So to get to the point, I was wiring up LED high hat lights and I powered lights from a 2-way switch, which was getting power from an outlet. The switch got power from a white wire that was acting as a hot but was not taped with black tape. Not thinking, I didn’t realize this. So when I wired up my LED lights, I ran the white wire (which was hot, not neutral) to the white wires in the LEDs, and the hot black wire to the black wires in the LED lights. When I flicked it on, clearly something was wrong and the lights were very dim and fluttering. I turned it off shortly after and realized what I had done. I fixed my mistake and rewired the outlet that was powering the switch, turned the white wire back into a neutral, and everything works great now.

I am posting because I am wondering if there was any permanent damage from what I did? Is there a risk of fire due to my mistake? Is the 14/2 Romex damaged internally at all or the LED lights from receiving two sets of hot? Or should I chalk this up as a lesson learned?

Thank you


I think you had a switch loop and put the lights in series because the switch leg was a hot white and black switched. I don’t think you hurt the lights, as any load that was turned on in series with this load caused a low voltage situation, and the driver was trying to fire but did not have enough voltage thus the flashing. This also possibly could be due to leakage but the same in either case your lights are fine.

Your lights did not have a return path but had voltage so they flashed or were connected in series, so the voltage was too low, but there was a return path via the other load.

Glad you figured it out but I think your lights are fine.

  • Ed Beal, got it. Interesting. So that caused low voltage, not too high voltage. Sounds like the lights are ok then. Thank you very much.
    – Tk86
    Aug 8 '20 at 1:20
  • @Tk86 the lights survived the encounter, but you'll have to rewire things to get them to behave correctly Aug 8 '20 at 2:01
  • ThreePhaseEel, thanks for the reply. Just to make sure we’re on the same page, I noted in the OP that I rewired the outlet supplying the switch in order to turn the hot white back into a neutral and the lights are working correctly now. Is there an additional step I’ll need to take?
    – Tk86
    Aug 8 '20 at 3:15

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