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Old 02-14-2012, 06:41 PM   #1
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


Hi, I will introduce myself later but please, I need some help ASAP! Let's just say I'm happy to have found this forum!!!

Anyway, I was trying to screw a loose screw on a lightbulb thats on the set of lightbulbs that's on my bathroom mirror! Dumb me, tried doing it with a knife and of course it suddenly popped! Now none of the bulbs work! I opened the case but I have no idea of what I'm looking at so would appreciate any help ad infinitum! Hopefuly I can fix this in no time with a replacement part or two with your help!

I also noticed I left the lights on until later as the whole house turned off! I inmediately turned the lights of in the bathroom and the light came back to the house. The switch in the house's control panel to my room was off, and I left it that way for now.

Here are some pictures to illustrate the problem....

Please let me know what steps I need to do in order to fix this ASAP!

thankyou thankyou thanyou!
Edu













Last edited by daozen; 02-14-2012 at 06:51 PM. Reason: DESCRIPTIVE TITTLE ;)
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:44 PM   #2
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


You either tripped the GFI or you tripped the breaker. GFI should be in the bathroom but could be in another part of the house. Find the reset button push it in. If that doesn't fix it look in your panel for a breaker that is the middle position, turn the breaker all the way off and then back on.

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Old 02-14-2012, 07:03 PM   #3
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


THANKYOU! Well you lost me with all these terms, sorry for being so ignorant but what's a GFI, whats a breaker? what do you mean by "tripped"? can you see them in the pictures? please point them out.

If you are talking about the lights in the house they are back on! I just need to fix the short in order tu use the light bulbs please. thanks!
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:06 PM   #4
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


GFCI is the receptacle with the test button on it. Press the reset button to reset.
Tripped means the breaker(switch) turn off because it sensed a short circuit.

Put some wire nuts on those connections that are just tape for the blue/black and white/white connections.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:15 PM   #5
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


the breaker is in the main electricial box for the house that supplies power to your lights and plugs.....
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:18 PM   #6
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


Call an electrician. PLEASE!

I'll save my comments about an adult that sticks a knife into a live fixture, except that you'll likely be receiving a Darwin Award soon, or at least you family will on your behalf.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:31 PM   #7
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


I FIXED IT! Turns out nothing was broken, it was just the switch on the control panel that switched off. I wonder if the first poster was trying to tell me that. lol!

Anyway, all of the bulbs are working now, I put everything back in place there was no need to take out the case or anything! Even the one where I stuck the knife in!

Even us adults forget we shouldn't stick knifes in bulb sockets! I actually didnt know it was that big a deal! Why did it happen if it was off, or was it turned on?

So....

...is it safe to use it as used normally if all of the bulbs work? or should I make sure of something or other?
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:37 PM   #8
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Call an electrician. PLEASE!

I'll save my comments about an adult that sticks a knife into a live fixture, except that you'll likely be receiving a Darwin Award soon, or at least you family will on your behalf.
Something tells me that its best to elaborate this point.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:13 PM   #9
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It's actually funny how retarded it was to do that! haha, thing is, it's not the first time I've cause a short circuit with a knife!!! LOL!! Last time I was cooking and I since I did it all (egg and cheese sandwich) without using my hands I tried disconecting the toaster with the knife aswell! bad idea! haha.

So, seriously now, can i use mi bulbs as normal now? I'd appreciate you guys avoiding my room to blow up or something!

Anyway, why did I not get electrocuted if the whole knife was made of metal, I guess the length acts as a buffer.

And why did it happen if the switch was off? (i think?)
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:29 PM   #10
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


Quote:
Originally Posted by daozen View Post
I actually didnt know it was that big a deal!
If you had been touching any other metal in the bathroom, there's a good chance that you would have been electrocuted. Today you hit the jackpot, and the electricity only went through your knife. If you'd only been merely lucky, you would have gotten a kick and probably had part of your body go numb. If it wasn't your day, you'd have ended up in the morgue. So please reconsider this whole using metal with electricity bit.

Quote:
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Why did it happen if it was off, or was it turned on?
Either the fixture was turned on, and you should have seen all the other lights. And/or that fixture was miswired. I suspect the latter may be the case irregardless, since it sure looks like you have black connected to white and blue connected to white in your last picture.

