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I have a nasty situation in my new apartment: someone (previously), when installing light switches must have randomly connected 3 wires, without giving a respect to a usual color coding.
Now I have: red, yellow-green, white.
The problem is, when you turn on the switch, yellow-green (which is supposed to be ground), becomes hot. So in order to properly attach my lamp I need to know which of two remaining is ground and neutral.
I don't want to go with "trial and error", i.e. attach to some position and see if you protection will be blown out, then swap, as this may be a dangerous option, when (and this can happen), a neutral gets disconnected at the switch, and not the hot one, which will all lead to a happy burndown. I don't want to take chances.
What should you do?

  • What country are you in? What is your mains voltage? – Kris Jan 10 '16 at 13:17
  • If you are going to do electrical work you should at least invest in a no-contact style tester. Identifying the hot in this mess would then be fairly simple. – ArchonOSX Jan 10 '16 at 13:40
  • I am from eu, 230 V AC. I know which is the hot one. I don't know which is ground/neutral from remaining two – artemonster Jan 10 '16 at 15:36
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Easiest way to double check this before wiring anything, just open up another light/receptacle box, or even the switch. See what wire coloring the installer used throughout. Hopefully he stayed consistent. You could also open the panel and see what wire color terminates where.

If this is an individual occurrence, you should be able to see at least what was used for ground in the switch that's wired to this light. Even if the whole apartment wasn't done the same, this circuit might be.

It's a good place to start, let us know what you find.

  • I guess the safest bet would be to see in the switch. Everywhere else the wiring is proper. – artemonster Jan 10 '16 at 15:37

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