Wiring help

I'm trying to put up some track lights in the basement. In the ceiling, I have black and white wires coming out from two sources and wired to two set screws on the porceline fixture, and two copper wires wrapped together and tucked in.
On the track lighting, I have a black, green, and white.
What do I do?
Thanks,
S.
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samson wrote:

Call an electrician?
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Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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The green is ALWAYS ground. Black is power. White is common (return to the power panel)
Pete
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snipped-for-privacy@mts.net wrote in

Just a notational issue: The white wire is also called the "neutral" wire.
It depends on what part of the world you're in as to how dumb you are. (Paraphrase from /Smokey and The Bandit./)
Puckdropper
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Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

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snipped-for-privacy@mts.net wrote:

Hopefully.
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Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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If he's gotta' ask... 8^(
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I assume that you are replacing an existing fixture with the track lighting. If that is the case, first ensure that the circuit is dead. AT A MINIMUM, be sure the switch controlling the light is turned off and can't be turned on while you are working on the replacement. But, if at all possible, locate the breaker for the circuit and be sure it is in the OFF position. If there is any danger of someone re powering the circuit while you are working, take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it.
Once the circuit is dead you can remove the wires from the existing fixture and ASSUMING that the color codes are per convention, the two existing black wires (the "hot" wire) connect to the black wire from the track light, the two existing white wires (the "neutral" wire) connect to the white wire from the track light, and the green track light wire connects to the two existing bare wires (the "ground" wire). Connections can be made with wire nuts of the correct size. I'm just guessing, and it's strictly a guess, not being able to see the wire gauges involved, but probably the "yellow" wire nuts are the correct size for the application.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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says...

Greatly appreciated, Tom!
S.
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wrote:

Have your work inspected before you fire it up.
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-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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samson wrote:

I would say at a BARE MINIMUM turn the power off at the circuit breaker. Too many times have I seen a light switch wired incorrectly by a sparky who wasn't paying attention, or the new apprentice has been given the job.
If the switch is connected to the neutral instead of the active the switch still works, but the active is still live waiting for a completed circuit i.e. light fitting to you to ground to hospital to morgue etc.
Please make sure you know what your doing.
I've danced with the lady and I'm telling you it does more than tickle.
Peter
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I admire your attempt to do for yourself, but you clearly don't have the essentials to do for yourself in the world of electricity. Not that you can't develop it by any means, because everyone that ever learned this stuff before you started from the beginning. But... now is not the time to turn to the internet to learn how to wire. You can and should start with a basic book available from Home Depot on basic home wiring. It will teach you the basics of all of those wires coming into the box. And - it won't take you a long time to read and master. You'll have the added advantage of pictures which do come in handy when learning something new. Learn the basics and then ask questions on an internet forum.
Or - you can call an electrician. I personally think you should. That way you can ask him all of the questions your heart desires and get direct answers right there in front of you. Again - I don't mean to be insulting but the internet is not the place for your questions to be answered.
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-Mike-
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Invite a friend over, IF he knows what he's doing around electricity..
Get a cheap tester at the BORG so you can KNOW what the black/white/bare are and if the polarity are right..
It sounds like whoever put the lights up didn't know what to do with the ground (should be green, not bare) so just twisted the 2 grounds together and pushed them out of the way...
USUALLY, black to black, white to white and green or bare to green...
The down side of that is that you're trusting whoever wired the basement... that they knew what they were doing and that they didn't run out of the right color and just say the hell with coding it.. (I have a 220v RV plug that has ALL white wires)
Testing is a lot better than blowing breakers and/or straightening your hair.. YMWV
mac
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Ground is bare or green. Nothing wrong with bare ground at all. Grounds should be twisted together and either crimped or capped with a wire nut. Nothing wrong with that either.

Unless they wired in conduit how would they run out of the right color? Most homes are wired with Romex - all the right colors are built right in.
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-Mike-
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Never under estimate the stupidity of the novice wiring job. They may, for some reason, have bought the wire as a single conductor. (Lots of valid reasons for that.) When they went to wire the outlet, they used what they had.
Puckdropper
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I didn't see anything that indicated this was wired by a novice. By the description given, my most likely assumption would be Romex since he indicated the bare wire grounds.
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-Mike-
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wrote:

You're assuming wiring by someone that knew what they were doing, Mike..
You get a 30 or 40 year old house that's had several owners and you might find ANYTHING..
I had a 10 min light switch change turn into several hours because when the guy I was helping change his switch pulled it out of the outlet box to get to the screws, he ended up with the switch, several short pieces of wire and a few wire nuts in his hand... OOPS!
Some previous genius had broken or cut off the wires in the wall, which made them too short... followed by trying to splice them all with brown extension cord wire and wire nuts.. We ended up opening up the wall and adding a junction box and new wires and outlet box..
Sort of gives you an idea why a good mechanic wants to tune up your car before trying to fix the problem you describe..
mac
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Yeah - there are horror stories of all sorts out there, and all of us who have done some wiring have encountered some of them. But the original point wasn't about wiring cob jobs. It was about what sounded to be pretty much proper wiring. Why would one assume - for the sake of adding a new light, that otherwise proper looking wiring, might have been done in error? When one opens up a box and finds two runs of Romex in it, and otherwise looking proper, why would one assume that there might be something wrong? If that were the rule, we'd all be tearing out walls every time we opened up a box.
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-Mike-
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wrote:

I guess I've been burned too many times by assuming.. lol
Our house is new and when we did the walk through, I had a cheap circuit/polarity tester with me.. one that plugs in and lights some pretty colored lights.. I found 3 or 4 outlets that had reversed polarity..
mac
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snipped-for-privacy@samson.net says...

Followup. The wiring went well. The lights look great.
FYI, I put up other track lights before in the basement, at a terminal outlet with one bare copper, black, and white wire. This new set of track lights was at a junction with two wires for each color. It seemed somewhat obvious what to do, but you never know. Better to be safe and check. I appreciate the help.
S.
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"> What do I do?" The white goes to white, the black goes to black and the green goes to the bare copper (ground wires).
The porcelain fixture (keyless) is removed and the track lighting adapter plate is wired in its place a(as above) nd secured as was the "keyless." The tracks are fixed to the adapter and screwed into the ceiling as per the mounting instructions (If you do not have these try a search on google) or through the "obvious" mounting holes provided. That is all

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