I have an odd issue... hence why I'm here! I am replacing an old ceiling fan with a standard light fixture. The house was built in 77, so there is a bundle of wires up in the ceiling j-box with one 2-wire run to the switch. After removing the fan, I have NO hot wire in the switch box. tying the third black wire to the load bundle in the ceiling pops the breaker when the switch is hit. I'm hoping one of you can help provide some clarity for me on how to wire up a simple light fixture to this complexity of wiring. enter image description hereenter image description here

  • Obvious question is how was the fan hooked up? Wiring the light the same way doesn't work?
    – JPhi1618
    Dec 1, 2017 at 16:08
  • Right. What does "LOAD" mean? Is that where the fan was connected?
    – isherwood
    Dec 1, 2017 at 16:10
  • yea, load meaning that those two wires are always hot. It is where the blue and black wire were connected to from the fan.
    – user78483
    Dec 1, 2017 at 16:18
  • That's not what load means. The load is literally the electrically consumptive device or circuit leg. You have there the LINE.
    – isherwood
    Dec 1, 2017 at 16:19
  • cool - sorry for mislabeling - any helpful insight on how to resolve?
    – user78483
    Dec 1, 2017 at 16:28

1 Answer 1


I think the problem is that you have the white wire which is the return of the switch leg tied into the neutrals. This creates a direct short when the switch is thrown.

Find the white that's in the cable for the switch loop, mark it with black tape (because it's technically a hot), and use it as the hot for your fan. Connect the fan's neutral wire to the white bundle. Then you can put all black wires together.

The third black wire is probably an outgoing branch for another light or outlets. I think this is your scenario (you can reverse black and white in the switch loop if you label the white with tape):

enter image description here

Image attribution

  • Would that be true even if all three white wires don't have a 'charge' (does not set test ticker off)
    – user78483
    Dec 1, 2017 at 16:50
  • The switch loop won't until everything is connected and you switch it on. See the updated image above.
    – isherwood
    Dec 1, 2017 at 16:50

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