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Help electric light wiring weird

 
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Why is it wired this way?
lamp-wiring-with-weird-silver-wires-pigtailed-to-both-black-and-white..jpg
lamp wiring with weird silver wires pigtailed to both black and white.
lamp wiring with weird silver wires pigtailed to both black and white.
 
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If it's the bare copper wire hanging in the air that is in question, that is a ground, and should be connected to a metal part of the light fixture. Sometimes there is a little screw, usually green, that the bare copper ground connects to, other times the it is connected to the groun wire which is with the other two that the electricity travel through.

Edit: Sometimes that ground wire is connected to a screw inside that box in the ceiling there, and will serve as ground for the light when the fixture gets attached to the box.

Edit 2: I can see that the ground wire is indeed connected to the box, under a small screw in there. It is possible someone in the past had a different light fixture attached, and when the present fixture was installed, they simply snipped the ground and stuffed it back in the box.
 
r ranson
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It was the two wires from the black and white to the lamp that was weirdness.  I'll call them silver.

Each of the silver has two wires inside and they were split so that one both wires were hooked up to both black and white.

I took the silver wires off and went back to three wires I'm used to (black, white, copper) and hooked up the new lamp as per normal.  It worked.  But the silver wires were just weird.

The ground looks good except someone painted it white.
 
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Where do each of the two silver coated pairs of wires go?

Normally a lamp wire like that would have the "silver" wire split with one side going to black and one to white.  If you have two lamps hanging from the same fixture, they might have the two silver coated wires that both need to be wired just as the photo shows.  But if you take one away, only one of the lamps should light up.

Can you share a photo of the rest of the lamp?
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:Where do each of the two silver coated pairs of wires go?



They both went into the lamp.  

Old-lamp.jpg
Old lamp
Old lamp
 
Mike Haasl
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Hmm, that's weird to me then.  Normally for a light fixture like that, it would just have a black and white wire coming out of it, maybe a green or copper one for the ground also.  Less common would be a silver coated pair of wires.  I haven't seen a fixture that had two separate paired wires like that.  Hopefully a real expert happens along with some ideas.....
 
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I strongly suspect that each zipcord (the silvery wires) is wired to one half of that fixture. Left two bulbs wired in parallel with the right two bulbs most likely. Not a problem.

The red wire seems to be a leftover remnant from an old hook up to something that has since been removed. I would strongly suggest removing that. At least make darn sure it doesn't touch inside one of the other yellow twist on connectors. (or it can be connected to the outer metal portion of the light fixture)

 
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Thanks.

I was worried the odd wiring had something to do with the three-way switch, but it didn't make sense as I've done three-way before and it always had the usual black, white and copper.  I'm glad it's to do with the lamp and not the house wires.



The 'red' wire is a braided copper wire they attached to the ground.  It's very thin and since the regular copper wire is painted (they must have spray painted the ceiling before putting in the lamps), it's hard to tell.  I just took off the thin wire and attached the ground from the new lamp to the copper ground wire as the instructions said.
 
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Yup, if that's on a 3 way switch, the complicated wiring is going from one switch to the other and then the completed circuit is coming up to the light.  It's a bit harder to figure out if they run the three conductor wire through the light on the way to the second switch.
 
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r ranson wrote:Each of the silver has two wires inside and they were split so that one both wires were hooked up to both black and white.


It's not critical, but if the sliver cable is polarized and one of the wires has either ribbing on the side or a white stripe, then that wire should be connected to the white wire in the electrical box, and the other connected to the black.  

That would ensure (if the lamp was wired correctly internally) that the threaded part of the lamp sockets (where you may end-up touching while replacing bulbs) would be connected to neutral, and the contact points on the inside the lamp sockets would be connected to the hot side.
 
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This wiring is actually exactly what you should see.  Each silver cord is what is commonly referred to as lamp cord, and feeds half of the fixture.  Each half in parallel.  There is an exception in the electric code allowing lamp cord to even though the lamp cord is a smaller wire than what would normally be protected by the breaker.  There should be a ground brought out of the fixture and connected to the copper ground wire hanging loose though.
 
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“I haven't seen a fixture that had two separate paired wires like that.  Hopefully a real expert happens along with some ideas.....”

I’m not exactly an expert, but the reason is simply so each side can be wired to a separate switch. It’s not common but also not the first lamp with multiple heads that I’ve seen with split wiring. Why might that exist? One reason- Large home/commercial builders who buy things like that by the thousands might have that spec’d out by an architect and find a company to wire (or re-wire) the fixtures accordingly. A production run may get rounded up for efficiency. Extras then find their way into the general market.
 
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