OK. This all started when I went to replace a lighting fixture in the
bathroom. It worked fine but it was ugly, so I bought a new fixture,
hit the breaker, and pulled the old one off the wall. Because I'd done
really basic upgrades before, I didn't pay much attention to how the
old one was wired, but once I got it off the wall, I realized that I
had TWO cables (each containing a white, black and raw wire) coming in
to either side of the junction box. That means TWO white wires, TWO
black ones, TWO raw (uncoated, whatever) ones.
Needless to say, after trying loads of different combinations, I have
no idea how to get either the old light or the new light to work again.
If I connect fixture white <-> white (left side) and fixture black <->
(left side), I can get the light to come back on, however the light
switch won't turn it off. It should be noted that fixture white <->
white (right side) and fixture black <-> black (right side) does
absolutely nothing. And yet the right side is closer to the light
switch, so I'm assuming it has relevance here...
I've tried connecting all the whites and all the blacks to no avail.
This light switch worked at one time - what am I doing wrong?
On 21 Dec 2004 04:30:19 GMT "Bob K 207"
used 3 lines of text to write in newsgroup: alt.home.repair
No, it's not. More people have been killed by 110/ 60 Hz than any other form of
electricity. What if he makes a mistake and gets electrocuted? What if he
makes a mistake and burns down the house with the family in it? Folks without
training should NEVER work on high voltage wiring unsupervised. That is why
you'll never see me give out advice regarding high-voltage wiring issues.
Sometimes the best advice is "call a pro".
I've got to agree with you. I'm pretty mechanically inclined, but I won't mess with
electrical things, unless it's just a simple direct replacement of a switch or light
fixture. Electricity is invisible, so you just simply have to know the rules and
ins and outs of how it works. It's not like other things where you can see what's
going on and react to it, causing a fix to come about.
I don't have a really good grounding in the laws of AC Electrical, so I stay away
from it. I suppose that it's not completely rocket science, so if I set out to study
the laws of Electricity and home wiring, I'd be fine, but until then, I stay away
Some times you just have to know when to keep out of certain things.
"G. Morgan" wrote:
I only wish everyone could come to the same conclusion. Unlike some
electricians I have no problem with a home owner doing their own work.
I am even happy to advise them if they show a glimmer of caution and
some evidence of understanding the basics. No one is born knowing
electricity. My allergic reactions are triggered by those who say
there is nothing to it it is just color to color. The folks who want
some techniques banned because it takes time to understand them and work
with them safely are also a major irritant.
I've done a lot of work with customers who want to do some of the work
themselves and use me as a paid coach and instructor. As long as they
will make corrections as needed and take the time to learn enough theory
and code to do it right they are a joy to work with. The few who want
to throw it together as long as the lights light I drop like a hot rock.
Seriously, you are attempting to deal with relatively dangerous things
without understanding. Buy a book such as "be a home electrician" and
read it first, cover to cover, before starting repairs like that. With
two black wires, you could possibly get yourself killed with 250V.
You are wiring them wrong and you don't know why. I fear that you don't
have the skill and knowledge to safely resolve the problem. You need to do
a little investigation of the problem. An easy job for anyone who has the
skills and knowledge to do the job safely.
Please do yourself, your family and your insurance company a favor and
have the work done professionally. It will be a small charge and well worth
it. If you keep trying things you are going to get hurt and if you make an
error you could leave a potentially deadly trap for the next person to work
on it and maybe a fire hazard for the near future.
Mark, having struggled through this repair successfully (no deaths, no
injuries, no damage)
I suggest you reflect on the process, if you're interested in getting better at
this type of stuff.
first, what mistake did you make from the get-go?
second, did you really understand Reed's explanation or just "luck into" the
considering the $'s you saved DIY, did you buy that electrical book?
"be a home electrician" and start reading it?
Do you understand the concept of a switch leg?
Becomming an accomplished DIY'r requires effort otherwise it's just one unknow
situation after anoither.
Great... now you have a firetrap waitign to happen... Do you even have a
clue as to what you did?
Just because it works doesn't mean that it's right or even safe.
You can heat a house with exhaust from your car, but is it safe to do so?
Check the wires at the switch box. If there are only 1 Blk & 1
in the box both wired to the switch,
then do this:
< > indicate current flow so you get idea how this works.
Does the fixture have a Green (ground) wire ? It should be spliced
in with the "raw" wires.
Turn the breaker off before handling any of the wires!
Try one cable's black and white to the light and see if it lights. Then try the
If one lights it up and the other doesn't mark the one that does.
Next, just as a sanity check, look at the switch and see if it has one white
and one black.
If so you probably have a hot pair and a switch loop that is your other pair
(the one that didn't light up).
If this is not all true. stop!
If this is all true connect the "hot" black to the switch loop white.
Connect the "hot" white to the light white and the switch loop black to the
If this works you are almost done.
Take some black tape or a black marker and mark out that white that you have
connected to the black so you can find it next time.
If any of this doesn't seem true get back to us.
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