I want to install a ceiling light where previously only a box cover existed, no fixture. I connected the black wire to the black fixture wire, white to white, ground to ground. No other wires are present. I turned the breaker on and the light only stays on. I disconnected the wall switch completely but left the wall wires unconnected (black, white, ground). I think it could be a possible faulty switch. I turned the breaker on and the ceiling light remained on with no switch connection.

What is going on?

  • 1
    Do you have power to switch? Sometimes switches switch wall outlets.
    – HerrBag
    Jun 4, 2013 at 13:28
  • 2
    Are there any additional wires in the ceiling box?
    – Jason
    Jun 4, 2013 at 13:47
  • there is power to the switch, and there are no additional wires in the ceiling box Jun 4, 2013 at 14:20
  • I'm confused... You have 3 wires in the ceiling (fixture) box (black, white, and bare), and 3 wires in the wall (switch) box (black, white, and bare)? There has to be more wires somewhere, otherwise you can't complete the circuit. Pictures would be very helpful.
    – Tester101
    Jun 4, 2013 at 15:44
  • I agree Tester101, there should be more wirew but there are only the 3 in each as you describe in you comment. Jun 4, 2013 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


It sounds like you're poking around in the wrong hole. The circuit you describe looks something like this...


Which obviously is not possible, since you say the light is on. More likely, the switch does not control the light at all, and the circuit looks more like this...


It's possible (as previously mentioned) that the switch actually controls a receptacle, or some other device. In which case the ceiling box is probably wired directly to the circuit, and is intended for a fixture with a built-in switch (pull chain).


It seems likely the ceiling box is either not connected to the switch or has been bypassed. This can happen when the power starts at the light and the switch is remote from it.
There should be a second pair (trio, with ground) of wires coming from the switch.

If not, you have 2 options, run a 2nd wire to a switch or use one of the remote powerline modules, such as X-10.

enter image description here enter image description here Leviton HXC10-1TW

The Leviton HXC10-1TW is a single address controller that will remotely switch the socket rocket pictured. It does require power and neutral, but will work from anywhere in the house (once properly addressed). The multi point controllers are actually cheaper, but don't give you "in wall", exact replacement look.

NB The SocketRocket is only intended for incandescent bulb use. CFLs or LED would require a different solution.

  • Thanks HerrBag, There are only 2 wires+ gnd at wall,they are hot. Running a new line from ceiling box to room entry wall, might work if I can access it from crawl space. we just bought this house, so not sure if there is crawl space to this room ? A remote sw does give me another option, I suspect house wired incorrectly. thanks Frank Jun 4, 2013 at 15:06

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