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  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Bad circuit breaker?

    I may get flamed for making this quick and dirty suggestion but it's worked for me. One way to easily test the fixture is to effectively plug the black and white wires of the fixture into an electrical outlet.

    By "effectively" I actually mean do this:
    1. Put the fixture in a safe location where it won't cause any problems SHOULD it cause a short etc. If you can do this outside on a concrete sidewalk etc... all the better. It should be away from people, pets, and flamable items to be safe... but close enough where you can see it when the light (hopefully) comes on.

    2. Find a good heavy outdoor extension cord. With the cord unplugged, firmly insert the black and white fixture wires into the female end of the cord (one wire in each vertical slot). If the fixture has a ground wire you can place that into the round hole of the cord. Be sure the wires are well inserted to make good contact.

    3. Plug the extension cord into a working outlet. If you have access to a switched recepticle, all the better. That way you can control the power from a wall switch and keep even more distance. The important part is to use a good heavy cord and a grounded outlet.

    4. Check the light. If it doesn't work, unplug the cord and check the wires and try again etc until you are satisfied that the fixture is bad. Most likely it will work and you can rule it out as your problem.

    Again, this probably isn't OSHA approved or for the faint of heart... but it works and CAN be done safely.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,622

    Default Re: Bad circuit breaker?

    Quote Originally Posted by xyxoxy View Post
    I may get flamed for making this quick and dirty suggestion but it's worked for me. One way to easily test the fixture is to effectively plug the black and white wires of the fixture into an electrical outlet.

    By "effectively" I actually mean do this:
    1. Put the fixture in a safe location where it won't cause any problems SHOULD it cause a short etc. If you can do this outside on a concrete sidewalk etc... all the better. It should be away from people, pets, and flamable items to be safe... but close enough where you can see it when the light (hopefully) comes on.

    2. Find a good heavy outdoor extension cord. With the cord unplugged, firmly insert the black and white fixture wires into the female end of the cord (one wire in each vertical slot). If the fixture has a ground wire you can place that into the round hole of the cord. Be sure the wires are well inserted to make good contact.

    3. Plug the extension cord into a working outlet. If you have access to a switched recepticle, all the better. That way you can control the power from a wall switch and keep even more distance. The important part is to use a good heavy cord and a grounded outlet.

    4. Check the light. If it doesn't work, unplug the cord and check the wires and try again etc until you are satisfied that the fixture is bad. Most likely it will work and you can rule it out as your problem.

    Again, this probably isn't OSHA approved or for the faint of heart... but it works and CAN be done safely.
    You missed the part about tripping the CB when the ground is hooked up but doesn't with the ground disconnected.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Bad circuit breaker?

    To answer the three previous threads posted here. I have tried yet another light fixture on this outlet, which is now three separate light fixtures tried, and it is doing the exact same thing as the newly purchased light fixture and the light fixture that was already in that location. I have also switched out a circuit in my circuit breaker that I know was properly working with the breaker that controlled the area that this light is situated in. That did nothing, the new circuit tripped as well.

    The fixture attaches to two separate wires, a black wire and a white wire, along with obviously the ground copper wire.

    To clarify what I am experiencing is this. When the light fixture is attached to the wires in the ceiling mount properly, along with the ground wire, the circuit breaker instantly trips when turned to the on position. When not grounded, the light will turn on, but the light switch has no control whatsoever on the light. We can exclude the light fixture not being installed properly as well as the specific circuit in the CB being faulty in any way. Also, from what I can see of the wires in the ceiling mount, they are not stripped or touching each other in any way, which would obviously cause the CB to trip.

    I am at the point of calling an electrician, but this is bugging me so much I would get a lot of satisfaction in fixing the problem myself haha, which I assume many of you can understand where I am coming from. I appreciate all the messages with your help, but no solutions as of yet. Thanks guys...

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Bad circuit breaker?

    Is the fixture box metal or plastic?
    Quote Originally Posted by YukYuk View Post
    If I'm following correctly, there were and are (when you remove the light fixture) ONLY these two plus one wires in this fixture box, a white insulated wire, a black insulated wire, and a bare wire , is this correct or are there ANY OTHER wires in this fixture box (this is important!) ??


    Was there previously small pieces of wire wired within? Do any of these wires have insulation stripped intermittantly (IOW not only at the end of the wire)?

    Have you been in the switch box recently? (We're going to need to look there next.) Does the switch box share the same location as the porch light switch?
    The fixture box is metal, not plastic. You are correct with your wiring; there are two plus one wires, a white insulated wire, a black insulated wire, and a bare wire. There are absolutely no other wires within the fixture box whatsoever.

    There were not wires or anything within the fixture box on the previous light fixture, it was simply hung black to black wire, white to white wire, and then the grounds. There were no portions of the wires on the original fixture that had been stripped, as I said, it was a basic connection, and worked properly before taking it down to replace with this new light.

