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Install & Replace

Lighting Fixture Wiring Questions, PLEASE Help.

I am attempting to replace a lighting fixture in my basement with a new one that has an electrical socket on it.  I took the old one off and it had five wires,2 black 2 white and the copper grounding wire.  The new fixture only has a spot for one black, one white and the grounding wire. What do I do with the other Black and white wires?  Can I just coil them in with the other wires and their respective colors?  Let me know please.

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Posted 2011-04-16T19:19:08+0000  by a2savall a2savall

If the wires were not originally grouped together but were separate, then they power the next light or socket down the line. If you leave them disconnected, then there will not be power past that box.  If the wires were grouped together (black to black/white to white) then you have a two way switch situation.  This means that if you leave them disconnected then one light switch in the room will not work (no power).


The solution will be to add an additional wire called a “pigtail” to each color group – using a wire connector nut.  Connect the pigtail wire to the new fixture and secure the light to the box.


wire nut connecting 3 black wires 2 cr.jpg

Posted 2011-04-17T18:29:12+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL
Twist the two black wires together, and twist the two white wires together. Add a short piece of black wire to the two black wires, and a short piece of white wire to the two white wires. About six inches long. Connect these two short pieces of wire to the light fixture. The screws on the light fixture should be different colors. The black will go to the brass looking screw, and the white will go to the silver looking screw. Turn the power off, and lock it out. Someone could turn the switch on while you are working on the light. I assume you are talking about an incandescent light fixture, with a place to plug in a cord.
Posted 2011-04-17T23:54:35+0000  by JohnnyMilo

Hello a2savall: I go by elect_answers, my name is Ralph. I wanted to add to all the great help already given. I am really glad to see that "pigtailing" was recommended! Wirenuts are meant to be a splice point for wiring, not a device like a plug or a switch, for sure.

  I wanted to add a suggestion for a tool that Depot sells in with the other electrical tools. It is a non-contact tester that will help avoid problems when working with electricity. The item is: Model # NCVT-1SEN, Internet # 100661787 & 

Store SKU # 780066. It glows green once turned on by pushing the on -off switch on the top. Then when it comes in contact with a "live", or energized wire the color changes to red, and it makes a noise. 

  Avery handy tool to have in the tote tray or tool box, especially since it does not need to touch the actual bare copper wire to let you know there is power present. 


Remember safety first, and this tool and the others similar to it can help.  

Posted 2011-04-18T05:56:56+0000  by elect_answers
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