IC Cans New - blowing breaker

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  #1  
Old 08-03-14, 05:31 PM
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IC Cans New - blowing breaker

Hi,
I am doing over my basement that originally had 1 switch (14-3 traveller) that turned on 4 lights in basement at top of stairs and by walkout had another switch (power from box) that turned on an outside light and the switch to turn the 4 lights on basement. I will say this had 2 zones (outside and whole basement) so it is easier for me to write. I am using 14-2 wire
A couple months ago, I rewired to have the outside light (1st zone). A 2nd zone that has 3 lights ( 1 CFL, 1 LED and 1 florescent work bench). A 3rd zone in a room that has 1 light and a 4th zone that has 2 lights. All the zones have 2 switches to turn the lights off and on except the outside lights.
Everything worked great until today. I am trying to get the rooms set to finish, insulate and drywall.
I have never worked with canisters that I bought from HD and bought CE T60 LED lights. I want recessed lighting in zones 3 and 4.
The 3rd zone - I installed 4 IC Halo Canisters - 6 inch. I went from the light that worked and in series went to 3 other canisters with the lights. I turned the switch on and blows the breaker.
I checked the push in connectors and everything is tight in canister. In the CE light instructions, it said to take out the wing nut, bracket and socket bracket which I did after it blew the first time.
I am stuck. The only thing left that i can think of is cut the push in connectors and use wire nuts which I have always used. Any help is appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-03-14, 05:36 PM
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Disconnect the new lights where they were added and see if the breaker still trips. Add a new fixture one at a time to see where the problem is. I do not think this is related to the push-in connections.
 
  #3  
Old 08-03-14, 05:37 PM
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The new style cans come with three push-in termination blocks. Did you wire them black to black, white to white and ground to bare or green ?

The blocks shouldn't be a cause of a short unless the wrong wires were put into them.
 
  #4  
Old 08-03-14, 05:50 PM
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I have checked the push ins 3 times All seem tight and all are white to white, black to black and ground to ground.
I have the switch out of the box right now.
How do I take the 2nd light in the series out as they use push in connectors which seem very tight?
Can I get the push ins out?
 
  #5  
Old 08-04-14, 06:56 AM
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Can I get the push ins out?
Pull on the wires while twisting back and forth. The solid wires will come out. Stranded wires to the can will not. Or just cut them off and use wire nuts.
 
  #6  
Old 08-05-14, 01:59 PM
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I now have only 1 light connected and it still blows. I even put the old ceramic cellar light back in and it still blows so there are no canisters involved now. I checked for loose wires in the switch box as well as the other switch box where the power is being fed. I checked for staples in the old line to the light. Everything seems fine. One switch is 2 months old and the other switch at the top of stairs where the 14-3 traveller goes is 22 years old.
Is there a way to check a switch as I am going out to buy a couple now?
I cannot figure this out.
 
  #7  
Old 08-05-14, 02:03 PM
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Check to see if a ground is touching a hot in the switch box.
 
  #8  
Old 08-05-14, 02:10 PM
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A switch won't trip a breaker if correctly wired. If the switch was bad the lights would fail to work but the breaker wouldn't trip.To test as suggested by PCboss pull the switch out of the box and leave it hang with no wires touching. Turn the switch on and then turn on the breaker.
 
  #9  
Old 08-05-14, 02:16 PM
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I have the 2 switches pulled out of the box, I have the hots, neutrals and grounds pulled out as well. Nothing is tucked into the box. I do not see the anything touching.
 
  #10  
Old 08-05-14, 02:19 PM
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Then with everything pulled out turn the switches on and then the breaker. Does the breaker still trip
 
  #11  
Old 08-05-14, 02:24 PM
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Yes. I turned the breaker off, turned switch on, turned breaker on and it blew
 
  #12  
Old 08-05-14, 02:52 PM
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Did you change any splices at the light fixture? Was there a black spliced to a white when you started this project? Does the breaker stay on until you flip the switch on?
 
  #13  
Old 08-05-14, 03:14 PM
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I will go back to square one next which was working before I started these stupid canisters.
Right now, I have 2 wires to the canister attached by a romex connector. The wires seem fine.
I took ONLY the 14-2 wire that is the power from the switch and wire nutted white to white and black to black to the old ceramic switch and ground is loose which I think it was on Saturday.
The 14-2 wire running to the next light in series is NOT being used.
To answer your question:
1) I did not change any splices as I think I have it the way it was on Saturday.
2) No, just white to white and black to black, Ground was not used as it was in a plastic box.
3) Yes, when the switch is ON it always blows the breaker. If switch is off, breaker is fine and all other light switches work.
 
