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wiring question

i am trying to replace a light fixture in my home. the light has two switches one at each end of the hallway. when i took down the old light it was wire as so two whites connected to each other two blacks connected to each other the two grounds connected to each other and the two reds were connected to the two black wires on the fixture. how do i reconnect the new light with a white a black and a ground?

Thank you!

Re: wiring question

Now do this: remove the cover plates off the two switches and tell us what wires you see there.

Re: wiring question

one switch has white wire to a **** screw and a black wire to a **** screw, then a ground to a silver screw and a red to a black screw. the other has two coils of incoming wires with one white to the other red and the two grounds together. then then the other white to a **** screw and the black from that coil to the other **** screw and finally the last black to the black screw.

thank you!

Re: wiring question

How was the old light wired in? The new fixture may not get its own white and black. It may get two blacks or two whites, depending on how it was wired originally.

Re: wiring question

it was ground together, whites together, and blacks together. white of fixture to red and red to black on fixture.

Re: wiring question

How the switches are wired is irrelevant (unless you messed with them).

Just hook up the fixture the same way as the old one, except connect all the grounds together. Connect the black wire to one of the red wires, and connect the white wire to the other red wire. Which to which? Read on...

You will need a "non-contact voltage tester." They sell these at every hardware store and big-box home improvement center for less than $20. While you're there, get a roll of white electrical tape. Be very careful, as there will be exposed live wires with this test. Do not touch any exposed wires while the power is on.

With the red wires sticking out of the box not touching anything else, turn the power to the circuit back on. Touch just the tip of the voltage tester to the insulation of each red wire. If the tester does not light up on either wire, flip ONE of the switches and test again.

Turn off the power to the circuit.

The wire with which the tester lights is the HOT and should be connected to the black wire of the fixture. The wire that doesn't light is the NEUTRAL and should be connected to the white wire.

Note that while the wiring is functionally correct from the perspective of an engineer, it is not wired to proper color code and may mislead someone resulting in a dangerous situation. Rather than trying to get it wired correctly according to color code (which can be an exercise in futility for someone who is not experienced with 3-way switches), you can do the following to comply with code:

  1. Wrap the NEUTRAL red with white electrical tape to designate it as a neutral.
  2. Wrap the white wires in the fixture box with black tape to designate them as potentially hot wires.
  3. At the switch box with two cables (the 2-wire cable and the three-wire cable), wrap the red wire (connected to the white wire) with white electrical tape to designate it as a neutral. Wrap the white wire with black tape.
  4. At the other switch, wrap the white wire with black tape.

P.S. -- There are a few "banned" words on this forum. It's very annoying to us regulars. Such words as g0ld, 0nline, and r-a-p-e are converted to asterisks, even in the middle of words like s-c-r-a-p-e. (I got g0ld and 0nline to appear by using zeroes for ohs.)

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