    The porch light does not share a switch as this light fixture in the kitchen does, though this kitchen light fixture does share a switch with an under-cabinet light. I have opened up the switch box and it is just a cluster of wires, which I really have no idea what I am looking at. Just by looking at it, I would guess the problem is somewhere in this switch box just because there is a lot going on in there, but that doesn't explain how the previous light fixture was properly working prior to me taking it down and replacing it with this new one. confused:
    Last edited by prkeefer; 08-06-2008 at 08:23 AM.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Bad circuit breaker?

    Quote Originally Posted by YukYuk View Post
    Then it seems your power for your light fixture is at the switch.

    The ground needs a pigtail to the green screw on the back of the box, but sounds like you have a problem, possibly nicked insulation on a wire which is electrifying the case of the fixture or the fixture box when you went to work in the area. Something may have been disturbed while you were working.

    May have been a problem all along, waiting to flare up. Good news is you have discovered this before someone was hurt, or a fire, etc. Older wiring perhaps, (example TW rubber insulation), previous damage, perhaps previously overlamped/over heating caused premature "aging" or damage, it is hard to say. Pulling on a cable may have pulled it against a sharp surface in its path, no one can say from here, may have managed to disturb something in the switch box as well.

    Work done elsewhere in the branch circuit may also have caused this, or any penetration or damage to the circuit wiring from other activites. Possibly there was/is a pre-existing intrinsic wiring error (i.e. switching neutral or polarity reversal) elsewhere in the circuit (mistake in the switch box or a short there for example).

    Not sure what your comfortable doing to trace this down. You would need testing equipment to further inspect. I'd first check the wiring at the switch box, but as you indicate the wiring at that location is confusing for you, and your knowledge is limited and that you'd need a multimeter to start testing and tracing should things visually appear okay, I suspect it is time for you to call in an electrician.

    Haha, danget. Well maybe I will try working within the switch box tonight to see if I can work out the situation. You don't happen to live in the Indiana area and love your job so much you would do a job free of charge would you? Haha, anyhow, thanks for your help...

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,622

    Default Re: Bad circuit breaker?

    It may be that the new fixture you bought was defective, it tripped the breaker when you hooked the ground to the light. With the ground removed the light was on but wouldn't turn off by the switch. It may be the short in the light burnt the contacts closed in the switch before the breaker tripped. I would suggest you replace the switch and see if that cures the problem. Use one of the other fixtures for the test, it still appears you had a bad fixture.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #17
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Bad circuit breaker?

    I'm very curious to hear the final result on this one.

    I feel like we're missing a piece of the puzzle.
    JLMCDANIEL has some great suggestions but if those don't solve the mystery... maybe think about these questions.

    Maybe something else was changed during this process and it's been left out either because you've forgotten or didn't feel it was relevant. Perhaps the ground wire has been mistakenly connected to a hot somewhere... in the breaker box, at the switch?

    You said you swapped breakers with the same result. Did this require doing anything with the ground or neutral wires... or just the hot?

    Was anything else replaced...? A switch plate cover? Anything?

    Did you at any point disconnect/reconnect the switch?

    With the ground connected does it trip the breaker regardless of the On/Off position of the light switch?

    Any chance you could post pics of the fixture box and the switch box to show the wiring? And perhaps the breaker wiring in question as well?

    Even if you do contact a pro, please let us know the outcome.

  8. #18

    Default Re: Bad circuit breaker?

    There is a way to test this. Take a digital multi-meter and the breaker. Turn the breaker off and turn your tester on the contunity. Touch the two leads together and your should hear a buzzer. Connect the black lead to the terminal screw and the red one to the part that connects to the panel. No buzzing sound should go off. With the test leads on, turn the breaker on. If you hear a buzzing sound, it's a good breaker and you might just have a loose wire or bad connection somewhere. If there is no sound, then you know it's a bad breaker. This test is good so you don't have to move breakers around or if you have only say a 30 amp breaker and you have no other ones. This should help. If you need futher info, please feel free to contact me.


    -EH-

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,622

    Default Re: Bad circuit breaker?

    Quote Originally Posted by electricianhelper View Post
    There is a way to test this. Take a digital multi-meter and the breaker. Turn the breaker off and turn your tester on the contunity. Touch the two leads together and your should hear a buzzer. Connect the black lead to the terminal screw and the red one to the part that connects to the panel. No buzzing sound should go off. With the test leads on, turn the breaker on. If you hear a buzzing sound, it's a good breaker and you might just have a loose wire or bad connection somewhere. If there is no sound, then you know it's a bad breaker. This test is good so you don't have to move breakers around or if you have only say a 30 amp breaker and you have no other ones. This should help. If you need futher info, please feel free to contact me.


    -EH-
    DO NOT DO THIS!

    This is the wrong thing to do and extremely dangerous. You never conect a contiuity tester on a hot lead and turn the power on you run 120vac through the continuity tester and it can explode.
    Jack
    Last edited by JLMCDANIEL; 08-12-2008 at 04:28 PM.
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Bad circuit breaker?

    Geez .... he forgot one VERY important point .... to remove the breaker from the panel first.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

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