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A home electrical installation is a complex system of electrical components that bring power into a home and distribute it to the various outlets, appliances, and lighting fixtures.

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How do I re-install a light fixture/socket?

Dear reader,

Quite recently I accidentally managed to pull out the the licht fixture from it’s socket in the ceiling of our garage.

My questions:

  • Is this fixable for someone with no background in these kind of things?
  • What parts do I need to buy, and how do I install these? (A link to another website is useful too!)

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Thanks in advance!

(Please notify me if anything about this post is incorrect)

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Hi @seneca_maior ,

Replacing the light fitting is relatively simple.

Of major concern however that it is safe for you to do so.

Looking at the picture,there are only 2 wires to connect to the new fitting, so the natural assumption is that one is the Neutral wire and the other is the Active wire which is coming from the light switch.

Working on electrical wiring and fittings can be lethal that is why it pays to make doubly sure that it is safe and never assume that the power circuit has been correctly isolated or that the existing wiring has been installed correctly., e.g. they may have wired the Neutral wire through the light switch and not the Active and therefore with the switch off there is still power at the light. It has been known to happen.

You mention a green/yellow earth wire, but as the old fitting appears to be made of plastic and the new fitting will also be made of plastic, there is nowhere to attach the wire to, which will make the fitting safe in the event of one of the other wires touching the fitting (which won’t conduct that well anyway).

First you need to turn OFF the light switch and then either turn OFF the correct circuit breaker (or remove the correct fuse) in the main switchboard so that there is NO POWER being supplied to the cable which goes to the fitting.

Hint: Place a piece of tape over the circuit breaker to inform people that the circuit is being worked on and therefore not to reset it or if it is a fuse, keep it in your pocket so that it cannot be put back in.

Then you need to CHECK that there is NO POWER on the wires at the end of the cable.

Normally you could use a DMM’s (Digital MultiMeter)- Voltmeter function, to test for any voltage, but since the wire ends of the cable have been barely stripped of insulation, it may be dangerous to assume that there is no voltage there and to strip them further so that you can connect the meter and test for any voltage, e.g. you may not have turned off the correct circuit breaker or removed the correct fuse. You cannot even assume that the earth wire is actually connected to earth and therefore test between earth and each of the wires.

It is better to purchase one of these (or something like it where you are) so that you don’t have to touch a wire or grab both wires at the same time, just use it to touch the bared end of one wire, then the other wire. (with your other hand behind your back ;-). If it shows no voltage on either wire, then you can strip the wires back a bit and connect the Voltmeter -range AC Volts >250VAC - between both wires to doubly prove that it is safe.

After that you can connect the cable to a new Batten mount light fitting (I don’t know what you call them there but it should be something similar) as per the instructions on the packet.

Once you’re satisfied that all is done correctly, insert a light bulb and then go and reset the breaker or replace the fuse and then switch on the light.

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When you get a new light fixture, it will tell you which wire to connect to which terminal on the light fixture, based on the color of the wire’s insulation.  If the person who installed the wiring followed all of the wiring standards and codes, then this will work fine for you.

Make sure that you have disconnected power to the wires before installing the new light fixture.  The simplest way to do this is to turn the light switch off.  But you should also turn off the appropriate circuit breaker or remove the appropriate fuse as well, to be doubly sure that the power is off, and so that no one can accidentally turn the power on while you are installing the light fixture.

If you want to check the wires to make sure that you are connecting the correct ones (that is, that you aren’t connecting them backwards), it is very easy to check if you have only two wires.  Actually, you will probably have three wires — two will be insulated, and one will be bare — the bare one is the ground wire. You should be able to check the wires with the power off, because all you are doing is seeing which wire is the “common” wire.  Get a multimeter (I prefer analog, the kind with the needle that moves, because they are very simple to use), set it to OHMS, and touch one probe to the ground wire and the other probe to one of the insulated wires.  If the needle moves all the way to the right, you have found the “common” wire.  If the needle doesn’t move, you have found the “hot” wire.  Follow the instructions that are included with the light fixture for where to connect the hot wire and where to connect the ground wire.

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3 commentaires:

Thank you for your reply, it helped me a lot finding more information about this topic!

I have checked the wires, and indeed, there is a ground wire (green-yellow insulation). I live in The Netherlands and I guess that is common here.

- I will get a multimeter. Is the resistance on the hot wire 0 Ohms? (In case I get a digital multimeter)

- I will get wire nuts. Do you have any advice in what kind of nuts to buy? What to look for when buying them?

- I will check the instructions of the light fixture.

Are there any other things to keep in mind? I am planning to strip a bit of the insulation from the wires.

Thanks again.


That's good that you found which one is the ground. In fact, the "common" is the same as the "ground", it's just an alternate route to ground to provide an extra measure of safety. Just make sure you connect the ground wire to the ground terminal on the light fixture.

I always use an analog multimeter, because they are so much simpler. I don't have to watch a bunch of numbers go by on the screen and hope I am at the correct one; I simply watch the needle; you set the multimeter on OHMS; then if the needle moves, you have a complete circuit; if the needle doesn't move, you have a broken or incomplete circuit. Therefore, if you put one probe on the hot wire and the other on the ground wire, it should read 0 ohms. Certainly if the power is off, testing hot to ground should result in 0 ohms. (I'm not an expert at this stuff, but I believe that this is true.)


Pick wire nuts which screw on securely when you have twisted the two wires together. But if the existing wires are long enough to attach directly to the light fixture, you don't have any need for wire nuts, unless there is an extra wire that you want to cap off. In that case, select a nut that is a snug fit, so that the nut will stay on when you have tightened it onto the wire. Then secure the wire nut even more by wrapping it snugly to the wire with electrical tape.

Connecting a two wire light fixture (hot and common, or hot and ground) is the simplest electrical connection. There is nothing more simple than that. As long as the power is off when you are working on it, and as long as you are careful and make sure that you have cleanly and carefully done all of the work, you won't have any problem.


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