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Old 04-16-2011, 12:38 PM   #1
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3 pot lights on one switch- simple- blinking


trying to help my son fix a aggrevating prob of 1 switch for 3 potlights. now and again something sets it off and they blink on and off,,,sometimes stay off ,,,sometimes stay on. One switched wire runs to junction box in ceiling THEN all three lights connected there each with own wire from this box to each light.

changed switch already thinking it was bad/broken, didnt help. Then noticed wiggling the switch wire did different things,,,then pounded a bit on ceiling by furtherest one south and they blink sometimes. If one light or wire to one was bad wouldnt just THAT one blink and go out etc?? They only go on and off together.

THEN took that light out of ceiling and wiggled wires,,,bang it goes and blows the fuse,,,dont know why or what I hit. Merets were still on, see black spot on white and black wire inside pot light flex tubing.

there is about 5' of wire from switch to boxed junction. 3 foot from south pot to juntion, should I try to just put new wire on that area? 14-2 is whats in there. what about suspect pot light??

Interesting side effect,,,since took that pot out of ceiling the lights dont work. Are they wired in series? why?

any help appreciated,,,thanks in advance,,,-d-

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Old 04-16-2011, 12:48 PM   #2
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3 pot lights on one switch- simple- blinking


Loose connection. Reasons like this, is why AFCI breakers were invented.

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Old 04-16-2011, 01:05 PM   #3
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3 pot lights on one switch- simple- blinking


NO dimmer, just a simple switch. CF flood lights,,like the curly cue regular bulb with a glass diffuser below??
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:09 PM   #4
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3 pot lights on one switch- simple- blinking


checked merets for tightness,couldnt move them tighter all I took off and looked looked even and tight. Will recheck them all
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:37 PM   #5
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3 pot lights on one switch- simple- blinking


You need to measure voltage here and there to see how far the power gets. Measure between hot and neutral so that the neutral is part of the path being tested.
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:55 PM   #6
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3 pot lights on one switch- simple- blinking


Lights are most likely wired in series. If the wiring on the first light is loose, or bad, they will all blink. Also, if they blink independantly, you may have too large a bulb. They newer lights have thermostats in them to prevent over-heating.
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:38 PM   #7
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3 pot lights on one switch- simple- blinking


yes I guess the lights are wired in series. Why would anyone do that???Any advantages to series wiring??

That said can I convert it to independently wired? Like said the ceiling junction box is in center of the three lights, 2 lights wired in series and one not??? obviously those two are okay. (trying not to damage ceiling drywall and texture)

SOME of the wires are non grounded 2 wire , some have ground in them. non-grounded OLD wire is very dirty white on outside like it discolored alot. Is there bad old wiring from 50's and 60's???? would think if non sun exposed it should be lilly white???

Thanks for ALL replies. -d-
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:38 PM   #8
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3 pot lights on one switch- simple- blinking


A parallel (correct circuit except for a few low voltage systems). All the black wires come together and are marretted (wire nutted) with the black power feed. All the white wires come together and are marretted with the white neutral.

A series circuit. Power feed is connected to the one wire for one light. The other wire for that light is connected to one wire of the next light. Etc. I do not think there are any code compliant uses for in-home in-wall or in-ceiling series circuits fed by the full 120 or 240 volts line voltage. If you unscrew one bulb from a series circuit, all of them will go out.

Incandescent lights meant for (standard) parallel circuits will be very dim in a series circuit. Compact (and standard) fluorescent lights improperly wired in series might not work at all or might flicker, usually not in unison. (Incandescent lights such as old fashioned and miniature Christmas lights meant for a series circuit will burn out if wired in parallel to the full line voltage.)
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-19-2011 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:55 AM   #9
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3 pot lights on one switch- simple- blinking


Make sure the bulbs are rated for the pot trim housings.. Also, make sure the housings aren't buried in insulation.. Heat will dissipate through the housing and into the ceiling, and if the heat can't escape, there's a safety feature which will shut them off when they get too hot.
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:11 PM   #10
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3 pot lights on one switch- simple- blinking


It is very doubtful that the lights are wired in series. They are whipped out of the box to each light. Let me ask you this did you use the push in connectors that came with the can lights? Sometimes of the wire is not totally seated this problem can occur. This is one reason i clip those connectors off. The only time we use them is for massive stores when we do lighting inspections. Now this may not be your problem. Also what type of box is this in? I am wondering if you went over the box fill limit and heat is your problem. You already have 4 wires inside the box and that is without the feed. Now where is the feed coming from???

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