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ByDave Rongey © Ask the Electrician 2017 Author, Licensed Electrical Contractor

Living Room Ceiling Light Not Working

My living room pendant ceiling light isn’t working: How to use a voltage tester to check a light switch.

Ceiling Light Not Working
Question: My living room pendant ceiling light isn’t working.

I’ve removed the pendant part of the fitting so all the wires entering the ceiling rose are exposed-2 red wires,2 black wires + 2 copper wires twisted together which are used as earth (neither copper wire is insulated!). I’ve used a pen tester on all the wires + got following results (I hope I’m right thinking the tester lights up if power is running through wire); copper wire (earth)lights up tester when light switch is on + when its off,when light switch is on both red wires light up tester but 1 is a lot dimmer,when switch is off both red wires glow briefly then fade. The black wires light tester up when switched on (so they’re switched live?). Are these results typical? thanks

This electrical question came from Donna, a Homeowner in London, UK.
Additional Comments: Informative.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Donna.

Fix a Living Room Ceiling Light

Donna, It is best to use a voltage tester instead of a pen tester for more accurate electrical readings. However, from what you have described the switch may be faulty and need to be replaced so full power may reach the light fixture.
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Electrical Safety and Voltage Testers
When working on home electrical wiring, quality voltage testers can play an important part in electrical safety. Electrical testers enable you to identify electrical circuits and help prevent the possibility of accidental electrical shock.

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