tripping a breaker

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  #1  
Old 07-02-06, 01:59 PM
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tripping a breaker - Help!

I recently installed a light in my attic. I ran 12 gauge to a junction box which ran a garage light and the garage door opener. After running the proper wiring to a switch in the attic and a light bulb, I turned on the breaker and the light worked perfectly.

However, the moment I turned off the light it tripped the breaker. So as long as the light was on everything was ok. The moment I turned off the light, the breaker trips. It is on a 15amp breaker and a single pull switch and a simple light bulb configuration.

Any thoughts? I checked my wiring to make sure I hadn't crossed anything. Thanks.
 
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Old 07-02-06, 02:16 PM
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A couple of thoughts:

I don't mean this as an insult so please don't take it as such: to help us make sure everything is okay, can you be specific about the wiring you did (tied what to what in the junction box, ran what to switch, light etc.

If all this was done correctly, it could be as simple as a bad switch or light fixture, or perhaps the wiring you tapped into was not done properly and now your proper addition is causing a problem in the circuit.
 
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Old 07-02-06, 02:37 PM
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No offense taken.

I ran 12g romex from a junction box to a newly created single pull switch. In the old junction box, it had the line from the switch from the wall in the garage, the line to the garage door opener and the line to the light in the garage. I just tied my ground, neutral and hot to those.

In the switch box I had the line that I tied to the existing junction box and the line that goes up a stud to a newly added box with a light on it. In the switch box I pigtailed all lines into a single pull switch. I actually tried to 2 different switches in case the switch was bad.

Finally out of the switch box I ran a line to the newly created light box and tied the hots and neutrals together. the new light box didnt have a ground so I tied the ground wire to the screw attached to the stud. I'm not sure if that would cause the problem or not.

Again I dont know what the problem is but its almost like the hots and neutrals are reversed somewhere and causing the 15amp to trip when the light is turned off. I have double and triple checked my pigtails and connections and they are all clean.
 
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Old 07-02-06, 04:16 PM
ddr
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STOP. DO NOT DO ANYTHING FURTHER TO THIS WIRING.

I’m not sure if this is a just terminology problem and I’m therefore reading it wrong, but you may have done some seriously wrong (and dangerous) wiring here. I don’t know how much wiring you’ve done but if this a first time thing, you need some more research under your belt before going forward (again no offense, I just don’t want you getting hurt).

I’m writing a separate post breaking this down for you but am posting this now so you hold off on any further work until I or someone else writes you back on this.
 
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Old 07-02-06, 05:49 PM
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How mant terminal screws do you have on the new switch not including ground.

Your comment of
In the switch box I pigtailed all lines into a single pull switch.
concerns me. The neutral should not be attatched to the switch. If you have enough terminals to attatch the hot in the hot out and a neut in there somswhere, you don't have single pole switch.

I may be misunderstanding what you mean but it does sound odd to me.
 
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Old 07-02-06, 05:49 PM
ddr
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Okay, I’ve had some time to break this down. Again, if this was just a terminology problem, hopefully we can straight things out. If this, however, is a wiring problem that stems from inexperience on your part, PLEASE do not attempt this project on your own; have someone with more experience come and take a look at things for you.

Now let’s look at this a step at a time:

I ran 12g romex from a junction box to a newly created single pull switch. In the old junction box, it had the line from the switch from the wall in the garage, the line to the garage door opener and the line to the light in the garage. I just tied my ground, neutral and hot to those.
You say the existing junction box has three “lines”:
one from the wall switch
one for the door opener
one for the light in the garage

When you say “line” I assume you mean a cable with individual conductors (wires) inside? So, assuming 12/2 cable you have nine wires in this junction box (including grounds) so when you say you “tied my ground, neutral and hot to those,” WHICH wires, specifically, did you tie to? The way it is worded it sounds as if you tied all the hots together, all the neutrals together, etc. This would be bad. You need to know what line is serving what purpose and which wire inside that line is serving what purpose.

For example, the existing wall switch line: is it a switch loop with the black and white both serving as hot or does it receive power from a line coming in and then feed out to the junction box with the black as hot and the white as neutral. Are there 12/3 wires in the junction box? Where do they go/come from? Where is the feed wire for these devices? If you cannot answer these questions, I’m sorry, but you should not be attempting this yourself as it seems you don’t have enough experience.

You need to find a line that has an always on hot conductor (not coming from a switch or switched device) and its accompanying neutral. If you cannot find such a feed line in this junction box, you’ll have to look elsewhere. If you do find such a line in the junction box, make sure the wire you add doesn’t bring the box fill (number or wires in the box) over the limit.

In the switch box I had the line that I tied to the existing junction box and the line that goes up a stud to a newly added box with a light on it. In the switch box I pigtailed all lines into a single pull switch. I actually tried to 2 different switches in case the switch was bad.
Assuming you have safely found a good feed line to tap, you only need 12/2 cable for this run. Once you have tapped the feed, run the cable to the switch box you installed. Another 12/2 cable will leave the switch box and go to the light. You do not need to pigtail all the wires as you said you did. The neutral wires, which never connect to the switch are simply wire nutted together. The blacks connect to the switch, incoming black to one terminal, outgoing black to the other. The only thing that gets a pigtail is the ground: wire nut the two grounds together with a pigtail leading to the switch’s ground screw (if the box is metal, you can pigtail to the box using the ground screw hole and a green ground screw).
(Just FYI, the switch is called a single “pole,” not “pull”).

Finally out of the switch box I ran a line to the newly created light box and tied the hots and neutrals together. the new light box didnt have a ground so I tied the ground wire to the screw attached to the stud. I'm not sure if that would cause the problem or not.
When you run the 12/2 to the light fixture, connect the black wire to the hot screw (brass) and the neutral to to the silver. Put a piece of electrical tape over the two terminals so the ground wire does not come in contact with them. If the box is metal attach the ground to it with a ground screw. If the box is plastic, I would try to find a light fixture with a ground wire and wire nut the grounds together. Don’t connect the ground to the screw holding the box to the stud serves no purpose since the stud won’t act as a ground.

AGAIN IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT I'M SAYING OR ARE NOT CERTAIN OF YOUR ABILITIES TO DO THIS JOB PLEASE GET SOMEONE MORE EXPERINCED TO DO IT FOR YOU.
 
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Old 07-02-06, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by kellerowl
I recently installed a light in my attic. I ran 12 gauge to a junction box which ran a garage light and the garage door opener. After running the proper wiring to a switch in the attic and a light bulb, I turned on the breaker and the light worked perfectly.

However, the moment I turned off the light it tripped the breaker. So as long as the light was on everything was ok. The moment I turned off the light, the breaker trips. It is on a 15amp breaker and a single pull switch and a simple light bulb configuration.

Any thoughts? I checked my wiring to make sure I hadn't crossed anything. Thanks.
1) typicaly no one has a problem with a switch in the off position.

2) What box and what do you have for cables,and conductors in this box.

>Cable= a manufactured assembly of more than 1 conductor. >Conductor= the wires inside the cable assembly, IE: black, white and bare copper etc..........(Wires and conductors can be interchanged). Wires and cables should not be.
So, when you ran your 12/2 cable from the garage, where exactly did it originate from? Also what were the other wires in the box servicing? Be as specific as you can.
 
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