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Old 27.06.2021, 15:33
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I think I'll hire an electrician

Background: Just moved to a new apartment a few months ago, stuff hasn't really been setup properly the way I (and my wife of course) like it.

I looked at the loggia in my apartment today and thought, "That light from the Vormieter looks real ugly."

Then I looked at my bathroom ceiling, "Hmm 6 wires sticking out of the ceiling here, seems like the Vormieter was too lazy to install ceiling lights here!" (There is a mirror light that responds to the bathroom switch instead)

So I figured I can move the ugly loggia light into the bathroom and get a new nicer looking one from IKEA or Galaxus. Never mind that my multimeter, live wire testers, safety goggles and other equipment are still on the high seas. I scored an A+ for my 3 phase power module in university, this basic live, neutral, earth wiring crap is beneath me. Let's disregard the fact that that was almost 2 decades ago and also has almost nothing to do with an electrician's job.

I turned off the related fuse box switches, removed the loggia light while assuring my wife "This will be an easy 5 minute job! Stop complaining about the oven not working for a mere 5 minutes."

She says, "I've seen enough egotistical men on YouTube videos telling their wives the same thing to know how this ends."

"Were they Electrical Engineering honours students? I think not!"

My wife snorted and walked off. And we can all see what's about to happen from a mile away.

Unlike the loggia which had 3 wires, live/neutral/earth, the bathroom had 6 wires, live+live/neutral+neutral/earth+earth. The identical wires were clipped together. Without my multimeter I was unable to check if the clip was just to hold them in place, or to splice them together as a voltage passthrough.

So I came up with a genius idea, I'll just guess the same coloured wires all have the same potential when the switch is flipped. I, now a father all ready to teach my child how to navigate the world, guessed what the wires were doing.

I pulled out one wire of each color out of the clip and wired up the light fixture. Alas the wires in the bathroom were way too long and couldn't fit inside the tiny lighting enclosure. The wires couldn't be pushed into the ceiling either due to how the apartment was designed. (sealed into concrete)

The solution I came up with was to SMUSH THE SHIT out of the wires into the body of the lighting. College me probably would've cut the wires and crimped them, but my crimping tool is on the high seas somewhere. So smushing the wires sounded great in my stupid mind.

With everything "wired up", I flipped the fuse box switches back on and exclaimed to my wife, "BEHOLD WHO YOU MARRIED". Then I flipped the bathroom switch.

Nothing happened. In fact, I had successfully taken out the mirror lights as well. My wife says, "Ha you see what I mean now. Just hire a damn electrician".

I doubled down and said, "If the mirror lights are off, that means the identical wires are voltage passthroughs! I'm supposed to short them together. In fact, this light fixture has 2 wire socket holes for each terminal therefore I must be correct!" I had no basis for these claims, I was just thinking up the simplest ideas in my mind, never mind that I didn't have my tools. Not to mention that shorting 2 wires without any idea what they do was really, really stupid.

I need to reiterate. Shorting 2 wires together without knowing what they do is reaaaaaally stupid. On hindsight.

Wife: "Yeah whatever. Get it fixed now."

I flipped the fuse box off, unscrewed the light fixture (by now it's been 20 minutes), ripped the rest of the wires out of the clips and plugged them all into their labelled sockets on the light fixture. Double earth, double live, double neutral.

Before I screwed the fixture back in, I flipped the fuse box switches and all the lights turned on. I tested the bathroom switch, toggling it effectively turns both the ceiling light and mirror lights on and off.

I. Am. A. God.

"SEE WHO YOU MARRIED, I'M NOT SOME YOUTUBER'S NOOB HUSBAND. THIS IS WHY YOU MARRIED ME."

"Yeah whatever shut up and get the lights screwed in."

I climbed up the ladder with the lights still on. Much smart. Very honours.

Pulled back the metal spring that clips the lighting glass cover in place, aaaand "click". The power to the entire apartment turns off.

"The hell did you do? The baby's fan is off!"

"I just pulled the spring, it probably shorted one of the wires because the wires were smushed together. I can fix this."

"I don't give a shit, make things go back the way they were. Also there are mirror lights! Why do we need to install a ceiling light anyway?"

"....... That's a good point." There were 6 wires to be fair, and it was my duty to see that they were being used.

So in the end, I disconnected everything, stuffed the wires back into the clips that I still don't know the purpose for, and all the lights came back on again. Except for the loggia. The loggia has no lights now, and I feel too defeated to put it back in.

I think I'll hire an electrician to install new loggia lights, and maybe to properly crimp and install some decent bathroom ceiling lights.
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  #2  
Old 27.06.2021, 16:36
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

Great story. You might also enjoy this thread while being amused by your own expertise:

https://www.englishforum.ch/internat...verything.html
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Old 27.06.2021, 16:42
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

Great story and kudos for perseverance .

I once had a house where I undid the cover for an outside light and lo and behold there were three wires . Two were black and one was red . Okay i get the problem that somebody had to use up whatever cables he had left over . But if I had to do that and this was the only cable available , i might have made different combinations but I think the red would have been live because red is for danger, right ?

So I got out the multimeter and flipped the power back on to measure it and lo and behold the red was earth .
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Old 27.06.2021, 17:00
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

Very entertaining. Thanks.

Goggles to install ceiling lights? Never thought of that.

By the way, you should never leave the wires hang out the ceiling freely. The Swiss inspectors seriously don't like that (specially in the bathroom, I'd suspect) even if you covered them (each separately ) with insulation tape.
They will tell you to sort that out and threaten to return and check on it (which they never do though).

Six wires from the same socket in the ceiling? That is puzzling. I guess Ticino-Tom will soon come along and enlighten us about this.

