Dead Circuit- why?

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  #1  
Old 02-10-14, 07:05 AM
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Dead Circuit- why?

I had to remove a hanging light fixture to make some ceiling repairs and am now putting it back in place. The light, and circuit all worked fine before....

I forgot what circuit it was on, so I tested the wires and made sure there was voltage, and that it turned off with the breaker. All was OK. Then I reconnected the hanging fixture, pretty simple. Now when I turned on the breaker nothing works on that entire circuit. Everything is dead. Flipping the breaker has no effect.

I have never had that happen before that the entire circuit went out from replacing a fixture. There are no GFCI's on this circuit. The stranded wire coming out of the fixture, and attached to ground wire in box, looks to have a partial break in it. Would a lack of ground (in the fixture only) cause this problem? The circuit is still grounded at the box regardless of how the light is connected, right?

Should I replace the fixture ground wire and see if that helps? Any other ideas?

Thanks.
 
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Old 02-10-14, 07:18 AM
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Would a lack of ground (in the fixture only) cause this problem?
No. I'd try removing the fixture and putting everything back as it was and see if the power to the circuit will restore. You just mention "flipping" the breakers, were any of them tripped? Does the circuit breaker in question trip as you try to reset it? Are you firmly pushing each breaker to the "OFF" position to reset any breaker that may be tripped?
 
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Old 02-10-14, 07:31 AM
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No breakers are/were tripped, I checked that several times. The circuit doesn't trip when I reset it. The other lights on the circuit, and the one I am hanging just don't work.

That was my next thought, removing the fixture again to see if the condition is restored. The thing is the fixture is heavy and not easy to get up and down! Don't see any way around it.

Any other thoughts? How can one junction box with three wires be taking out the power to the entire circuit? The other fixtures are on their own switches.
 
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Old 02-10-14, 07:55 AM
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Any other thoughts? How can one junction box with three wires be taking out the power to the entire circuit? The other fixtures are on their own switches.
Something happened between the time you checked the voltage and when you wired the fixture. I'd take it apart and retrace the steps looking for a problem along the way. Something has changed, what is it? There also could be a GFCI device somewhere you aren't aware of that could have tripped. You could check this out fully before removing the heavy fixture. Something as simple as the ground and neutral wires touching could trip a GFCI device even with the switch off. If the proper breaker was off, this could not happen.
 
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Old 02-10-14, 08:24 AM
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Thanks again.

No GFCI could be located. I checked several times and reset every GFCI in the house (and outside) just to be sure.

As far as I can tell this circuit feeds- 2 can lights in the ceiling, the hanging light I re-installed, another wall sconce light, and the kitchen garbage disposal (hard wired). Each fixture is controlled by its own switch. Hanging light is on a dimmer. 1 or two basement ceiling lights are also on this circuit.

I was very sure the power was out before I worked on this. Checked for power, turned off breaker, then re-checked that the power was now off. Then I made all connections with power off, hung the light, and turned on the breaker. Breaker never tripped.

I will have to take it down, and simply retrace the steps. Was hoping I was missing something more obvious, and less labor intensive!
 
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