I'm trying to install this light in my house, but I don't know how the wiring works for it. The light has a switch on the front of it that controls both bulbs and the switch has two black wires coming out of it.

Two of the wires coming from the bulbs were tied together.

Here's a picture of the wiring on the back of the light. Any ideas?

Here's a picture

  • That light is a fire hazard. Replace the sockets, switch and wiring with modern components.
    – longneck
    Jul 2, 2014 at 21:46
  • Withdrawing my answer. I missed the point about the fixture having a switch. I really can't see enough from this photo to say anything about how that should be working. (The fixture may or may not also want to be rewired as @longneck suggests -- again, I don't think we can see enough from this photo to have a valid opinion. It certainly wants a new sleeve over the socket which is missing one.)
    – keshlam
    Jul 3, 2014 at 0:16
  • @longneck What makes this light a fire hazard?
    – Tester101
    Jul 3, 2014 at 11:16
  • The switch actually looks ok. But I see scorch marks on the braided wiring and on at least one of the bulb sockets.
    – longneck
    Jul 3, 2014 at 12:40
  • Thanks for the comments, guys. Why is the light a fire hazard? The switch is on the front of the light and connected by the two black wires. I'm not sure how to hook the wires up to the wall, however, or why the two white wires coming out of each light are bundled together. My assumption is that the two banded together connect to the white wire in the wall and somehow one of the black wires joins with a white wire and that connects to the black wire in the wall, but like I said that's only a guess. Definitely don't want to burn the house down experimenting...
    – procload
    Jul 5, 2014 at 17:10

2 Answers 2


Time to break out the multi-meter. You can safely assume the two black wires from the switch are interchangeable. But the white wires from the lamp sockets are not. Cut that blog off that connects the two and test each side. The outer metal ring needs to be the neutral and the center tab the hot. Use the multi-meter to see which wire has continuance from either the ring or center tab. Wire both center tabs (of the light socket) to one of the black wires from the switch.

To then wire the light to the wall. The other black will then be wired to the hot (black) and the two free whites will be wired to the neutral.


Almost certainly was meant to be wired with hot to the two blacks, which run through the switch, and then the neutral to the two unbound whites.

But a several commenters said there are a number of concerns with what you show:

  1. Scorch marks
  2. A missing insulating sleeve for one of the bulb sockets
  3. No clear ground connection, unless that's what the other two coupled white wires are for, in which case that's unusual. Not to mention whatever that blob binding the two whites is looks suspicious.

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