[Groop] I Grooed-Adventures in Home Improvement

Mark Brown brown.home at sky.com
Tue Apr 20 19:51:16 PDT 2010

In domestic electrical situations in the the UK


. we have brown and blue wires in an outer grey sleeving with a separate
earth wire with no sleeving that you add a green sleeve to

. or red and black wires in a white outer sleeving

. or sometimes just black wires and red wires which may be reversed 

. or sometimes they are just bits of braided steel sleeved in pvc and held
together with tape

. or sometimes just lengths of lead wrapped in some form of rubber that
don't terminate anywhere but are joined under the floor into live junction


Or if you bought my house (a small 3 bed house built in 1929) - you might
find all of the above.


You have my empathy.








From: groop-bounces at groo.com [mailto:groop-bounces at groo.com] On Behalf Of
Gary Grossmann
Sent: 20 April 2010 22:09
To: groop at groo.com
Cc: petergrossmann at mail.com
Subject: [Groop] I Grooed-Adventures in Home Improvement



Groo Changes a Light Fixture (or How to Turn a 30 Minute Job into a 4 Hour


One day Groo decides to change a ceiling light fixture.  Shockingly (No pun
intended. Well, maybe a little.), he remembers to turn off the power to the
room.  He then takes off the old fixture, which has one white wire and one
black wire.  "I am a good ceiling light fixture changer, Rufferto. I will
attach the ceiling white wire to the fixture white wire and the do the same
with the black wires, just as I have done in the past."  But Groo is soon
confused.  His new light fixture has two white wires and two black wires.
And Groo sees many wires up in the little box in the ceiling.  There are
three black wires and three white wires and one of the white wires is
attached to two of the black wires and it is all very strange to Groo.
(Rufferto thought bubble: "Groo, why don't you forget about those other
wires and just attach the two white wires from the new fixture onto the one
white wire from the ceiling that the old fixture was attached to and do the
same with the black wires.")  But Groo says "I do not want to make a
mistake.  I will separate all of the wires from each other and then figure
which ones go to the new fixture."  


Now, of course, Groo is even more hopelessly confused and has no idea which
wire goes where.  He tries to remember how they were hooked together before,
but when he turns on the power, only half the lights on the circuit come on
and the ceiling fixture will not turn off!   So he goes to the hardware
store closest to his house and asks the grumpy man on duty: "Hey, you
hardware store employee person, what should I do ." and then explains the
situation.  The grumpy man tells him to put all five white wires together
and all five black wires together.  This sounds strange even to Groo, but
the grumpy man is a hardware store employee.Fortunately, the house Groo is
in has breakers and not fuses so there is no harm done when Groo tries to
turn the power on after doing what the grumpy man suggested.  


I must now alter the narrative somewhat.  Because if this was really Groo,
the house would have burned down by now and Groo would have either pummeled
the grumpy man (on purpose) or burned down his hardware store (accidently)
or both.  But to paraphrase that great line from "The Princess Bride" unlike
Groo, who is completely stupid, I am only mostly stupid.  I went to Home
Depot and was directed to Master Electrician Bill, who told me everything I
needed to know to connect the wires properly while not electrocuting myself
or burning my house down.   So, fortunately, no harm was done other than
wasting an entire afternoon.  The End.  


Moral:  Just because a lot of your wires are disconnected, doesn't mean you
should disconnect all of the wires in a light fixture box.  



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