DIY Doctor

Living room light fittings - getting desperate

Postby steviestevie » Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:35 pm

Please help, before I completely lose my mind!!

I live in a pretty standard terrace house with a front room, back room, kitchen and bathroom in a row.

I recently changed the ceiling light fittings in the back room - one had cracked and I thought I might as well change both at the same time. There are two ceiling lights operated together from two separate switches. Matters made slightly more complicated by the switch wiring not being marked with a red band.

Having replaced the fittings and put the wires back in the order from which they came (or at least I think so), I now cannot get the lights to work properly.

The kitchen and the bathroom lights work properly, so I presume the loop is fine. The lights also both work together and according to the switches, so I am guessing the wiring is fine. But what I do have is that the lights are now really dim. And to make matters more confusing, the higher the wattage of the bulb, the dimmer the light. If I put in a low wattage energy efficiency bulb, then i get a modicum of brightness, but then only one will work.

For reference, one fitting has four reds and three blacks, whilst the other fitting has two reds and one black.

I will be the first to admit that I am not an electrician, but I cannot work out what is going on. All help and advice very gratefully received.
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Simply Build It

Postby sparkydude » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:36 pm

Hi, sounds like a very strange number of wires there, unless some of them are as you say the switch cables unmarked. You need to buy a cheap multimeter and with the circuit dead identify your switch cables and then the rest of them should be feeds.

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Postby ericmark » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:48 pm

The lights are in series instead of parallel but as to what you have done to arrive at that I can't work out.
The wire count does not make sense. Each cable should have either red and black or two reds.
So either reds and blacks should equal each other or there should be two more reds than blacks and your count does not match this so it is impossible to work out what you have done.

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