11:14AM | 07/25/04
Member Since: 01/04/03
7 lifetime posts
I live in a house built in 1927. Most of the wiring has been replced. My wife and I just bought a new ceiling fan to install in the living room. There is a light outlet in the ceiling, covered by a plate, and painted over possibly 6-7 times. I took the plate off and discovered an old wiring box attached to a joist brace. It looks like something somewhat heavy had been hung here at one point.

There are 3 pairs of cloth-covered wires, and a 4th set with 3 wires, running in to the box. Being somewhat color blind, but still being able to see colors ok, I put a piece of black electrical tape on the ends of the black wires (so I would know which ones were which). After replacing the box and hanging the fan we turned it on and it worked fine. All the other outlets and lights in the living room seemed to work fine as well.

Night came and I went to turn on the porch light... it blew the circuit breaker. I flipped it back on, then tried to turn the porch light back on... blew it again. I figured I would just take the fan down in the morning and see what I could find.

Well, come to find out (after having my wife come look at the wiring), there are 3 pairs of black and white wires and a pair of red and white with a red stripe wires. Since the cloth jackets are old and dirty, I couldn't see the red colors so well.

I'm not really sure where to put the red and red striped wires in the mix. I'm pretty sure I had the white wire with red stripe with the black wires, and the solid red wire with the whites...

Any ideas?

Tom O

12:03PM | 07/25/04
Member Since: 09/17/02
477 lifetime posts
The easiest, and perhaps the best, thing is to call in an electrician. This problem will not be hard to fix, so the charge should be minimal.

The problem is, those red wires do not, by themselves, have any meaning as there is no color code for this situation. A few quick measurements by a competent person using a multimeter will get you back on track.


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