Two wires

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by jc60618, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. jc60618

    jc60618 DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Chicago
    I am replacing a ceiling fan, when I removed it I noticed no grounding wire just two wires which are the same color. Is there a way to find out which is the positive/hot wire?
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    There should be a ground wire. Anyway, of the two internal leads, one should be "identified" meaning a white stripe, or ribs on it , or something. That is the neutral wire.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  3. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    MD
    If there is no ID on the wires from the box, run an incand. bulb from each wire, in turn, to a "known good ground". The hot wire will light the bulb.

    A meter may respond to Phantom Voltages and confuse you, unless you are using a type of rugged, solenoid voltmeter that electricians use that is called a Wiggy.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  4. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,780
    Location:
    USA
    Ah, the joys of 1950s wiring. All wires turn to black.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,488
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    There are many ways for US to determine which is the hot wire, but since we do NOT know what type of instruments you have, we cannot tell you how YOU can do it.
  6. jc60618

    jc60618 DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Chicago
    Am a plumber, the only electrical equipment I own is a craftsman multi-meter. I did take electric shop in high school six years ago and do know how to run wires to complete a circuit. I was just surprised to see that the hot and neutral wires were the same color.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,488
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Unless it is in conduit, there were NOT when they were installed. In conduit the colors could be whatever the installer had, if he decided not to follow the convention of using white for the neutral.
  8. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina

    Find the cold negitive and the hot positive will be the ohter one.
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