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The answers here seem quite convoluted. I am putting up two new ceiling light fixtures in my hallway. My house is 5 years old. The first one was straightforward; I turned off power at the panel and removed the fixture and disconnected the black, white and bare copper ground wires. I hung the new fixture and connected the black to black, white to white and copper to ground wire (& wound that round the green screw in the connection bar), installed 2 led bulbs and voilá works like a charm.

Moving to the next fixture: there are 2 black wires, 2 white wires, and one bare copper ground wire. The 2 black wires were connected together AND connected to the black wire of the builder’s fixture, the 2 white wires were connected together and to the white wire of the builder’s fixture, the bare copper was would round the ground wire in the previous fixture (I don’t want say ‘old’ because people may think I’m working with obsolete wiring or lights). I’m going to install the wires the exact same way they were installed previously except, since I’m installing a crossbar in the ceiling receptacle there will be a green ground screw to which I’ll attach the ground wire as well as to the ground in the new fixture. I believe the reason there are 2 sets of (live & neutral) wires is because the light can be turned on/off in 2 places (2 switches). Am I wrong? Should I be doing something other than what seems intuitive - just replacing the wiring that was in the other fixture?

I know electricians are highly trained and need to earn a living, but I don’t know why some claim that only an electrician can change light fixtures. I wouldn’t attempt to rewire an outlet in my house, or bring wire from the panel for a new ceiling receptacle, but replacing one light fixture with another is something a homeowner can do safely by themselves. In my town getting an electrician to do that would never happen - they’re all too busy.

I don’t think you need to scare people and tell them their house is going to burn down.

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    Is there a question here? Incidentally, 3-way circuits can be challenging for novices as there are various ways they can be configured and the priciple of double-pole switches are not always intuitive for non-electrically experienced folks. Historically, there have been many many questions illustrating people's struggles with these circuits. Not scaring someone vs. preventing an accident is a... nuanced idea. Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 23:36
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    I’m voting to close this question because it is not a question. Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 23:38
  • Okay. I edited the post to include the question. I’m no expert so I’d like the input of an expert.
    – Charlotte
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 23:42
  • Jimmy Fix-it: see already I learned something; it’s called a 3-way circuit. Thank you!
    – Charlotte
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 23:44
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    In the age of digital photos essentially for free, when you start with a working fixture, take enough pictures that you can get back to that working configuration before you start... You can delete them after the job's successfully completed. As for not burning your house down, be sure to make all the connections tightly and properly, as loose connections can do exactly that, but you can avoid loose connections with proper care.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 0:47

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As far as I can tell, the embedded question is:

I believe the reason there are 2 sets of (live & neutral) wires is because the light can be turned on/off in 2 places (2 switches). Am I wrong? Should I be doing something other than what seems intuitive - just replacing the wiring that was in the other fixture?

So to the first part, no the 2 sets of wires has nothing to do with the 3-way switches. It has everything to do with two lights being controlled by one set (in this case 2 switches because 3-way, but it could just as easily be a single switch). Basically a set of wires goes from switch to first fixture and another set from first fixture to second fixture. So the first fixture has two sets of wires and the second fixture has just one set of wires.

And to the second part: Just replace exactly as it was before and you'll be fine. But always look at it (even better, take a picture) first. You can also have two (or more...) sets of wires in some very different configurations. But whatever was connected to black of old fixture goes to black of new fixture. Same for white. (Bare and green grounds are easy - they all always go together. Always.)

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