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Jason
Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4246
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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Can you assist with wiring 3 recessed lights? 2 of the

Customer Question

Hi. Can you assist with wiring 3 recessed lights? 2 of the lights are already wired. I took one down 1st in line and there are 3 wires going to it. Looks like 1 of the wires had the black capped. Re wired as it was I think and not working. Assume 3 wires are power, switch wire, and next recessed light. Switch seems to be connected to power in switch box too.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Switch is connected in 4 gang box. Red wire on switch goes to black wire feeding light. Black on switch goes to all blacks in box. White wire on wire to recessed light from 4 gang boxgoes to all whites in box.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Do you have any type of electrical tester, to identify the hot wire at the fixture?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No. Unfortunately not.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
OK, that's not a terrible problem. With the breaker turned OFF, you can connect the 3 sets of house wires to the fixture wires, one set at a time, and then turn the breaker on. Once you find a set that brings the light on as soon as the breaker is turned on, you've found the feed to the ceiling box. Should I stand by while you try that?
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Two things to note when trying the ceiling wires to the fixture wires... keep like colors together, and turn the breaker off while connecting each set, only turning it on after wires are securely connected.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Also, did you make any wiring changes in the wall switch box?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No. Just not sure why one black wire on one of the feeds would be capped.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Just to confirm, you found one black wire capped by itself at the fixture?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
I agree with you... that doesn't sound right to me either.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Based on your description of the wiring, all wires should be needed at the first fixture. Anyway, we can proceed with what I've suggested. If we run out of time before I have to leave for church, we can pick it back up in the early afternoon. Will that work for you?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
All 3 wires together does not work. Trying the final 2 together now. FYI. Switch is lutron Macl-600. Light is led screw in type
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
All three together probably trips the circuit breaker, as it would be a direct short when the switch is turned on.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Ok. Trying all 3 combos does not turn on the lights.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
U still there?
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Hmm. That's a surprise. Would you be able to get some type of electrical tester, and meet me back here this afternoon?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
What time? Est
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
I am on Central Time, so it's almost 8 AM here. How about 12:30 my time?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Ok
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
A basic digital multi meter will cost about $20 at any of the home centers. They're more handy than a pocket tester, as they are able to read more than just live power.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
So. I believe wire 2 goes to switch and 1 goes to lights. I replaced with a standard on off switch and works the lights. Attaching wire 3 to either wire 1 or wire 2 does nothing I can tell. But when I require like it was and leave the black on wire 3 capped by itself it works too. So, not sure where wire 3 goes. Will test if it has power once I get tester but doubt it since it does not light lights if fed to lights.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
How can I tell what wire 3 would be for. Only white was wired.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
And ground of course
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
I have had a change in plans. I had to stay home with a sick daughter, so I am available to continue if you are.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
If the system was working properly when you started, and you found a black wire capped alone at that time, that's how we should try to wire it.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
It's possible the dimmer was damaged by a miswire, and will trip the breaker any time it's wired into the circuit now.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Just picked up a tester on my way home.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
OK, sounds good. I'm not far from the computer, so I'll hear any alerts for new posts.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Also, a photo of the ceiling box showing all wires would be helpful, if you are able to post one.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Sent image
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Wire 2 have 122ac on it with switch on. Nothing when switch off.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for posting the photo, and for the info in your last post. The photo shows the wires as they are currently configured, correct?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Disconnected. Hold on
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Here
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
The second image shows the wires as they are currently configured?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No power on 3. Not sure where it goes and not su
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
(Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Sorry. Screen locked up. Yes photo shows current. And it works. Just not sure where 3 goes and why only white is connected to whites and ground connected. What do you think is the reason?
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Does the single capped black wire respond to flipping the switch?
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Live when switch is on, dead when switch is off?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Goes from .084v to 1 volt.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
OK, it appears to be an extra wire, not needed for anything at the location you are working on. When you originally began the project, the configuration you posted the second photo of is how you found the wires, with the removed fixture's appropriate colors included, correct?
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Whatever is at the other end of the capped black wire must have needed a neutral wire, and they tapped into the other whites at the ceiling box in question in order to get a neutral to that location.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Ok. How could I trace? Or very hard?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Is it ok to have 2 wires though 1/2 inch connector?
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
You would need a circuit tracer, ideally. Or, if you take the white that is with the capped black out of the circuit, something else will stop working. You could then open boxes in the affected area, and use the continuity setting on your meter to find the other end of the capped black wire. If everything works with it capped, I would leave it that way, especially if that's how you originally found it. Checking your latest image now.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Yes, that's okay, particularly with 14 gauge wire. Just don't get the clamp screws too tight, in order to prevent piercing the jacket on the wire.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
K. Thanks
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
I don't see any benefit in tracking down the black wire at this time, if everything works with it capped. If you find yourself working on another wiring project on that circuit at a later time, you could trace it then, if necessary.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Agree.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
So, if you add the light fixture's black to the two joined blacks, and the light fixture's white to the three joined whites, everything works, correct?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Great. Sounds like you are all set. But I'll stand by until you tell me we are done.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Think we are done. I have to get ic rated lights. Thanks.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Happy to help. If you find that you need additional assistance, please let me know. Have a blessed day.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
U2
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Thank you.

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