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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3720
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 have an new light fixture with a plastic connector of some

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I have an new light fixture with a plastic connector of some sort that I need to attach to my old wires that are attached to a double switch and have several wires combined.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. How long have you been dealing with this?
Customer: I have a picture of the plastic connector. Is there a way to attach it?
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: yes
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: A picture would help. Can I attach one somehow?

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

1) You can attach a picture on your end using the paperclip icon. Send me the pic so I can review and see what you have.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Can I face time you?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Here is a picture of the connection that came with the new fixture
Customer: replied 1 month ago.

1) The plastic connector shows 1 black, 1 white and 1 green.

2) Does the connector contain screws to terminate the wires?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
here is a picture of the screws.

OK, thanks for the pic.

1) Each side of the screws should be common and joined together under the plastic. You will need to terminate the hot, white and ground wires and match them up to the wire colors on the connector. If you have more than 1 wire for each, you will need to make up a pigtail splice (1 small 6 inch jumper wire) and splice it to the group of house wires that were installed from the previous fixture.

Let me know if that helps and reply back to me.


1) If the circuit breaker is 15 amps, use 14 AWG copper wire for the pigtail jumper. If a 20 amp breaker, use 12 AWG copper for the pigtail jumper.

2) See pic shown below for an example of a pigtail splice where you have more wires than screw terminals.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank You!

No problem, glad to assist.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.


Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hello Kevin...are you still here? We had to run get some 12 AWG wire before we could continue. Have another question...Not sure what the single black wire in this picture is

1) It is possible that the single black wire is a switched loop wire that extends from the wall switch to the light box. If you have a multimeter, you can confirm this.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have a multimeter but I don't know what to set it on.

1) Set it to the AC voltage setting (horizontal "S"... sine wave symbol). Then set it to the 200 volt AC range. Place 1 meter probe to the single black and the 2nd meter probe to the white neutral wires. Flip the wall switch ON/OFF. If the wire is the switched loop, it will measure 120 when ON and 0 volts when OFF.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
This is the setting on the multimeter I used. But it shows .101 (the breaker is off though)

The breaker needs to be in the ON position in order to confirm and measure voltage

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
it reads .562. Is the multimeter set to the right setting based on the picture I sent you?

Reverse the black and red probes. They are in the wrong holes.

The voltage setting is correct. What about the range?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The readout stayed 0.

OK, place the meter probes into a known working receptacle. Use the 2 receptacles slots and not the round ground hole. Confirm if you can measure 120 volts on a working receptacle.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
reads 118

OK, the meter is working.

1) The single hot wire has no voltage.

2) Do you remember how the wires were originally spliced. Did you take a picture prior to de-installing the original fixture?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Someone else disconnected it; we're asking them -- hold on....


Customer: replied 1 month ago.
That person isn't responding -- is it safe to proceed and maybe just wire-nut that single wire to itself?

No, we need to confirm which wire is the switched loop wire that extends from the wall switch.

1) How many wires on the wall switch and the wire colors?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Looks like two black wires and a red wire. one black and the red are connected on the left side of the switch (black on top, red on bottom). The other black wire is connected on the bottom right.

That is a 3-way switch. The black screw is either the hot circuit feed or the switched loop wire, depending upon which 3-way switch.

2 separate wall switches can control the light, correct?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.

OK, on the black screw, 1 switch will always be hot whether it is ON or OFF. That switch is the circuit feed switch.

The other 3-way switch is the switched loop one. You will need to confirm the wire color and measure for 120 volts on the black screw of the switched loop 3-way in order to confirm voltage.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Okay how do I measure? one multimeter lead on the black screw, but where does the other lead go?

To a white neutral or to a bare copper ground. Flip 1 switch ON/OFF to confirm 120 and 0 volts.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
With the breaker ON, I don't get any reading when I put one lead on neutral and the other lead on the black wire. When I test the multimeter like you said before, i get a reading of 118. So I'm not sure at all what's going on

1 switch will always measure 120 volts on the black screw whether either switch is ON or OFF. The 2nd switch will only measure 120 volts on the black screw when either switch is ON.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
With the switch that I'm testing in the ON position, with one lead on the black screw and the other lead on the neutral wires, I get a 0 meansurement. So clearly I don't know what I'm doing....

Then there is either an open wire or faulty termination or a faulty switch. The black screw on one 3-way will only measure 120 when a switch is ON and will measure 0 volts when one switch is OFF.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Just realized that when we flip the breaker back to on we don't have power in this room at all. Guess that's why the meter doesn't read anything. We had power before we started.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Oh man! There is a reason we don't DIY!!!!

The breaker must be turned ON in order to measure voltage

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The breaker will not come back on. Switched it back to on but still no power
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Do breakers go bad?

Then there is either a loose wire or a faulty splice.

Breakers can become loose or can become faulty, but seldom occurs. I would suspect a wire issue downstream from the breaker.

Kevin and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
How do we determine it there is a loose wire on the breaker?

I am not able to make a phone call at this time.

Kill power to the branch breaker and confirm if it is securely fastened. I doubt if the issue is at the breaker. Most likely an incorrect splice or a loose splice or a loose termination downstream from the breaker.

I see that another expert accepted the phone call request. They will be able to assist you.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The phone call didn't go through.

I sent your question to customer service. Not sure who the expert was, who accepted your call request? Wasn't me:)

I am not able to make a call as I am on a conference call for Hurricane Irma.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Are you in Florida? We talked to someone in Florida and he helped us with the breaker. We now know that the black wire is 120 volts. Do you have time to help us proceed?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Kevin, Hope the Irma Conference Call went well. Thanks for all your help. Thought you might like to see the completed project. You were a great help!