I was looking into the above light fixture project, and I noticed that it has no ground wire. Most of the videos I have looked into about replacing a chandelier specifically mention a ground wire, and the chandelier that I currently have installed definitely has one.

Is this DIY fixture a hazard if it doesn't have a ground wire? It seems like the entire body would already be connected to the ground wire because they both screw into the same bar.

  • I think your intuition about this fixture being grounded is correct, since like older BX Cable, the exterior acts as the ground PROVIDED there is an unbroken circuit from the fixture back through whatever ground is available. As with all DIY adventures, proceed only after understanding and weighing the risks. – BrownRedHawk Aug 31 '15 at 22:57
  • Not unless the bar itself is firmly grounded. This would require a wire connection between the mounting strap and the ground wire from the cable. And that there was good mechanical connection of all the metal parts (no paint or coating preventing metal-to-metal contact). And that also assumes the fixture itself is not likely to be touched once mounted. – bib Sep 1 '15 at 1:48

In my opinion, nearly all DIY light fixtures are hazards. However, since ceiling fixtures are rarely touched, they're not so bad.

If you want to add a grounding conductor, it shouldn't be too difficult. First find a point on the fixture that will hidden within the canopy, and that is metallic. Figure out a way to attach a grounding wire to that point. Using a multimeter or ohmmeter, test the resistance between the end of the grounding wire you've attached, and the point on the fixture where you attached it. You should have a very low resistance, otherwise you've selected a bad location.

Once you have a solid ground. Leave one probe from your meter attached to the grounding wire, and use the other probe to check the resistance to other exposed metallic parts of the fixture. If you have a low resistance path to all the exposed metallic points on the fixture, you're done. If not, you'll have to bridge high resistance sections with wire. For example. If the swivel fittings are nonconductive, you'd have to use a pieces of conductive material as a bridge between the two pipe sections.

Now that you have a low resistance path from the grounding conductor, to all exposed metal parts. You'll simply connect the grounding conductor from the fixture, to the grounding conductor from the ceiling.

  • For extra points have it ran through a HIPOT and your know you're golden. ;-) – Kris Sep 1 '15 at 2:17

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