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Old 12-06-2014, 10:28 AM   #1
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no neutral yet still have lights


I added a fluorescant fixture ( Lithonia Lighting 2-Light Utility Light with T-8)
by screwing it to the metal wall in my barn
I screwed the 4'' box to the wall panel ,ran MC 12-2 to fixture (25' away)
a.used the red bushing and attached the ground wire to the box and fixture
I unhooked the neutral from my light switch and the light stays on .
what are the possibilities and what should I check ?
1. metal barn with the box screwed to the metal walls
2. armour cable with the ground attached to the metal box
3. is it wrong to screw the boxes/fixtures directly to the metal walls
and then attach the ground wire to the box?
4 .

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Old 12-06-2014, 10:35 AM   #2
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no neutral yet still have lights


Quote:
Originally Posted by kt82 View Post
I unhooked the neutral from my light switch and the light stays on .

????? Could you explain more

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Old 12-06-2014, 10:36 AM   #3
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no neutral yet still have lights


Neutrals are not connected to switches.
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:47 AM   #4
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Sounds like your metal barn is possibly grounded and your fixture is bonded to the barn. So it's acting as your neutral.

Or you're thinking the "white" wire is automatically a neutral when its a switch leg?
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Old 12-06-2014, 02:26 PM   #5
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no neutral yet still have lights


Quote:
Originally Posted by kt82 View Post
I added a fluorescant fixture ( Lithonia Lighting 2-Light Utility Light with T-8)
by screwing it to the metal wall in my barn
I screwed the 4'' box to the wall panel ,ran MC 12-2 to fixture (25' away)
a.used the red bushing and attached the ground wire to the box and fixture
I unhooked the neutral from my light switch and the light stays on .
what are the possibilities and what should I check ?
1. metal barn with the box screwed to the metal walls
2. armour cable with the ground attached to the metal box
3. is it wrong to screw the boxes/fixtures directly to the metal walls
and then attach the ground wire to the box?
4 .

What wires are connected to the light fixture?
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:45 AM   #6
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no neutral yet still have lights


Quote:
Originally Posted by clw1963 View Post
Sounds like your metal barn is possibly grounded and your fixture is bonded to the barn. So it's acting as your neutral.

Or you're thinking the "white" wire is automatically a neutral when its a switch leg?
what are the repurcussions if the barn is acting like a neutral?
I know they separated the neutrals from the green ground in the sub panel
but they also drove a ground rod at the sub panel and attached it to the ground bar (which is not bonded to the panel box )
Is it a possible break in the flex where the white has contacted the barn?
I can see where the flex that runs to the roll up door opener may have been pulled out of the box or damaged .
I will have to get a tall ladder to check it out
2. the whites are tied together @ switch box ,white switch leg that runs to fixture is labeled as a hot wire ,green wire is "bonded "to the metal box
thanks for your reply
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:50 AM   #7
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no neutral yet still have lights


I did attach the fixture to the red iron ,but I don't see how that would interact with the fixture neutral unless I mis labeled the white SL and tied it to neutral instead of the switch
maybe it is that simple

The line neutral that feeds the switch is not hooked up yet the switch will turn the light on


More properly the the neutrals are tied together in the box , and the white switch leg is labeled as "hot"
no where does the white from the fixture pigtail to the switch box does it come in contact with the building

I will go out there tomorrow , disassemble some boxes and backtrack to the breaker

Last edited by kt82; 12-08-2014 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:45 AM   #8
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no neutral yet still have lights


It might help to post some pictures of the fixture wiring and the switch.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:31 PM   #9
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no neutral yet still have lights


KT...... I think you might have some of us (at least me) confussed as to what you have going on there and exactly what is connected to what.....

Do you have a MM (multimeter tester), pic's would sure help, we are not sure what you meant that you unhooked the neutral from the light switch... or even what you mean as to a wire being marked hot... did you mean a white wire with black tape wrap...???



Maybe try to explain slowly with pics...
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:42 PM   #10
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no neutral yet still have lights


Quote:
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what are the repurcussions if the barn is acting like a neutral?

The neutral current is travelling thru the earth
and going to the earth in your main panel
which would be bonded to neutral.

This path does work electrically BUT !

it is not allowed code wise !

Under some circumstances it will cause
earthed appliances to become live !

That is why it is not allowed.

The fact that it works is not an abnomally.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:32 PM   #11
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no neutral yet still have lights


Without quoting your follow up questions, I would wait until you've posted some pictures of your situation. That way you'll receive further information that may be more accurate. My suggestions were possibilities, but additional info is the only way to make sure.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:50 PM   #12
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Given the high resistance of the earth I doubt the current is flowing in the dirt to complete the circuit.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Given the high resistance of the earth I doubt the current is flowing in the dirt to complete the circuit.
If the building is bonded to ground (green or bare) would it not travel back to the main where the neutral and ground are bonded?
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:10 PM   #14
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no neutral yet still have lights


The grounds should be separate in the sub panel which would isolate them from the neutral. If the feed is only 3 wires it would be possible.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
The grounds should be separate in the sub panel which would isolate them from the neutral. If the feed is only 3 wires it would be possible.
So the steel building should not be bonded with/to the breaker panel housing?

My novice view being, that I figure a big steel grounded building would be bonded to the panel itself in some way. That even a 4 wire feed would have the ground bonded at the building panel and the neutral "floating" that that point. The ground would carry the neutral current back to the main to complete the circuit.

Could this be accurate?


Edit- I think I realize that I'm not visualizing the problem correctly. That the neutral is isolated from the building. Unless its bonded in the sub.

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Last edited by clw1963; 12-08-2014 at 10:35 PM.
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