I'm trying to replace my living room ceiling light fixture. The new fixture only has black and white wires (no ground). The ceiling has red, black, white, and ground wires. When I took the old fixture down I noticed that the black wire was connected to the red wire from the ceiling and the black ceiling wire was capped off so I did the same to the new fixture but the light will not turn on. Help!!

PS. I've also tried connecting black to black and no luck either. I connected white to white and left the ground wire alone since my new light does not have a ground wire.

  • 3
    Did you flip the switch to the ON position? Are there bulbs in the new fixture? Are the bulbs good?
    – Tester101
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 18:40
  • Unless your light is plastic, it likely has a ground screw to connect the ground to, but may not have its own separate wire. Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 21:13
  • Typically the black wire in your light fixture will be connected to the black wire and the red wire in the wall (both black wires and the one red wire, all three together in one twist on wire connector). The white wire from your fixture will be connected to the white wire in the wall. The ground (bare) wire in the wall will be connected to a little green screw on the light fixture. (You just wrap the bare wire around the screw threads one or twice and tighten the screw down, locking the ground wire to the fixture.) Does that describe how you've connected your fixture?
    – user20878
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 21:30

2 Answers 2


Generally speaking, you must connect ceiling live cable (CL) to fixture live (FL) and ceiling neutral (CN) to fixture neutral (FN). As comments state, your fixture may not have a ground cable (strictly speaking), but some kind of screw, most probably with proper designation indented on it or with a proper sticker. If that's so, your ground cable from ceiling (CG) will match fixture attachment for ground (FG).
That said we have:

Note 1.: There is a possibility that your fixture may not have proper attachment or cable for grounding. It may happen with old fixtures or these not exactly matching codes. Not preferred to fix. If you omit the grounding step, the fixture will probably work, but it's not recommended.
Note 2.: Screws on fixtures may have designations like N (for neutral) or L (for live). That may help you with doing proper matching and fixing.

  • A nonmetallic-housed fixture may not have a ground at all (it'd be Class II, just like a wall-wart) Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 23:30

It sounds like power is fed through the ceiling... here's a look at the wiring that you should have:

enter image description here

If you hooked it up correctly, then either the lamp, fuse, or switch is faulty.

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