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I am replacing a light fixture and there is a black wire, a white wire, a green wire, and a bare copper wire. At the junction box I have a black wire, a ground wire, and a bare copper (ground) wire. There is also a green ground screw on the base plate of the new fixture, which I attached to the junction box with screws (included with fixture). I do not know how to attach the ground wires. Do I connect the copper wires together and connect the green wire to the green ground screw on the junction box? Do I connect all three wires together? If I connect all three together, do I need to pass on through the ground screw, or do I need another wire connecting the ground screw to the bundle of three, thus making a bundle of four? Any help would be great. I attached a photo of the wires coming from the fixture and the junction box so you can see what I am looking at. picture of wires coming from light (blk, wht, grn, and another copper wirepicture of wires coming from junction box (green ground screw is behind wires on baseplate)

  • Is the green wire the leftmost wire in the three wire set in the top picture? – bib Aug 16 '16 at 0:40
  • Yes it is. The green wire is the leftmost wire in the top picture. The green ground screw is in the picture below, the view is blocked by the bundle of wires – Erick P Aug 16 '16 at 0:46
  • Uh, where's the box? The fixture canopy isn't volume marked... – ThreePhaseEel Aug 16 '16 at 2:02
  • All grounds always go all together. (unless you're doing something really special, usually relating to sensitive test equipment or Dark Side of the Moon audiophile stuff; if so, you'll know it.) – Harper Aug 16 '16 at 3:00
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In a single circuit, all ground wires and metal fixture structural parts are connected.

In your case, the green wire is the ground for the lower part of the fixture. The bare wire is the ground for the metal canopy. The green screw is the ground for the fixture bracket. The bare wire buried under the bracket is the ground from the circuit cable.

They all need to be connected. The easiest way is to attach a short bare (or green) wire to the green screw and then attach the four ground wires together.

I prefer the newer push in connectors for solid wires (they can be used for stranded but are a bit harder to use). Or you can use a wire nut. Just be sure to strip enough bare cable to get a good twist on all four wires before putting on an appropriately sized nut. Most practitioners use a lineman's plier to get a good twist on multiple wires.

Never put more than one wire under a screw or nut.

  • Thank you. I installed as you suggested and all went very well. – Erick P Aug 16 '16 at 15:47

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