Can someone tell me how to properly wire a ceiling light in the following
I have a ceiling fixture with 3 pairs of wires coming in to it, plus a
single red wire.
I have determined that:
A. One black and white pair + the red goes to the wall switch
B. One black and white pair goes to a wall outlet
C. One black and white pair is coming from the breaker ("C" is an assumption
I haven't tested that yet)
When I flip the breaker for this fixture, the adjacent bathroom and the next
bedroom lose power. My guess is they are fed from the "B" wall outlet
When I removed a ceiling fan from this fixture All the black wires are
taped together, and all the white wires are taped together. At the switch
the black wires are tied together with one wire coming from that bundle and
going to the switch. The white wires were all tied together. The red wire is
connected to the switch. HOWEVER in the 8 years we've been in the house, the
switch never controlled the ceiling fan or any of the wall outlets (the
house is 66 years old).
Can someone tell me if it is possible to safely wire this switch and ceiling
fixture so that the switch controls the light, the wall outlet in the
bedroom with the ceiling fixture is always hot, and the adjacent bathroom
and bedroom are always hot, too. If this is possible, what do I need to do?
Thanks in advance for any assistance you can offer.
It sounds as though you only need to connect a ceiling fixture to the single
red wire and to the group of white wires in the the ceiling box.. If the
previously installed fan never worked, than there may be (Or may have been)
a problem somewhere. You didn't mention what wires the ceiling fan was
It might also be possible that the feed from the circuit breaker begins at
the switch and then feeds the rest of the rooms mentioned.
I suggest that you get a pigtail lamp socket and a bulb and start by
connecting it to the red and whites in the ceiling box. If it doesn't work
check the switch by disconnecting it and splicing the black and red wire
Do not disconnect the bundles of blacks and whites. They are feeding the
Yes, it is possible, and it would probably be easy. However you first
need to draw a schematic diagram of how it all goes together. You should
know how power is coming from the circuit breaker, ie through the switch, or
directly to the fixture. Start by looking at the switch to see if more wires
lead away from that, and try to sort out where they go. Shut off the circuit
and test everything nearby to be as sure as you can about what else is on
that circuit. To tell where power is coming from, you could carefully unhook
one black feeder wire (breaker off!), then turn the breaker back on and see
what still works. Once you understand how it works you won't really need a
lot of help to decide what to do next. With a good schematic the rest is
obvious. If in doubt, consult a home wiring textbook to find a similar
As a guess, I recon that the red wire is probably hot when the switch is
on, so it would usually go to the brass screw of the fixture (or black
fixture wire), and white would connect to all the white wires and pigtail to
the silver screw (or white fixture wire). However a guess is not really good
enough without a proper schematic diagram.
Your comment that the switch didn't seem to control the fixture is a
little puzzling. Are you saying that the switch has never been functional?
If so, do you think the previous owner hooked it up incorrectly? Or does
that switch do something else....
Thanks for the reply John and Dave
RE: the non-functioning wall switch: The ceiling fan works, but I would
prefer to have a light instead. It was my guess that whomever installed the
fan, wired the wall switch so that it always made the ceiling fixture hot,
so that the pull chain switch on the fan controlled the fan, and not the
wall switch. Does that seem like a reasonable theory? I hadn't considered
that the switch itself might be bad.
I did use a little voltage tester (a tool with a small bulb in it to
indicate if a circuit is hot or not). When I placed the one lead of the
tester on the black wire connected to the switch, and the other lead to the
red wire connected to the switch, the tester bulb only glowed with 1/2 the
usual intensity. I should have tested with my VOM meter to see how much
current was going through, but had to call it quits for the day. Does the
1/2 intensity mean anything?
Anyway, I'll take your advice, flip the circuit breaker to kill power to the
wiring, and work on outlining a wiring diagram.
Thanks again for the help..
Fixed it - thanks John and Dave.
Drawing the diagram helped. Both of you were right, the light fixture white
wire connected to the group of pigtailed white wires, the black fixture wire
connected to the red wire, and all other blacks coming into the box
Thanks again for the help
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