I am adding 2 additional light receptacles in my garage attic. I thought this was going to be pretty straightforward until I got to the currently working light in the attic (pic attached). I get white wire to white wire and black wire to black wire but how do I attach 2 new lights (black, white, and ground wires) to this configuration?

There is a single switch next to the attic door. I've attached pics in the link below.

  • You connect the whites to the whites and blacks to the blacks? Is there some other point of confusion? Oh, and the picture doesn't look like it worked. – JPhi1618 Oct 23 '15 at 15:45
  • drive.google.com/… – kentjacobson Oct 23 '15 at 15:48
  • when I took off the light from the box I found that 2 whites were connected to the existing light fixture. I'm a rookie but I thought it should have 1 white and 1 black connected. 1) Need to know if I should correct this. 2) if not, how do I connect the other 2 lights to this configuration. – kentjacobson Oct 23 '15 at 15:50

The picture helps a lot. The second white wire is coming from the switch, and it should have been wrapped with black electrical tape to indicate it was actually playing the role of a black wire. Determine which white comes from the switch, and that's the "black" wire.

Then the problem is as simple as connecting the new whites to the white wire, and new blacks to the black.

The following picture is what you have except on the light side, they have connected the black wires together and both whites are going to the lamp.

Black coded white wire

In order to determine which wire goes to the switch, you'll need a voltage tester. Turn off the breaker to the circuit and the light switch, and carefully remove the wire nut from the black wires in the lamp box. Be sure the wires are not touching anything, and turn the breaker back on. Using your voltage meter, touch the twisted black wires with one probe and each white wire going to the lamp. The white wire that shows 120v is the actual white wire coming from the breaker box. The other white wire will be the "black" wire coming from the switch. Turn the breaker back off and twist the wire nut back on. Be super careful when measuring the voltage with the breaker on.

  • getting close...thank you. When you're indicating the 2nd white wire are you referring to the one that is on the brass screw? – kentjacobson Oct 23 '15 at 15:53
  • @kentjacobson Does the diagram help? I don't see any brass screws in your pictures, but the white wire coming from the switch is acting as a black wire, so it should go to the brass screw. – JPhi1618 Oct 23 '15 at 15:56
  • @Kentjacobson - What you have is a switched loop that was not marked. Power goes in at the light socked, the hot is redirected to the switch (neutrals stay in the light outlet) and a switched hot is returned back to the light outlet to control the light. – diceless Oct 23 '15 at 15:56
  • not sure why they configured it this way but I think I can handle it from here. – kentjacobson Oct 23 '15 at 15:58
  • Well, to be clear, the only thing they did wrong was not "coding" the white wires with black tape. This is the right way to do it. – JPhi1618 Oct 23 '15 at 15:59

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