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Hi, I'm having some difficulty trying to wire up this light in my house.

I'm living in Germany in an old building and the existing light only has two wires coming from in which are the brown and blue ones, as you can see from the picture.

Now the new light I've bought also has the yellow and green wires, which I presume are the earthing cables?

Does anyone have any ideas how to get around the problem of missing the earthing cable?

I apologise if this is a stupid question but I'm clueless with electrics.

Thanks in advance

  • In the US it's common to install light fixtures without earthing conductors. What's the electrical box scenario? – isherwood Sep 13 '17 at 14:32
  • This is not uncommon in NZ as well. In modern homes they run twin + earth cable. But in older homes they use the old 2 core cable and earth is a separate run of wire. Often run through the ceiling. In my house it had no shield. Might be similar in Germany. I note you've reversed the wires on your connector block. – Matt Sep 13 '17 at 23:53

Over here in the Netherlands we have the same problem. Simply connect the Neutral and switch wire to the armature and if no earth wire is available leave the one from the armature disconnected.

Most probably you have earth fault detection breakers in the switchboard.

That is the case if you find a small button on the breaker. Most probably you can find also the remark of 0,03A or 30 mA.

In such cases the breaker trips if there is a defect resulting in more than 30 mA difference in current from the line to the neutral.


Does anyone have any ideas how to get around the problem of missing the earthing cable?

  1. Buy a light fitting that doesn't have externally exposed metal parts. Or

  2. Replace the 2-core wiring in the wall with 3-core wiring that includes an earth. Or

  3. Look for an earth wire hidden in/behind whatever place those paint-covered blue and brown wires emerge from. Unless that's a light fitting (tube?) in which case follow the white-sheathed cable back to source and look there.

in Germany in an old building

Those blue and brown wires are not old.

Older German wiring was apparently

  • black = live / hot
  • white = neutral
  • red = ground / earth

Since I don't see the old colours in your photo, I suspect there must be a green and yellow striped earth wire associated with the visible supply wires.

  • Blue/Brown is an alternative colour coding. Brown is usually phase and blue is neutral. Green/Yellow is earth. – Matt Sep 13 '17 at 23:50

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