Replacing a tracklight

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Sean B
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Replacing a tracklight

Post by Sean B » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:08 pm

Hi Shannon, big fan of your youtube channel and new member to the webpage here! I gotta say I really appreciate all the work and effort you and your team put into your videos! It's very appreciated!

Onto my lighting issue! I've taken down a tracklight only to find 4 other cables and who knows what all connected in a jumble that I foolishly didn't take a picture of.

I've drawn a sketch to make it a bit easier and hopefully I'll be able to get some advice on the order of connections. Everything I have tried has resulted in a tripped breaker and I've run out of ideas!

I did replace the living room light and switch to the same type of light and dimmer with no problems, but it did not have all these extra connections.

Any advice is great! Thank you
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A. Spruce
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by A. Spruce » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:02 pm

So, you have 4 cables coming into the junction box on the ceiling where the light will live, not counting light socket, which I assume is the light fixture itself. Correct?

With the switches "on", are there other power sources in this same box? Is the "unknown outlet" a hot lead or being fed by the power source in this box?
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

Sean B
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by Sean B » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:09 pm

4 cables coming is correct, not including the light fixture.

The unknown cable is being fed by this single power source in this box, as well as everything else..

There is no other power source..

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A. Spruce
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by A. Spruce » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:12 pm

What is the new light replacement and the light socket, 2 separate items in your drawing
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Sean B
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by Sean B » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:15 pm

Sorry for the phrasing,
For the light socket, I just meant an outlet,

And the replacement light is just the electrical box that my light came with, that has black red and green coming from it

Sean B
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by Sean B » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:22 pm

This picture is my ceiling right now.

I know it looks ridiculous, but I added a pigtail on almost everything because I started to loose length on the original wires and didnt want to keep snapping them and eventually loose them..

I notice I only have 1 hot wire coming from my light switch to a power source which seemed weird to me? Because i was not sure where to ad my light/electrical box
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Sean B
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by Sean B » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:27 pm

Also I am aware of how rediculous this is
But I appreciate the help!
:shock: :D :roll:
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A. Spruce
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by A. Spruce » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:34 pm

So you're saying the switch leg gets hot when you flip the switch?
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by A. Spruce » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:35 pm

The ceiling pic with labels helps clarify a lot
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emtnut
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by emtnut » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:48 am

Did you wire the light switch as a 'switch loop' , or did you just put all black to blacks and all white to whites ??
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Sean B
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by Sean B » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:38 am

I'm not sure what a switch loops is.
But I put all blacks to it's own black pigtail from the 1 hot feed, and all whites together linking them 1 by 1 with pigtails, and when that didnt work, I put all neutrals in 1 big connection and that got me the farthest

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Shannon
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by Shannon » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:57 am

Im staying out of this one,Ill let the electricians help you out. I don't want to add to the confession. Ill check back now and then to see how you guys are making out. You are in good hands here. Thanks for coming to the forum and for your nice comments.
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A. Spruce
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:02 pm

Shannon wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:57 am
Im staying out of this one,Ill let the electricians help you out. I don't want to add to the confession. Ill check back now and then to see how you guys are making out. You are in good hands here. Thanks for coming to the forum and for your nice comments.
Yup, I'm going to hang up my lineman's pliers now that Nutzy is on the job. 8-)
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

Sean B
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by Sean B » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:42 pm

Thanks anyway you guys

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A. Spruce
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:40 pm

We're not trying to avoid you, Nutzy and Aaron are the resident electrical guys and will be able to walk you through your needs. Too many fingers typing at you will just further confuse you. 8-)
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

Sean B
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by Sean B » Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:46 pm

I didnt mean it negatively, I was genuinely thanking you!

An update though,

I didnt realize that coming out of the light switch was not a neutral, but instead the hot, looping out to power the light itself. So now my light switch is not tripping the breaker, but it's also not turning my light off!

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A. Spruce
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:23 pm

Sean B wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:46 pm
I didnt mean it negatively, I was genuinely thanking you!
No worries, just wanted to make sure you didn't think we were abandoning you. 8-)
Sean B wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:46 pm
An update though,

I didnt realize that coming out of the light switch was not a neutral, but instead the hot, looping out to power the light itself. So now my light switch is not tripping the breaker, but it's also not turning my light off!
This is what a switch loop is/does, it isn't a "normal circuit" where you have hot, neutral, ground, you only have a hot and ground because the white wire is the return leg for the hot back to the light fixture. A switch breaks the hot side only, of the light circuit.

