replacing bathroom multiple bulb fixture?

Our house is beginning to need various electrical fixture replacements (built 1978). My wife's dressing room has a strip of 8 lights. When trying
to replace one, I found two more virtually ready to fall out. I'm not too good with electrical home repairs because unless I shut down the main power to the whole house, I don't trust it.
Assuming I can master cutting the power to the strip needing replacement, I have a few basic questions. I see that each of the 8 lights has electrical lines running to it (duh). If the replacement only needs 6, can I just use a twist cover, then wrap that with electrical tape and trust it to stay safe? If not, what's the proper steps to take?
Mike
ps-I'm 61 years old and other than basic shop class in high school, don't even know what kind of gadget (ohm meter?,,,,,,) I should buy to be able to KNOW a wire is or is not hot...please offer suggestions for a low budget handyman.
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Mike wrote:

If you are replacing the light fixture with a new one, there should be only 3 house wires to deal with: white, black and green (or bare). White connects to white; black connects to black; and green (or bare) is ground. The new fixture will have a green wire or a ground screw. You need to connect the house wire ground (the green or bare wire) to the green wire or ground screw on the new fixture.
If you are repairing a fixture you can use a wire nut (what you term a "twist cover") and electrical tape on wires you need to leave unconnected, just as you mentioned.
Making a circuit "dead" prior to working on it: If the old fixture is still working, turn it on and then flip breakers, one at a time, until it goes off. With the breaker off, all the wires should be dead. But if you have the slightest doubt, shut off the main breaker as you have been doing. You could buy a voltmeter to test the circuit to see if it is dead, but you would have to know more to use it than you already know. In any event, tripping the breakers until the light goes off is a better and safer method. And, as you already know, the ultimate is tripping the main breaker.
Ed
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trying
too
power
And the relevance of this to electrical engineering is?
Bill
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His lights use electricity!
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replacements
not
main
Of course. I don't know why we have multiple newsgroups - all we need is misc.everything.
Bill
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If there is a more appropriate group, please advise. It's not always that obvious. I'm also a CPA and spend most of my time in misc.tax.moderated. People actually ask bookkeeping and other business related questions there. We usually just politely give an answer or offer a more relevant newsgroup group to use.
Mike
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That seems like a good idea. This group however, seems to be full of ignorant sods who would rather spend the time trying to drum up a sarcastic response, rather than
a) ignore the post b) try to help c) suggest an alternative group
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When
I'm
the
need
that
misc.tax.moderated.
newsgroup
sarcastic
The world is a very large place. It's hard work teaching people to read a list of newsgroups over the Net and to get them to guess that, oh, say, maybe "alt.home.repair" or something of that ilk is a better place than alt.electrical.engineering. I'm surprised we don't get more stuff on how to drive trains....
Bitterly,
Bill
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Glad to be of help. If you need to know anything else, please ask.
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Thanks to the helpful. I don't mind giving someone a grin:-)
Mike
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