Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>White, Black and Red wire question
17 posts / 0 new
Last post
Robert in Santa Fe
White, Black and Red wire question

I'm installing a new light fixture in the bathroom of a house we are remodeling. It is a simple white and black wire fixture with the ground wire.

The previous fixture had been removed before we took over. There are 2 white wires together, 2 black wires together and one red wire all capped off coming from the wall unit.

One wall switch.

I tried to wire it up in my typical way: black to black, white to white & not using the red wire at all (have never run into this red wire issue).

No action. It does not work.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you.

canuk
Re: White, Black and Red wire question

What colour wires are connected to the wall switch ?

Robert in Santa Fe
Re: White, Black and Red wire question

I'm not close by it at the moment, but I believe the lower terminal has a red wire, the top has a black.

canuk
Re: White, Black and Red wire question
Robert in Santa Fe wrote:

I'm installing a new light fixture in the bathroom of a house we are remodeling. It is a simple white and black wire fixture with the ground wire.

The previous fixture had been removed before we took over. There are 2 white wires together, 2 black wires together and one red wire all capped off coming from the wall unit.

One wall switch.

I tried to wire it up in my typical way: black to black, white to white & not using the red wire at all (have never run into this red wire issue).

No action. It does not work.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Robert in Santa Fe wrote:

I'm not close by it at the moment, but I believe the lower terminal has a red wire, the top has a black.

There needs to be a constant electrical feed somewhere --- either this feed comes into the j-box for the light or it comes from the switch box to the light j-box.

Wherever this constant feed is will be routed to the switch then from the switch to the light fixture j-box.

If you connected the new fixture black conductor to the j-box black pairs ( both wires ) and the fixure white conductor to the white pairs ( both wires ) then the light should come one and stay on constantly --- if current is being supplied on one cable pair ( black and white conductors ) at the j-box.
You said nothing happened -- either the circuit is not energized or the black conductors are not the constant feed.

If the red conductor is the constant feed then the wiring is a bit strange based on the information provided so far.

You need to find out where the constant feed is located and which colour conductor. Also verify what colour conductors and how many are located in the switch box. Also are there more than one light or a fan or a receptacle part of the same circuit ?

Post back and we can walk you through this easily enough.:)

Robert in Santa Fe
Re: White, Black and Red wire question

Thank you for this quick response. It all makes perfect sense to me now (mostly, that is). I'll be heading over to that house in the next hour or so and will further check this out based on your advice. If I can't make sense at that point, I'll be back in touch.

Thank you! Bob in Santa Fe.

canuk
Re: White, Black and Red wire question

No problem --- let us know how you make out.:cool:

Robert in Santa Fe
Re: White, Black and Red wire question

Hey Canuk . . . my praises to you! I got it. Your direction/insight/suggestions with a little intuitive work, it all came together. I'm so happy and now proud! It works.

Thank you.

Best from the states!:)

canuk
Re: White, Black and Red wire question
Robert in Santa Fe wrote:

I'm so happy and now proud! It works.

Best from the states!:)

Great stuff. ---- Glad to help.
You should be proud --- afterall you got things working and you didn't get electrocuted :):D

MVRal11
Re: White, Black and Red wire question

HELP...Same Issue!!

I have read the posts above from 5 years ago. I just bought an older house (1961) and have found some "funky" things throughout.

I am trying to connect a kitchen light fixture and have noticed the EXACT same issue. The ceiling junction box has two black wires (twisted and capped), two white wires (twisted and capped), and one red wire (capped). The wall switch has one black and one red wire.

I followed the posts but I don't understand the end result. I have not yet attempted to secure fixture wires to junction box wires because the setup in the junction box is throwing me and I don't think my life insurance covers electrical shock. Please help!

HoustonRemodeler
Re: White, Black and Red wire question

Its not the shock that kills you, its the fall from the ladder. :D

Google 3 way wiring diagrams. There are a few ways to wire 3 way switches, depending on where the power enters the circuit and where the load (fixture) is. Without disconnecting anything, compare these diagrams and see which one is closest to yours. Be aware the colors may be different on some wires and not identical to the diagram. Its easy to be confused, to the point I carry 3 diagrams in my electrical supply box.

MVRal11
Re: White, Black and Red wire question

Thanks for the quick response.

In looking at the 3-way diagrams, I feel that I have not accurately described the issue. There is only 1 wall switch that controls this fixture, so would that make it a 2 way?

My 1st guess when I saw the wiring in the junction box was to connect black to black, white to white, and ground to red.

When I looked behind the wall switch, I noticed that the only wires going into the switch are black and red (there IS a white wire in the box where the switch is, but it's not connected to the switch anywhere). This is ultimately what threw me and sent up the red flags.

Pages

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.