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
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.
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
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.
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.
replace "fly" with "com" to reply.
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.
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
Jeff Wisnia wrote:
Jeff Wisnia wrote:
- Yes, Strip the two wires back about 1/2" and CAREFULLY stick them
- the slots on a working receptical. Make sure you're not standing in
- puddle or leaning against a radiator or other grounded object when
- do that.
A much safer way to test the lamp is to use what we used to fondly a
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!"
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
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)
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.
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
And be sure to read what John posted.
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