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 05-28-2012, 02:27 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


So i have space in a weird building of art studios. the building is old, and a lot of different people have done a lot of weird wiring around here. that being said i try to make any wiring i do as safe as possible.

so i had this busted ceiling fan/ light controlled by a switch. the fan didn't work so i wanted to replace it. so i took the romex coming from the ceiling (used to go into the fan) into a 4" utility box. i had it branch off in two directions with MC. one about a foot away to a small utility box that can hold one set of 2 outlets.

another goes down to a switch, which then goes to a string of lights.

everything seemed to be wired ok when i tested it. i left the outlet dangling out of the box and plugged a light into it leaving the switch that controlled the separate string of lights off.

when i flicked the main switch the light plugged into the outlet came on. when i flipped the other switch the string of lights came on.

so i then turned everything off and secured everything into the boxes with covers. and did the same test. this time the outlet worked fine, but when i flipped the second string of lights on it tripped the breaker. when i let the outlet dangle outside of the box its fine, but as soon as the metal brackets on the outlet touch the box it shorts.

anyone have any idea what the problem is?

Thanks,

kingmob37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 02:32 PM   #2
Licensed electrician
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 7,830
Rewards Points: 2,458
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


You have a hot wire touching a grounded surface when it is installed in the box. Look for burn marks to narrow down your search.

__________________
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
Jim Port is online now   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Jim Port For This Useful Post:
plummen (05-28-2012)
Old 05-28-2012, 02:37 PM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


but why does it only short when the other switch is flipped? if it's in the outlet box shouldn't it short when the power it turned on to that outlet? the switch to the sting of lights works fine as long as the outlet is not secured to the box.
kingmob37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 03:25 PM   #4
Electrical Contractor
 
rrolleston's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Granville, NY
Posts: 1,941
Rewards Points: 1,000
Send a message via AIM to rrolleston Send a message via Yahoo to rrolleston
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


If you are using a metal box then one of the screws or wires is touching the metal box. You should also have the metal box bonded to your ground wire.
__________________
With Electricity there is the right way to do it and the dead way. Just because it works does not make it safe.
rrolleston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 03:31 PM   #5
Member
 
kevinp22's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Saint Louis, MO
Posts: 323
Rewards Points: 250
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


the fact that is trips when the one switch is turned on helps you narrow down which wire(s) are shorting - check all connections on the hot side controlled by that switch
kevinp22 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 03:34 PM   #6
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 8,137
Rewards Points: 3,068
Blog Entries: 4
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


Tell us how you connected the wires. You could have the wrong wires connected to the ground screw somewhere.
__________________
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 03:36 PM   #7
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


but that switch only causes a short if the outlet is not secured. i can't find anywhere that the hot could be touching the metal in the box. the problem has to be in the outlet box right?
kingmob37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 03:48 PM   #8
Electrical Contractor
 
rrolleston's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Granville, NY
Posts: 1,941
Rewards Points: 1,000
Send a message via AIM to rrolleston Send a message via Yahoo to rrolleston
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


When it's in the box and attached check that no screws are touching the metal box. And also wrap tape around the receptacle so it covers all screw heads with a couple layers of tape.
__________________
With Electricity there is the right way to do it and the dead way. Just because it works does not make it safe.
rrolleston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 04:23 PM   #9
Licensed electrician
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 7,830
Rewards Points: 2,458
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


There may be a hot wire exposed in the box that hits the receptacle that is grounded.
__________________
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
Jim Port is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 08:47 PM   #10
Sparky
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 703
Rewards Points: 504
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


Or the box is energized when the lights are on, and the ground is only landed on the receptacle
Techy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 09:50 PM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: IL
Posts: 829
Rewards Points: 708
Default

outlet shorts when secured in box, but not when dangling!!!


If the metal box has built in metallic cable clamps next to the wire knockout. If you tighten these too tight they can bite through the romex jacket and wire insulation and pinch the (hot) wire to ground, causing a short. It could be intermittent based on strain of wires. Try loosening off the clamp as a experiment.

curiousB 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
small secondary countertop outlet issue rasz Electrical 8 11-07-2011 05:14 PM
Odd voltages at outlet TJF Electrical 12 11-01-2011 10:13 PM
Switched Outlet Issue mjm Electrical 11 01-23-2011 08:41 AM
Changing Two Gang Outlet to Three Gang Outlet vbullinger Electrical 9 01-10-2011 06:13 PM
Wiring a GFCI Outdoor Outlet from an Inside Outlet - Parallel or Series? Pacal Electrical 28 11-13-2010 04:36 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

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