Just moved in and there is no kitchen light. There is a ground, two whites nutted together and two blacks AND a white nutted together. My new fixture has a standard hot and neutral. How do I connect?

  • Do you have a non contact voltage tester? E.g., amazon.com/Fluke-1AC-A1-II-VoltAlert-Non-Contact-Voltage/dp/… – Jim Stewart Sep 5 '19 at 10:46
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    if forced to guess disconnect the white from the two blacks and connect to to the lamp hot, connect the lamp neutral to the two whites. – Jasen Sep 5 '19 at 11:16
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    Can you post photos of the inside of the light box? – ThreePhaseEel Sep 5 '19 at 11:30
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    The white nutted to the blacks could be the "switched hot" from a switch loop if this is an older home. Of course this would all need to be verified with a multimeter - not a non-contact detector. – JPhi1618 Sep 5 '19 at 14:21
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    Does this fixture connect to a single switch or to a pair (or more) of switches at different locations? – Carl Witthoft Sep 5 '19 at 18:00

A lamp connects to switched-hot and neutral.

The two blacks and a white nutted together are always-hot. This is not of interest to you, unless you want the lamp on 24x7. Leave it alone.

For your information, there is an obsolete wiring technique called a "switch loop". This is where power comes into the lamp, and the switch is a spur branch. It carried 2 wires to the switch: always-hot went to the switch, and switched-hot came back. It goes without saying these two wires are in the same cable.

Since only 2 wires were used, they used common /2 cable, in which the colors are black and white. White is usually neutral, but not here. To reduce confusion, the rule is that the always-hot must be white, to make it more obvious to people with voltage testers that this isn't neutral. The black, then, is switched-hot.

The white in the black bundle goes to a cable. The black in that cable, which you have not mentioned yet, is the switched-hot. That connects to the lamp's black wire.

The group of all-white wires are actual neutral. Those wires are doing important tasks. However, your lamp needs neutral, so its white needs to be added to that bundle.

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