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Old 03-11-2011, 01:46 PM   #1
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New Light switch trips breaker


We just installed a new light switch for some under cabinet lighting. When lighting wires where connected and the wires from electrical box were connected, the first time we turned on the power and the lights came on when the switch was off. When turned on it tripped the breaker. So we reversed the hot wire for the lights. thinking we had it backwards. We turned on the power at the box again and when we turned switch on it tripped again. Why is it tripping the breaker? We can not see any bare wires touching anything. And wire from the main box is new. Please Help.

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Old 03-11-2011, 01:48 PM   #2
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New Light switch trips breaker


You are creating a dead short when you flip the switch.
You have something wired wrong!
We need to know what wires are in the switch box.

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Old 03-11-2011, 02:06 PM   #3
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New Light switch trips breaker


The Hot wire(black) coming from the Main power box is connected to the top of the switch, opposite the green screw for the ground. Which is on the bottom. I say top and bottom only in that if switch were on wall when you turn on you flip switch up. The switch has only 2 screws one on top and one on bottom. and 2 places you can push wires in. both screws look to be the same color. We placed the hot(black) wire from the main box into the push in place on the top and what we thought was the Hot for the lights, Due to it having the ridges on it, on the screw on the top. and the white wire from the main box we pushed into the lower place. And placed the other wire on the screw next to the main white wire, and placed the ground from the main box on the green screw. When we turned on the power the switch was off and the light came on. when the switch was turned on te breaker tripped. So we reversed the lighting wires thinking that was the problem. The lights were off when switch was off and when we turned switch on it tripped the braker again.
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Old 03-11-2011, 02:11 PM   #4
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New Light switch trips breaker


You have created a dead short by having the neutral wires on the switch. Remove the white wires from the switch and connect them together with a wire nut. The power in black and the black going to the lights go to the screw on the switch.

The grounds should be connected together and to the switch on the green screw.
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Old 03-11-2011, 02:12 PM   #5
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New Light switch trips breaker


The wire with the rib needs to connect to the white wire.
The white wire does not connect to the switch in any way.
Leave the hot wire connected to the switch, at the top, connect the wire without the rib to the bottom screw and your switch should work.
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Old 03-11-2011, 02:19 PM   #6
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New Light switch trips breaker


OK, you've created a dead short. First, the screws and push-ins are tied to each other. The screw on the top, and the push-in on the top are the same terminal in the switch. Same on the bottom, screw and push-in are the same terminal. The push-in is a convenience* option for the installer so they don't have to deal with the screw.

The white wires (neutral) shouldn't be connected to the switch at all, they should simply be twisted together with a wirenut. Then the line (from the breaker) goes onto one terminal of the switch and the load (to the light) goes on to the other terminal. And finally, the ground from the breaker, to the light and a "pigtail" to the switch should be twisted and nutted w/the pigtail attached to the switch.

Although it's AC power it may help to think of it this way: the power comes from the panel on the black wire, through the light-bulb and back to the panel on the white wire. What the switch does is open and close the electrical path to the light allowing or stopping the flow of power. What you've done is wire it so the power comes in the top of the switch from the panel and right back to the panel out the bottom of the switch, hence a dead-short and a tripped breaker (and thankfully nothing worse).

Electrically the switch would work on either the black or the white wire, but always put it on the black. If you were to switch the white then the light would have power to it, but no way back to the panel, so it wouldn't light up. But if you then touched the inside of the light, you'd be the path back to ground, that that would be quite disfortunate!

-Walden

*We'll leave whether you _should_ use the push-in alone as it's a matter of some debate.
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:26 PM   #7
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Lightbulb

New Light switch trips breaker


To all of you wonderful people out there who have responded.
THANK YOU. Much appreciation to what you have sayed. Now it makes sense that there was only one color of screw on the switch.....

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