I have a ceiling mount 3 light track that I'm trying to install. First,
the current wiring on the ceiling consists of black, white, and a green
wire that seems to be split into two and one end has a black tape
around the end. The house is a 1940 built and has been remodeled since
though I don't know if the whole wiring has also been re-wired. I took
off the existing lamp and noticed there was a lot wiring mixed. I also
noticed one of the green wires was wrapped with the black and then
there was an extension of the lamp wire wrapped to the ground wire
around a screw. Once I removed the lamp I proceeded to install the new
lamp following the directions from the book, fairly simple; attached
the white wires with the whites and the black with the blacks, then the
ground wire from the fixture to be wrapped in the metal plate mount
screw. I noticed I had the green wire left out and had no idea what to
do with it so I wrapped it with black tape for now. When I turned the
switch from the braker on, I noticed the lamp had power but the light
switch was turned off so I'm not understanding why...I decided to
switch cables around with the green; I wrapped one end of the green
cable to the white and another one to the black but the results were
the same, the lamp comes on but the switch from the wall is still off.
I then wrapped the green wires to the black cable only, same results
then I switched and wrapped the green with the whites, no luck. I am
confused now! what is going on? the old lamp worked just fine and the
new one does not work correctly. The wall switch is not faulty as the
existing lamp used to work no problems. It seems as if the green wires
one of them must be a hot one, but then if that is the case, which
cable should I wrapped it around with, i've tried it all ways I can
think of...help help help!!!
You did make a sketch or snap a photo of the way the wiring was conected
to the lfixture you removed didn't you?
Just hook up the new lamp the same way.
If you didn't record the original wiring, then puhleeze hire a pro to
figure it out before you burn down your house or electrocute yourself.
"It was working before, but now it doesn't." We seem to be getting a
spate of the same kind of posts these days from folks who know squat
about electric wiring.
"Fools rush in where angels dare to tread."
The old lamp had same cabling exept because it was a bigger lamp it had
a clear color cable extension going from one of the green wires down to
the clear cable and attached to the white cable. I think I seem to get
you on this one since you can't even figure out what could be wrong
lol....I think I might open the wall switch box to see if one of the
cables gotten lose while me pulling to wrap here and there....i dunno!
and i am considering asking an electrician at work. I didn't take a
picture of the old lamp wiring when I should have but I did take a
picture of the cables to take to work with me just in case someone can
Jeff Wisnia wrote:
No, I'm pretty sure I could figure it out.
You likely have a "switch leg" setup where the hot (black) lead from the
breaker comes into the ceiling box and should connect to a lead which
runs down to one side of the switch, probably the green wire with the
black tape on it. Another lead runs back up to the ceiling box from the
other side of the switch and should connect to the black lead on your
new fixture. The white wire from the new fixture should connect to the
white wire in the ceiling box and the ground lead from the fixture to
the metal plate screw. (You got the last two correct.)
See if that info helps,
Amen to that.
And a fire department and insurance company won't be too impressed
(invalidate your policy?) if they investigate and find wiring that has
been obviously done on the 'try this and that' method! I wonder how
many ungrounded and improperly wired light fixtures there are out there
that have been installed by unknowing amateurs/homeowners?
One concern with the frequent mention in foregoing posts of a green
wire (green and or green/yellow etc.) are most commonly (should be)
used for grounding, is that something or somewhere in the OPs situation
is not grounded?
Really worrying also when such a situation seemingly works ("Well the
light goes on and off"!) but is miswired!
One of these days someone or even child standing on chair may touch one
of the screws which hold the switch flush plates and get a shock. Seems
like remote possibility of course. Wasn't there a case, some 30+ years
ago, of a child who stuffed some food into a duplex outlet on a wall
near her chrome metal high chair and got a fatal shock? Maybe in that
case nothing WAS miswired but shows the possibility and necessity to
'do' electricity sensibly, safely and to code.
I've seen one light switch in a wall box wired correctly into the live
lead to produce a 'switched live', right next to an adjacent switch
miswired into the neutral side of another light. Couldn't quite figure
how it got that way but seemed like another switched light had been
added and the homeowner had got confused about the use of a white wire
as the switched live of the original wiring versus the neutral of the
addition??? Give me strength!
And yes we are currently getting frequent posts by people who obviously
'don't have an electrical clue'! Unlikely that any of us could be held
liable if something happened?
But, for example, I have a neighbour whose garage is so badly wired
that I won't touch it! I don't even visit it. That all started after he
had bought the property and; a) He had seemingly defective fluorescent
fixtures, he did. b) They lost one leg of of the 3 wire 115 - 0 - 115
and the 'electrician' he engaged to supposedly check it didn't have a
And we have all probably seen worse 'bodges'?
But even on a regular 15 amp lighting circuit we are, given the right
circumstances, dealing with sufficient electricity to kill and/or burn
down a house.
Here endeth the sermon!
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