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My light fixture does not work right, what is wrong?


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

I just put up a new light fixture. The light switch was off, I put the new bulb in and light was on…


Electrical Question from Tina about Light Switch Wiring

Question: I just put up a new light fixture. The light switch was off, I put the new bulb in and light was on. Is the switch not working or could there be something in the light itself? Last fixture worked with switch, I also installed that fixture, last time I turned on the switch with old fixture it worked, any ideas?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Tina. It would be very rare that a switch would fail in the “ON” position , but remotely possible. How many wires were up in the ceiling fixture box? Were there two or more?
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2 Responses to “My light fixture does not work right, what is wrong?”
  1. Linda says:

    Hello! I took down an old chandelier and spray painted it a new color. I then reinstalled it. When I turned the circuit breaker back on, the light comes on but it is not controlled by the light switch. Flipping the light switch up and down does nothing to turn off the light. There are only two wires in the chandelier…black and white. The light obviously has power but why won’t the switch over-ride the breaker? Help!

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Linda,
      If there are only two wires from the ceiling fixture box and the wiring was connected as it was originally then I would suspect that the contacts in the wall switch are stuck together, so the switch will need to be replaced. This can be verified by testing the switch. If it is found that the wall switch does not have voltage then the following may apply.
      This is an example where there are two sets of 2-wire cables up in the ceiling fixture box:
      If the ceiling fixture box has more than two wires then it is very possible that the fixture is connected to the power source and not the switched wire that returns from the wall switch, and that is why the light is on all the time and not controlled by the wall switch.
      This can be corrected by identifying the white neutral wire and the black wire of the circuit power source. These wires are typically found in the same cable 2-wire cable. The white neutral wire of the circuit connects to the white wire of the light fixture.
      Next, there will be another 2-wire cable with two wires that are used for the switching process, where one wire connects to the circuit power wire which then supplies power down to the switch, and the other wire of this 2-wire cable returns the switched power back up to the light fixture box, and that is the wire that connects to the black wire of the light fixture.

      Please Note: The wiring is best identified by carefully using a voltage tester or a continuity tester.
      Be Careful: The circuit power should always be turned off before making any wiring connections.

      I hope this helps,
      Dave


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