How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Steve G. Your Own Question
Steve G.
Steve G., Electrical Engineer
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 17726
Experience:  Spent 20 years as an Electrical Engineer, designing electrical plans and specifications.
Type Your Electrical Question Here...
Steve G. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hello. Complete novice here. I am trying to replace a light

This answer was rated:

Hello. Complete novice here. I am trying to replace a light fixture on my porch in a very old house. I'm fine if there's a white/black wire combo but this light has a large black sheath containing 2 black wire. How can I tell which one should be attached to the white/black connections of the new fixture? Thanks
Hello there and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting you today. I am an engineer with over 30 years of electrical and electronic training, repair and installation experience. I will try and answer your question accurately and precisely so that we can get you on your way.

Are you saying that the junction box has two black wires and a ground?

Please let me know so that we can continue.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Steve

Thanks for responding. No junction box, just the wire. Removed the original light and the large wire, containing 2 wires was left. I can get a picture later if it would help.

Ok, so one of those black wires will be hot when the switch is 'on'. The other is the neutral. Ideally, you want to connect your black wire to the switched hot and the white wire to the neutral. If you have them backwards, everything will still work.

You didn't mention any ground wires. I assume that there is a ground?

What you should really do is install a junction box for these wires. Having wires that can come in contact with the wood of your home is maybe not the best arrangement.

So in summary:

1. Install a junction box.

2. If you have a voltage tester, find out which of those wires is hot with the switch on and connect that to the black wire of the fixture.

3. Ground everything.

I'll be here if you need further help with this issue. Please let me know.

Steve G. and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you

Related Electrical Questions