I have tried to change a ceiling light and am confused as to why there are so many cables jammed into the box and some of them are burnt. I need some advise as to what to do. I have attached the best image i can. Thanks in advance.


  • The two obvious wires going to the lamp are the ones to focus on. Don't dismantle any more, or you'll have a Big, Big Mess. Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 23:00
  • Harper. Thank you for the response. So to clarify, i should not worry about the burnt wires and just put my new lamp up?
    – user984689
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 23:13
  • I am just saying "don't dismantle any more" because that's urgent, and because an amazing number of people do dismantle lots of stuff and present us a photo of spaghetti to reconnect. Don't fall in that trap. We should still discuss your core question. Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 23:19
  • I am a novice and therefore do not want to be dismantling this mess as i have no experience. I just would like to verify if i can leave the wires 'as is' with the slightly burnt ones and just connect my new lamp to the wires the old lamp was connected to. Don't want a fire in my house !!
    – user984689
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 23:29
  • 1
    Looks like its only on one and a close scan looks like it may be discoloration, no smell so going to leave everything alone and connect my new lamp. Appreciate the time and assistance.
    – user984689
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


It appears, at one time, that the circuit took way too much heat. I would not be comfortable leaving it like this, but I have done wiring for years. When the breaker to the light is off, determine what else is on that circuit. Then look at what these normally pull. I am assuming this is a house 30+ years old. I see 6 ground wires going into the electrical cap, but only 5 white neutrals going into that cap. A question I have for you is why are you changing the light? Was it a "honey, I don't like this light" or the light was not working correctly? Do you have access to the wiring from above, like in the attic? You can always just switch the light out and what you did by changing the light will not increase your chance of fire, but I would still check out what else is on that circuit.

  • The extra ground wire is going down the cable for the switch loop. Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 0:28
  • One ground wire is pigtailed to the metal box. There should be 1 supply, 3 onward and 1 switch loop cable in the box. Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 5:48
  • Thank you for all the responses. And in response to Jim, yes to a 30+ year old home and unfortunately that is the attic ceiling, its been converted so theres no way of me getting above it without cutting a hole in the ceiling. The light was working before fine and the new one i installed is as well. I guess I will need to hire someone to look at it shortly.
    – user984689
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 1:40

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