I recently purchased a newly remodeled home built in 1920s. The contractor that flipped the home put a hideous Ikea LED fixture in the dining area so I purchased a new one to replace it. After removing the old fixture I noticed all of the wires are the same color with the old school insulation that used to be used. The pre-existing Ikea LED fixture was wired as follows: (refer to numbers on picture) Wires 1, 2, 3 were all twisted together and connected to one wire on the LED Ikea fixture Wire 4 was connected to the other wire on the LED Ikea fixture.

I pulled the wires apart and tested them individually with a non-contact voltage tester with the breaker switch ON.

Wires 1 & 2 have no power. Wire 3 Always has power. Wire 4 only has power when wall switch is turned on.

My new fixture has a Hot, a Neutral, and a Ground wire.

My question is How do I connect the existing wires to work with the new fixture?

Edit - I just attempted to turn on a floor lamp that is plugged into a fixture on my wall and it is not working. I believe its possible wire 1, or wire 2 or possibly both wires go to other outlets in the same room. I hope this information helps.

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  • 1
    Did you already try connecting your new fixture in the same way as the one you removed (more specifically, neutral into the 1/2/3 group and hot with #4)?
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 23:33
  • I have not, I was hoping someone could help me understand how to determine what the other two wires that are not getting power are. I just want to make sure its correctly wired because I'm not sure if the contractor who flipped the home installed the original cheap fixture properly.
    – Justin
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 1:18
  • How are you determining (what tool and/or setting and/or methods) that a wire does or does not have power? The tools of choice are a quality (UL or ETL listed, no external metal) Non-Contact Voltage Tester like Klein NCVT and also a quality (UL or ETL listed, CAT II or better) multimeter like Klein MM300. And then you have to know to use them right - we can help with that. Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 1:51
  • The current description does not add up. You should have at a minimum a neutral and a switched hot. 4 wires means (usually) 2 cables, so that would be typically be hot/neutral + hot/switched hot (switch loop) or hot/neutral and switched hot/neutral - but neither of those would have 3 wires together. So something is missing or something is misremembered. Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 1:54
  • @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact Great advice on the tools. My guess is that the single wire is the switched hot and the three wires are neutral. One of the neutrals shows hot with the NCVT because there's a load turned on further down that cable; that load "pulls" the disconnected-for-testing neutral up to line potential.
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


The other two wires may indeed be powering other fixtures/outlets; that's common practice. Unless you are willing to do the experimentation to find out what, just reconnect it exactly the way it was.

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