lighting fixture wiring issues; *patient* help needed

LegatronSeptember 23, 2013

First of all, I just want to clarify that while it may be my first post, I did in fact read the forum guide and I have searched for the issue I'm having. The search does turn up a lot of very similar results, but none thus far that are exactly what I'm up against.

So--- first time homeowner as of three weeks ago. The day I closed, I had just purchased my first set of tools; all the way down to screwdrivers, so I'm fairly green (hence the "patient" help needed) but learning very quickly and I am capable of following guided direction.

I decided I would change out the awkward light hanging in my office, so I bought a flushmount kit, followed the instructions in sequential order, and my finished product was the same as outlined in the manual. The only issue was that my diagram was laid out for one black, one white, and one ground wire coming from the junction box, whereas I had two of each.

When I flipped the breaker and turned the switch on, it didn't illuminate the room whatsoever; there was a very dim, but steady light coming from both bulbs. At this point, my switch still functioned as normal (ON would turn it ON, OFF turned it OFF). I wondered if it could be the bulbs, so I replaced the two in the fixture with two 60w clear decorative bulbs; unfortunately, it was not.

I read a post here from a user experiencing a similar problem. I read it from my phone so I can't locate the link at this moment, but direction they were given was this:

1. connect two white wires from junction box and two white wires from fixture together using one nut.
2. connect two black wires from junction box and two black wires from fixture together using one nut.
3. connect ground wires from junction box to ground wire from fixture together using one nut.

Apparently, it worked for this guy, but not for me. As I turned the breaker back on, the light switch was in the OFF position, but the light came on full power with brilliant illumination. However, when I attempted to turn the light off by flipping the switch to the ON position, it tripped my breaker (and would continue to do so after two subsequent tries).

I've seen this issue before on the forum as well, and from what I can tell, most discussion members claim that the switch loop has been wired incorrectly. I have read numerous different fixes for this issue, and if that is in fact my diagnosis, I would like to know specific to my situation what steps I need to take to resolve this issue. Most of the individuals that experience this have a dual light switch, whereas I have a single switch.

Also included in my diagram below is the mounting bracket. I did this because I see several people with similar problems claiming they have multiple screws that they mount to their bracket, whereas I only have the one additional (green) screw for my ground wire.

I have created this diagram in MS Paint, trying to illustrate as best as possible what I'm facing here. No, it's not professional or the standard formatting for an electrical diagram, but it's as much as I have figured out as of this moment. Yes, it's okay to laugh because you're looking at a 26-year old's best attempt at an illustration, and it's so bad that if your 8-year old child brought it home from school, you probably wouldn't even hang it on your fridge.

In advance, I appreciate any assistance that anyone can give me. Additionally, I see a lot of people responding by saying "You're a/an [idiot, moron, dummy] --- just call an electrician." Please keep those to yourselves; my phone works just fine, but this is a lighting fixture I am not going to call an electrician unless it is a last resort. I have already spent way too much money repairing things in this house that I had not anticipated nor budgeted for, so not wasting money is of the utmost importance (as most likely every new homeowner quickly finds out).

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Fairly easy fix after you do some investigating.
1. check the switch, one black wire and one white wire (white should be painted black but probably isn't),
2. at the junction box hang the wires loose and turn the power on, with a tester see which black wire is hot. Turn the power off and that black will be connected to the white in the OTHER cable, paint the white black.
3 All remaining whites go together, all remaining blacks go together, all grounds together.
turn power on.
If any of these conditions do not apply, stop and ask for more directions.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 2:18PM
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I like you!

This worked flawlessly; thank you so much. I bought a multimeter for $10 at Wal-Mart, ran my test... Hell, I even got fancy and upgraded the switch.

If you have time, could you briefly explain what I just did? Was there, in fact, an issue with a "loop switch" or was it something else?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 11:54PM
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Switch loop. No matter where the wires go first from the circuit breaker, switch or light, the electricity always goes to the switch first and then to the light. If power is at the light you have to bring it to the switch so the wires in the cable are both hot, one going to the switch and one coming back to the light hence the painting of the ends of the white wire to show that it is hot.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 5:02AM
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