How can I tell which end is from power source?

I decided to exchange my plug-in type under cabinet fluorescent with hardwired one. The previous owners must have had a hardwired fixtur there because there are spliced wires in the cabinet and a hole fo them in the bottom of the cabinet. However, there is no switc anywhere close. There is only one switch in the small kitchen and i is across the room and runs the overhead (incandescent) light. cant figure where the wires are going to or which end is the on coming from the breaker box. I am really confused on how to wir this. I want the under cabinet light and the ceiling light to operat independently of each other. I figured the previous owners had thei light always on or it turned off and on with the ceiling light. Als there are two types of wire cable spliced together; a 12/2 and 14/ both with grounds. Is this OK? The 14/2 is encased in black plasti and the 12/2 in white. I dont know if that means anything
There are several wires in the tops of the cabinets running here an there. This part of the kitchen was once part of a bedroom. Sinc its a 1969 mobile home, Im assuming the wiring was upgraded, bu the wire mess makes it look like amateur work. There are actually tw open splices in the cabinets and the wires snake in and out of th wall and ceiling several times
I have found some good information on basic wiring, so if someone ca help figure out which end is the power source and how to add separate switch, I think I should be set. One other thing; I read i one place that fluorescents should have a special type of switch, bu I didnt run across that anywhere else. :
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genalsh wrote:

They might also have used a light with a switch on it (usually a rocker type switch) and reached uner the lamp to turn it on and off.
Also

If you don't know which breaker controls that circuit then turn off the main breaker, uncover the splices in the black and white wires and connect a test lamp* to them. Then turn on the main breaker and see if the test lamp lights. If it does, start flipping breakers off and on until you can find and label the one protecting that circuit. When you find it, it better be a 15 amp one, if it's a 20 amp one that's too much for 14 gage wire and that breaker should be replaced a 15 amp one asap.
With the lamp lit, try flipping wall switches to see if there's one which makes it go off and on. If not, then you can be 99% sure that it's a continuously powered circuit, and you could install a hardwired flourescent with a self contained switch powered from that circuit. If the fixture isn't all plastic, it probably will have a ground lead on it and of course you should you should connect the ground to it.
I'm no code expert but I'd expect you'd need some sort of junction box inside the cabinet to do the job right, and I'm not too comfortable with the idea of exposed wiring inside a cabinet people are moving things in and out of. You'd better make sure it's all guarded against mechanical damage somehow.
If the test lamp doesn't light when you turn the main breaker back on, then start flipping wall switches to see if you can get it to light. If it still doesn't light, you need more help than I can give you on a newsgroup.

You probably read something about dimmer switches and flourescents, that doesn't sound like it applies here. Any "standard" off-on switch with adequate voltage and current ratings will turn a flourescent on and off.
HTH,
Jeff
* I say test lamp there and not "meter", because if you happen to use a digital voltmeter and don't put a load across its input you can sometimes be mislead by "phantom" voltages with no ampacity behind them which will make the meter read higher than zero when there's "almost nothing" there.
JAW
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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On Tue, 15 Nov 2005 22:05:47 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spam.invalid (genalsh) wrote:

Meter from the neutral to the ground. The one with continuity when disconnected is the feed side.
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find an electrician to eliminate any of the mentioned hazards to your health. it's time to put a modern GFI outlet and extra switch or two in your kitchen. you can buy an inexpensive digital multimeter to identify your circuit and insulated alligator jumpers to temporarily connect a radio or lamp for testing.
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I rarely tell people to call a professional anf encourage DIY. But after reading your message, I really think you should get an electrician.
However, if you decide to do this yourself, beware, you are likely dealing with aluminum wiring, probably the black cable. Trailer houses in the late 60's early 70's were notorious for AL wiring. This stuff is dangerous if not connected properly. Yet another reason to get a pro. electrician.
Look at the ground wires (bare ones). Is either of them silver colored? If yes, you got AL wire, and should call an electrician !!!
Mark
On Tue, 15 Nov 2005 22:05:47 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spam.invalid (genalsh) wrote:

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Thanks to all who have answered so far. I will get a test lamp and go from there. I held off on that because I knew there were all different sorts of testers, meters, etc. I did have a couple of people tell me the wiring was copper right after I moved in. They looked because I bought this place right after I was burned out of an old cottage with ancient wiring. I guess they only looked at the breaker box, though. Too bad those peple aren't still around to help me now. I didn't see any sliver in the 2 splices I can see right now. I'll add some junction boxes and get that out of the way too and think about more upgrades later. Better yet, maybe I should find an electrician to date! :)
Thanks again, Gena
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