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AssuredElectrical, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4241
Experience:  Contractor-42+ Years in the ElectricalTrade
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There. I know this is a tough one to answer without seeing

Customer Question

Hi there. I know this is a tough one to answer without seeing it. But in my mobile home, I was going to change the light fixture above the kitchen table. When I took down the old light I noticed that there were quite a number of wires in the junction box. There are 4 black 4 white and a ground wire. Now, because I'm not an electrician and thought I knew what I was doing I undid all the caps and tried to wire up the black wire of the light to the all the black wires and the white to all the white (and ground to metal). Of course, it didn't work and stupidly enough I didn't mark the wires before taking them apart. So, now my situation is this:
If I attach just the 'hot' black wire to the black wire of the light and a white wire to white from the light the light works, but only directly from the breaker box, and the light in the bedroom won't work. It somehow bypassed the switch when I hook it up that way. So after trial and error we figured out that if 2 certain black wires stay attached and capped and 2 certain white wires stay attached and capped, all the other lights etc. work fine, but the light above the table still won't work. I'm fairly sure I have the white and black wire that's coming from the switch figured out, so they're marked and are currently not hooked up but I'm just not sure where to attach the wires from the new light, and the wires from the switch so everything works.
I realize this is almost impossible to figure out without having it there in front of you but would you have any idea what may be happening in this situation and give some kind of direction on which way to go with this? I know you're going to say 'call and electrician', which I plan on doing if there's no way to hook this back up myself, but I thought I would try and get some direction first. Any advice you can give would be great.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 2 years ago.
Welcome. My name is ***** ***** would be glad to assist.Thanks for the information Rob, details are always important.So, lets recap here.You have 4 blacks and 4 whites in the ceiling box, correct?If you only have 2 of each connected together and you identified the switch wires, what happened to the other 2 wires?Something else should be not be working at this time besides the kitchen light and switch. Let me know and we can continue,Thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Tommy. Thanks for the reply.Sorry, I was wrong. It's only 3 black and 3 white. I believe they go like this:1 black and 1 white come from the panel directly and are the power
1 white and 1 black come directly from the light switch
1 white and 1 black are for the bedroom lightsSo how can I hook these all up so the new kitchen light will work (the one that goes to the switch) and the rest of the lights work?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
And they all meet in the one junction box where the kitchen light fixture goes
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 2 years ago.
Ok, thanks so much for the clarification Rob.It sounds like a standard drop leg to the switch when power is at the light.Verify:Remove the switch cover so that you can just see the wires on the switch. DO NOT remove any wires, just check the colors.I believe you will find one white and one black wire on the switch.So, at the light box, connect the white wire to the switch to the 2 black wires that are connected together.Then take the black wire to your new light fixture and connect it to the black wire to the switch.Connect the new light fixtures white wire to the 2 white wires connected together in the box.that will get it going.What happens with this type of switched leg, you send power to the switch on the white wire, then return the power to the light fixture on the black wire when the switch is ON. Keep me posted on results if you find something different at the switch but it looks like it will be as expected.Thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Tommy! That is exactly what is at the, white and ground. Also the ground wire wasn't hooked up at the switch..that should be hooked up yes?I'll let you know how it works out. Cheers!
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 2 years ago.
Ok, great. Thanks. Yes, the ground should be connected to any switch or receptacle that has the small ground screws.That is the safety to protect you from electrocution if a hot wire comes in contact with the metal frame.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Tommy...sorry one more thing. When I hit the breaker for the lights in the bedroom and the kitchen outlets there's a small pop inside the panel. Is it arching in there?, Also the lights flicker lightly every so often. Could that be from those wires not being hooked up correctly or is that a separate issue because it's on a separate breaker?
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 2 years ago.
Not following the information.
You posted:
Could that be from those wires not being hooked up correctly or is that a separate issue because it's on a separate breaker?
You are working on other items on another circuit?
Why would you be turning breakers on and off that are not part of what you are working on?
Trying to understand exactly what is being done and then the results.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry, I guess I'm not explaining myself clear enough. No, this is something else that was happening aside from the earlier wiring issue. Yesterday, after trying to figure out that issue and giving up, I had turned the breaker off that powered those wires. But before I left I decided to check the breaker that powered the other kitchen light as well as the kitchen outlets because I noticed that the other lights were flickering slightly throughout the day and wondered what that was.. When I flipped the breaker off and on, I heard a small kind of zapping/sizzling sound inside the breaker. Everything still worked on that breaker, I just heard that sound and got a bit concerned. I'm thinking it's arching in there. So I guess my question is this. Does that wiring issue that I asked about earlier have anything to do with that you think? They're on a separate breaker so I wasn't sure it would effect anything else. Also, what would cause the other lights to flicker?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It is a trailer, in a trailer park so I'm wondering if it's just the power source from the park causing the flickering
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 2 years ago.
Ok, thanks.
I understand the situation now. Did not want to mis-diagnose anything.
Ok, the circuit we are working on with the kitchen light, since on another circuit, are not associated with the other circuit and breaker that you heard the noise on at the panel.
That will be an entirely different issue, and based on the information, the breaker needs replacing.
They are not difficult to remove and replace, just caution when working with the panel cover off because of the exposed wires and buss bar that the breakers attach and fasten.
The sound you heard will return, it is the same as a switch going out, kinda like some bacon sizzling in the pan noise. zzzzzzzz, zzzzz.
I doubt it is anything other than the breaker, but when you remove it for replacement, you will see the buss bar where it attaches.
Just be sure that buss is still shiny aluminum or copper, whichever your panel has inside. They make them both ways.
There are some good you tube videos on breaker change outs.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks about the flickering lights? It's not severe or anything. They just do a slight flicker every minute or two. You think that's anything serious? My girlfriend is concerned.
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 2 years ago.
Thats the circuit breaker and why it needs changing.
The contacts inside or the wire connection on the breaker is causing the flickering.
It will get worse and then finally fail all together.
I would address it as soon as possible
It can start arcing at the connection and heat the wire up.

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