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Old 02-21-2009, 10:02 PM   #1
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If anyone could please help me with this screwup, I'd greatly appreciate it...

Tonight my room mate and I were watching TV when she asked if I could somehow figure out what a light switch on our wall was for. We live in a basement apartment in a close to 100 year old home, so unused switches and mystery receptacles aren't uncommon. This particular switch has never seemed to do anything in the past.

I removed the switch cover and unfastened the switch from its' box to see if the switch even had wires run to it (like I said, old house, nothing surprises us here). This may have proved to be a stupid decision.

As I gently moved the switch aside to see if wires were connected, it sparked and immediately all the lights on its' circuit (ceiling light in room, light above kitchen, and outside light) all went out. I checked the breaker panel and the switch hadn't been tripped, so I'm sitting here scratching my head.

Does anyone know what may have happened and how I can potentially fix it?

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Old 02-21-2009, 10:05 PM   #2
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You have to turn the breaker completely off to reset it.

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Old 02-21-2009, 10:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarsh View Post
If anyone could please help me with this screwup, I'd greatly appreciate it...

Tonight my room mate and I were watching TV when she asked if I could somehow figure out what a light switch on our wall was for. We live in a basement apartment in a close to 100 year old home, so unused switches and mystery receptacles aren't uncommon. This particular switch has never seemed to do anything in the past.

I removed the switch cover and unfastened the switch from its' box to see if the switch even had wires run to it (like I said, old house, nothing surprises us here). This may have proved to be a stupid decision.

As I gently moved the switch aside to see if wires were connected, it sparked and immediately all the lights on its' circuit (ceiling light in room, light above kitchen, and outside light) all went out. I checked the breaker panel and the switch hadn't been tripped, so I'm sitting here scratching my head.

Does anyone know what may have happened and how I can potentially fix it?
What happened: something in that box was live and caused a short.

1. Some breakers don't move to the "off" position like you would expect when they trip, flip it off and back on again to make sure it is in the on position.
2. There could be a breaker somewhere else that you don't know about that tripped.
3. There could be a GFCI outlet that tripped, check all the outlets you can find and look for a GFCI and reset it.

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Old 02-21-2009, 10:49 PM   #4
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You moved the switch and the live screws touched the box, which must have been grounded. This creates a short burst of current (up to several thousand amperes) this will cause the copper to expand several times its size. The energy heats up the copper and the burst will throw the molten copper far, the molten copper with burn up in mid air-most of the time.

Anyways, try turning the breaker to off and then to on.

Check for tripped gfcis (outlets with two buttons on them labeled "test" and "reset")

If this doesn't work, a poor connection burned up. Something you cannot fix in your situation.
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:58 AM   #5
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So what does the switch operate?
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