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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.

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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.
Using electrical testers
digital-tester
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.

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

Light Switch Wiring

Wiring a dimmer switch
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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
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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.

For more information about Home Wiring
Home Wiring
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Home Wiring
Basic Home Wiring Diagrams with Pictures

This link is helpful as a Homeowner
Do-It-Yourself Electrical


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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

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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
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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.
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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.
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