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Question DetailsAsked on 1/28/2017

Light fixture installation

If I am installing a ceiling light fixture do I take the ground wire from the ceiling and connect it to the green grounding screw on the bracket and then leave enough wire to then connect it to the ground wire from the light fixture? Thank you

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2 Answers


Five - OK actually six, after having started off with four - common ways to do this - not all are legal in all areas, and 1) and 2) and 6) probably give you the best continuity provided the ground wires are long enough to do it. The common problem of a short ground wire in the box is commonly handled with 3) though not legal in some areas which require wire-to-wire contact for the grounds. Many electricians will not use the bracket screws at all and want to do all connection with wire nuts - so case 4).

Actually, I would expect problems with your method - because tying the fixture ground wire to the bracket will either mean as long length of ground wire to tuck away, or awful tight quarters getting that ground wire connected to the box ground and then getting the fixture and wire bundles into position and tucked away. Normally, if the ground screw is used on the bracket, it is the box ground wire doing it - with connections to fixture coming last for all wires.

There is likely a diagram or few in the instructions showing one or more of these methods.

1) wrap the circuit (box) ground wire clockwise around the green ground screw in the mounting cross-bracket in almost a full loop, then continue on with that wire to the green ground screw in the fixture (if metal fixture)

2) what you said - as above except tie the ground wire (coming from the bracket screw) to the fixture ground wire using proper sized wire nut

3) tie ground wire to the metal box using the ground wire clamp, take an end wrap of the ground wire from the fixture to the bracket green ground screw, and the bracket completes the grounding path from box to fixture - so the 2 ground wires do not touch each other directly at all

4) tie the ground wire from the box to the one from the fixture with a wire nut, using a pigtail third wire from the wire nut to the box grounding clamp or the bracket only if the box is metal. Not wiring the bracket at all.

5) went away from this question for a bit and lost my train of thought - there is a fifth way, though spacing on it right now - oh yeah - box ground wire to bracket green screw (through box ground clamp if metal box), fixture ground wire to second bracket ground screw. Usually the brackets come with only one ground screw but two holes for them, so have to come up with a second screw to fit and color it green with felt marker or paint. (You can buy them but usually in 25 packs or so only, and only at electricall supply houses, so usually use a washer-head sheet metal screw marked green). This is usually done only with plastic boxes, because generally metal boxes have to be grounded, but you are not allowed to put more than one wire under a screw, so you would have to leave a long end on the box ground lead to go back to the box ground clamp - or pigtail another wire to it, which gets messy and cramped but is done by electricians who do not like putting wires under screws. [Personally, I preer screw mounts like that to wire nuts - almost all the electrical separations and smoked/burnt up boxes I have seen were due to wire nut overheating or cracking with age and falling off - or of course with back-stabbed rather than screwed-down connections to outlets and fixtures. Though you can run through the box ground clamp on the way to the bracket with the box ground wire to avoid the third wire.

6) box ground wire under box ground clamp, continue on to either the mounting bracket ground screw or to the fixture ground with wire nut. In some areas illegal to do the following - but I have also seen long box ground wire under the (metal) box ground clamp, looped around the bracket ground screw, then to fixture ground wire with wire nut or to fixture ground screw - but that takes a lot of ground wire from the box, which you usually do not have unless this is a new installation with new wiring. Does work nice if they did not give you much wire from the fixture.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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