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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.

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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

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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!