tripping a breaker

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  #1  
Old 01-25-06, 07:29 AM
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tripping a breaker

moved into our house about a year ago and by the front door is the light switches one for the front porch light one for the light in the living room and a place for a switch(missing) I got a new switch and hooked it to the wires and turned it on, thinking it runs the post lamp with an outlet at the driveway.nothing happend changed the bulb, nothing tested the switch and light for power nothing. a year later after removing the sheetrock from the basement ceiling I found the wires from the switch upstairs the led to a junction box along with another set of wires coming into the basement from outside. That is why I couldnt get the lamp to work I joined these wires with wire nuts and tape went upstaires turned on the switch circuit breaker trips. I disconected the wires downstairs caped them off. my question why does the circuit breaker trip, could it be the outlet at the postlamp or the light how can I test it.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-25-06, 01:32 PM
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The breaker probably trips because you shorted a hot to a neutral. We may be able to help you with this problem if you post back and describe all of the wires in each of the affected boxes.
 
  #3  
Old 01-25-06, 02:51 PM
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Do not use tape when you use wire nuts. It is superfluous. A proper wire nut connection does not need tape.

You made two mistakes.

You connected a switch to wires that you had no idea where they went or what they are for. Never connect wires if you don't know where they go or what they are for.

You connected wires at a junction box in the basement and you have no idea where those wires go. Never connect wires if you don't know where they go or what they are for.

If there was a junction box behind the sheetrock in the basement ceiling, then a code violation existed. Every junction box must be permanently accessible. hiding a box behind sheetrock is stupid, dangerous, and a code violation. If you have any intention of using this box or these wires then make sure that you do not cover the box up, no matter what else you do.

What wires did you connect to the switch?

See if you have power to the wires in the junction box with the switch off and then with the switch on.

Verify the other end of these wires, which you think is at the post lamp and receptacle. See if those wires are wired properly at the other end and check to see if they are shorted together.
 
  #4  
Old 01-25-06, 09:13 PM
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from the switch upstairs to the junction box in the basement I have power. The wires are black, white and bare. the switch upstairs the white wires are conected together with a wire nut the bare wire the same the black wire is connected to the switch for the lamp post with a black wire a short piece from the porch light switch to the lamp post switch. Downstairs at the junction box black to black, white to white and bare to bare to continue the run to the lamp post. And yes I know not to cover the box up with sheetrock when we replace the ceiling. I found that when I was removing the ceiling to run duct work. And I use the proper wire nut I just take a piece of electrical tape up and over the nut and back around for my own piece of mind that the connection wont break. I will take all the help I can get, I need this light, the wife works nights and it gets dark outhere in the country. thanks again
 
  #5  
Old 01-25-06, 09:47 PM
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The wires are black, white and bare. the switch upstairs the white wires are conected together with a wire nut; the bare wires the same.
The black wire is connected to the switch for the lamp post with a black wire a short piece from the porch light switch to the lamp post switch.
Downstairs at the junction box black to black, white to white and bare to bare to continue the run to the lamp post.
I got:
(1) switch was previously disconnected for unknown reasons.
(2) bare wires connected.
(3) white wires connected.
(4) black wires wires connected to screws on two-way snap switch.

Correct?

So far, so good.
But you know nothing about the condition of the wiring.

How do you know that the wiring outside wasn't damaged years ago?





I used the proper wire nut - I just take a piece of electrical tape up and over the nut and back around for my own piece of mind that the connection won't break.
Again, if the wire nut tightened up until it wouldn't go any tighter, that's all you need.
There are not little gremlins that come along and loosen them.
This isn't a mental health forum, but I believe that it is bad to give into unfounded fears. So do not put tape on them.
 
  #6  
Old 01-25-06, 09:59 PM
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The next thing you might try would be to check the wires running outside for continuity. If you have a multimeter it should have a continuity or at least ohm setting, that will let you know if the wires have shorted together. Just incase you did not know, if wired correctly... Black-hot, White-neutral or grounded, Bare/green-grounding or just commonly reffered to as ground
 
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