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Installing a Chandelier

I'm about to install a chandelier in our dining room to replace the one removed by the previous owners when they moved out. I removed the plate covering the junction box and found this:

1. Wire A runs in from the left side of the junction box and is connected (at 1) to Wire B, which runs out of the box on the right side.
2. Wire C runs in from the left side of the junction box and is connected (at 2) to Wire D, which runs out of the box on the ride side.
3. Wire E runs in from the left side and terminates at a twist on connector (3), but is not connected to any other wire.

The colors of wires A, B, C, and D are indistinguishable from one another (the wiring is pretty old, and if there was any color to the fabric sheath over the wires, it is gone now). Wire E has a slight hint of red.

My initial (wrong) thought was that the previous fixture was installed mid circuit and that the new chandelier should have its hot wire joined at the point where two hot wires now meet (at 1 or 2), its neutral wire joined at the point where two neutral wires now meet (the other of 1 or 2), and that E is a ground wire not needed in this installation.

Someone kindly pointed out that it is more likely that E is the hot switch wire and that I need to connect the chandelier's hot wire to E and its neutral wire to the neutral wire in the box, once I find out which wire that is.

A few questions:
1. Does the above sound correct (E is hot switch and either AB or CD is neutral)?
2. Will a digital multimeter allow me to test and see which wire is hot, neutral, or ground (if any). If so, how?
3. Is there any reason that I can't install a dimmer at the wall switch?
4. Am I going to kill myself doing this?

I succesfully installed a dimmer module in the bedroom last weekend and would really enjoy taking on this more difficult task, if possible.

Thanks in advance.

UPDATE: I tested with a non-contact voltage tester. E and AB are "hot." CD does not trigger the tester - does this mean it is neutral? Further, E and AB read hot regardless of whether the wall switch is on or off.

Re: Installing a Chandelier

Just a guess, but AB is probably hot household wire going the switch an possibly outlets and E is the return form the switch abd CD is neutral. So try your lights black to 3 and the white to 2.Non contact testers of ten give false readings. A meter or test light would be better.

Re: Installing a Chandelier

Thanks JLMcDaniel:

Using a voltage meter I tested the circuit at points 3 and 2 and got a reading of 95 volts. I was expecting a reading of 120v, but what do I know.

Does this circuit seem fit to power a 5-bulb chandelier?

Thanks again for your help!

Re: Installing a Chandelier

A 5 bulb lamp with 100 watt bulbs will draw less than 5 amps, so it shouldn't be a problem.

The 95 volts could be the meter is off, you sometimes get false readings with no load, or there could be a dimmer switch in the circuit.

One thing you might look at is the switch and see if it has a black wire and a red wire connected to it.

Re: Installing a Chandelier

Thanks, Jack.

There is indeed a Lutron dimmer switch on the circuit with a red wire and black wire connected to it. There is also a second red wire coming from the swith, but connected to nothing.

I'm hoping to connect it to a new Lutron dimmer switch with only two posts.

Re: Installing a Chandelier

Sounds like the dimmer switch is a three-way but it will work as a single switch. Be sure the second red wire is capped and taped.

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