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 08-10-2009, 02:45 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 5
Share |
Exclamation

New light switches keep blowing?


I recently had electrical issues at home and ended up determining that a wire had broken up in my attic, and a circuit breaker had broken. I installed a new breaker and ran the wires up to the light switch. I've wired it up and when I turn the breaker on, the switches keep blowing. The lights turn on, but when I try to turn the switch off, it pops the breaker and the switch is off. I've tried 3-4 switches now, followed the wiring diagram, and have no idea what to do? PLEASE help me, I'd rather not have to call an electrician.
Thanks!

Electricalprobs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2009, 02:57 PM   #2
Licensed Pro
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: SC
Posts: 1,526
Default

New light switches keep blowing?


You obviously have the switches wired incorrectly. You need to detail exactly what you have and what you have done... pictures would be great.

__________________
"Life is hard. Life is harder when you're stupid." John Wayne
HouseHelper is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2009, 03:04 PM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 5
Default

New light switches keep blowing?


Unfortunately I'm at work right now, but I can look at the details when I get home. The only thing I don't understand is that the new breaker also powers another room, which is working just fine. I've tried wiring the switches both ways, and both seem to keep blowing. Like I said, I'll get back with more details here in a few hours.
Heres what I know:
The new breaker is a 20amp
The light that keeps blowing only has 5 bulbs at 25w each.
The other room only has 2 lamps and a TV, all of which work fine.
Thanks for the quick response!
Electricalprobs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2009, 03:41 PM   #4
Semi-Pro Electro-Geek
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,520
Default

New light switches keep blowing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Electricalprobs View Post
Unfortunately I'm at work right now, but I can look at the details when I get home. The only thing I don't understand is that the new breaker also powers another room, which is working just fine. I've tried wiring the switches both ways, and both seem to keep blowing. Like I said, I'll get back with more details here in a few hours.
Heres what I know:
The new breaker is a 20amp
The light that keeps blowing only has 5 bulbs at 25w each.
The other room only has 2 lamps and a TV, all of which work fine.
Thanks for the quick response!
Call an electrician. With any normal, code-compliant installation, there is no way to trip a breaker by turning a switch off. That this is happening is a clear sign that something is very wrong with the installation (not just a little wrong). That you can't figure it out is a good indication that you're in way over your head on this type of a troubleshooting - the chances that a bunch of people are going to be able to walk you through it over the internet are slim.

My guess is that this is a 3-way installation wired as a "California 3-way", and you moved the breaker to the other hot leg when you replaced it, which would result in a dead short when the switch is turned off. If that's the case, it will require re-wiring the whole circuit to make it code compliant.
mpoulton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2009, 04:13 PM   #5
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 5
Default

New light switches keep blowing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
Call an electrician. With any normal, code-compliant installation, there is no way to trip a breaker by turning a switch off. That this is happening is a clear sign that something is very wrong with the installation (not just a little wrong). That you can't figure it out is a good indication that you're in way over your head on this type of a troubleshooting - the chances that a bunch of people are going to be able to walk you through it over the internet are slim.

My guess is that this is a 3-way installation wired as a "California 3-way", and you moved the breaker to the other hot leg when you replaced it, which would result in a dead short when the switch is turned off. If that's the case, it will require re-wiring the whole circuit to make it code compliant.
Fixed it.
I was using 14 gauge wire on a 20amp breaker. Switching it to 12 gauge wire seemed to fix the problem. The lights are turning on, and off with no issues. I will continue to monitor it and call an electrician if I see any issues with it
Thanks!
Electricalprobs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2009, 04:21 PM   #6
Semi-Pro Electro-Geek
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,520
Default

New light switches keep blowing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Electricalprobs View Post
Fixed it.
I was using 14 gauge wire on a 20amp breaker. Switching it to 12 gauge wire seemed to fix the problem. The lights are turning on, and off with no issues. I will continue to monitor it and call an electrician if I see any issues with it
Thanks!
That was definitely not the problem. While you certainly shouldn't use #14 on a 20A breaker, the symptoms you described CANNOT be a result of that. The only problem with using undersized wire is that it may overheat and start a fire without tripping the breaker in case of an overload. I would say you connected things differently when you rewired it.

Remember, just because it seems to work does NOT mean it's done right, or safe.
mpoulton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2009, 04:31 PM   #7
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 5
Default

New light switches keep blowing?


I also used a new switch this time, because i could tell the other switch was blown. It seems to still be working though. However, a friend of mine is an electrician who's going to come check it out for me tomorrow.
Electricalprobs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2009, 05:30 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Default

New light switches keep blowing?


These symptoms and "fixes" don't make sense, which means we are assuming some thing, or things, which are not true.

Be careful with what you're doing.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2009, 05:43 PM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 5
Default

New light switches keep blowing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
These symptoms and "fixes" don't make sense, which means we are assuming some thing, or things, which are not true.

Be careful with what you're doing.
Yeah, something doesn't make sense to me either, which is why i've given up for the night. I turned off the breaker, and put wire nuts on all the exposed wires. I'll just wait for the electrician to come tomorrow.
Thanks for the help though!
Electricalprobs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2009, 06:14 PM   #10
Wire Chewer
 
Red Squirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,197
Default

New light switches keep blowing?


That's very strange, I would definably get an electrician to check this. Is it 3 way switches? You could use speaker wire or 0 guage, it should not matter, it will still work the same. Of course you need to use the proper wire for the proper amperage, but that is a code and safety issue, not functionality. Changing the wire probably somehow fixed the problem, but I would not call it fixed until you know exactly what was happening.

Red Squirrel 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
Wiring diagram for three-way switches with pilot light SaxTeacher Electrical 34 09-15-2013 07:53 AM
Separating Fan and Light Switches GeauxCajuns82 Electrical 11 08-26-2008 12:03 AM
3 switches 1 light. need 2 lights 2 switches. Im desprete s richards Electrical 6 07-19-2008 03:18 PM
50+ year old home-all light switches one-way? mudpaw Electrical 13 06-22-2008 01:57 PM
light switches wired in series -- why? magnolia Electrical 2 05-11-2008 11:16 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts

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