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 08-31-2009, 09:01 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4
Share |
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


Today I replaced 3 old fixtures with 3brand new potlights. After each light was replaced, I would check the breaker to confirm it worked. Everything went well, and after the final light, I left the breaker on for the customer to view her new lighting.
She loved it. But when we left the room, she went to turn the lightswitch off and pointed out that it was already in the off position.. Her old lights were not switched like this, they were normal - up for on, down for off. Now this light being in the off position, and the room currently illuminated was a bit weird. So naturally, she flicked the switch upward, expecting the lights to go off. Instead, the breaker blew. Im not a licenced electrician, but I know the basics. Now each time her lights are on, they work fine, but to switch them off (which is also the former "on" position) the breaker breaks. and it can only be reset while the switch is in the former off position, meaning when I reset it, the lights come on automatically with the breaker. turning them off is what sets the breaker off. what have I done wrong, and how can I fix it? She already paid me, and refuses to take her money back, so I promised to fix it for her in a few days. help please, thanks.

ajax88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2009, 09:16 PM   #2
Electrical Contractor
 
wirenut1110's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chester, VA.
Posts: 1,049
Send a message via AIM to wirenut1110
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


It's possible a white wire is feeding the switch and you've somehow have it hooked as a neutral and when the switch turns on it dead shorts.

Look in the switch box and see if a white wire is on the switch. that's about the only thing I can come up with, just not sure how it's working when the switch is "off"

Unless it's all good except how the switch is wired in.


Last edited by wirenut1110; 08-31-2009 at 09:18 PM. Reason: added unless
wirenut1110 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2009, 09:26 PM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 20
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


try going backwards and uninstall the pot lights one at a time and see what happens. The wiring may have switched poles somewhere along the way.
sstinman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2009, 10:07 PM   #4
Electrical Contractor
 
kbsparky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,368
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


You have inadvertantly rewired her wall switch in parallel with the circuit!

The switch is supposed to be in series with the loads.

Go back, and find the box that had a white wire connected to a bunch of black wires, and rewire it back the way you found it.
__________________
-KB

Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2009, 10:31 PM   #5
Electrician
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 105
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


Quote:
Originally Posted by ajax88 View Post
Today I replaced 3 old fixtures with 3brand new potlights. After each light was replaced, I would check the breaker to confirm it worked. Everything went well, and after the final light, I left the breaker on for the customer to view her new lighting.
She loved it. But when we left the room, she went to turn the lightswitch off and pointed out that it was already in the off position.. Her old lights were not switched like this, they were normal - up for on, down for off. Now this light being in the off position, and the room currently illuminated was a bit weird. So naturally, she flicked the switch upward, expecting the lights to go off. Instead, the breaker blew. Im not a licenced electrician, but I know the basics. Now each time her lights are on, they work fine, but to switch them off (which is also the former "on" position) the breaker breaks. and it can only be reset while the switch is in the former off position, meaning when I reset it, the lights come on automatically with the breaker. turning them off is what sets the breaker off. what have I done wrong, and how can I fix it? She already paid me, and refuses to take her money back, so I promised to fix it for her in a few days. help please, thanks.
You should ask the electrical inspector for assistance, I'm sure he would like speaking with you. You did pull a permit right? Are you insured to do electrical work for hire?

I have no problem helping DIYers who are doing work on their own home, I'm an electrician but DIY plumbing, carpentry, and other home repairs on my own house. However, you are not an electrician but are doing electrical work for hire. Do you have any idea the legal liability you are opening yourself up to? This is a basic wiring issue and you can not figure it out, you are not qualified to install electrical wiring professionally. Stop before you hurt yourself or someone else.

I'm sorry for being so blunt, but what you are doing is most likely illegal and someone needed to say it.
EBFD6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2009, 10:34 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South of Boston, MA
Posts: 17,248
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


This site is for DIY - homeowners working on their own house
We do have electricians that ask more detailed questions from time to time

Thread closed pending review
Thanks
-Dave
Scuba_Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2009, 06:59 AM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South of Boston, MA
Posts: 17,248
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


Quote:
Originally Posted by kbsparky View Post
You have inadvertantly rewired her wall switch in parallel with the circuit!

The switch is supposed to be in series with the loads.

Go back, and find the box that had a white wire connected to a bunch of black wires, and rewire it back the way you found it.
This sounds like what happened
If you are going to do electric work you need to know what you are doing
That saids it's best to assist to see this fixed

Thread re-opened
Scuba_Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2009, 08:24 AM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 6,946
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


OT: I would suggest replacing the breaker and the switch before you consider the job finished. After several trips due to the short circuit, internal damage may have occurred.

A white wire connected to a switch should have a band of black or red tape or stain put at both ends so it is not mistaken for a neutral.
__________________
Stop wasting time re-adjusting the pattern. Have several lawn sprinklers, one for each pattern.