Working out issues over the internet, even in person, takes some time and patience. We work in "industry" terms, where the homeowners we work with have a jargon all their own. This means that both sides have to slow down and clarify terms so that everyone understands each other. Once we understand what's going on, it's usually pretty easy to find a cure. 8-)

I have my suspicions of what's going on, I just don't want to muddy the waters because I'm not an electrician, Emtnut is (lovingly referred to as Nutzy). Now all we need if for Nutzy to get his butt back here and deal with bizniz! :mrgreen:
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

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emtnut
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by emtnut » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:36 pm

Sean B wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:46 pm
I didnt mean it negatively, I was genuinely thanking you!

An update though,

I didnt realize that coming out of the light switch was not a neutral, but instead the hot, looping out to power the light itself. So now my light switch is not tripping the breaker, but it's also not turning my light off!
OK, you got the 'switch loop' part worked out ... we're half way there.
The next thing is to feed the light fixture 'hot' wire with the wire coming from that switch (ie, don't connect it to the group of blacks wirenutted together.

Let me know if that makes sense, if not I can try to find a pic online to show the wiring.
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emtnut
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by emtnut » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:40 pm

A. Spruce wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:02 pm
Shannon wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:57 am
Im staying out of this one,Ill let the electricians help you out. I don't want to add to the confession. Ill check back now and then to see how you guys are making out. You are in good hands here. Thanks for coming to the forum and for your nice comments.
Yup, I'm going to hang up my lineman's pliers now that Nutzy is on the job. 8-)
I think you're pretty handy with your pliers. But since I'm retired, I should be hanging up my lineman's too ! I seem to babysit more than work on the tools these days .... I will say playing with the grandkids is alot more fun, but a lot more tiring too :lol:
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A. Spruce
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:48 pm

I retired before you, so I have seniority on hanging up the lineman's! :lol:

But let's work out Sean's problem first, then we'll worry about who's pliers get less use. :mrgreen:
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

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emtnut
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by emtnut » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:00 pm

A. Spruce wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:48 pm
I retired before you, so I have seniority on hanging up the lineman's! :lol:
I see how it is ! .... pull the 'old age card' :mrgreen: :lol:

:shock:
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Sean B
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by Sean B » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:05 pm

emtnut wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:36 pm
Sean B wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:46 pm
I didnt mean it negatively, I was genuinely thanking you!

An update though,

I didnt realize that coming out of the light switch was not a neutral, but instead the hot, looping out to power the light itself. So now my light switch is not tripping the breaker, but it's also not turning my light off!
OK, you got the 'switch loop' part worked out ... we're half way there.
The next thing is to feed the light fixture 'hot' wire with the wire coming from that switch (ie, don't connect it to the group of blacks wirenutted together.

Let me know if that makes sense, if not I can try to find a pic online to show the wiring.

A late update, I got the light switch working now.

I had the white cable coming from the light switch connected to the neutral, not realizing it was hot. So I loved that from the neutral connection to powering the light directly and it worked. For some reason my dimmer doesnt work, but at least my on/off does!

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emtnut
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Re: Replacing a tracklight

Post by emtnut » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:51 am

Sean B wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:05 pm
emtnut wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:36 pm


OK, you got the 'switch loop' part worked out ... we're half way there.
The next thing is to feed the light fixture 'hot' wire with the wire coming from that switch (ie, don't connect it to the group of blacks wirenutted together.

Let me know if that makes sense, if not I can try to find a pic online to show the wiring.

A late update, I got the light switch working now.

I had the white cable coming from the light switch connected to the neutral, not realizing it was hot. So I loved that from the neutral connection to powering the light directly and it worked. For some reason my dimmer doesnt work, but at least my on/off does!
Glad you got it going.
If the dimmer isn't working, it's possible the switch isn't grounded..,.You can take a look at that, or post a pic of the switch wiring and we should be able to help out.
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