Last but not least: Never ever brag "BEHOLD WHO YOU MARRIED" and demonstrate something that you have not tested secretly by yourself. She might actually "see" who she married and change her mind.
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Old 27.06.2021, 17:05
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

Many people are shocked when they find out I'm a bad electrician
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Old 27.06.2021, 17:51
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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Goggles to install ceiling lights? Never thought of that.
When you unscrew the ceiling lights or screw them in, bits and pieces of crap come falling down. For those not wearing glasses, it may make you wear glasses if you're unlucky. I just wear safety goggles for anything around the house.

Quote:
By the way, you should never leave the wires hang out the ceiling freely. The Swiss inspectors seriously don't like that (specially in the bathroom, I'd suspect) even if you covered them (each separately ) with insulation tape.
They will tell you to sort that out and threaten to return and check on it (which they never do though).
It was already the case before I moved in. Just wires hanging around. But yeah I'll be getting proper lights or electrical tape for the exposed wires tomorrow when stores open.
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Old 27.06.2021, 17:56
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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...I'll be getting proper lights or electrical tape for the exposed wires tomorrow when stores open.
Disclaimer: I'm not an electrician.

Wouldn't wire nuts be more safe than electrical tape, and easier to take off later should you decide to try again? Also less sticky...
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Old 27.06.2021, 18:17
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

That's true. Do you know what the German word for it is?

Google translate gave me Drahtmuttern, but using it to search in BauHaus turns up nothing.
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Old 27.06.2021, 18:26
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

LŁsterklemme. They also sell them in supermarkets.
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Old 27.06.2021, 18:38
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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That's true. Do you know what the German word for it is?

Google translate gave me Drahtmuttern, but using it to search in BauHaus turns up nothing.
I get the same word, but finding small pieces on any of the usual home improvement websites here is a challenge.

A search on Amazon.de has a picture of what I'm thinking of when I say wire nut:
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Old 27.06.2021, 19:03
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

Wish I could add a thank award, but the buttons don't always show up. Still haven't figured out why.

But thanks everyone!
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Old 27.06.2021, 19:06
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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Wish I could add a thank award, but the buttons don't always show up. Still haven't figured out why.

But thanks everyone!
There's no Thanks button visible in the General Off-Topic section. Now that you have 10 posts, you will see it in most other sections.
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Old 27.06.2021, 19:25
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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Disclaimer: I'm not an electrician.

Wouldn't wire nuts be more safe than electrical tape, and easier to take off later should you decide to try again? Also less sticky...
No.

Tom
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Old 27.06.2021, 20:10
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

To be fair, becoming a sparky is a three year apprenticeship, so trusting that YouTube will solve it is probably a bit optimistic... Loggia = outdoor setting = extra care is needed to get everything right. But a very good read
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Old 27.06.2021, 21:25
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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When you unscrew the ceiling lights or screw them in, bits and pieces of crap come falling down. For those not wearing glasses, it may make you wear glasses if you're unlucky. I just wear safety goggles for anything around the house.



It was already the case before I moved in. Just wires hanging around. But yeah I'll be getting proper lights or electrical tape for the exposed wires tomorrow when stores open.
Well, I must be a very lucky girl for numerous times of moving then. But I guess it's not the worst idea.

As k_and_e said: LŁsterklemmen. You can buy them almost anywhere:



And in case you dont know: You can break them easily, in fact you're meant to.
But that won't be enough, you'll need to cover the hole: Federsteckdeckel (costs Rappen, same place you buy the LŁsterklemmen):



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To be fair, becoming a sparky is a three year apprenticeship, so trusting that YouTube will solve it is probably a bit optimistic... Loggia = outdoor setting = extra care is needed to get everything right. But a very good read
You dont need a three year apprenticeship to hang up lamps.

The six wires were tricky though, still waiting for someone with an explanation for that.
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Old 27.06.2021, 23:19
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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The six wires were tricky though, still waiting for someone with an explanation for that.
There probably are two cables with three wires each, one to feed the lamp and one that goes on to feed the cabinet (or vice versa), that would explain why the same wires/colors are clipped together.

So the colors in place in the cabinet lamp should also be used for the lamp OP wants to put in place. Provided the initial assumption is correct.
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Old 28.06.2021, 08:27
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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But that won't be enough, you'll need to cover the hole: Federsteckdeckel (costs Rappen, same place you buy the LŁsterklemmen):




You dont need a three year apprenticeship to hang up lamps.
When we bought our house we had an electrical inspection. Yes, the holes had to be covered, but the apprentice could do that now for a nominal fee. They fell out after three weeks. Maybe he'd just started.
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The six wires were tricky though, still waiting for someone with an explanation for that.
Three phase?
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Old 28.06.2021, 08:41
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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Three phase?
For an industrial grade lighting system maybe ? As in when you have a football pitch in the bathroom ?

Anyway , three phase installations have four cables , or five if the neutral is present , but not six .
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Old 28.06.2021, 10:11
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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For an industrial grade lighting system maybe ? As in when you have a football pitch in the bathroom ?

Anyway , three phase installations have four cables , or five if the neutral is present , but not six .
Connection for a ventilator crossed my mind (OP, does your bathroom have a window?) but I dropped the idea because ventilators are usually not next to the ceiling lights, are they? (Haven't had one since 2000 and think that was above the door).
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Old 28.06.2021, 11:00
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Re: I think I'll hire an electrician

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For an industrial grade lighting system maybe ? As in when you have a football pitch in the bathroom ?

Anyway , three phase installations have four cables , or five if the neutral is present , but not six .
Aha! 4 phase with neutral!

In one house I lived in, owned by the local electrician, live, neutral and earth were, on occasion all yellow sheathed cables. Who inspects the Electrical Inspector's wiring?
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