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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Replacing light fixture with light/fan in house with old wiring

    I'm (trying) to replace a ceiling light fixture in my son's bedroom with a fan/light fixture. The old ceiling light ran off the wall switch, and I'd like to keep it that way (my son is only 4 and can't reach the pull chains). The problem is, our house was built in about 1950, so the house wiring doesn't follow the modern standard color coding.

    In the ceiling box, there are 4 wires: 2 brown, 1 ivory/white, 1 red/white stripe. One of the browns is off to the side, and the other is paired with the ivory.

    Here's the layout on how the old fixture was wired in:
    brown, brown, ivory to fixture black
    red to fixture white
    fixture bare copper ground unattached

    Since the red was connected to the fixture white, I'm 99% sure that the red wire is common. No problem there. My confusion is how to hook up the two browns and the ivory to the new fan/light fixture.

    On the new fixture, here's what I need to do:
    (hot) to fixture black
    (hot) to fixture blue
    red (common) to fixture white

    So I have three potentially hot wires (brown, brown, ivory) coming from the ceiling, but only two connections to make. How the heck do I tell which ceiling wires to hook to which fixture wires? Can I do it without a meter?

    Thanks in advance!

    (As you can probably tell, I'm new at this. Simpler explanations are better.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,108

    Default Re: Replacing light fixture with light/fan in house with old wiring

    One piece of information is missing:
    What wires do you have in the switch box?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: Replacing light fixture with light/fan in house with old wiring

    Cap each wire (separately) with a wire nut and test each one with your non-contact voltage tester while the switch is on.
    Don't have a non-contact voltage tester? They are cheap, and even cheaper at stores like harbor freight.
    And what dj1 said of course.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Replacing light fixture with light/fan in house with old wiring

    Here's what I have in the switch box:

    brown 1 and black 1 into box together
    brown 2 and black 2 into box together
    black 3, white, and red into box together

    Brown 1, brown 2, and white are spliced together and capped with tape.
    Black 1, 2, and 3 are spliced together and go to switch.
    Red goes to switch.

    I hope this makes sense.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Replacing light fixture with light/fan in house with old wiring

    Never mind, problem solved. Bad connection between house wiring and new fixture wiring. My own dang fault for not triple-checking the easiest solution... :/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    New London County, CT
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Replacing light fixture with light/fan in house with old wiring

    Please tell me you are using a fan compliant mounting box?

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