I just moved into a new home. The builder left the island lights capped, and I am trying to install them now. There are 3 lights over the island. The first one, for some reason, has the pot lights wired through it as well.

There are 3 sets of black and white wires, plus one red wire in Kitchen light #1.

I have named them:

Set #1 (black, white and red wire)

Set #2

Set #3

The red wire from set # 1 was originally tied off with the black wire from set #2. I hadn't seen this, so I just connected all of the other white wires to the white wire from the light, and the other 2 black wires to the black wire from the light. The result was Kitchen light #1 and pot lights on switch #1. Kitchen lights #2 and #3 on switch #2.

When I connect black and white sets #1 & #3, the pot lights work on Switch #1. The kitchen lights do not.

When I connect black and white sets #1 & #2 into the light, with white wire #3 into the light, and the red wire into black wire #3, the pot lights work on switch 2 and the kitchen light #1 works on switch #1. Kitchen lights #2 do not work at all.

When I connect set #1 into the light with white #3, tie the red wire connected to black #3, and tie off black #2 and white #2 separately, the pot lights work on switch #2 and light #1 works on switch #1.

Can anybody help me identify the problem? I have tried so many variations of the above. I just want the 3 kitchen (island) lights on one switch, and the pot lights on the other.

  • 2
    If you paid the builder to install the lights have he/she come back and finish the job.
    – WarLoki
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 19:36
  • 3
    Jordan I hate to have to say this but the random experimentation that you have been trying is not a good way to go about this at all. If you do not know how this electrical stuff works you would be far better off getting the electrician back to wire this up the way you want it to work. Random experimentation is dangerous at best and could lead to critical circumstances at worst. Get in a professional.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


Based on what you've been able to discern so far -- the black wire in cable #1 is from switch #1 and the red wire in cable #1 is from switch #2. Cable #2 goes off to the other two kitchen lights and cable #3 goes off to the pot lights.

This means that for the configuration you want, connect:

  1. the black from cable #1 to the black from cable #2 and the black from the light
  2. the red from cable #1 to the black from cable #3
  3. and all the white wires together.

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