Installing a New Light Fitting

The most commonly seen light fitting comprises a ceiling rose with a pendant lamp. If you want to change this for a different light fitting, it can present a problem as many light fittings are supplied with only a simple two or three terminal connection and have no allowance for the wires and connections which may be housed inside the ceiling rose.

If the ceiling rose contains just a Live, Neutral, and Earth, then the job of fitting the new light will be straightforward enough. However if a loop type circuit has been used you will find many more conductors connected at the ceiling rose.

This article explains how to remove the ceiling rose and replace it with a suitable junction box mounted in the ceiling void with a single cable feeding back through the ceiling to the new light fitting. At the end of the article details are included for fitting a fluorescent tube fitting instead.

1. Switch off the power at the consumer unit for the circuit concerned. If you have removable fuses at your consumer unit, switch off the power at the consumer unit and remove the fuse for this circuit.

Removing ceiling rose cover

2. Remove the cover of the existing ceiling rose and carefully examine to see what wiring you have.

3. If you have a single cable coming into the ceiling rose, this will most likely be a junction box type lighting circuit. You will have a brown (old cable colour = red) to the live terminal next to the flex connection and, a blue (old cable colour = black) to the neutral terminal next to the other flex connection. You will also have a green/yellow connected to the earth terminal. Clearly, connecting up the new light fitting in this instance is a simpler job which doesn’t require a new junction box to be fitted. Having removed the ceiling rose you will be left with just the one cable and can skip to the section detailing how to fit the new light fitting.

4. If you find that you have no earth conductors, you should seek the services of a professional electrician.

Typical wiring and connections in ceiling rose

5. If you have more conductors in the ceiling rose, it may be part of a loop type lighting circuit. 

In a typical arrangement you may have:

  • Two blue (old cable colour = black) conductors connected to the Neutral terminal block. These are the Circuit in and Circuit out neutral conductors
  • Two brown (old cable colour = red) conductors connected to the Loop terminal block. These are the Circuit in and Circuit out live conductors.
  • One brown (old cable colour = red) connected to the Loop terminal block, and one blue (old colour = black) tagged with brown sleeving (old tag colour = red) connected to the Live terminal block. This is the Live switch cable.

6. In order to connect the new light fitting a new junction box will need to be fitted in the ceiling void above to accommodate all these connections. A maintenance free junction box will be required unless the location is deemed accessible. More information can be found in our Junction Box article.

Switch cable released and labelled

7. Starting with the switch cable, disconnect each of its conductors. Label the cable so that it can be clearly identified.

All cables labelled

8. Repeat the process for the other cables, labelling them accordingly.

Undoing the ceiling rose fixing screws

9. Remove the fixing screw holding the rose to the ceiling.

Easing ceiling rose over cables

10. Carefully ease the ceiling rose back over the cables taking care not to damage the insulation nor remove the labels.

Cables eased back through to ceiling void

11. Access the ceiling void above the light switch and pull the cables carefully back through. Double check that none of the conductors is damaged. Decide where in the nearby lighting circuit it will be easiest to fit the new junction box. There will need to be a reasonable amount of slack in the cables to make the connections.

Running new cable to light

12. Run a new length of cable from where you’ll be positioning the new junction box through the ceiling where the old rose was removed. Strip and prepare the end of the cable ready for connection at the junction box.

13. We now need to connect up the junction box to replicate the connections at the original ceiling rose, together with the new cable running to the light fitting position.

Wagobox maintenance free junction box

14. In this example we are using a Wagobox maintenance free junction box with both push fit type and cage clamp type connectors. Either type of connector can be used for solid conductors found in cable. If a flex was being connected, only the cage clamp type of connector would be suitable. Make sure that you use connectors of appropriate ampage.

Connecting the live conductors

15. Insert the brown (old cable colour = red) Live conductors of the circuit cables and the brown (old cable colour = red) of the switch cable into one connector. Ensure that they are fully housed and secured with no bare conductor exposed.

Connecting the neutral conductors

16. Insert the blue (old cable colour = black) Neutral conductors of the circuit cables, and the blue of the new cable to the light fitting, into another connector.

Connecting switch return and live out

17. Insert the blue of the switch cable tagged with brown sleeving (old cable colour = black tagged with red sleeving) into a third connector together with the brown of the new cable to the light fitting.

Connecting the earth conductors

18. Insert the green and yellow sleeved earth conductors from all cables into a fourth connector.

Fitting connectors into junction box

19. Double check your connections then secure the connectors in the junction box. In the Wagobox, these are simply housed in recessed slots at one end of the box.

Securing sheathed cable in junction box

20. Secure the sheathed part of each cable in the cable clamps of the junction box. These prevent any strain being placed on the connections.

Junction box fixed to joist

21. Clip the cover of the junction box back in place and fix the box to a nearby joist or noggin.

Connecting a simple ceiling light

22. In this example we are installing a simple ceiling light fitting. This might equally be substituted for a fluorescent tube fitting as shown at the end of the article.

Mounting the bracket for the new light fitting

23. Mount the new light fitting or its mounting bracket so that it is securely fastened to the ceiling and joists above. If necessary, insert a wooden batten or noggin between two joists to provide a secure fixing point for the light.

24. Feed the new cable through to the new light fitting following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Preparing the conductors

25. Strip and prepare the end of this cable, remembering to sleeve the bare earth conductor with green and yellow sleeving.

Connecting the live conductor

26. Connect the brown (old cable colour = red) to the Live terminal connection of the light fitting.

Connecting the neutral conductor

27. Connect the blue (old cable colour = black) to the Neutral terminal connection of the light fitting.

Connecting the earth conductor

28. Connect the green and yellow sleeved earth conductor to the Earth terminal of the light fitting. If there is no earth terminal on the fitting, insert the earth conductor in a terminal connector block ensuring that it is completely housed with no bare conductor showing, and tuck it safely out of the way of the other connections.

Attaching the fitting to the bracket

29. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, attach the fitting to its mounting bracket.

Securing the fitting

30. Secure the new light fitting – again following the manufacturer’s instructions

Connecting a fluorescent tube fitting

Feeding the cable into fitting

31. Remove the cover of the new fluorescent tube fitting and hold it up to the ceiling so that the cable can be fed into the fitting.

Fixing the fitting to joists above

32. Identify the various fixing points and decide which of these will be most suitable. You should fix the fitting with at least two screws – one towards either end. The screw fixings will need to be into the joists if possible. If they don’t line up with these, cut timber battens and fix them between the joists to provide suitable support. Fix the fitting to the ceiling with suitable screws.

Cable stripped and prepared

33. Strip and prepare the end of the cable, remembering to sleeve the bare earth conductor with green and yellow sleeving.

Connecting the live to the terminal block

34. Connect the brown (old cable colour = red) to the Live terminal connection of the fitting.

Connecting the neutral to the terminal block

35. Connect the blue (old cable colour = black) to the Neutral terminal connection of the fitting.

Connecting the earth to the terminal block

36. Connect the green and yellow sleeved earth conductor to the Earth terminal of the light fitting.

Replacing the fluorescent tube fitting cover

37. Replace the cover of the fluorescent tube fitting having checked that all connections are correct and secure. Make sure that the wiring doesn’t get snagged as the cover is replaced.

Fitting the fluorescent tube

38. Fit the tube itself into the fitting. Take care to align the pins at the end of the tube with the sockets on the fitting ends.

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