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Wayne Roberts
Wayne Roberts, Electrical Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 78
Experience:  Electrican 6+ years
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I am converting from a ceiling fan to a light fixture. The

Customer Question

Hi Pearl, my name is***** am converting from a ceiling fan to a light fixture. The box contains 3 black and 3 white wires, and appears that only one of the black wires is hot.
JA: Sometimes electrical issues that that you think will be really complicated end up being easy to fix. The Electrician I'm going to connect you with knows all the tricks and shortcuts. Tell me a bit more about what's going on so we can help you best.
Customer: The light fixture I am installing has a white, a hot and a ground wire. However the ceiling box has 3 black and 3 white. If I connect all whites and all blacks, the light is on when it turn the big power back on, but when I flip the switch to the light it pops the breaker. There is only one switch for this light, but I did find an outlet in different room that is connected.
JA: Are you ready to speak with the Electrician now?
Customer: yes
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Electrician about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

Hmm, do you have any wire testers handy?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

The box that use to have the fan must have a crossed wire somewhere.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

Did the fan have two switches? one for light one for fan?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
One wall switch, but the fan itself had two pull chains
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
When I took fan off, all three wires in box were tied together, none hooked to fan, and only one white was actually tied to the fan.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

..the other two whites were together i am assuming

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

is sounds like the white wire that should have gone to the fan was tied to a white wire in the box.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
correct
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

take the whites apart, turn the breaker on, flip the switch, and test each white. you are looking for the one with 120v

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Found the hot white wire. Don't have a meter, only a voltage tester, but I did find the only white that is hot.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

ok THATS the one that goes to the light

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

the live white wire will tie to the black on the light fixture

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

the white wire coming off of the might fixture will tie in with the 2 non live whites

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

light fixture*

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok, to clarify. The live white wire I just found is going be attached to the black on my new light fixture. And the two non live white wires from the box will be attached to the single white wire on the new light fixture?
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

correct sir ;)

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok, be back in one second. And what do I do with the tree black wires?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Back.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Do I leave all three black wires from the box tied together? Independent of the light?
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

that depends on how they were when you took the fan off.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

most likely yes

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

did that switch control anything other than the fan originally?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The switch does not control anything else. When I took the fan off, all three black wires were tied together. I just tried that and it did not work. When I turned the breaker on the light came on flickering, when I actually flipped the switch in the room, light turned off and popped breaker.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

This was after you tied the hot white to the black?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
that was with hot white to black on the fixture, and not hot whites to white on fixture.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

..turn the light switch to the off position, then turn the breaker back on. Turn the switch on.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

if the breaker tripped after you turned the light off, there may be a loose wire.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

if the short were in the light fixture, the breaker would not turn on.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

the flickering light leads me to believe there is a loose connection somewhere, or a damaged wire.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I will try that. It was odd to me that the light was flickering when the switch was in the off position.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Same thing. Light flickers in the off position, pops breaker when I turn the light switch to on
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

is there a bare ground wire in the fan box?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No, the light fixture has a ground which I have attached to the bracket. But no bare ground wire in the box
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

...hmm

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

you didnt touch the switch box at all?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Correct
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I did test the wires independently before contacting you, and one of the black wires was hot.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

that would be the feed for everything, that black ties into two other blacks, on of which goes to the line side of your switch, the live white wire is on the load side of the switch. when the switch is on the power goes to the white.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

the other two whites are not live..they are neutral...

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

the other black out of the 3 probably goes to a recepticale circuit

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
hmmm
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

if the light is flickering with the switch in the off position, somehow the fixture is getting power..

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

is it a dimmer switch? or..*fan speed control

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Nope, single flip switch
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Looking way up at the top of the fan box, I do see an exposed copper wire that appears to be screwed into the box... is that a ground
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

it may be, i was going to say tie the white from the fixture to the ground to test it.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

if the ground path is no good it wont work for the tes

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

is the box metal?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
tie white from fixture to ground of fixture, or ground in the top of box?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
metal box
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

im still jacked up wondering why the light comes on with the switch off, are you sure the white wire is live with the switch on and dead with it off?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
just re-checked. this time with all black wires attached. Now I have two live white wires then the switch is on. BUT, when the light switch is off i have one that remains live (this is the one i had attached to the fixture when it was flickering.)
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

Cap that constant live white, we dont need it here

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

connect the white off the fixture to the switched white :)

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

excuse me

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

tie the switched white to the black on the fixture and the the white on the fixture goes to the non live white

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok! That works properly for the light! However i no longer have power in the outlet that is in the other room.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

ok that constant live white was a feed for the rec.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

we need to find the wire that goes to the rec. it should be black.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok, should i separate black and test for the live one?
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

what you can do is tie the live wire to the dead ones (not in use for the light we got fixed) and see what one will energize the recepticale

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

that constant hot black should have fed the recepticals

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok, i have found the constant hot black, live when the light switch is on and off
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Did you want me to tie the constant live white wire (capped in previous steps) to the series of black wires?
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

yes, try it.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

one of those blacks is the receptacles

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
tried tying the constant white to each black. none worked, also lost power to the light during the process.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

make sure that those receptacles are not on another circuit, they may be on another breaker?

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

id recap the constant white, tie the 3 blacks back together and wire the light like we discussed.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

make sure all connections are solid

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

its odd that a fan box would feed a receptacle in the other room

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok, all three black are tied together, light is wired properly again. Constant white is capped.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Light works properly with the switch, just not getting power to the outlet in the other room. I know it is tied because all other circuits on the breaker are on. There is only one breaker box.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

im guessing that constant live white ties into one of the black wires to feed the receptales

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

but they are both already tied to a hot and should be working

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

im at a loss, can i get a pic of the box?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
image attached
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

wish i was there

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

one of those wires feeds the rec, its process of elimination

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

i wish i could do more to help!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok, made some progress. Thanks for your help so far. Have a good night
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

good luck my friend, let me know how it goes!

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