New light fixture started blowing breaker

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  #1  
Old 03-30-06, 07:54 PM
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New light fixture started blowing breaker

Hello all and thanks in advance for any help you can provide...
I recently installed a new 5 light track lighting set from IKEA down the length of my hallway. I had no problems with installation, and it worked without fail for approximately 1 week. However yesterday, this light started blowing its breaker whenever anyone flips the swith (including my 4 and 8 year olds!) I have grown weary of walking to the garage and I don't know where to start with troubleshooting. Any ideas???
Dustin
 
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  #2  
Old 03-30-06, 07:55 PM
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Remove the fixture and look for any wires that have become disconnected and are touching ground. If you did any work in the switch box check there also.
 
  #3  
Old 03-30-06, 08:00 PM
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Sorry for the rookie question, but could you clarify what you mean by "touching ground"?
 
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Old 03-30-06, 08:11 PM
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> could you clarify what you mean by "touching ground"?

-- in contact with any metal with which it should not be in contact such as the metal box or the bare copper ground wire.
 
  #5  
Old 03-30-06, 08:12 PM
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Basically, you have a wire in contact with something that it should not be in contact with. Make sure your ground wire is not touching a hot wire. Make sure a wire not hasn't came loose, make sure nothing but the ground wire and the mounting screws are touching the metal box.

Basically, the idea here is that the breaker is tripping because something in the box has shorted out. Be glad your breaker is doing it's job!


Now...if there is more than one light switch controlling this, and only one of the switches trips the breaker, I'd be inspecting the switch. However, it is far more likely to be at the fixture, unless the switches were also recently messed with.
 
  #6  
Old 03-30-06, 08:24 PM
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Thanks for the tips! I will wait until tomorrow to work on this so that I have some daylight to help. One related question however... My home was built in 1960 and has very stiff thick electrical line in all of the original boxes. I am fine with that, but I am wondering if everything is actually grounded as is required today, and if it really matters for this application. Thanks again for the ideas and I will keep you posted as to my findings tomorrow.
 
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Old 03-30-06, 08:47 PM
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1960 +-( You should be, and probably are grounded (BONDED).
What they did "WAY Back then" was to "back wrap" the ground wire. In short, Instead of putting the BOND (ground) wire around the screw in the box(or the "approved" method) they back wrapped it around the old cable and pinched it between the clamp and the box. You do have metal boxes, right? That IS your BOND (ground)If not someone or something has been changed. and if so post back and we can get it right for you.
 
  #8  
Old 03-31-06, 09:20 AM
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Alright guys! I pulled down the fixture and found that the insulation around both of the house wires had cracked and showed metal. I taped them up and tucked them back in, and we are bathed in beautiful light once again! One question, these wires felt oily and gave off a brownish blackish "sweat" on the wires. On the old stuff, not the new. Is this anything to worry about? I am not a big fan of moisture in my fixtures...
 
  #9  
Old 03-31-06, 10:55 AM
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Those wires should be changed. What you are seeing is the result of too high wattage bulbs being used in the fixture. Over time it cooks the insulation. If it is an attic above you could cut back the cable a foot and install a junciton box with a new length of cable to the ceiling box.
 

Last edited by joed; 03-31-06 at 02:21 PM.
  #10  
Old 03-31-06, 12:30 PM
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I believe that you have a serious problem, a fire waiting to happen. My suspicion is that the new fixture requires 90 degree C wiring, and your old wiring is certainly not this.

I suggest that you stop using the light and fix the problem You will have to replace the cable back to the next box, or install a permanently accessible box near the light and run cable from that box to the light.

If my suspicion is correct, you have a fire waiting to happen.
 
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