Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-21-2013, 12:04 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Share |
Question

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


Hello there! I am posting here to see if anyone has any insight into this problem. I am a noob to home electrical, so I am hoping that if I describe this clearly, it will be obvious to someone with more experience what the issue is.

Some background: We have a spare room that the previous owners of this house converted from a garage. In this room were two ceiling fan/light combinations. The ceiling fans have three speeds. The two fans are on the same circuit - that is, they can be turned off and on with the same light switch. Although the fan/light combos can be turned off and on from the wall-mounted light switch, they also have switches on the device for turning on/off the light, as well as setting the fan to one of three speeds, or off.

I decided that I did not like the fans, and wanted to replace them with track lighting. So, I went down to Home Depot and bought a Hampton Bay track with 4 halogen lights to put on it.

I shut down all power for the house via the breaker box, and proceeded to remove the first fan. I then assembled and attached the track and lights to the wires that the fan was attached to.

When this was all completed, I turned the power back on, and switched them on. The lights came on as expected. One thing that was unexpected is that when we turned off the lights from the switch - but had the remaining fan
switched on using the on-device switch - the track lights would still be lit, but very dimly. As the ceiling fan speed was changed, so would the dimness of the track lights, in correlation to fan speed. Note that during this operation, the fan would not actually be turning - I would just be cycling through the three speed settings on the fan. So, it seemed that even though the wall switch was off, there was still some current being pulled through the circuit.

After a few minutes, there was a faint odor of something overheating in the air. At first, I thought that it might just be some dust of other residue burning off the lamps (these are not the type of bare halogen bulbs that you cannot touch with your bare hands). But then, a few minutes later the bulbs on the track started to go out. Within a few minutes, they were all out.

So, I am trying to determine what went wrong here. Not being very experienced in these things, here are my guesses:
  • The circuit is a higher voltage circuit, which is what is needed to run the ceiling fans, but is too much for the lights, causing them to burn out.
  • Somehow, having the fan and the track lighting on the same circuit is causing some kind of problem. Perhaps because the original owners installed the fans erroneously. Removing the other fan might solve this.
  • The house knows what a noob I am, and is just messing with me because it can.

If what I have described here makes it obvious to anyone what is going on here, I would be most grateful. Hopefully, you will enjoy this puzzle!

GreenCap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 02:21 PM   #2
Semi-Pro Electro-Geek
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,531
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


It's definitely wired wrong, but it's hard to say exactly how without more information. Somehow the fan is in series with the lights under some circumstances. It may be that this is a multi-wire branch circuit (MWBC), and under one condition you are applying 240V to the lights. That would usually blow them instantly though. Can you post photos of your connections in the J-boxes? Can you measure the voltage at the lights under the different conditions and post the results?

__________________
I am a lawyer, but not your lawyer. And who cares anyways? We're here to talk construction. This is DIY advice, not legal advice.
mpoulton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 05:34 PM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


Thank you so much for the reply mpoulton.

I will try to get a clear shot of the J-box. Not sure how to measure the voltage safely though. I was under the impression that you can't do this with a multimeter. Is there a special tool that can be used for that?
GreenCap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 05:41 PM   #4
Too Short? Cut it Again!
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 9,635
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


Are the track fixtures low voltage with the voltage converters hiding in the fixtures or are they line voltage?

Is your fan on a rheostat so you can adjust the speed? Your fixtures may not be dimmable.

Multimeter can test voltage.
user1007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 05:49 PM   #5
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


sdsester -

The track fixtures are line voltage (120v). Here is a link to them: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Hampton-B...specifications with these lights installed on the track: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Hampton-B...1#.UhVDW2SgkRk

The fan is not on a rheostat. The adjustable speeds of the fan are set by pulling a chain. First pull: low speed, second pull: medium speed, third pull: fast speed, fourth pull: off.

I will try testing with a multimeter. Thanks!
GreenCap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 06:12 PM   #6
Too Short? Cut it Again!
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 9,635
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


Should only have worked one way, but just in case, you twisted the fixtures to the track to engage the neutral and positive pins correctly?

My guess is the wiring.
user1007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 06:27 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cairns Australia
Posts: 2,367
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


Sounds like a dodgy neutral,
Causing the fans and lamps to run in series !
Double check wiring And measure voltages please.
dmxtothemax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 06:38 PM   #8
Too Short? Cut it Again!
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 9,635
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


When you are up there, double check voltage at the end of the track too.
user1007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 07:24 PM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


OK - I took a picture of the J-box, and measured some voltages, which led me to understand what the problem was. I found out that I had the track lighting connected to a 240 volt circuit.



You can see coming out of the left conduit a black/white pair of wires. I tested the voltage between this and the two black wires twisted together and it was 240 volts. So, this is the 240 volt circuit, which I had mistakenly connected to the track lighting. The voltage between the three white wires twisted together and the two black wires twisted together is 120 volts.

