I'm trying to replace the hanging light below and I've gotten a little confused. Shouldn't the brown wire on the left be connected to the live (red) wires rather than the neutral? I understand that the black wires on the right are connected to the blue wire, both are neutral so that makes sense. The same goes for the earth wires. I just can't understand why it is wired in this way and how it even works?!?! Can someone clarify this for me?

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  • 5
    What country is this? Commented Sep 15, 2012 at 12:16
  • And can you post another angle from the other side that shows the bus bar better? Numbering the black and red lines from left to right as 1-3 I think what you've got is [Brown-Black1] [Red1-Red2-Red3] and [Black2-black3-Blue] but I'm not 100% sure Commented Sep 15, 2012 at 12:19
  • @TheEvilGreebo Older UK wiring, by the colors: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_wiring#Color_code
    – Niall C.
    Commented Sep 16, 2012 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


The cable on the left runs to the switch. Power comes in from one of the two other cables via red, runs down the red of the switch cable to the switch. When the switch is closed, power runs back along the black and into the light via the brown. Goes thru the lamp into the blue, which connects to the common neutral black of the other two cables.

Switch legs can be confusing because the neutral coloured wire carries power back the the switched fixture. All is as it should be though.

  • Thanks very much for the clarification. It makes perfect sense now.
    – Sonoman
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 7:38

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