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hgiljr 08-15-2007 03:13 PM

Breaker for Spot light and outlet receptical
Hello all. So I have a subpanel in my shed. I tried this weekend to use one of the 20amp empty breakers to run to a spot light and at the same time to a power outlet receptical. I ran the wires from the breaker to a Distribution box. From the box one set of wires went to the outlet and the other set went to an on/off switch which then continued to the spot light. When I turned on the breaker, it tripped and an explosion from the distribution box. I checked everything again and all wires are fine. Retired same thing. Now I eliminated the power outlet and just ran the wires directly to the on/off switch that then continued to the spot light and worked like a charm. No tripped breaker and no explosion. What can be causing this? What am I doing wrong. If anyone needs further info let me know since it is hard at times to explain something via email. Thanks

HouseHelper 08-15-2007 08:58 PM

You obviously wired something wrong, so it would help to know how you wired everything, what color wires connected were connected in the junction box, what wires went to the receptacle, what wires to the switch and to the fixture, etc..

hgiljr 08-16-2007 09:09 AM

here is my wiring diagram description:
Three wires from sub panel
Black (HOT) coming from the 20 amp breaker
White coming from the distribution panel for common
Green coming from the distribution panel for ground

All three go to the distribution box where I split one way to the lamp on/off switch and the other way to the power receptical.

Wires going to the power receptical connect this way:
White on the common side (same side as the ground screw)
Green to the ground screw
Black to the hot side (opposite to the white cable, I believe the screw is bronze color)

Wires to the lamp/switch:

Three wires run to the switch. On the switch, only the black is connected in/out. the white and green continue along with the black coming out of the switch to the lamp.

When I do this connection of the switch and power receptical it will pop the breaker along with an explosion at the distribution box. If I remove the power receptical it will work fine. In fact if I run a separate wire from another breaker to the power receptical without the distribution box, it works just fine. Any ideas?

HouseHelper 08-16-2007 09:46 AM

If you used a screw tightened metal clamp on the cable leaving the "distribution" box, you may have it too tight causing a short across the wires in that cable. There may also be a nick or exposed portion in the black wire that is touching the ground or the box if it is metal.

hgiljr 08-16-2007 01:10 PM

All boxes are plastic and I need to confirm but I think the ground was a braided wire with the green cover, not a bare copper ground. I will take a look at it again and just rewire to play it safe, but from what I described above is the cabling correct? Thanks again

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