testing live wires caused big spark

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  #1  
Old 09-28-08, 01:23 PM
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testing live wires caused big spark

I have a light fixture thats gone dead. I thougt I could use a voltage tester..(a red and black wire with a red light) and touch the leads on the switch. Assuming it would light up ....my wife was going to run thru the circuit breakers until the light when off. I touch the probe to both leads and got a big spark and a scare.
What is the correct way to test if the line is still live if you don't want to turn off the main to the whole place.
 

Last edited by DarkSith; 09-28-08 at 01:26 PM. Reason: wrong terms
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Old 09-28-08, 03:10 PM
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You test from 1 screw at a time to ground or metal of the box (if it is metal)

You got a spark because you completed the circuit with your tester.

Good news is, since you got a spark you have power there.

More than likely the fixture/fixture socket is bad

Easiest way to test this is to shut switch off, take fixture down and put tester across black and white leads. Have a helper turn switch on for a second. If tester lights up you have power
 
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Old 09-28-08, 04:37 PM
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that makes sense...did i fry my tester? and how come I won't get the same scary reaction when I connect the black and white wire of the fixture?
 
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Old 09-28-08, 04:55 PM
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[QUOTE=rich3236;1437519]You test from 1 screw at a time to ground or metal of the box (if it is metal)

You got a spark because you completed the circuit with your tester.

Good news is, since you got a spark you have power there.

More than likely the fixture/fixture socket is bad

Easiest way to test this is to shut switch off, take fixture down and put tester across black and white leads. Have a helper turn switch on for a second. If tester lights up you have power[that makes sense...did i fry my tester? and how come I won't get the same scary reaction when I connect the black and white wire of the fixture?
/QUOTE]
 
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Old 09-29-08, 08:24 PM
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The spark won't happen again if you test the wires at the fixture, because you are not using your tester to make the circuit.

Take fixture down, and test the 2 wires that went to the fixture ( usually black and white)

check your tester on a known working outlet somewhere to make sure it still works
 
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