COMMUNITY FORUM

snerfj

07:44AM | 02/27/07
Member Since: 02/26/07
1 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
I recently replaced a 2'x2' suspended ceiling panel in the basement laundry / half bath with a light fixture from Lowe's. I wired it to the same wires that go to the existing medicine cabinet / lamp over the sink, which is operated by a wall switch. The same breaker circuit also runs the lights in the upstairs bathroom, directly over this laundry room.

When I first turned on the switch with the new fixture installed, the circuit breaker tripped. I pulled one of the two u-shaped tubes out of the fixture. Still tripped the breaker. I removed the four 25-watt bulbs incandescent bulbs from the medicine cabinet light, then the new light worked. I installed two low-wattage flourescent bulbs in the medicine cabinet, the breaker tripped. With one bulb in the medicine cabinet and one in the ceiling fixture, it works sometimes but sometimes, after 10-20 seconds, the breaker trips. Funny thing is, the upstairs bathroom lights which are on the same circuit, draw much more than this new ceiling fixture, yet they never tripped the breaker, even with everything turned on.

The circuit breaker has a test/reset button on it; I think this is a GFI device. Does this, or the new fixture, have something wrong with it? I believe the circuit should be sufficient to run all these lights at full strength.

Thanks for any advice!

Jim in NH

TimBonham

05:12PM | 02/27/07
Member Since: 01/09/07
197 lifetime posts
The breaker is almost certainly NOT tripping because of overload; this collection of lights probably doesn't use even 20% of the capacity of that circuit.

It's tripping because of a short, or a ground-fault leakage short.

Quick way to locate this: unscrew all the light bulbs except one, and turn the power on. If it doesn't trip, turn it off again, screw in another bulb, and power it up again. Keep doing this until you find the bulb/tube that causes the breaker to trip. The problem is in the wiring to that bulb or tube socket. Most likely loose wire, deteriorated insulation, etc. (You've done some of this already -- since removing all 4 bulbs from the old medicine cabinet fixture cures the problem, it's likely one of those sockets is where the problem is. Hint: sometimes, it's faster to just pull out ALL the wiring from an old fixture & replace it with new wiring, than to try to find exactly where the bad part is.)

Generally, this will find the problem, since without a bulb screwed in to complete the circuit, it isn't a problem.

But if this doesn't seem to find the problem, it may be a loose/damaged wire near a bulb socket, which touches another wire or part of the metal fixture and short out. That could happen even without a bulb in the socket. Just the wiggling when you screw & unscrew bulbs might move wires enough to do this, and it will appear random & unexplainable.

It that seems to happen, unscrew ALL the bulbs, turn the power on, and tap with a screwdriver handle around the fixture, near each bulb socket, etc. until the breaker trips. Now you know the general vicinity where the bad wire or loose connection is located, so investigate & find it.

The third possibility is that all the wiring is good, you just have enough ground-fault leakage to trip a GFI breaker. That probably means you don't have a good earth ground. But this is more complicated to figure out, and probably something to call a qualified electrician to fix.
Click_to_reply_button
Inspiration_banner

INSPIRATION GALLERY



Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply_choose_button

captcha
type the code from the image

Anonymous

Post_new_button or Login_button
Register

A Washington State couple called on BC&J Architects to transform their 400-square-foot boathouse into a hub for family bea... Built on a rocky island in the Drina River, near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia, this wooden house was cobbled together ... Large steel-framed windows flood the interior of this remodeled Michigan barn with daylight. The owners hired Northworks A... Edging formed with upside-down wine bottles is a refreshing change. Cleverly and artistically involving recycled materials... If you’re up for a weekend project, why not try turning an old picture frame into scaffolding for a living wall? Low-maint... Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging your pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack keeps them nearby and easy... For windows, doors, and mirrors that could use a little definition, the Naples Etched Glass Border adds a decorative flora... The thyme growing between these stepping stones adds a heady fragrance to strolls along this lush, low-maintenance garden ... Decoupage is an easy way to add any paper design to your switch plate, whether it is wallpaper, scrapbook paper, book page... Twine lanterns add pops of crafty—but sophisticated—flair to any outdoor setting. Wrap glue-soaked twine around a balloon ... When securely fastened to a tree or the ceiling of a porch, a pallet and some cushioning make the ideal place to lounge. V... Reluctant to throw away any of those unidentified keys in your junk drawer? Hang them from a few chains attached to a simp... A stripped-down model, sans screened porch, starts out at $79,000. Add the porch, a heated floor for the bath, and all the... Salvaged boards in varying widths and colors make up the dramatic accent wall in this attic space. The high-gloss white of... Need a window and a door in a tight space? A Dutch door with a window may be your answer. These useful doors are split hor...
Follow_banner_a
Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon
 
webapp1