Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting


05:07AM | 07/22/07
Member Since: 07/21/07
2 lifetime posts
In my kitchen I had a ceiling fan and seven recessed lights operated by one switch. I was removing the fan to replace with a newer one (I did not switch off the breaker like I should of) with the the lights on. When I undid the wiring of the fan from the ceiling the wires must of touched and a small spark happened and the lights went off. The lights still have not ever come back on. The switch still has power, the fan has been removed, but I still cant get the lights to go on. I have checked the breaker and it was not tripped by the spark. I did turn it off and on anyway. Please help. Did I short out a wire which is preventing the lights from working?


06:44AM | 07/22/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
360 lifetime posts
Obviously you had power either from or to the panel in this fan box or an always on power situation to part of your original fan/light hookup. You may have even had wiring from yet another circuit (and/or a shared grounded conductor) in here.

Major no-no working live, especially not being qualified to be working on this area in the first place.

Suspect a wiring error causing an ungrounded conductor being connected to a grounded conductor (not to be confused with a groundING conductor).

Switch legs are confusing for an unqualified person (as are re-identified wires).

Ceiling fan/light fixtures have a multitude of wiring combinations as well.

Keep the Circuit locked off and call in someone qualified. All of the wiring and equipment (light fixtures, switches, etc.) needs to be tested - you may have damaged all or part of it by your activities, rendering all or part of it unsafe.

Meantime if you have an existing wiring error you risk injury or death, fire or damage to property, etc. There are an almost infinite combination of potential variables and mis-wiring errors you could have made. You provide limited information making it overwhelmingly impossible to even begin to guess at what your original wiring configuration may have been and what possible wiring errors and/or damages you might have created.

One wonders if your original switch was rated to handle the load of your six or seven lights PLUS the fan MOTOR plus any light on the fan (wattage) originally anyway.


07:30AM | 07/22/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
Unless you had a breaker that did not trip it unlikely, but possilbe that a wire was burned.

Most likely the connections where put back correctly.

You said that the switch was getting power. How did you test this?

In the box with the switch how many cables (or conduit) are there. And for each cable how many wires and what does each wire connect to.

Likewise in the ceiling fan box. How many cables and what does it one connect to.


06:01AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 03/31/05
265 lifetime posts
Are there multiple white and black wires at the ceiling box that are now disconnected? My bet would be you disconnected the neutral (white) for the lights. Try putting the whites back together and see if this corrects the problem.


06:36AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
That should be most likely the wires in the ceiling box where NOT PUT BACK CORRECTLY.


06:43AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
There is a good chance that there is a SWITCH LEG wiring in the box.

This shows the a basic light with a switch leg.

And from the previous page.

"Please note that where white wires must be used as a hot wire you must note:

The wire feeding the actual fixture must NOT be white and must NOT be a white that has been remarked as a hot. A white wire may be used to feed the hot connection to the switch but not to the actual fixture connection. White wires feeding the hot connection to the switch or between switches must be redesignated by wrapping apiece of black electrical tape around both ends of the wire. Please read carefully all instructions."

The remarking of the white is typically done with electrical tape or permanant marker.

However, it appears that for a time period it was not required to remark the white wire.

And this is an area that confuses people so I find many of them that are done wrong.


06:54AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 07/21/07
2 lifetime posts
Thanks for the advice. Actually it turns out that I fried my dimmer switch. My breaker never tripped and the spark eneded up frying the wall switch. I replaced the dimmer and everything seems fine. Thank you everybody.

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