New Switch Works Once and Trips Breaker

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  #1  
Old 06-20-03, 07:53 PM
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New Switch Works Once and Trips Breaker

I just replaced a very basic light switch with another very basic light switch. It appeared to work when I tested it.

However.....when I flipped the switch to turn the light off, I heard a very faint buzz. So I flipped the switch to turn the light back on again, but it wouldn't work. I found that the breaker was tripped.

So, I flipped the breaker, turned the light back on, flipped the switch back off (no buzz this time), flipped the switch back up, but the light didn't come on again. Breaker is tripped once more.

I have looked at the wiring and it all appears to be fine.

What could possibly be the problem? Thanks very much for your help.

Kim
 
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Old 06-20-03, 08:02 PM
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Why did you replace the switch? The answer might reveal some key to the problem.

Did you do anything at all at the light that this switch controls?

How many wires of each color were in the switch box, and what connections did you make?

Is this just an ordinary switch? A dimmer? A 3-way?

If I had to make a completely blind guess, I'd say that the grounding wire came into contact with one of the screws when you repacked the switch back into the box. But blind guessing isn't very productive, which is why I asked the above questions.
 
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Old 06-22-03, 11:20 AM
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Thanks for your reply. I replaced the switch simply for cosmetic purposes. I remodeled the bathroom and wanted a different color.

I did not do anything yet with the light that this switch controls.

As for the wires, there was one copper (no color on it) ground and two black wires. On the old switch, there are two screws, both the same silver color, and the little screw on the opposite side, near the top, where the ground was connected. On the new switch, there are two screws on one side, one brass and one black, plus the ground screw, which is also brass. Could I have the black wires on the wrong screws? If I switch them as a test and they end up on the wrong screws, what will happen when I turn the power back on?

The switch is ordinary. Not a 3-way or dimmer.

I suspected that I might have a "packing problem" so I double checked that a couple of times and can't make it work no matter how I re-arrange the wires.

My next step is to play with the GFI packing, just in case that is throwing it off for some reason. Perhaps the electric for the switch comes through the GFI?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 06-22-03, 12:38 PM
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On the new switch, there are two screws on one side, one brass and one black, plus the ground screw, which is also brass.
Two brass and one block screw is typical of a 3-way switch. Is there another screw on the new switch that you aren't using (possibly a green screw)?
 
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Old 06-22-03, 01:14 PM
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Two brass and one block screw is typical of a 3-way switch. Is there another screw on the new switch that you aren't using (possibly a green screw)?
Yes, there is another screw at the bottom of the switch and it is green. So this is a three way? If so, is there any way to use it as a regular switch, or should I just go buy a new one?

Thanks!!
 
  #6  
Old 06-22-03, 01:45 PM
texsparky
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You have already shorted out the contacts in this switch. Go buy yourself a new one and be sure that ground wire gets attached to the green screw.

Good catch Mike!
 
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Old 06-22-03, 03:05 PM
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Thanks very much, guys, for your help! I appreciate it!
 
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