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Old 01-24-2003, 07:59 PM   #1
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Default Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture.

I'm instaling a light fixture that is controlled by two wall switches.

There is three wires in the ceiling. Red (+) White (+), and Black (-) Is this correct?

The light fixture have 4 wires - 2 black and 2 white because there is two light bulb.

Question: What does with what?

My guess:

Two the black wires on the goes together to one black on the ceiling.

One of the white wires goes to the white, etc.

One of the other white goes to the red, etc.

Thanks
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Old 01-24-2003, 08:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (GoLowDrew)

yeah thats basically it, not too hard.
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Old 01-25-2003, 07:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (. .)

In the ceiling, you should only have one hot, and one neutral. Either they used one of the colors as ground, or it is simply extra. You need to check all the colors to ground to figure out which one is the hot. Once you find that, you can figure out the neutral by going from your hot, to the other wires. Only one should be able to give you a reading on voltage. Both blacks, from the light, go on one wire, both neutrals go on one. HTH

Edit- you probably know, but the white should be neutral. But you never know, i've seen some crazy stuff in houses. Click the image to open in full size.


[Modified by G2LSS, 11:00 AM 1/25/2003]
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Old 01-25-2003, 10:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (G2LSS)

Quote:
In the ceiling, you should only have one hot, and one neutral. Either they used one of the colors as ground, or it is simply extra. You need to check all the colors to ground to figure out which one is the hot. Once you find that, you can figure out the neutral by going from your hot, to the other wires. Only one should be able to give you a reading on voltage. Both blacks, from the light, go on one wire, both neutrals go on one. HTH

Edit- you probably know, but the white should be neutral. But you never know, i've seen some crazy stuff in houses. Click the image to open in full size.


[Modified by G2LSS, 11:00 AM 1/25/2003]
There is a coper one that is the ground.

The red, black, and white are all "capped" to begin with.

Is "hot" = + and "neutral" = - ?

I don't have a volt meter, what do you recommend?

Black is -, so are the white and red +?
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Old 01-27-2003, 02:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (GoLowDrew)

It's hard to say, I've seen the white being ground while the black was neutral, I'd just go out and buy a cheap volt meter from Radioshack just to be sure.
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Old 01-27-2003, 02:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (GoLowDrew)

black is always power. red can be used as power or a jumper. white is always used for neutral (sp?) I know it's the opposite of what we learn. I was a electrican for about 2 years and still kinda remeber the color codes. oh yeah the green wire is universally ground wire. hope that helps.
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Old 01-27-2003, 02:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (GoLowDrew)

How about if I just don't connect the red?

The instruction for the light fixture only talk about black and white.

I know it's hard to tell if the red is hot or not. Let me just ask this, what "could" it do assuming that I got a black and a white? Maybe I don't need or the light don't have that feature.

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Old 01-27-2003, 03:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (GoLowDrew)

The color codes are typically used in the following way:

Bare copper is the safety ground and is connected to all metallic raceways and boxes. It is connected to green terminals on outlets. Do not use this for carrying current to lights or outlets.

White is the circuit ground or return it is connected to the silver terminal on outlets and light sockets.

Black is the circuit power (117 volts) it is connected to the gold or brass terminal on outlets and light sockets.

Now the fun begins on the red wire. It could have a number of meanings. In the installation you described I usually use it for the switched power to a light or a ceiling fan.

The old code of 25 years ago let them bring 220 volts from the main breaker box, and then split it with black to red being 220 volts, or two independent 117 circuits one black white, and the other red white.

If I had to guess, it would be that the red goes to a switch and is a switched power feed wire. That is there should be 117 volts between red and white.

Good luck, if you dont have a voltmeter use a lightbulb. There only a buck a pop.

Any other questions feel free to ask. I used to wire homes for a side job.

Regards,
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Old 01-27-2003, 09:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (BigMoose)

Let me ask, are the 2 switches in different locations (across the room from each other), or are they right next to each other?
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Old 01-27-2003, 10:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (G2LSS)

hrmm....

Black is the hot

White is the Neutral

Green or bare copper would be the ground

I'd bet the red wire is the traveller... it sounds like you have a fixture that is set up on two three way switches...

or it could be just as moose stated above about old school NEC...how old is your house? when you took the old fixture out how was it wired?

it's hard to diagnose online 'cause I've seen some crajy wiring jobs before...but you definatley need to identify wheter the red is carrying any voltage before you stuff it all back together...at least put a wire nut on it.


[Modified by r81da9, 12:02 AM 1/28/2003]
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Old 01-27-2003, 11:01 PM   #11
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (r81da9)

does it look like this?

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 01-28-2003, 05:28 AM   #12
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (GoLowDrew)

That's for all the help everyone.

The house is 1.2 years old, and the switches are right next to each other on the same "face plate." It's not across the room where I can turn it on here and turn it off there. Perhaps I should open up the "face plate" to see how the red is connected to the switch.
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Old 01-28-2003, 05:30 AM   #13
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (r81da9)

As for the pic above, the light fixture part looks right one except there is no "run through." The wires are just capped. There is also one copper wire that I'm guessing is the ground.

Other than that. Yup. Red, white and black.
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Old 01-28-2003, 06:10 AM   #14
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (GoLowDrew)

didja get it figured out?

what room in the house is this fixture in? It sounds like a light/fan combo that would be in a bathroom...like this...

Click the image to open in full size.

when you took the old fixture off of the ceiling, what wires were connected to it?


[Modified by r81da9, 7:15 AM 1/28/2003]
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Old 01-28-2003, 06:29 AM   #15
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (r81da9)

Quote:
didja get it figured out?

what room in the house is this fixture in? It sounds like a light/fan combo that would be in a bathroom...like this...

Click the image to open in full size.


when you took the old fixture off of the ceiling, what wires were connected to it?


[Modified by r81da9, 7:15 AM 1/28/2003]
That image is from hte same site I used to rewire my light from the half hot outlet. Good diagrams.

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Old 01-28-2003, 06:38 AM   #16
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (r81da9)

Bingo!!! I bet no one says that anymore.

That's exactly like it. I'll have to wait till tonight to open the face plate on thelight switch to make sure.

There was nothing on the ceiling before other than a cover.

Now, that I think we are close (thanks), what will this switch format do?

One is to turn on the light, the other is to?????
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Old 01-28-2003, 06:40 AM   #17
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (GoLowDrew)

Quote:
Now, that I think we are close (thanks), what will this switch format do?

One is to turn on the light, the other is to?????
Assuming you install a ceiling fan, one switch will operate the light, one will operate the fan.
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Old 01-28-2003, 08:43 AM   #18
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Default Re: Electrical Question - Red, White and Black installing a light fixture. (sp)

here...


Click the image to open in full size.
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