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I'm installing a ceiling light to a fixture that was previously unused. However I'm having trouble because there are 2 groups of white wires. Which white wire should I connect with the white wire of my ceiling light? One group is a set of 3 wires and one group is a set of 2 wires.

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Edit: I should also say that when I tried connecting the group with 2 white wires, turning off the switch for some reason short circuited the whole thing. I thought I might have done the grounding wire (the red one) wrong because I assumed I didn't connect the grounding wire. If my issue is not the white wires, can you please advise what else might be the issue?

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Is this in the US? It's relevant because wiring is generally color coded but may not be coded the same in every country. –  The Evil Greebo Dec 28 '12 at 12:50
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I don't see enough information to explain what is happening. How many wires in total exist in the box, three wires with black, white, red and bare? Is the switch a two-way or three way switch? When the power is off on all switches that control this, do any of the wires still carry voltage? –  maple_shaft Dec 28 '12 at 12:57
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How was the old fixture connected? –  Tester101 Dec 28 '12 at 13:26
    
The light has white, black and a copper wire. The picture is of the ceiling. Their was no prior fixture connected. I don't have a device that measures connectivity. –  Chowza Dec 28 '12 at 22:13
    
Also this is in Canada –  Chowza Dec 28 '12 at 22:14

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

For the switch turned off to short things, it must be a 3 or 4 way switch. The 2 white and 2 black could be travelers, the most likely connection then is lamp black to switched power red, lamp white to the 3 white, probably neutral. It's worth buying a non-contact circuit tester, they aren't all that expensive and can be a literal life saver. You can then quickly locate the proper switched power and deduce which is the neutral, because my guess at what to connect is only a guess. The circuit tester will tell you for sure.

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Thank you. Black to red and 3 white to white worked. –  Chowza Dec 29 '12 at 18:15

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