In my living room there are two light switches, the cables of both come out of the same hole in the ceiling. I would like to use both switches, one for dim, ambient lighting, the other for game nights etc. Hence I installed an additional lamp.

Sadly the second lamp doesn't turn on. While my mains tester indicates that blue, brown and both black cables are live (see image), only the combination of blue and any black cable works. When attaching brown and black to a lamp, the lamp doesn't turn on.

Any ideas?

enter image description here

  • 2
    Wow. Bare wires sticking out of connectors and not contained in a box. Not good. There is no box installed in the ceiling ? Did you test the wire before doing any of this ? How do you know the each set of wires goes to one or the other switches ? Photos inside the two switch box's showing how they are wired may help to get an informed answer.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 20:47
  • Call me out if I'm wrong, but every wire to a ceiling light does look very similar to this. Sometimes there's a neat round white cover, but that's it. Maybe expand on what you mean by "box in the ceiling" @AlaskaMan? I know because there's two sets of wires and two switches.
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 22:58
  • 1
    "Wrong". Is the hook being used rated for the potential weight capacity of the things hanging from it? the wires in terminal blocks are protruding from the connectors, begging to come into contact with the hook, the light, your hand when changing a bulb, the hole in the ceiling is not fire rated or sealed, in fact, it promotes fire to spread. The exposed jackets of the wire are not actually tethered to anything from what we can see, besides the adjoined wires, these wires and term blocks should be mounted or tethered. Safety boxes protect you, your home, and others.
    – noybman
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 2:44
  • Do you have any idea if the two switches are tied together at all? As in, was this previously a 3-way setup?
    – Tyler M
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 17:05
  • 1
    @TylerM thank you for the hint, it put me on the right track - the brown wire wasn't connected at all behind the switches, so I swapped it for the yellow-green one and now both lights work as they should. If you'd like some brass, feel free to post your comment as a shortish answer.
    – Erik
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 9:17

3 Answers 3


This could have previously been a 3-way setup. Take a look at if your wires are tied together. It could be that there could be a disconnected wire, or something could be miswired.


Where are your neutral wires? For a ceiling light my best guess is you've mixed up your wires going into the switch and the ones from supply. You have 2 neutral white and 2 black hot inside the ceiling? I'm not seeing any neutral wires being connected in that pic.

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    – IronEagle
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 22:31

I can't really see what's going on, but it looks like someone just ran a cable through a ragged hole in the ceiling. The missing insulation on the wires is frightening as well.

I don't know what wires originally were connected to what wires, or which wires you were measuring between, so it is hard to comment on what you've said about that. I also don't know what country you are in. More pictures, and a more detailed description of what's going on, would help.

At any rate, this does not look to me like something that should be wired into a house.

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