Help a noob wire a ceiling light in an old apartment
March 10, 2013 12:31 PM Subscribe
Installing my cheap Ikea ceiling light is proving more difficult than anticipated. The issue: after removing the old light, I can't tell which wire is which.
posted by neroli to home & garden (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Totally get the hot, neutral, ground thing -- just can't tell which is which.
I have shut the power of at the circuit box, so I will probably not kill myself. I have a non-contact voltage tester.
Here's what I know:
-- All three wires attached to the old light are covered in this cloth insulation which is disintegrating.
-- One of them is vaguely reddish, the other two might have once been black or white, it's impossible to tell.
-- The two indistinguishable ones were twisted together, and attached to one wire of the old fixture.
-- The vaguely reddish one was attached to the other wire.
-- Turning on the power and checking with my tester, the reddish one and one of the indistinguishable ones is carrying current, the other indistinguishable one is not.
Based on this, can I figure out what to connect to what?
Question 2: what will happen if I connect things wrong? (Will it just not work, or will I blow a fuse, or will something explode?)
Other possibly relevant information:
-- The switch has a dimmer
-- It hasn't been working for years. When I got my voltage tester, I found out that it wasn't a current problem, so I figured this was do-able.
-- Obviously, I've never done anything like this before and don't understand electricity at all.