Connecting the track lighting to the three white wires twisted together and the two black wires twisted together allowed the track light to run at 120 volts (and also a lot dimmer - LOL!)

The only problem now is that the light switch that was used to turn on and off the fans before no longer works for the track lighting. It seems that there may not be a switch for that circuit. That's the next problem to solve!
GreenCap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 12:28 AM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cairns Australia
Posts: 2,367
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


240V on a 120 circuit !
Boy I bet those lights were bright !
At least for a split second or two !
dmxtothemax is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to dmxtothemax For This Useful Post:
Philly Master (08-22-2013), user1007 (08-22-2013)
Old 08-22-2013, 05:30 AM   #11
Electrical Contractor
 
Philly Master's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: SE PA
Posts: 1,137
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenCap View Post
OK - I took a picture of the J-box, and measured some voltages, which led me to understand what the problem was. I found out that I had the track lighting connected to a 240 volt circuit.



You can see coming out of the left conduit a black/white pair of wires. I tested the voltage between this and the two black wires twisted together and it was 240 volts. So, this is the 240 volt circuit, which I had mistakenly connected to the track lighting. The voltage between the three white wires twisted together and the two black wires twisted together is 120 volts.

Connecting the track lighting to the three white wires twisted together and the two black wires twisted together allowed the track light to run at 120 volts (and also a lot dimmer - LOL!)

The only problem now is that the light switch that was used to turn on and off the fans before no longer works for the track lighting. It seems that there may not be a switch for that circuit. That's the next problem to solve!

the ground wires are to be attached to the little GREEN screw ....LOL

why is there a 240 circuit in the ceiling ??

lets seee the switches pictures
__________________
Philadelphia Master Electrician-Generac Dealer
Philly Master is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 11:21 AM   #12
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


Thanks for the response Philly Master.

I assumed that the ground wires were grounded elsewhere. You think I should attach one of them to the green screw?

I am also assuming that the reason that there is a 240 volt circuit in the ceiling is that this room used to be a garage, and it was there for the garage door opener, or some other heavy lifting. But, I don't really know.

I can post pictures of the light switches, but they are just standard wall-mounted light switches. I am not sure they will reveal very much. Or perhaps I am misunderstanding you?

Many thanks to all for the responses!
GreenCap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 11:25 AM   #13
Electrical Contractor
 
Philly Master's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: SE PA
Posts: 1,137
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenCap View Post
Thanks for the response Philly Master.

I assumed that the ground wires were grounded elsewhere. You think I should attach one of them to the green screw?

YES

I am also assuming that the reason that there is a 240 volt circuit in the ceiling is that this room used to be a garage, and it was there for the garage door opener, or some other heavy lifting. But, I don't really know.

I doubt it ...

I can post pictures of the light switches, but they are just standard wall-mounted light switches. I am not sure they will reveal very much. Or perhaps I am misunderstanding you?

Many thanks to all for the responses!

need pictures just of the ope box like the ceiling junction box s we can see the wiring ...

I then there are 2 circuits and you have connect the 2 together somewhere ... giving you 240
__________________
Philadelphia Master Electrician-Generac Dealer
Philly Master is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 11:26 AM   #14
Electrical Contractor
 
Philly Master's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: SE PA
Posts: 1,137
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


Home work assignment :


take part wires in cieling box

turn off breaker till you find what 2 breakers control the wires in the ciling box

then identify everything that is on each breaker as it is turned off ...

report back ...LOL
__________________
Philadelphia Master Electrician-Generac Dealer
Philly Master is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 01:56 PM   #15
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Default

Bulbs blew on new track lighting - why?


OK - here is my homework. I unwound all of the wires in the jbox except for the ground wires. I then tested to see which wires were hot and what breaker they were connected to. I then took a picture of the jbox and breaker box with corresponding labeling to show which switch corresponds to which wire.

Testing the wires with a multimeter one at a time seems to show that the hot wires are wire 1 (red) and wire 5 (black). Both of these each carry 120 volts. It seems that somehow to the previous configuration ended up putting 240 volts to wires 6 & 7 (they were wound together earlier).





Last edited by GreenCap; 08-22-2013 at 02:43 PM.
GreenCap is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Track lighting with no junction box zubor Electrical 3 09-20-2012 08:46 AM
confusion with track light stephenbishop Electrical 7 03-10-2012 01:37 PM
copper water line above a track lighting ray1959 Plumbing 8 01-07-2012 03:33 PM
LED track lighting feasible yet? GFW Electrical 8 01-22-2009 12:13 PM
Cable track lighting justtired Electrical 10 09-23-2006 12:53 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.