I'm trying to replace a couple pendant lights in my kitchen, I replaced the first one just fine but I'm not sure how to wire the second light. Both lights are controlled by one switch, and I've attached an image of the wires for the light I still need to connect. xenter image description here

The light fixture has 1 white, 1 black and a ground. I'd appreciate help wiring this light, and also just understanding what is going on with this setup. I don't have a wire tester at the moment, but as soon as it isn't so icy I'm going to go get one.

Edit: the small piece of wire fell out when I was taking the light off, I think it was connecting a couple of these other wires.


Color distinguish wires in cables, it does not connote wire function. If you want the latter, you can mark wires with tape. There's one exception, neutral wires must be white but white wires don't have to be neutral.

So the all-white gaggle must be neutral, and since your lamp actually does need neutral, your lamp white should go there. The pigtail probably fell out of that.

The black-white gaggle cannot be neutral, since black cannot be neutral. Therefore neither can the white wire. This is surely an always-hot wire, going onward to the switch in a switch loop. The third most recent Code change requires in switch loops, white must be the always-hot, so it is obviously hot and is not confused with neutral*.

Grounds are simple, all grounds connect together. Green, yellow/green and bare a reserved for grounds and vice versa.

That leaves the two blacks plus the black on the lamp. These are all accounted for: one is switched-hot from the switch. One is onward power to the other lamp. The third is obviously the lamp. All these go together.

*The second most recent Code change requires white wires so used actually be re-colored with tape. The most recent Code change requires actual neutral to be wired to switch loops, so white is reserved for that.)

  • Thanks, that is very helpful! I have question, what is the pigtail for and what else would it be connected to in addition to the all white gaggle. Thanks again
    – RAND
    Feb 8 '19 at 3:15
  • Not sure what they were up to with the pigtail. Not necessary if the lamp has leads. Feb 8 '19 at 6:50

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