Trying to replace three-way switched grounded light fixture with ungrounded fixture
March 27, 2012 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Want to install an ungrounded hanging light fixture in place of an existing grounded flush-mount dome light. Controlled with existing three-way switches.

I bought the IKEA HEMMA cord set. I have an existing dome light controlled by two three-way switches at opposite ends of the hallway. The HEMMA works fine when connected to the existing dome fixture with one of these socket to outlet adapters.

Then I cut the HEMMA cord in half, stripped the ends of the wires (one black, one white) and tried to install it in place of the existing fixture. I plugged black into black, white into white, and I just capped the existing green ground wire that had been connected to the dome light fixture.

I turned the power back on, no light. I think there's more going on than I realized with the three-way switch. Must I use a grounded fixture?
posted by reeddavid to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Should work. Check all the simple stuff - that the bulb isn't burned out, you haven't tripped a breaker and don't have one of the 3-way switches in the halfway position between up and down. If still no joy then shut the power off and check that the wire nut connections are both solid.
posted by jon1270 at 1:23 PM on March 27, 2012

Yes you did everything right. First thing to try is replacing the bulb.

Be aware now that you've cut the plug off that kind of hanging light is only legal (in Canada at least) if your shade is non conductive (IE: not metal).
posted by Mitheral at 2:02 PM on March 27, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks MeFites. It's working now, but I really can't figure out what was wrong originally. I thought maybe one of the connections was broken, but when I unscrewed the connectors the wires were still pressed together. Also I spooked myself when trying to test the fixture itself. I put the stripped ends of the fixture into a switchable extension cord, then plugged that contraption into a GFCI outlet. When I flipped the switch, there was nasty short and it flipped the whole circuit breaker, not just the GFCI.

And thanks for the shade tip -- I'm using a paper lantern.
posted by reeddavid at 2:11 PM on March 27, 2012

there was nasty short and it flipped the whole circuit breaker, not just the GFCI.

I think it would be wisest to find the short and make sure it didn't damage the insulation or the conductor of the wire or wires involved.
posted by jamjam at 5:19 PM on March 27, 2012

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