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Electrical Wire and Cable

Light Fixture Wiring and the Spare Red Wire

How to Connect the Red Wire for a Ceiling Light Fixture: The Red Wire in the Ceiling Fan or Light Fixture Wiring.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

How To Hook Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
for Backup Power

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The Red Wire in the Ceiling Fan or Light Fixture Wiring
[ad#block]Electrical Question: I am trying to replace a ceiling light fixture.


This electrical wiring question came from: Marlene, a Homeowner from Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
Additional Comments: Great resource for help.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Marlene.

How to Connect the Red Wire for a Ceiling Light Fixture

More about Wiring a Light Fixture

Light Switch Wiring

Wiring Diagrams

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3 Way Dimmer Switch Wiring Diagram
Fully explained 3 way dimmer switch wiring diagram will take the mystery out of wiring a 3-way dimmer switch.

Electrical wire
Electrical Wire for the Home
Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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Replacing a Light Fixture with a Ceiling Fan Basic House Wiring Diagrams

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

8 Responses to “Light Fixture Wiring and the Spare Red Wire”
  1. bernadine says:

    I turned my bathroom fixture from hanging down to being turned up…in the process i disconnected a black wire…now I don’t know where to put this wire. The fixture has three white wires that are connected…three black wires that are connected and a separate black cooper wire (solid) that I think was twisted off when I moved the fixture. Where does the black wire go…so that my light can turn back on?

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Bernadine, an electrician would determine this by using a voltage tester. Normally all the like colored wires are spliced together, but this may not be the case with your light fixture. It will depend on where the power source is at and how the wiring is connected to accomplish the switching.

  3. Loretta Vaughn says:

    I have a problem involving a red wire.
    I have tried all kinds of combinations and still cannot get my light to function with wall switch.
    I have omitted the red wire and connected all blacks together and all whites together..light on constantly with no way to turn off.
    I have tried black to black power source and red to light fixture with whites connected.
    I have tried red to black power source and black to fixture with whites together.
    I have tried black to fixtures black and red to fixtures white with other white from ceiling to other white in ceiling box.
    I think i have tried every combination there is.
    Results are either blown fuses, no light or constant light. please help.

    Here is my wiring map:
    From box..white and black coming in white and black going out another tri-cable of white red and black.

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    To solve a connection problem like this:
    The wiring at the Switch Box must be known.
    The wiring at the Ceiling Box must be known.
    A tester is needed to Identify Each Wire.
    Once this information is discovered I then apply switching logic to understand the connections.
    The Switch Wiring Diagrams here on the website will be helpful as well.

  5. Loretta Vaughn says:

    I have a tester but am not familiar with usage of it but thanks anyway
    I have been reading up on how to use it and may eventually try it on some smaller things until i become more familiar with it
    i have two black wires and two white wires coming in and two black wires and two white wires going out. These are connected to give power to the rest of the room.
    I have another cable with one black one red and one white. I am assuming these are for the switch. should i ignore the other thru cables and just wire into the tri-cable? or do i need to tie into them with white or black? or both?

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    The Red Wire of a 3-wire cable that is used for lighting usually indicates that there is one or more switches within the circuit, but this is best determined by using a voltage tester and visually inspecting the wiring connections of the circuit for verification.

  7. Marilyn Olsen says:

    I have installed a pendant light that is hung by metal tubes, not a chain. I have leftover cord that if I finish putting the ceiling plate on, the cord will not allow the light to be flush to the plate. How do I manage the extra cord?

  8. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Marilyn – Great Question!
    Most of the pendant lights come with lots of wire which allow various mounting elevations, and at times all of the cord is not needed, so simply cut off the excess cord, but make sure to keep enough to make up the wiring connections.
    I hope this helps!