Last edited by AllanJ; 09-01-2009 at 08:27 AM.
AllanJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2009, 08:53 AM   #9
My License Ain't 4 Sale..
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Atlanta, Ga/Hamilton, Al
Posts: 1,813
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


Ajax, I'm on my way to repossess your wire strippers and any other electrical tools. Please have them ready for me. You have NO BUSINESS doing electrical work for hire
InPhase277 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2009, 09:14 AM   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


Thanks to all of you for the replies. After replaying it in my mind last night, I did determine that it had something to do with the lightswitch being wired in. It explains why there is power lighting the bulbs when the switch is off, and why the breaker trips when the switch is turned on. Ive informed her to keep her breaker off, and plan on returning today. When I took the old fixtures off yesterday, the closest light to the panel had three cords attached to it,(to the breaker, to the switch, and to the next lights) and I attatched the new potlight with all three cords connected to the potlight. There was however, a white wire with red tape on it. Like I said, Im no electrician, but I should have looked more into this. To fix the situation, I need to attach the wire at the potlight fixed in red tape to what exactly??
I appreciate the feedback, and to EBFD6 - no problem, blunt is good. I should explain further - I am not really selling electrical service, a friend of a relative had asked me to do some work around her house for money, including demolition and removal of a shed, a couple of vents put on her duct work, some holes cut in her t-bar ceiling panels, and 3 light replacements. I explained to her that I may not be the best suitable person for the electric work, but I would give it a shot, and she acknowledged and accepted. Part of the money I was paid was for the other jobs as well.
Like I said, I plan to go there today and resolve the issue. I just need to figure out where this red tape wire should be attached to. If someone could elaborate on the subject, would be much appreciated, otherwise its trial and error
thanks again to all of you!
ajax88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2009, 09:49 AM   #11
UAW SKILLED TRADES
 
Stubbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 5,002
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


Ajax

I have to step out but I'm really glad you you came here to at least find a solution. And didn't leave the lady hanging without a fix. Basically the white that had the red is going to the switch taking the constant power to it. It was marked red to tell you that. And yes the problem is in the first light you replaced. What you did is put all the blacks together in a wirenut and all the whites together in a wirenut in the first box you worked in. Find the cable that is the incoming power take its black out of the wire nut with the other blacks. Put the wirenut back on the other blacks (these are your switched hots). Now find the white that goes to the switch (the one that was marked red) put it in the wire nut with the incoming power black) Put the other whites back in their wirenut. test should be working if not post back.

I'm going to post a couple drawings...one showing what you did and one showing the correction a little later today. Check back it will be here maybe early this afternoon. I wouldn't work on any more electrical in someone elses house.. friend or not... you burn their house down and they may not be your friend anymore......

By connecting the incoming power to the switched blacks you had the lights on all the time and by using the breaker as a switch you didn't discover your mistake till you were finished. By connecting that white that was intended to be the hot to the switch to the neutrals...as soon as you used the switch it was a immediate fault to neutral and the breaker tripped.The black on the switch was constant power due to your error in wiring and the white on the switch went to neutral... another error. Turn the switch on and bang. Also be gald you were turning the breaker back off and not thinking the switch was off cause you would have had hot wires in your light fixture boxes when you went to change the next light..
__________________
" One nice thing about the NEC articles ... you have lots of choices"

Stubbie

Last edited by Stubbie; 09-01-2009 at 05:23 PM.
Stubbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2009, 04:55 PM   #12
UAW SKILLED TRADES
 
Stubbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 5,002
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


Ajax

Here are the drawings. I had a feeling this was a friend of a friend job. But I wouldn't wire in someone elses house any more cause this was a very basic mistake. Study up some with a good book and you will be more knowledgable when wiring your own place.
Attached Thumbnails
please help! I dont know what went wrong-switch-loop-error.jpg   please help! I dont know what went wrong-switch-loop-error-correction.jpg  
__________________
" One nice thing about the NEC articles ... you have lots of choices"

Stubbie

Last edited by Stubbie; 09-01-2009 at 05:29 PM.
Stubbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2009, 05:26 PM   #13
Licensed Electrical Cont.
 
Speedy Petey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NY State
Posts: 6,826
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


Quote:
Originally Posted by EBFD6 View Post

I have no problem helping DIYers who are doing work on their own home, I'm an electrician but DIY plumbing, carpentry, and other home repairs on my own house. However, you are not an electrician but are doing electrical work for hire. Do you have any idea the legal liability you are opening yourself up to? This is a basic wiring issue and you can not figure it out, you are not qualified to install electrical wiring professionally. Stop before you hurt yourself or someone else.

I'm sorry for being so blunt, but what you are doing is most likely illegal and someone needed to say it.
I 1000% AGREE!




Dave, I think you forgot to hit "close".
__________________
Sometimes I feel like if I answer any more questions it is like someone trying to climb over a fence to jump off a bridge and me giving them a boost.
Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
Speedy Petey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2009, 05:33 PM   #14
UAW SKILLED TRADES
 
Stubbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 5,002
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


Speedy

The thread was reopened so we can get the ladies lights working and prevent any trial and error by Ajax. I agree also but at least Ajax came here to get some help to fix her lights and didn't run and hide.....
__________________
" One nice thing about the NEC articles ... you have lots of choices"

Stubbie
Stubbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2009, 06:08 PM   #15
My License Ain't 4 Sale..
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Atlanta, Ga/Hamilton, Al
Posts: 1,813
Default

please help! I dont know what went wrong


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
Speedy

The thread was reopened so we can get the ladies lights working and prevent any trial and error by Ajax. I agree also but at least Ajax came here to get some help to fix her lights and didn't run and hide.....
That's all well and good, except he should have been messing with it in the first place. Isn't it funny how every handyman we call out suddenly claims it was really for family?

InPhase277 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
What did i do wrong? - Outlet install trips breaker nymex Electrical 22 05-07-2009 02:44 PM
Faucet handle faces the wrong direction. diyntn Plumbing 1 04-22-2009 08:09 PM
New Compressor - Wrong Charge? shayneb HVAC 4 08-23-2008 08:13 AM
Ants and avoidance of baits - what am I doing wrong!? joeyboy Pest Control 11 01-14-2008 09:09 PM
Whats right and wrong? eric s General DIY Discussions 19 05-09-2007 08:03 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

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