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The following light was removed from my outside front porch because the bulb had burned out. Only problem is I didn't remove it and now I need to put the thing back up, but I'm not sure how the connection should be. Is this something I should even be doing at this point?

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enter image description here

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I hate to state the obvious, but that's not how you change a light bulb. –  BMitch Aug 13 '12 at 18:12
    
OP delivers!! I will not be trying to fix this on my own, I'll call a proper electrician in the area. Thanks for the advice all! –  aherrick Aug 21 '12 at 0:29
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2 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

It looks like you've ruined it. The stranded wires (such as the black one visible in the picture) are usually permanently attached to the lamp (Inside those cloth tubes). The solid wires are your household wiring. Normally you'd attach the stranded black to the solid black with a wire nut, and the same with the whites. Then attach the bare copper ground (or green) to the brass tab in the light. But it looks like someone just ripped it off and detached the stranded wires from the fixture.

Buy a new one, and if you are unsure of how to remove the old wires or correctly wire a new fixture, the safest thing to do is hire a qualified electrician.

Also, make sure your housemates read this: http://www.wikihow.com/Change-a-Light-Bulb

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Agreed. Why replacing a light bulb required ripping the fixture from the wall I'm not sure! –  Steven Aug 13 '12 at 18:23
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+1 for Chris Cudmores' clear answer and gentle urging to get skilled help. It sounds as if the original poster is not familiar with electrical systems and really shouldn't be doing it since it is a serious safety issue. This level of voltage can kill or start a fire. –  bib Aug 13 '12 at 19:50
    
This almost belongs in "There, I fixed it..." I can see the ends of the stranded wires where they pulled off the socket. They're lucky it didn't blow a breaker or zap the person who pulled the fixture off. That poor little brass ring terminal for the ground wire just didn't stand a chance. –  Fiasco Labs Aug 13 '12 at 19:56
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Replacing the fixture is the safest and easiest solution. If for some reason the fixture is important, it's likely someone skilled in electrical work could repair it so that it operates safely and correctly. At least until someone tears it off the ceiling again. –  bcworkz Aug 13 '12 at 23:03
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Warning, dangerous advice, see comments

If the black and red cable is still long enough. Fiddle it through the hole and attach it directly to the bulb's socket.

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There is no red wire. This has to be grounded as well. There is no picture of the socket, but judging by the ground terminal that was ripped out, the leads were probably also ripped out of the socket and there is no safe way to fix it short of replacing the socket itself, at which point an entire new fixture probably makes sense. –  gregmac Aug 13 '12 at 23:15
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This user does not have the skills to tackle this job at this time. Call in the pros. - @aherrick - DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO THIS! –  bib Aug 14 '12 at 0:06
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I agree with gregmac and blb, with the wires ripped from the socket, there's no safe way to reattach this. And without knowing aherrick's electrical experience, recommending he reconnect the wires could result in serious injury. –  BMitch Aug 14 '12 at 1:07
    
When mechanical connections have been forceably destroyed like this, it's best to remove everything down to the solid copper house wiring and start from scratch. It will never have the integrity the original installation had. –  Fiasco Labs Aug 14 '12 at 2:20
    
BMitch, I want you to exactly explain how a serious injury could be caused. –  Davoud Taghawi-Nejad Aug 14 '12 at 12:00
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