Reconnecting Outdoor Light Fixture - Strange Behavior!!

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  #1  
Old 09-21-06, 01:23 PM
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Question Reconnecting Outdoor Light Fixture - Strange Behavior!!

I recently had the siding on my house replaced. When they did this, the removed an outdoor motion detection light fixture. After they reinstalled it, I noticed that the fixture and other recepticles on this (GFI) circuit were not working. Here's what I have so far:

1) Initally, I found that the GFI, not the breaker was tripped.
2) Since then I reset the GFI, manually turned off the breaker and reinstalled the light fixture (hooking black to black, white to white and ground to ground).
3)With the switch for the light fixture in the OFF position, I re-engaged the breaker. I came back and found that the light was ON????
4)When I turn the light switch to the ON position, the light goes off and the breaker trips. I've reproduced this same scenario using a different light fixture. This is a simple 1-way switch.
5)Everything worked fine before the siding and removing the outdoor fixture.

I'm totally stumped (as is the siding contractor). I'm hoping there's a simple explanation to this . . . Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to respond!!!!
 
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  #2  
Old 09-21-06, 01:39 PM
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Yes, there is a simple solution. You have a switch loop, and you did not connect the wires properly. Shorting a hot wire to a return wire in a switch will create a short every time.

I am guessing that there are two (or more) black wires in the box, and the same number of white wires. You (or the contractor) did not wire the light in the same manner as it was previously wired.

If I am correct, then do the following, if you have two black wires and two white wires in the box.

Determine which set of wires brings power into the box. This will be a black wire and a white wire from the same cable. Connect the power black wire to the switch white wire. Connect the switch black wire to the black wire for the light. Connect the power white wire to the white wire for the light. Connect all grounds together.

If you have more than two black wires and two white wires and/or if the switch was also messed with then you will have to post back with what you have and we can try to sort it out.

Side note: If the contractor did this, write them a letter complaining about their improper electrical work, and do not recommend this contractor to anyone. If you did this, shame on you for attempting something you have no idea how to do.
 
  #3  
Old 09-21-06, 03:53 PM
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Thanks racraft!

The undocumented aliens that put up my siding are the ones that attempted to rewire this. Their boss (the siding contractor) swore up and down that the two black from the house should connect to the 1 black from the fixture (same for white).

I'll carefully proceed with your suggestion. I considered trying that before but thought better of taking a pot shot at it.

Once again - Thanks!
 
  #4  
Old 09-22-06, 05:40 AM
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Thumbs up Fixed

I made connections as described and all is well. Thanks again! Thanks again Racraft!
 
  #5  
Old 09-22-06, 06:29 AM
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Please make sure that you determined which of the incoming lines is the power line and which is the switch loop. If you have them backwards the light will still work via the switch, but you will be switching the neutral wire, which is very wrong.
 
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