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Light Fixture problem


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Hi Guys

I just want to open up by saying that Im not exactly all that knowledgeable when it comes to electrical problems but I might be able to accomplish what I want.

Anyways we have this UGLY looking hanging light fixture in our hallway that we have hated since we bought the house a couple years ago. It looks like a big green hanging spider,lol. Anyways I want to replace it with something a little nicer ( and that doesnt hang ) but am stumped as to how exactly to change it out. Im assuming that after I have shut off the power that its just a simple step of taking off the decorative collar and unscrewing the black and white wire out of the wire nuts and connecting then connecting them to the new fixture?

The thing is that fixture now is connected to a dimmer and If I wanted just a simple on/off light I would have to replace that dimmer with a normal light switch correct?

Another route I thought about taking is, I like the dimmer and was thinking about just leaving it, so Could I hook up any off the shelf light fixture and keep the dimmer? I dont know if there are "special" light fixtures for using with a dimmer? I thought that the "dimming" feature was in that dimmer switch I was talking about. Did I say dimmer enough,lol. And that as longs as I still used the older incandescent bulbs I would be fine.

Any help to these questions would be great guys, I hope I didnt mess anybody up as Im not always the best at explaining things [:-bigeyes

I hope this is something I can tackle myself

Jeremy

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Turn off power to the circuit.

Remove the fixture from the ceiling.

With one hand, hold the new fixture up near the ceiling with its wires facing up.

With your second and third hands, connect the fixture's white wire to the white wire in the ceiling box and the fixture's black wire to the black wire in the ceiling box. If there's a bare copper grounding wire, connect those also.

Then secure the new fixture to the ceiling per the instructions that came with it.

If this is an incandescent fixture, you can use the dimmer switch that's already on the wall.

If this is a fluorescent fixture, get rid of the dimmer and replace it with a snap switch.

Couple of notes: If possible, don't use the cheezy wire nuts that are included with the new fixture. Go buy some good ones of the appropriate size at the hardware store.

When you turn the power back on to test the fixture, if sparks occur or if the breaker won't reset, call an electrician.

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Thanks again for the tips guys

I got the fixture and just opened it, I notice the it comes with 2 white wires and 2 black wires. Is this right? again I haven't even looked at the instructions just happen to see that. I thought that there would only be one each.

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Thanks Jim

One last question.

There is a ground wire that comes with the new fixture that I assume gets twisted with the ground wire out of the outlet box. But I dont know if I even have a ground wire that comes from the outlet. What do I do with the ground wire that is coming from the new fixture in this case?

I do see a green colored screw that is on the bracket with the new fixture, do I just screw it to that?

Hopefully you get what Im trying to say,lol

Jeremy

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Thanks Jim

One last question.

There is a ground wire that comes with the new fixture that I assume gets twisted with the ground wire out of the outlet box. But I dont know if I even have a ground wire that comes from the outlet. What do I do with the ground wire that is coming from the new fixture in this case?

I do see a green colored screw that is on the bracket with the new fixture, do I just screw it to that?

Hopefully you get what Im trying to say,lol

Jeremy

If there's a ground wire in the outlet box:

Connect the new fixture's grounding wire to the fixture's grounding screw at one end and to the outlet box's grounding wire at the other end.

If the outlet box is made of metal, connect the new fixture's grounding wire to the fixture's grounding screw at one end and to the outlet box itself at the other end. There might be a screw or clip you can use or, if you must, you could buy a green grounding screw at the hardware store.

If the outlet box is plastic and there's no grounding wire in sight, don't worry about it. Just install the fixture with the black & white wires connected.

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Cheers Jim, I will keep this post in mind for when I go up there to take a look ( I might print it off ). Like I was saying the bracket that comes with the fixture has a green grounding screw on it. Once that bracket is screwed to the metal outlet box( assuming it is metal ) that would negate having to buy a grounding screw wouldnt it? or a, I misreading your post,lol

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Cheers Jim, I will keep this post in mind for when I go up there to take a look ( I might print it off ). Like I was saying the bracket that comes with the fixture has a green grounding screw on it. Once that bracket is screwed to the metal outlet box( assuming it is metal ) that would negate having to buy a grounding screw wouldnt it? or a, I misreading your post,lol

Yes, you're correct.

