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Light Wiring

Question: I took out an old fixture in the kitchen. It was a box with 2 sets of wires running to it. This is old wiring so each black insulated wire contained one brown and one black wire. I should have noticed how they were intermingled but I didn't although I seem to remember that one brown and one black were together. So first I wired the light to just one set of brown and black. Sure it works but does not shut off with the switch. Then I tried wiring to just the 2nd set. I got nothing. Then I tried brown to brown, black to black-both into light-the light works but does not turn off. Tried cross wiring, brown to black, brown to black. Fuse blew, so there must be power to the switch in the 2nd set of wires, but how to I wire them into the set that I hooked up to the light? I don't want to have climb up on a ladder and unscrew the bulbs every time. And the fuse also controls the basement lights, where the fuse box is of course, and I don't want to blow a bunch of fuses trying other combinations. Any insight appreciated.

Answer: What you have is a standard light controlled by a switch. One set of brown and black wires brings in the power to the light and the other set of brown black wires is from the switch.

  • Join the two black wires together.
  • Join one brown wire to the white wire on the light fixture.
  • Join the other brown wire to the black wire on the light fixture.
  • It doesn’t matter which brown wire goes to the white wire and which brown wire goes to the white wire.

Additional information on installing a light switch.