Strange architectural lighting wiring

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Backglass, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    Hey all,

    We moved into our current money pit about eight months ago. It was a foreclosure/eviction so many things were non-working including numerous 120v architectural lights in the front yard/drive area.

    Saturday we had nice weather and I got a wild hair to try and trace out what was wrong and after pulling the first light was surprised to see SIX wires and a rainbow of colors below. I got out my Fluke and figured out I had at least two circuits. This is what I found:

    Blue - Hot #1
    Green - Ground
    White - Common
    Brown/Yellow - Hot #2
    Red/Orange - ?
    White w/orange tape - ?

    Now I found a loose wire from the lights and got them working but my questions is: Is this kind of multi-color wiring normal?! When I first saw the colors my first thought was that they were running the well wiring through this post! (it's in the vicinity)

    Also there is a GFCI outlet in the area (showing a "brownout"...about 60 volts) so could all these wires be for that? Do you normally wire 120v architectural lights up to a GFCI?
  2. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    There could be multiple hot wires and a common nuetral (should be larger), especially if they're individually switched. Can you follow the conduits and open up a few more of the lights or junction boxes and trace it out?
  3. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT


    Your guessing, you need to open everything up and make a map of what is doing what, check inside your house to see if they are switched or hot, the hot ones could possible be for receptacles... but your the one that has to do the homework...
  4. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    No, I'm asking. ;) Is this kind of multi-color wiring normal for the electrical professional?

    Thanks all.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
  5. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    Sure, for ungrounded conductors any color will work except green which is only for grounding conductors, and you have gray and white for grounded conductors...

    You should feel lucky to have so many colors, makes the job easier figuring out what does what...
  6. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    Makes sense to me. Thanks!
  7. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    Hope you can figure it out... it really should not be too bad...
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