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Thanks for the help Jim I appreciate it. Just for the heck of it. What happens if it gets hooked up wrong? like worst case scenario type of deal? for example wire gets hooked up wrong? ground wire gets hooked up wrong?

I always like to think ahead of a situation to know "worst case" if something did go wrong. Like do I get a shock or burn the house down, or both

Again thanks for all the help you have lent

Jeremy

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not to step on toes but occasionally a "smarta$$" electrician has wired the house and done some weird things with the wiring [:-monkeyd. Pay close attention to which fixture wire (color) comes off of which supply wire so that you can match them up exactly the same way.

Also, in Indianpolis we have dimmers for CFL's on the shelf at Lowes.

You probably have taken care of this by now....

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Worst case scenario would be the total annihilation of the human race. It goes like this:

Jeremy in Hamilton, Ontario fails to sufficiently tighten the wire nuts when installing a new light fixture. One of the hot wires comes loose and starts arcing which leads to the house catching fire. Unfortunately, this happens during an ice storm and before the fire trucks can negotiate the treacherous streets the whole neighborhood is ablaze. Somewhere in Russia, an underpaid technician sees the thermal bloom picked up by a defense satellite. Due to too much vodka in his system he copies the coordinates incorrectly. The new coordinates happen to coincide with a missile silo field in Wisconsin (long abandoned, but the Russians don't know that). Fearing a preemptive strike, they launch, America retaliates, and the whole thing escalates until we have Nuclear Winter, the food chain fails and everyone starves to death. Gee...thanks Jeremy!

But, if you follow Jim's advice, that's not too likely.

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Thanks for the help Jim I appreciate it. Just for the heck of it. What happens if it gets hooked up wrong? like worst case scenario type of deal? for example wire gets hooked up wrong? ground wire gets hooked up wrong?

I always like to think ahead of a situation to know "worst case" if something did go wrong. Like do I get a shock or burn the house down, or both

Again thanks for all the help you have lent

Jeremy

If you mix up the black & white wires, the light will work but the sockets will have reversed polarity. Someday, you'll be changing a light bulb, you'll touch the screw shell and get zapped.

If you mix up the ground wires with the white wires, the light will still work, but you'll have current returning to the panel on the ground wires. That might cause someone to be shocked or it might cause arcing somewhere in the circuit because grounding connections are often poorly made and no one expects them to carry current on a regular basis.

If you mix up the black wires with the ground wires or with the white wires you will have created a short circuit or a ground fault and the breaker won't reset.

If you have a loose connection, the light might work intermittently, or arcing might occur that could, conceivably, cause a fire.

If you leave a black wire touching the fixture base, it should cause a fault that will prevent the breaker from resetting.

If you leave a black wire touching the fixture base and you fail to ground the fixture base, the base will remain hot and will shock anyone who touches it.

If you leave a white wire touching the fixture base, you will get return current on the grounding conductor, as in the second example.

If you leave a white wire touching the fixture base, and if you have failed to ground the fixture base, someone touching the base could be shocked under certain conditions.

I suppose there are other possible faults that could occur.

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I think that every high school should require all students to complete a class called "Life Skills." It should include stuff like how to change a tire, how to change a light fixture, how to balance a checkbook, how to complete an EZ tax form, how to negotiate an apartment lease, etc, etc.

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haha, it should

I do know how to balance my check book, change a tire, and do my own taxes. Electricity on the other hand is where I don't know alot about and try to keep a respect for it. I figure asking as many questions as I can is the best way to learn.

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If the fixture box does not have a ground wire, I would avoid using any type of fluorescent fixture. They often give trouble sooner or later if they don't have a good ground connection. This I learned long before becoming an inspector.

If there's no ground wire but an electrician can confirm that the box is properly bonded then a fluorescent fixture should work just fine.

Marc

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