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...is it safe to use it as used normally if all of the bulbs work? or should I make sure of something or other?
Take a look at your knife, is any of it missing? If so you've now got metal splattered all over the insides of that socket. If not, well you've at least got a decent breaker. Regardless of the state of your knife, you may have a short or a short waiting to happen. I'd personally consider that socket as good as dead until its been replaced. But I'm kind of a stickler when it comes to things that could burn my house down.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:34 PM   #11
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


Quote:
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Anyway, why did I not get electrocuted if the whole knife was made of metal, I guess the length acts as a buffer.
I'm speechless
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:36 PM   #12
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I will say a prayer for you tonight!
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:55 PM   #13
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


Quote:
Originally Posted by a_lost_shadow View Post
If you had been touching any other metal in the bathroom, there's a good chance that you would have been electrocuted. Today you hit the jackpot, and the electricity only went through your knife. If you'd only been merely lucky, you would have gotten a kick and probably had part of your body go numb. If it wasn't your day, you'd have ended up in the morgue. So please reconsider this whole using metal with electricity bit.

Either the fixture was turned on, and you should have seen all the other lights. And/or that fixture was miswired. I suspect the latter may be the case irregardless, since it sure looks like you have black connected to white and blue connected to white in your last picture.


Take a look at your knife, is any of it missing? If so you've now got metal splattered all over the insides of that socket. If not, well you've at least got a decent breaker. Regardless of the state of your knife, you may have a short or a short waiting to happen. I'd personally consider that socket as good as dead until its been replaced. But I'm kind of a stickler when it comes to things that could burn my house down.
I guess I'm being overly humoruos, I thought the worst thing that could happen if one sticks a metal something in an electrical socket was a scary and painful shock, aren't these things built to avoid death? I at no point thought of doing it as a joke or being careless at all! I was so focused on that screw that completly forgot any electrical implication. I honestly did not know sticking a metal in a bulb socket was dangerous, not that I even thought of it!
I guess it's just that I always screw bulbs in and out without a sweat, I so rarely mess with electrical stuff so I wish there was a way I could remeber and or be more careful, mentioning the morgue definately helps! :s

I will be screwing bulbs often, so I think it's best to replace it, I think I saw some metal on the insides of the socket indeed! you can see it in the second pic. What is the part called? or is it just a whole new generic bulb socket? I guess I'll come back to learn how to replace it!

I actually got a bit interested in electrical stuff so I'll start learning the basics of circuits or something at least, that should keep me aware of dangers in the future.

Thanks for taking your time to answer, I have learned A LOT today!

Last edited by daozen; 02-14-2012 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:08 AM   #14
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


daozen,
I think the humors tone drew out a bit harsher responses than we normally give. But yes, as a fellow poster says "electricity will kill you if you give it the chance." Here's some general background information/tips that might help you in the future:

1) Once you have enough voltage for electricity to cross the skin (somewhere below 120V), it only takes in the range of 0.25 to 0.75 amps across the heart to stop it. Less to give yourself an irregular heartbeat. For comparison, your standard 100W light bulb draws .83 amps.

2) Regular circuit breakers are made to protect the wiring not you. They're meant to trip before enough current goes through the wires to heat them and start a fire.

3) Electricity always takes the easiest path to ground or its source. This time it happened to be through your knife and back into the socket. But as I mentioned, if you'd been touching metal, then going through you would likely have been the easiest path.

4) Ground Fault Circuit Interruptors (GFCI or GFI) are meant to protect you from getting shocked. You'll often see them as part of outlets in the kitchen and bathroom, where you have little test and reset buttons. You can also find GFCI breakers, but they're so much more expensive folks normally just go with the outlets. GFCIs will measure the amount of power going out the hot line and coming back in the neutral line. If there's a difference, say due to power going through you to the ground, then they'll trip. Unfortunately, they won't trip if the electricity is coming back through the neutral line.

5) Always assume electrical wire is hot until you've tested it (preferably with a meter). If say a light has been wired incorrectly with the switch on the neutral instead of the hot, then the light will still operate correctly and turn off when the switch is thrown (the switch blocks the return of the electricity). However, the light fixture will still be hot. Thus creating a path between the any of the hots and ground will cause bad things to happen. I suspect this is what happened in your case.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:40 AM   #15
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HELP!!! Bathroom mirror SHORT CIRCUIT! (SIMPLE)


Quote:
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aren't these things built to avoid death?
When installed and used properly, yes. That fixture is not installed properly. It's impossible to tell exactly what was done, but I can tell you that it was installed by an idiot. The wires are electrical taped together instead of using a proper connector, and it appears to have been wired backwards which results in the metal shell of the socket being electrified instead of the small tab at the back. And nobody ever designed them to have knives stuck in them while the power is on.

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