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Thread: Help with strange light fixture wiring

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member teddy12's Avatar
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    Default Help with strange light fixture wiring

    Hello All,

    First-time poster here and looking forward to becoming a part of the community here. I have a need for help with a strange wiring situation in my bathroom. I have attached the following image which is crudely drawn, so I apologize. Assume there is a ground wire in all sections of this diagram. I have a neutral and hot 14 gauge wire coming into a wall switch. The output of that switch is neutral, hot, and red wires. The red wire receives the current when the switch is on and the black hot coming into the switch simply wraps around the other screw and gets capped with the black wire that continues up into the ceiling. In the ceiling box previously, the red went to the hot screw of the light fixture, the black wire got capped with the black wire that continue on through the circuit, and the neutral white had a section cut out of it, was wrapped around the fixture's other screw and then was capped with the white wire that continued on through the circuit. My question is:

    The new light fixture I have has two bulbs and has two whites and two blacks coming out of it. Knowing that the red was the hot when the switch was on, I capped the red together with the two blacks from the fixture. For the two whites, I capped one with the incoming white ceiling wire and one with the outgoing white ceiling wire. When I turn the circuit on and the switch is off, both bulbs glow faintly. When I turn the switch ON, only one bulb glows brightly. Can somebody tell me what I am doing so terribly wrong here? I have just never run into this situation before. The red (as far as I know) is not part of a multi switch setup and may have been part of a fan/smoke detector setup. I appreciate the help in advance if anyone can lend it.

    -Ted

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  2. #2
    DIY Member Stuff's Avatar
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    All four of the whites need capped together at the fixture.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuff View Post
    All four of the whites need capped together at the fixture.
    Yes .

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member teddy12's Avatar
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    Thank you guys - will try that approach tonight and now that I read that out loud, it makes perfect sense and I'm not sure why I didn't try that first.

    Appreciate the help and hope to become a helpful contributor here.

    -Ted

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    When the switch is off, you are using the bulbs as part of the circuit's neutral wiring, (the hot which is off at the time, is being used as a "shunt" between the two neutrals, causing the bulbs to glow), which should serious impact on whatever is farther down the line on that circuit. When the switch is turned on, it negates the shunt to the "broken" neutral, so only the one bulb works properly.
    Last edited by hj; 04-20-2013 at 07:38 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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