Background: Trying to install a ceiling lamp in dining room in a electrical box that was capped by the original builder. The electrical box appears to be connected to two light switches in the room. There are three wall switches on each spot and two of the switches control other ceiling lights. When I remove the cap, I can see one single exposed yellow wire (see attached photo) and one continuous looping wire that hangs down but has NO exposed ends.

Here's my question. To install the ceiling lamp, I need to attached the neutral and hot wire to the lamp. I believe the yellow exposed wire (in the photo is has some white paint on it) is the hot wire. The second wire that loops down and continues through the box appears to be the neutral wire (see photo long looping white wire on the left side of photo) but it has no exposed ends and is one continuous wire that travels thru.

So how do I handle this? Do i remove the insulation from the neutral wire without cutting it completely and attach that to neutral line from lamp? Is it ok to cut the wire in the middle.... then remove the insulation from both sides and attach both ends to the lamp and then attached the yellow wire to the hot side of the lamp?

Does this sound correct?enter image description here

  • To be sure test the voltage on wires.
    – user263983
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 1:41
  • Was that yellow wire capped? If not it might not be connected to a switch. Seems a bit negligent of the electrician to leave a live (when switched) uncapped wire in a box. Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


You need to turn the breaker off.

Because if you don't, you will get nailed when you cut the white wire.

Anyway, you cut the white (neutral) wire, strip the ends, and join both ends with the wire from the lamp - so 3 wires - using a wire nut.

For the yellow (switched-hot) wire, you strip it and wire-nut it to the black or red hot wire from the lamp.

Since this is EMT metal conduit which carries ground in the conduit, the lamp should automagically pick up ground from the metal box.

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