I have bought a new home and we are in the middle of setting up everything right now.

In one of the rooms there is a peculiar set of wiring that I just cant figure out. Frontal View of the wall

Behind the upper bar there seems to be a way to fit in a fluorescent tube View from below Right view from below

But there are also these two cables with L + N written on the white boxes. These seem to be another way to put in a light. I noted that if the cables are the right length to hide behind the upper bar if you hold them to the far left and right, but there is no way to fix them there.

Are these parts all connected? Is there some kind of mysterious lamp that needs 3 connectors to work? Can someone help me understand that situation please? :)

  • 1
    Are those wires live to mains-voltage? Having them dangling and accessible is not ideal. That could be a great place to locate a Mains-12V PSU though for your new LEDs
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 19:07
  • I think they are. Yeah its really not great this way, especially with kids around!
    – Nurator
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 6:57

4 Answers 4


These look like Striplight fittings, not fluorescent fittings.

Striplights are incandescent and were commonly used as down/uplights in furniture or in the positions you describe.

However, your fittings have been broken. The bulbs have been removed and the end mounts broken off in the process.

You can now get LED lights that go into the fittings. These are available at all the usual places. But, your fittings will have to be replaced.

You may wish to go for something different while you're at it. A modern LED system would probably be easier and cheaper.

  • Thanks! I think I understand you but cant figure it out 100%. So the hidden thing in the middle is just one part of the fitting and the left and right ones are missing? And if that is broken, should I just get rid of that one and buy something new which goes over the whole length?
    – Nurator
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 7:28
  • 1
    Yes. Unless the missing half turns up elsewhere in the house, finding a replacement would be pretty difficult. It's not particularly valuable anyway, so as Chenmunka says you might as well find something new to your liking.
    – MiG
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 7:30
  • Yes, getting those bulbs out was always fiddly. Someone has just snapped off the ends. A modern LED system is probably your best bet.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 7:32
  • How do all of those parts come together? The white parts on the first picture seem not to be connected to the white thing in the second picture. Do they connect to the black wires in the third picture? Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 7:33
  • 1
    @Nurator you have mains voltage at the wires. It is just a matter of making a suitable connection. Use an adaptor if necessary.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 16:25

It's an old cove lighting system using strip lighting. It was done with AC powered lights in a cheap and flimsy way.

Toss it all in the trash. There are better ways to do that today.

Today you use 12 volt "LED strips" which are laughably inexpensive. The mains power makes its first stop a a DC power supply, which turns it into 12 volts DC. After that, it's safe for the wiring to be cheap like that because it's only 12 volts.


From what I can see, this looks similar to a system that uses electric motors to open or close: <Shutters, Curtains, Blinds, Doors> , from some type of switch, lever, or other circuitry. This would explain the third wire; it allows a DC motor to be operated in forward OR reverse.

The empty fixture hidden behind the upper bar looks like it might accommodate a window blind "roller" motor, which needs 3 wires to allow it to roll up the blinds, or roll them back down.

For example, perhaps your room is pre-wired for some kind of home theator, with curtains or blinds (or a projector screen, perhaps) that open or unfurl as a movie begins to play.

(I used to install 'High-end' (upwards of around $10,000 to $60,000) entertainment systems - with automatic curtains)

  • Welcome to Home Improvement. As you can see, you answer formatting is extremely difficult to read. Someone has already submitted an edit to make it easier to read, though you could log back in and edit yourself.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 12:36
  • Oh yeah that could be true too! This is a party room in the cellar, so a home cinema is plausible!
    – Nurator
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 13:05

It looks like the two cables at the sides had been connected to some type of cove lighting such as LED strip lights. You might want to check if the voltage is 12(or 24) volts DC. If it is a voltage that is not the same as the mains voltage, there might be an LED driver/transformer hiding somewhere.

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