Ceiling Light Wires

29 Apr 2020
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United Kingdom
Hi, sorry for the most basic of questions, but I told my wife that I could put up a new light, but seems I haven’t a clue!

The way I wired, the light stays on regardless of switch position.

Could you tell me what wires should go where? Pictures of the ceiling wires and light wires attached…. Thanks so much!


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You really should have taken a photo of the wires before removing the old fitting.

I am not an electrician.

One of the wires will be the switched live (from the light switch. One (or more) will be a neutral. Two (or more) are likely to be permanent lives (that run to another ceiling rose).

I am confused about the short red wire- it doesn't seem to have an earth or black wire with it (perhaps it is in the void).

With the power turned off, I would loosen the light switch and test for continuity between the cables there and the ones at the light fitting (marking them as I go). One of the permanent lives in the ceiling fitting runs down to the switch, and then runs back to the ceiling as a switched live. That switched live connects to the brown cable on the light fitting.

I would then turn the power back on and see which of the other cables become live- those will be the permanent live(s). The permanent live running to the switch needs to be connected to other permanent live(s).

I would then treat any other cables (bar the earth cables) as being neutrals. They need to be connected and then connected to the blue wire on the light fitting.

The earth cables (with the yellow green sleeving) need to be connected together (including the missing one) and then connected to the yellow/green cable in pic 2.

At a minimum you will need a multimeter.

If you are not confident, get a proper electrician.

Oh, and before doing anything, wait for one of the electricians to reply.
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Thanks Opps. I’m really confused because there are no other wires in the ceiling. Just two grey cables that you can see in the picture and the single red. Thanks for the help.
Should have taken a photo or drawing before dismantling old lamp , Throw in the possibility that one of the Black Wires could be the Live Carrier, normally marked by a red sleeve which could be missing missing . and the wiring combinations are endless without a meter .
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Thanks Opps. I’m really confused because there are no other wires in the ceiling. Just two grey cables that you can see in the picture and the single red. Thanks for the help.

They grey cables are referred to as "twin and earth". One of the two will run down to the light switch. By convention the red wire will run in to the "com" connector on the light switch, the other part of the cable (the black wire) will connect to the "L1" switch terminal and run back up to the celling "rose". That black one will be the one that connects to the brown wire in picture 2.

On the balance of probability, all three red wires need to be connected to each other and the remaining black will act as a neutral- connecting to the blue wire in image 2.

BUT it is not safe to make assumptions based on the colour of the wires. Hence the need to use a meter.

With the power off, tug the short red cable. Just to make sure that it is not part of a twin and earth. Test all cables before touching them even if you have flicked the lighting MCB for that circuit.

Years ago I lived in a rented flat with just two fuses for the ring mains. I needed to do some work in the kitchen. I removed one fuse, discovered that the circuit was still live, so I put that fuse back in and removed the second- I then discovered that the circuit was still live. I had to remove both fuses- someone had crossed the neutrals.
One black goes to brown and the other two to blue, so likely there is another lamp not working, so first is trial and error which two blacks together gets the other lamp to work, that pair is neutral and the blue will connect to them.

The remaining black goes to brown.

Get a connector block and put reds in it, they do not go to lamp.

And all green/yellow together.
Seem like the single short red has not been pulled thru , should be a black and earth wire with it?
Could be. But also, it could just be a single red for a switch wire and the other two cables are loop, neutral and earth.

There really are so many different ways to wire up a lighting point you really need a meter to check the function of each conductor.
The red wire isn't on it's own surely.

You need a multimeter to find your switched live
1. Get one of Wickes's leaflets to educate yourself about lighting circuits.
2. Get up in the loft and it should be obvious which pairs of cables come from/goto the next ceiling rose and which go to the wall switch.

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