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I just want to replace it with a new light fitting philips tcg701 but there's way too many wires and I don't know why it was done this way.

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What region do you live in? That looks like an oddly wrapped ground. –  Steve May 20 '13 at 4:38
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If you're not sure what's going on, you might want to contact a local licensed Electrician. –  Tester101 May 20 '13 at 11:23
    
The region is NSW. The ground is two grounds from two cables wrapped together with a little strip of green sheeth around it. –  skybreaker May 20 '13 at 12:11
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1 Answer 1

It's fairly standard

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In your case the red/white pair is probably from the switch, red probably live and white switched live (normally in my part of the world it would have red tape on it to indicate switched live). The other two twin+earth cables are mains supply and continuation to next light fitting. Your wires were connected directly to the light fitting so there is no separate cable to the lamp.

You can confirm this with vary careful one-handed testing using a suitable Cat II rated mains voltage tester. You can get non-contact voltage testers that make this safer.

After testing and confirming above, I'd connect the new lamp to the black group (AC neutral) and the white wire (switched live)

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Thank you - not only have you shown me exactly what was going on there but the diagram above shows me exactly how to rewire it for the newer modern light fitting. Thanks! –  skybreaker May 20 '13 at 14:46
    
So basically, three terminals are there to allow daisy-chaining the power, neutral and ground and provide a tap for neutral to the device and power to the switch, and the fourth is a terminal block for the switch. I take it that the Australian system tries to eliminate wire nuts or other extraneous connectors by providing terminals instead? Is this split phase hot/neutral? –  Fiasco Labs May 20 '13 at 15:02
    
This diagram is so useful to me - can I ask how you found it? –  skybreaker May 21 '13 at 3:21
    
@skybreaker: I googled "lighting wiring junction" and clicked "images". –  RedGrittyBrick May 21 '13 at 9:28
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