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Hey guys I was wondering if anyone could possibly help me. When I was away one of my children bought a new halogen light fixture for there bedroom and decided to put it up. They disconnected all of the wiring in the box to hook it up, and never got it to work after disconnecting the wires. I came home and I know nothing about electrical and have been trying to get it to work but never could. There are 3 sets of wires entering the box (a set consists of one white and one black) and there are ground wires. After disconnecting the wires in the box an electrical outlet in the wall never worked. I know it broke a circuit and I did finally connect wires to get it working but I could never get the light to work. All I could do was get it to work for a second and then it flipped the breaker. I don't know if you can help me from this but I do not know what I should hook up to make the light work. Possibly someone can help me, I might not have all the information neccassary but I do not know what I need If I can post anything else just ask and I will.
 

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DGR,IABD
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You likely have one of these cables as a "switch loop". Here's my best guess without being at your house looking at it myself. I'll draw it out. If connecting like my diagram doesn't work, do you own a meter for what I'll have you do next?
 

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Is it romex?

Sometimes the white wire is used as a switch leg. Make sure the switch leg is not connected accidentally to the neutrals..

Whoop! Whoop!
 

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Discussion Starter #4



I did a quick (very quick diagram) and a digital picture of the box. It may be hard to see but hopefully someone can help me out. I hope attached items work.
 

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Yes I own a meter. The diagram you posted above does not work. And I am afraid know it is in worse shape than before I unconected all the wires to the order as you said, and I haven't a clue the order they were in before, it never worked either but the oulet did.
 

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I'll try to help a little, - - just 'til md arrives, as he is the expert.

First of all, - - turn off the juice (and the switch) and disconnect all the connections at the fixture and start over.

Get a piece of paper and a pencil handy for notes to yourself, - - and some colored tape or masking tape to 'mark' each wire as you 'identify' them.

Once they're dis-connected and separated turn the juice back on, - - and by touching your leads to a corresponding black and white determine which wire is your 'feed' wire and mark it with tape. (If you don't get any reading, flick the switch to 'on' and try again).

Now turn the juice off again, - - and try to determine which-and-where the other wires go to, - - the light switch or the outlet.

For one thing, - - (actually, you could do this first if you want), - - turn off the power, - - remove your switch plate cover, - - then the screws holding your switch in place, - - and pull the switch out an inch or two so the wiring is exposed.

If the switch is connected to two black wires, - - and the white wires are connected to each other, - - your 'feed' comes through the switch-box, - - but if the switch just has one white wire and one black wire attached to it and no other wires, - - you have a switch-loop.

These are the first two things you need to determine, - - whether or not you have a 'switch-loop', - - and which wire is your 'feed'.

Once you determine this much, - - come back on and tell us what you have.
 

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canada4 said:



I did a quick (very quick diagram) and a digital picture of the box. It may be hard to see but hopefully someone can help me out. I hope attached items work.
Canada, instead of using the 'insert image' button (thats for hotlinking pics on the web), scroll down and use the 'manage attachments' button to attach a pic.
 

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If you're having a problem determining which-wire-goes-where, - - here's how to locate the wire going to your receptacle.

Turn power off, of course, - - then one set of wires at a time, twist the corresponding black and whites to each other, - - then set your meter to 'ohms' and push the leads into either the slots in the top of the duplex or the bottom (just as you would a plug). Setting the meter on 'ohms' will supply some juice from the meter's internal battery.

Whichever set of wires (when twisted together at other end) gives you a reading on your meter, - - that's the set going to your receptacle. Mark and denote on tape (at the fixture end) that that's your receptacle wire. (And don't forget to 'de-tach' these connections before ever turning the power back on).

Process of elimination now tells you (if you've marked your receptacle wire, and you've marked your feed wire) the remaining wire must go to the switch, - - and you have a switch-loop.

If, on the other hand, - - you have determined your 'feed' wire and your receptacle wire are one and the same, - - then the wire going to your switch IS a switch-loop, - - and the remaining wire in your fixture is a 'thru-wire' feeding something else down the line.
 

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Ok, for starts, - - I'm taking for granted neither your switch or your receptacle has no third (red) wire.

In actuality, md's diagram should be working for you, but we'll see.

Keep in mind that all a switch-loop is doing is using the switch 'itself' to interrupt the circuit (via the black wire). So even though you have a black and white wire going to the switch, - - they are, in effect, both acting like a single black wire with a switch that can 'open' (off) or 'close' (on) the 'flow' through the circuit. That's why when the white (switch-loop) wire returns to the fixture it is hooked to the 'black' wire at the light. It sometimes helps to put a piece of black tape on the 'light-end' of this returning white wire to denote that it's actually acting like a black wire.

Anyway, - - for now, - - you need to determine next which is your 'feed' wire.

Once you do that, - - I would just ignore the other wire for now, - - and hook the black from your feed to the white from your switch loop, - - and the black from your switch loop to the black on your light, - - and the white from your light to the white on your feed.

Now, - - with the power back on (and the switch on) your light should work.

If it doesn't, - - turn your power back off and disconnect your switch, - - then twist the black switch-wire and the white switch-wire together, - - and turn your power back on.

If the light comes on, - - you have a bad switch.

If not, you either have a bad light fixture, - - or a 'break' in the wire somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have been trying to get this hooked up for along time and never seem to get it to work. It doesn't have a third red wire. My house ,which I bought, never passed an electrical inspection, that i know. I replaced my bathroom light fixture and there was no box, plus I think there should be special wiring in an area of water, but there isn't. The box did work before changing it there was another fixture in the same place that worked, and I have had the light on for brief moments before it flipped the breaker, so it isn't the light.
 

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No, that's alright, no third (red) wire necessary, - - I just needed to know because that would 'confuse' the matter even further.

If it did work at one time and won't now that you've changed it it's 'tripping' the breaker, - - you've either got it wired wrong, - - or you've got a dead 'short' somewhere.

Like I say, you need to start by going through the above steps.
 

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You could even take a step back and check one thing at a time.

Once you determine which wire is bringing in the power to the fixture, - - turn off the power, connect the feed-wire black to the light-wire black, - - and the feed-wire white to the light-wire white, - - then turn the power back on. Your light should work. If so, we'll go to the next step (wiring in the switch). If not, - - it's your light fixture itself.
 

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I understand you're saying the light works briefly, - - but that doesn't necessarily mean the short isn't in the light itself. Some 'close-part' or wire may be expanding with heat and then causing a connection that trips.
 

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Canada... I took for granted that you knew which cable went to which device, but that doesn't appear to be the case. First, take your volt meter and check each cable between the black and white... this is your feed wire. Then, of the remaining two cables, set your meter on OHMS. Take a reading between the black and white of each cable and have a helper flip the wall switch. The cable in which you get a near zero ohms reading with the switch in the ON position is the wall switch. The remaining cable is the one to the receptacle. Connect as per the diagram I first posted, and it will work. If not, repost and we'll muddle through the mess some more.

This is one of those funny things that I could straighten out if I was at your home in 5 minutes or less, but might take pages of posts back and fourth to iron out.
 

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mdshunk said:
This is one of those funny things that I could straighten out if I was at your home in 5 minutes or less, but might take pages of posts back and fourth to iron out.

Phew!! Finally. Thanks for jumping in, md, - - just think how many PAGES it would take me!! :cheesygri
 

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I have decided to lock this thread for the moment. I have received information which causes me to believe that the user is not a contractor.

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