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Energy Efficiency Light Bulbs drawing power with Switch off

Energy Efficiency Light Bulbs drawing power with Switch off

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  #1  
Old 06-12-13, 01:14 PM
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Energy Efficiency Light Bulbs drawing power with Switch off

I have just completed a wiring project where I added a few light posts to my deck and for some reason when there is no power to the light socket, the Energy Efficiency Light Bulbs are on but very dim. They are so dim that you cannot see them lit until it turns dark out.

Using the attachment of the wiring schematic, here is the scenario that is happening....

With the Main Switch ON which is providing current to the GFCI A outlet, and the Deck Switch OFF, the light sockets seems to be back fed from somewhere causing the bulbs to be partiality lit. When I turn ON the Deck Switch, the lights light up fine and go back to dim when the switch is turned off. If I turn off the Main Switch everything turns off as expected.

Any help in understanding where I have improperly wired my deck lighting is greatly appreciated.

Thanks. Todd

[ATTACH=CONFIG]13850[/ATTACH]

Note: All light sockets, outlets and receptacle boxes are grounded together back to the Main Switch which sits inside the house.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-12-13, 01:29 PM
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Do you have any timers or photocells on the circuit?
 
  #3  
Old 06-12-13, 01:37 PM
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The lights from the top switch appear to be wired in series or missing a neutral.
 
  #4  
Old 06-12-13, 01:43 PM
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No timers or photocells on any of the feeds.
 
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Old 06-12-13, 01:46 PM
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I think PCBoss nailed it.
 
  #6  
Old 06-12-13, 01:50 PM
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After the last light coming from the top switch, its neutral is coming back to the load (neutral) side of the first GFCI outlet. It might not be showing up in the diagram.

Just a quick note... As I don't think it is the energy efficient light bulbs, we put in standard Incandescent lights and the dimming problem goes away. They probably need more power to light up so I am still leaning towards I have something wired incorrectly.
 
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Old 06-12-13, 01:55 PM
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Thanks everyone... I'll disconnect the top switch from the circuit and see if this solves the problem.
 
  #8  
Old 06-12-13, 03:21 PM
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There's nothing in your schematic that suggests a reason for the dim glow from the deck lights when the switch for them is off. If the pier lights are, in fact, wired in series, they might, in theory, provide a path for some voltage. The easy test for that would be to switch them off and see if that got rid of the glow. If the glow is present when the main switch is on and both of the outside switches are off, there must be a different problem.

I would start by simplifying the wiring. You show three GFCI outlets, with two of them fed from the LOAD terminals on the first. You also show that the feeds for those are switch controlled, and that the outside lights are fed off the LOAD terminals of the second and third GFCIs. This makes your system more complicated than it needs to be, and it introduces additional points where errors could occur.

Ideally, the first GFCI would protect two weather resistant standard receptacles, not two more GFCIs, and the lighting would be independent of the GFCI protection. If you can install a second conductor for ungrounded power between the main switch box and the first GFCI, you can completely separate the receptacles from the lighting. If that's not feasible, a pair of conductors off the LINE terminals of the first GFCI for the lighting and a pair off the LOAD terminals for the two other receptacles would do most of it.
 
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Old 06-12-13, 04:59 PM
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What switches are you using? Some leak current.
 
  #10  
Old 06-12-13, 07:56 PM
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Justin may be the winner. Do any of the switches have a night light that is on when the switch is off?
 
  #11  
Old 06-13-13, 10:58 AM
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Nashkat1 - Thanks for all the details and advise. I would love to separate the lights from the outlets, but the goal is to have the deck outlets turn on and off with the deck lighting. Their purpose is to power string lights that will be used under the canopies.

I double checked the wiring for the pier lights and they were not wired in series as my diagram suggested. They are wired in Parallel however their neutral goes back to the GFCI B LINE side and not directly to the GFCI A LOAD side. Could it be a issue with two separate switches sharing the same neutral?

Since the two deck GFCI outlets are already protected by the first, as you suggested, I'm thinking about replacing them with weather resistant standard receptacles if not just to free up some space inside of those cramped weatherproof gang boxes.


Justin Smith / Furd -Thanks for the tip. The switches are the traditional .49 cent 15-amp single-pole toggles that came with the 2 switch weatherproof cover. It might be time to upgrade to a Commercial-Grade Toggle Switch.
 
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  #12  
Old 06-13-13, 11:51 AM
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Could it be a issue with two separate switches sharing the same neutral?
The switches are not connected to neutral and don't share it.

their neutral goes back to the GFCI B LINE side and not directly to the GFCI A LOAD side.
Both of the wires for any load need to be connected to either the LINE pair or the LOAD pair of terminals. Lights to LINE if possible. The receptacles must be connected to LOAD.

The switches are the traditional .49 cent 15-amp single-pole toggles that came with the 2 switch weatherproof cover.
There's more than one type of "weatherproof" switch cover. If you mean the type that is sealed to a weatherproof box and never opened, and allows the switches to be operated by moving levers built into the cover, all of that including the inexpensive switches is probably fine.
 
  #13  
Old 06-16-13, 07:31 AM
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Found the problem. Silly mistake. One of the outlet screws screwed into the wire nut causing back feed problem.

Thanks to everyone for all your help.

Todd
 
  #14  
Old 06-16-13, 08:42 AM
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Thank you for posting the solution. It may help someone else in the future.
 
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