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Old 02-17-2010, 04:31 PM   #1
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single-pole switch trips breaker


I am replacing a single pole switch that controls an outlet on the same the wall. After replacing it, every time I flip the switch the breaker trips. There are 2 wires (one black and one white) and a ground wire. From testing, I can tell the white wire also carries a current. Any ideas of what could be causing the breaker to trip?

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Old 02-17-2010, 04:45 PM   #2
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single-pole switch trips breaker


How did you hook the switch up?

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Old 02-17-2010, 05:16 PM   #3
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single-pole switch trips breaker


How did you connect the switch? Did you make any changes at the receptacle?
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:39 PM   #4
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single-pole switch trips breaker


I connected the switch with the black wire to one brass screw, the white wire to the other brass screw, connected the ground to the ground screw. I did make a change at the receptacle. When I replaced the receptacle, I noticed that one set of wires (one black, one white) were capped off and not connected to the receptacle. The wires looked ok and carried a current, so I connected them to the receptacle. The receptacle works when I plug something into it, I just can't control what I plug in with the switch because of the breaker tripping.
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:24 PM   #5
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single-pole switch trips breaker


Disconnect the black wire that was on the receptacle and wire nut it to the white wire that was capped off.

The black wire that was capped off should be on the brass screw and the original white wire that was on the receptacle should be on the silver screw.

The white wire that was capped off is not a neutral and when you turn on the switch you are creating a dead short.

The way I described is if you want to switch the whole receptacle. If you want to switch half of the receptacle, post back.
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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single-pole switch trips breaker


Quote:
I did make a change at the receptacle. When I replaced the receptacle, I noticed that one set of wires (one black, one white) were capped off and not connected to the receptacle. The wires looked ok and carried a current, so I connected them to the receptacle.
This is where you went wrong. It is a common mistake. People see the mismatched colours and think OH I better fix that. That black wire and white was the power connection to the switch. The other black wire brings switched power back from the switch.

What you did was connect the switch directly across the hot and neutral when you made the change.
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Last edited by joed; 02-23-2010 at 12:20 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:39 PM   #7
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single-pole switch trips breaker


In the receptacle box ...

The black wire coming back from the switch should be connected to a gold screw of the receptacle (on the side with the narrower prong holes). The white wire comingfrom the panel (from the other cable) should be connected to a silver screw of the receptacle. Wire nut the other two wires (black from the panel, white from the switch) together.

The white to the switch should have a band of black or red tape or stain visible at both ends.

This is the way it should have been before you started.
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:11 AM   #8
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single-pole switch trips breaker


Thanks so much for the feedback. I'm going to attempt to correct my mistake today!
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:32 AM   #9
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single-pole switch trips breaker


Thanks, especially AllanJ, for the explanation. I made the change and the receptacle and switch are working perfectly.

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