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Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3394
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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I am putting a LED light fixture in my garage. In the

Customer Question

I am putting a LED light fixture in my garage.
In the ceiling...3 whites. Two were together on the old fixture..one runs hot when disconnected. The other white was attached to the old fixture separate.
In ceiling...one black and one red
New LED fixture....black, white, and green (ground)
Question 1....could the white with load simply be wire screwed to the white is was with and tucked back in the ceiling.
Question 2....that would leave one white, red and a black. The red runs hot with the switch turned on. Which wire does it go to?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) W

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hey Kevin
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

1) Turn the circuit breaker to the OFF position and temporarily back out the wall switch from the wall box but DO NOT disconnect any wires. What are the wire colors that are terminated on the wall switch?

2) Does the ceiling box contain a group of white wires that are spliced together with a wire nut?

3) Did the ceiling box have a previously installed light fixture? If so, what were the house wire colors that were connected to the previously installed light fixture?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
whites are tied together in the wall.....one black and one red go to the switch
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
3 wires run into the junction. looks like all 3 bare grounds are wire capped in the box. 2 blacks are wire capped. there3d is the only red wire....it comes from only one of the three wires running into the box
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the replies.

1) The ceiling box must contain at least 1 white neutral wire for the light fixture to work. How many whites in the ceiling box? Are they all spliced together? Any single white wire not spliced to other ceiling box white wires?

2) If the red wire in the ceiling box was not spliced to any other wires in the ceiling box, then most likely the red wire is the switched loop wire that extends from the wall switch. If you have an AC voltmeter, you can confirm if the red wire is the switched loop wire from the wall switch.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
on the old light device....two whites were on one terminal...one of these has a load on it. Right next to the two white tied together was the third white on a terminal. A black and red also connected to the device.New led has...one black, white, and green (ground)
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the replies.

1) I'm not understanding what you mean by a terminal in the ceiling box? If the old fixture was de-installed from the ceiling box, there are no screw terminals, only wire nut splices.

2) The original light fixture either had 1 or more white house neutral wires that were spliced to it. You need to confirm which ceiling box white wires are the neutrals. If you are unable to remember which white neutral was originally spliced to the old fixture, you will need a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or an AC voltmeter to confirm.

3) Send me a picture of the ceiling box so that I can see what you have in place. If the existing house wires are NM Romex, some of the white wires can actually be hot wires and not neutrals. We need to confirm the ceiling neutral or group of neutrals.

Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

If the ceiling box contains 1 or more white wires spliced together with any black wires, then the whites are hots and not neutrals.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1) I'm not understanding what you mean by a terminal in the ceiling box? If the old fixture was de-installed from the ceiling box, there are no screw terminals, only wire nut splices.*****The old device had two whites on one terminal, and one white on the terminal next to it. The black and red also connected to the old device on different terminals. The old device is now disconnected, leaving 3 whites, a red and a black. There is current in one of the two whites previously tied into the same terminal....this is with the switch on or off. The red only runs hot when the switch is on.2) The original light fixture either had 1 or more white house neutral wires that were spliced to it. You need to confirm which ceiling box white wires are the neutrals. If you are unable to remember which white neutral was originally spliced to the old fixture, you will need a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or an AC voltmeter to confirm.I have the whites separated out. The one white that was alone when connected to the other device is not hot and I suspect the 'neutral'.3) Send me a picture of the ceiling box so that I can see what you have in place. If the existing house wires are NM Romex, some of the white wires can actually be hot wires and not neutrals. We need to confirm the ceiling neutral or group of neutrals.attached
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the replies and the pictures.

1) You were the one who mentioned a terminal in the box, not me:)

A terminal is a screw terminal which are only located on lighting fixtures such as a standard single bulb (cheap plastic or porcelain type fixture that are commonly installed in garages and basements). Plastic wire nut splicing connectors are not terminals, they are wire nuts used to splice wires together. Not sure if we are using different terminology on the electrical components?

2) Sounds like you measured the red switched loop terminal? Measure the red switched loop wire to a white wire in the ceiling box with the switch ON and OFF. If you measure 120 volts from red to a white with the switch ON, then that white is a neutral. If no voltage from the red to the same white when the switch is OFF, then that white wire is your neutral which will splice to the new LED white wire.

If you measure 240 volts from red to a white, then the white is being used as a hot conductor and is not a neutral.

3) How many light fixtures are controlled by the same wall switch? Only 1 light fixture or 2?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not sure where the confusion is from Kevin. We are on the same page.Switch runs 2 lights. The one being replaced in closest so I guess the first if it matters.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Don't have anything to test voltage...just a Klein to show if a wire is hot.Of the 3 wires now showing in the box.....on of the two that was previously connected on the same terminal (old device) shows it is hot with the switch off and on. The red only runs hot with the switch on.in the box 3 white, 1 black, 1 rednew device 1 black, 1 white, 1 green (ground)
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

1) OK, we are getting closer. Since you have 2 separate lights, then most likely the ceiling black wire is connecting to the 2nd light fixture. Splice the ceiling red wire to the ceiling black house wire and to the LED black wire. This wire splice should take care of the 2 switched loop hots that extend to the 2 separate light fixtures.

2) You need a 2 wire AC voltage tester (a contact type or an AC voltmeter) The whites in the ceiling box need to be confirmed if one or more of them are true neutrals. Otherwise it becomes a guessing game as to how the ceiling box was configured since you have Romex cables. White in Romex cables are allowed to be used as either a neutral or as a hot. If white is used as a hot, then they must be re-identified with black electrical tape. Thus, 1 or more of the ceiling whites may either be a hot or a neutral. Your guess is as good as mine. Only a voltage tester can confirm what you have in place for the whites.

3) Since 3 separate Romex cables, I suspect that all 3 ceiling whites are neutrals, but it must be confirmed.

4) If the Klein is a non-contact voltage tester without 2 wires (the kind that only lights up), those are pretty much useless testers when doing electrical work. Whenever working on an electrical project, a 2 wire (contact type) of voltage tester is always required to confirm the presence of voltage. The non-contact testers sense voltage based on induction and these testers can easily provide false readings indicating a hot from another nearby wire. Electricians always have a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester readily available when doing electrical work.

5) The red ceiling house wire is the switched loop wire that extends from the wall switch and will be spliced to the LED black wire and most likely to the other ceiling black house wire (the black is most likely feeding to the 2nd light fixture).

Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

1) I recommend to obtain an AC voltmeter as this will confirm the wires in the ceiling box. If no AC voltmeter, then it is a matter of a guessing game and wasting time for the appropriate wire connections. Perhaps you can borrow a meter from a friend or a neighbor? If borrowing is not an option, a good AC voltmeter is available at any Home Depot, Lowe's or Ace Hardware for $25 or less.

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