Installing a chandelier


I bought a chandelier second hand. It did not come with the manual. I looked up general instructions on the internet.
Every article I read said to connect the black wire from the junction box to the black wire on the fixture and likewise for the white wires. They said to hook up the bare copper ground wire to the ground wire of the fixture. The problem is that both wires on the fixture are clear.
I looked up what the worse thing that could happen was if I installed them backwards. The articles said it would either trip the breaker or not work at all. So I figured I would just hook it up one way and see if it worked and then switch them if it didn't. I have switched the connections now about five times and no combination seems to work. I did strip the wire some more just to make sure they were making contact, but still no luck.
In addition, the mounting strap had a hole labeled ground on the fixture, but there was no way to attach the bare copper wire. At first I left it tucked into the junction box, then I tried running it through the hole making sure it made contact with the strap.
There are four light bulbs all with the filament attached. In the unlikely case it was the lightbulbs, I did switch one out. Still nothing.
I don't have a voltage tester at the moment.
Is there any way to test the chandelier itself to make sure it works?
Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks. Angela
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angelasg wrote:

Yes, Strip the two wires back about 1/2" and CAREFULLY stick them into the slots on a working receptical. Make sure you're not standing in a puddle or leaning against a radiator or other grounded object when you do that.
If the bulbs don't light with that test, then take the fixture to a lighting store and have it rewired.
As far as the ground lead goes, you can use a small mahine screw, nut and a washer or two to securely attach the wire to the fixture.
HTH,
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

Above and beyond that, the CENTER terminal of the bulbs should be "hot" and the shell should be neutral. Probably not a big deal if you get it wrong but might as well do it right. Take a meter and ohm out the wires vs. the contacts and put a piece of black tape on the "hot" wire to mark it inside the box. Assuming that everything is in good order and you wire it backwards, it should still work, you will not blow a fuse and the bulbs don't care about hot vs. neutral, they just want to see a voltage across them.
Since you say that neither way works, are you certain that the reason you were able to obtain this chandelier wasn't because it needs to be rewired? There may be a spool of lamp cord and a soldering iron in your future. Also I would definitely ground the chandelier (that's the bare wire) in case there's a wiring fault, you don't want to get zapped while cleaning it, for instance.
Also, how heavy is this chandelier? You may need a fan box in the ceiling to support it properly.
good luck,
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Agreed, but I couldn't think of an easy and safe way to describe how to check that, since he said he was sans meter.
For anyone who DOESN'T know just why the shell of bulb sockets should connect to neutral, not hot, it's because while changing bulbs your fingers might touch the shell of the bulb while it was still partially screwed into the socket. If the hot side of the line hot was connected to the socket shell and the power was still switched on you could get a nasty shock if your other hand was steadying a grounded metal chandelier.
Jeff

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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

Test light with one leg connected to a neutral found elsewhere (wall receptacle?)
nate
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Jeff,
I stuck the old fixture into the socket and it lit up.
I stuck the chandelier into the socket and it did not.
Now I know where the problem is. Thank you and everyone else for your help.
Jeff Wisnia wrote:

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Jeff Wisnia wrote: - Yes, Strip the two wires back about 1/2" and CAREFULLY stick them into - the slots on a working receptical. Make sure you're not standing in a - puddle or leaning against a radiator or other grounded object when you - do that.
A much safer way to test the lamp is to use what we used to fondly a "suicide cord".
Take a standard piece of lamp cord or extension cord that has a plug on one end and about a 1/2" of exposed wires on the other. Use wire nuts to attach this cord to the lamp. Then, without touching any part of the lamp, simply plug the suicide cord into a working receptacle, preferably a GFCI. This is much safer than using 2 hands and trying to stick a couple of floppy wires into a receptacle.
Whenever dealing with electricity, it's best to avoid forming a path for current from one hand to the other. There's this thing called a heart in between that really doesn't like electrical currents other than those supplied by our own bodies.
Take this from a guy who completed the path to ground from a 400 VDC power supply through his chest. Luckily there was someone else there to pull the plug, 'cause my hands refused to do what my brain was telling them to do - specifically "Let go!"

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Thank you for the advice. I'll remember that for next time.
DerbyDad03 wrote:

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wrote:

How did you feel after you were unplugged?
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I would first take a test lamp in a pigtail socket and attach it to the two wires in the ceiling box, to make sure you have power . If you do get a light, hang the chandelier, connect the bare wire to a screw in the ceiling box if there isn't a ground screw on the mounting bracket. One of the two wires of the fixture should contact the tongue of each lamp socket, which is the little tab straight down in the bottom of the socket, that wire should be connected to the black wire which should be "hot". The other wire from the fixture connects to the shell of the socket and should be connected to the white wire in the ceiling which should be neutral. Even if the two wires were reversed, the fixture would still work, and since it didn't, I would be looking elsewhere for a problem

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On a clear zip cord, if you feel the edges of the two wires,the plastic on one wire is smooth, and the other has small ridges on it. The smooth wire connects to the black,(hot), and the ridges connects to the white, (neutral)

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I have occasionally seen chandeliers come with built-in on/off switches. They are not always obvious, but you might want to take a careful look at your fixture and note if anything looks a little odd. On older fixtures they have been sometimes incorporated as part of the ornateness such as a brass knob on the bottom center that rotates.
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wrote:

There are articles that say that? They are wrong on both counts. Connecting black or the equivalent of it to white, and white or the equivalent of it to black will not trip a breaker and will work just as well as connecting it correctly. There is nothing directional about a lightbulb. And it's alternating current anyhow, for gosh sake. It goes in one direction, and then another. So it won't work less well if it is connected backwards.
The only reason to connect it right is as others have said, to avoid a shock. But when you're not getting a shock, there is no functional difference.
And be sure to read what John posted.

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