The wiring box in the ceiling has black, white and red wire in it. Also a ground screw.

The new light has black and white wires, plus a ground wire. The light also has dimmer feature.

I hooked all up, respectively except the red wire, which I capped and taped. The light stays on all the time. What did I miss?

Light Fixture

  • Go to the switch box on the wall and see how it's wired. Typically the third color is for a "switched" wire, but it can vary a lot.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 22, 2019 at 0:12
  • There was a ceiling fan w/ light kit previously hooked up to it. Mar 22, 2019 at 0:36
  • 1
    Were the fan and light controlled by separate switches?
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 22, 2019 at 0:38
  • 1
    Can you post photos of the insides of the boxes? Mar 22, 2019 at 0:38
  • And what do you mean by "dimmer feature"? Generally that's a function of the switch.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 22, 2019 at 0:39

1 Answer 1


The clump of all-white wires is actually neutral. The lamp actually needs neutral, and neutral must be white. Add it to the clump.

Now let's talk about color codes. You may think that the colors of wires are for the sole purpose of helping novices wire things up. I have an alternate theory for you. Go down to the building supply and look at all the different kinds of cables, especially the variety of color combinations available. There isn't any. Variety. All cables are black-white, or black-white-red. So clearly, this is a standard of manufacture, and every installation is forced to use the same colors!

So outside of "neutral is white", colors aren't a lot of help. White isn't even necessarily neutral. Now that's debunked, this gets a bit clearer.

  • the red wire is an orphan.
  • the fan was connected to the red wire previously, and nothing was connected to the black cluster.

Based on both facts, the lamp black needs to go to the solo red.

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