture did the same -- and that's why I returned it (thinking it was a bad socket). I suppose it's possible -- but do you really think I could've picked up the only (2) ceiling fixtures (same model) in Home Depot that each had a bad socket? It's a simple, Hampton Bay 2-bulb (75-watt, but I'm using 60) flush "utility" fixture -- the type you'd use in a basement. The instructions are awful (I don't think English was the writer's native tongue), so they're useless. I'll go inspect the fixture and see if I can detect anything else.
If that fails, I'll try a new (different store, different type) of fixture tomorrow -- and if that fails, hello electrician!
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Aw, don't give up that easy!!
Could very well be that there is a break in the wire on one of the lamps.
A meter such as those you can often get at half price (about $5) from Harbor Freight would tell you if there is. Have any friends that has a meter?
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I could buy one -- but I'm not sure how to use one.
I figure I'll try another store -- and a different fixture from a different manufacturer. All I'm installing is a simple 2-bulb utility (basement) ceiling light.
If that behaves the same as these (2), then I can be pretty sure it's not the fixtures -- but the wiring in the ceiling itself. And, if that's the case, I'll need a pro to help correct it.
Thanks for all your help -- I'll let you know what happens come tomorrow...
Rich256 wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

If it is as you describe it can't be anything other than the fixture. With only two wires, one has to be hot and the other return. Hook something between them and it will work.
As for the meter, they are pretty simple.
Put it on AC Volts scale, perhaps 150. Put the leads between hot and return and you will read 120.
Put it on Ohms scale. Touch the leads together and the meter will show very low resistance. Just put the meter on a higher scale, hook the leads across the circuit you want to measure. If the meter shows something there is a connection.
If nothing else it's a useful tool for checking batteries and light bulbs. A good 1.5 volt battery will measure a bit higher than that. A run down one will be below 1.4 volts.
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If you bought it at HD and it's the same make and model, I wouldn't be surprised if you find all the rest of that make and model to be just as defective
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Yeah, you are correct. The other outlets are sort of separate. Each has their own switch. The common place is at the switch.
If you fasten the wires from one lamp to the black and white wires the lamp should light. I gotta think that either the socket is faulty or there is a switch on the fixture. Can you see the wires going into the individual sockets?
As for lighting the bulb it doesn't make any difference which wire the power goes in and which one it comes out on. Think of it like water flowing. If it flows in on one side of the bulb and out the other side, the bulb will still light.
The difference is a safety issue. Preferably the hot side will be the tab at the bottom of the socket and the return on the outside screw in section. Reversed makes it a bit easier to touch that outside shell and get a shock.
At this point I would use my meter to measure the resistance through each of the sockets to verify that there is indeed continuity through the wires and lamps.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I am pretty certain the correct wiring would be all the blacks tied together and all the whites.
I am confused what you mean by "the black lead bulb".
Is one of the bulbs defective? Replace or switch to see.
There is no switch on the fixture?
Not surprised that you didn't get any light when you tied the blacks and whites together. You had power on both sides of one bulb and the other grounded.
This is a place where an ohm meter would be handy to see if you can read resistance through the fixture wires.
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Sorry -- my bad explanation.
Yes, I've tried all the blacks together -- and all the whites -- and I still only get (1) bulb. There is a single switch that controls the fixture. But the line continues upstairs to (3) other lights (all controlled by their own switches) -- and there is at least one outlet on the same run.
I switched the bulbs (put the working one in the non-working socket) -- and, I even returned the fixture (thinking the socket was faulty).
New replacement fixture = same result.
Can't figure it out...
Rich256 wrote:

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On 11 Jan 2007 19:21:49 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

That is the only way you should connect it. The results of other ways are "unpredictable". :) But may melt some wires before the breaker has a chance to trip.

None of this matters. Nor does the age of the house or its condition. If one bulb lights you have electricity between those two wires that come out of the ceiling. If one socket doesn't light and you know the bulb is good (You tested the bulb before putting it in that socket, but to be certain you should test it after also.) then it is the socket.
Although it is very unusual for a new socket not to work, it is not like flipping a coin where getting heads the first time has no effect on the second time. If they made one bad socket, it's not so unlikely that they use a defective system for making sockets, so it's not so surprising that the next one doesn't work. Even though the factory is far away, the assmbly line puts them in cartons in sequence as they are made, and your two fixtures probably came out of the same carton.

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On 11 Jan 2007 18:52:02 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I don't suppose the fixture has a little pull-chain rotary switch that determines how many of the bulbs are on, or anything?
--Goedjn
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I think you are in over your head.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Not really. I had the same thoughts that there might be a switch of some sort that he missed. Gotta be something wrong with the fixture. Am very curious as to what he found. Never know what it might be.
I bought a chain saw a while ago. It was all assembled ready to use. Didn't cut worth a damn. Took a closer look and saw the chain had been installed backwards. I commented about it at the hardware and they casually said those things "happen".
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I bought a chain saw, and I kept trying to pull the chain to turn it on. But it didnt' work.

My chain was backwards, too, bought at a yard sale. I wonder if that is why they got rid of it.

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mm wrote:

What's that old joke? Took the chain saw back because it didn't work worth a damn. The guy at the store takes a look at it, pulls the rope and the customer says "What's that noise!!".
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