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 01-08-2012, 09:38 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 2
Share |
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Hello-

I have wired quite a few things in my days, but I have never seen this one.

I was wiring a large light fixture, connected hot, then neutral, then ground (I know that is the wrong order....ground should have been first).

When I went to connect the ground, I heard a large pop (like a firecracker) and saw a ton of sparks go flying.

I had the switch off, but it is on a timer and I was too slow to beat the timer, so it turned on just as I was connecting the ground.

This is a 3-way circuit with a Leviton 5-wire digital timer switch. This is a brand new house, so I have a neutral, hot, and ground - plus one additional wire for the 3-way.

However, up at the light, I just have a hot, neutral, and ground. There was a super cheap plastic fixture there before (like what you have in a garage closet) that only used the hot and neutral (ground was not connected).

Although the ground wires make a big bang with sparks when touched together, the light appears to work fine now (I turned off the switch, then finished wiring).

I don't want to run the light right now until I hear some thoughts on this. Don't want to burn the house down if this is a sign of trouble.

Does this maybe indicate that the hot or neutral wires could have a short that completed the circuit through this ground?

Thanks for your help!

Ron

RonaldD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 10:10 PM   #2
MarginallyQualified
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Winston-Salem NC
Posts: 3,652
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldD View Post
(I know that is the wrong order....ground should have been first).

I had the switch off, but it is on a timer and I was too slow to beat the timer, so it turned on just as I was connecting the ground.
Learn your lesson?

Quote:
This is a 3-way circuit with a Leviton 5-wire digital timer switch.
This is a brand new house, so I have a neutral, hot, and ground - plus one additional wire for the 3-way.

However, up at the light, I just have a hot, neutral, and ground.
I don't want to run the light right now until I hear some thoughts on this.
Thoughts on what?

Quote:
Does this maybe indicate that the hot or neutral wires could have a short that completed the circuit through this ground?
That is what meters are for. Check.

hth

TarheelTerp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 10:14 PM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 27
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Never work anything hot.
Jdizzle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 10:14 PM   #4
Member
 
Missouri Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Almost Arkansas
Posts: 2,764
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


...what's a garage closet?
Missouri Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 10:20 PM   #5
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 27
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Keyless fixture!
Jdizzle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 10:25 PM   #6
Member
 
Missouri Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Almost Arkansas
Posts: 2,764
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdizzle View Post
Keyless fixture!

Oh I see...."garage / closet". Punctuation actually means something. You're pretty quick on the answers dizzle.....
Missouri Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 11:10 PM   #7
Member
 
Julius793's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: New york
Posts: 1,053
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Use an amp meter to check if threre is any amperage on the ground. Spark should never be flying on the ground! Keep in mind if there's a ground fault doesn't have to be by that box it could be else where.
__________________
Electricity will kill you if you give it a chance
Julius793 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2012, 03:57 AM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cairns Australia
Posts: 2,372
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Whilst in an ideal world there should be no currents on the earth line,
How ever in real life, there quite often is currents.
Some times they are only low currents,
But best check it with a meter,
or even a test lamp.
dmxtothemax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2012, 07:23 AM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 6,864
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


With the two ground wire ends still separated, measure the voltage between them with the light switched on and again with the light switched off. Report back.

To see if the hot wires somewhere in the fixture are shorted to the frame of the fixture.
__________________
Stop wasting time re-adjusting the pattern. Have several lawn sprinklers, one for each pattern.
AllanJ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2012, 07:33 AM   #10
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 7,387
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Is this a metal box? Is the ground connected to the box?
Sounds like the hot wire is shorted. Either to the fixture or the box(if metal). Turn off the circuit (at the breaker not the switch) and use a meter to find the short. You should NEVER have current flowing on a ground wire.
__________________
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2012, 07:19 PM   #11
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 2
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. I am going to switch off the breaker and do some continuity tests to see if there is a short. I will let you know what I find.

Thanks!
Ron
RonaldD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2012, 08:30 PM   #12
Licensed Electrical Cont.
 
Speedy Petey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NY State
Posts: 6,782
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldD View Post
This is a 3-way circuit with a Leviton 5-wire digital timer switch. This is a brand new house, so I have a neutral, hot, and ground - plus one additional wire for the 3-way.
Explain this a little better. What wires are in the switch boxes and how are they connected? Better yet, snap a pic.

I have a suspicion that there is a switch loop somewhere and the timer needed a neutral so the genius installer used the ground for it. This would do exactly what you are describing.
__________________
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. If you're on the '14 already I feel sorry for you.
Speedy Petey is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2012, 07:58 PM   #13
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Huntsville, AL USA
Posts: 229
Default

Spark Connecting Ground on light fixture


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
I have a suspicion that there is a switch loop somewhere and the timer needed a neutral so the genius installer used the ground for it. This would do exactly what you are describing.
Sort of related: Some years ago, I was setting up some workstation computers in a NASA facility. I had a workstation with a 27" CRT monitor positioned next to a pillar in the room, and depending on how I turned the CRT, I got big-time distortion from the pillar. The facilities engineer came by to see how we were doing, and I pointed at the monitor and said "There must be a lot of current running through the wiring in that pillar." He looked at me funny and said, "There's no wiring in that pillar!" Turned out that in another part of the facility, there were a bunch of old light fixtures where the original electrician had not bothered to run a neutral; he had just connected the fixture neutral to the box ground. There were all kinds of currents running around through the structural steel.

fa_f3_20 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to fa_f3_20 For This Useful Post:
frenchelectrican (01-10-2012), Speedy Petey (01-10-2012)
Reply

Tags
ground spark wiring lamp


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
Removing old light fixture & install ceiling fan sjk Electrical 3 04-17-2011 08:32 AM
Three light fixture only one light works jenwoode Electrical 1 09-21-2010 12:08 PM
New Member, New House Owner, New Light fixture kingston73 Electrical 3 09-19-2010 06:13 PM
Installing One Light Fixture Causes Another Not To Work pythagras Electrical 2 07-02-2009 08:15 PM
Subpanel feeder questions Silhanek Electrical 4 03-22-2007 06:30 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

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