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My light fixture does not work right, what is wrong?

I just put up a light fixture and now the switch not working right. How to Wire a Light Fixture and Switch.

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Problem with a Light Fixture
Electrical Question: I just put up a light fixture and now the switch not working right

I just put up a new light fixture. The light switch was off, I put the new bulb in and light was on. Is the switch not working or could there be something in the light itself? Last fixture worked with switch, I also installed that fixture, last time I turned on the switch with old fixture it worked, any ideas?

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

How to Wire a Light Fixture and Switch

It would be very rare that a switch would fail in the “ON” position , but remotely possible. How many wires were up in the ceiling fixture box? Were there two or more light fixtures?

The following will provide fully explained wiring instructions and wiring diagrams that can be found here in the light switch wiring area here in this website. Just click the Light Switch Wiring link below.

More about Light Switches and Fixtures

Light Switch Wiring
Light Switch Wiring
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
Fully explained pictures and wiring diagrams about wiring light switches describing the most common switches starting with photo diagram 1.

Light Switch Wiring

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

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Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
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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.
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.
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The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “My light fixture does not work right, what is wrong?”
  1. Linda says:

    Hello! I took down an old chandelier and spray painted it a new color. I then reinstalled it. When I turned the circuit breaker back on, the light comes on but it is not controlled by the light switch. Flipping the light switch up and down does nothing to turn off the light. There are only two wires in the chandelier…black and white. The light obviously has power but why won’t the switch over-ride the breaker? Help!

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Linda,
      If there are only two wires from the ceiling fixture box and the wiring was connected as it was originally then I would suspect that the contacts in the wall switch are stuck together, so the switch will need to be replaced. This can be verified by testing the switch. If it is found that the wall switch does not have voltage then the following may apply.
      This is an example where there are two sets of 2-wire cables up in the ceiling fixture box:
      If the ceiling fixture box has more than two wires then it is very possible that the fixture is connected to the power source and not the switched wire that returns from the wall switch, and that is why the light is on all the time and not controlled by the wall switch.
      This can be corrected by identifying the white neutral wire and the black wire of the circuit power source. These wires are typically found in the same cable 2-wire cable. The white neutral wire of the circuit connects to the white wire of the light fixture.
      Next, there will be another 2-wire cable with two wires that are used for the switching process, where one wire connects to the circuit power wire which then supplies power down to the switch, and the other wire of this 2-wire cable returns the switched power back up to the light fixture box, and that is the wire that connects to the black wire of the light fixture.

      Please Note: The wiring is best identified by carefully using a voltage tester or a continuity tester.
      Be Careful: The circuit power should always be turned off before making any wiring connections.

      I hope this helps,
      Dave

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