  #14  
Old 08-05-14, 03:27 PM
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Please tell us all the wiring at the switches and how it is connected. Do you have a 2-conductor cable in the switch box that when disconnected measures ~120 volts between black and white using a multimeter. Also while you have the wires pulled out of the switch box can you give us some pictures. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...-pictures.html
 
  #15  
Old 08-05-14, 03:42 PM
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Now it works but I am confused and concerned. I went back to square one. 2 weeks ago, I added an in the wall heater for heat in my basement. I ran it with 12-2 wire and put a 20 AMP GFI breaker in the box for its own dedicated line.
The main box has all the grounds on one bar and all the whites on another bar but it appears to be the same bar as it connected with metal. The GFI has the white wire but was not long enough to get to the common side. I put the white on the neutral side with the neutral
I went down and turned the 20 AMP breaker to the wall heater off and now the lights work.
I used a GFI as a very good friend said to always use them when adding new breakers.
I then turned the 20 amp breaker back on and everything is working as expected

Now, I am concerned.
Is my panel overloaded and why would turning on this one light blow that breaker?
As I said all breakers are on now and all lights are working.
 
  #16  
Old 08-05-14, 03:54 PM
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Breakers trip on overload or a short circuit. Since you said it trips as soon as you toggled the switch we can rule out overload.

I think you friend meant an AFCI breaker, not a GFI breaker.

The pigtail on the breaker should go to the neutral bus and can be spliced so it reaches. The circuit neutral goes to the breaker.

If your panel was overloaded the main breaker would be tripping.
 
  #17  
Old 08-05-14, 04:22 PM
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Everything is working now. My friend told me 12 years ago about the GFI and I did not know what a AFCI was until 2 weeks ago. I put in the GFI breaker. I think I wired like he did white and black from 12-2 to breaker, Ground to ground bar but the white wire attached to the breaker I put with the other neutrals as it was not long enough to get to the other whites. As I said, it looked like white and neutral bars are really the same bar as they are connected by a metal bar.
I am concerned why my lights kept tripping until I reset the 20 AMP breaker for the the heater.
All the lights worked fine until I added the canisters and put in a new Dimmable switch which replaced with the old switch as I was trying to get back to square one.
 
  #18  
Old 08-05-14, 05:44 PM
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Your whites are your neutrals unless they are on a two pole breaker and then they are a hot like the blacks.
 
  #19  
Old 08-05-14, 07:01 PM
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I'm coming in a little late but I wanted to clarify something. Back in post 13.... you said you had two wires going to the original light.

Did you mean you had two cables ?
If you did have two cables then one is more than likely a switch leg.
 
  #20  
Old 08-06-14, 04:45 AM
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In Post 13, I still have canister up with 2 wires going into it. The wire from switch (power) is the only one that I am using as I hooked old ceramic light with wire nuts: w-w, b-b and grnd is not used. The 2nd wire for the next leg in the series is NOT used.

in main panel for the heater, I used a dedicated 20 amp GFCI breaker which has the white and black slotted into breaker and GRND to bar. The white twirled wire built into the breaker is in the slot with the GRND as it was too short to go all other whites.

Everything works now but why did it stop blowing when I reset heater breaker?
 

Last edited by brianbo; 08-06-14 at 05:18 AM.
  #21  
Old 08-06-14, 06:50 AM
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The white pigtail can be extended to reach the bus. It cannot share the same hole as another conductor.
 
  #22  
Old 08-06-14, 06:25 PM
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in main panel for the heater, I used a dedicated 20 amp GFCI breaker
Why? You do not need GFCI protection for a heater.
 
  #23  
Old 09-10-14, 03:38 PM
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Now, I am back to square one as it is blowing on me again after 40 days. I have this wired like the electrician did at least I think I do. HA HA that is why it is killing me.
Power from the Panel goes into BOX 1 and BOX 1 has a single outside light and a 3 way which both work.
3 Way is wired by
Black from power (panel) tied to 14-3 Black along with other blacks tied
White from power (panel) tied to all 14-2 whites except traveller's white
Traveller # 1 (14-3) white and red are each on the common screws of 14-3 switch
Light's Black is on the black screw of 14-3 switch.

Power is fed to BOX 2 from BOX 1.
Traveller # 1 from box 1 is tied directly to 3 way switch from BOX 1. This switch works great
Traveller # 1 has Red and white on common (brass) screws and Black on Black screw.
Black from power (box 1) tied to 14-3 Black along with other blacks
White from power (box 1) tied to all 14-2 whites except traveller's whites .
Traveller # 2 white and red are each on the common screws of 14-3 switch
Light's Black is on the black screw of 14-3 switch.
Traveller # 2 goes directly to switch at top of stairs. It has Red and white on common (brass) screws and Black on Black screw from 22 years ago.
Light # 2 / Traveller # 2 is the issue. It blows every time it is used.

Power is fed to BOX 3 from BOX 2.
This box is wired the same way and has 1 power wire coming in, 2nd wire to light, and traveller # 3 to another switch. It works

Outside light works. Traveller (LIGHT) # 1 and 3 work. But traveller (LIGHT) # 2 does not work.

I am stuck. Any help is appreciated.
To answer CasualJoe, my friend 12 years ago said just always use a GFCI breaker so when I have added a new breaker then I have used them

On this breaker i have
Box 1 = 2 switches
Outside light
Traveller # 1 - CFL light, LED light and a flourescent work light
Box 2 = 2 switches
Traveller # 1 - CFL light, LED light and a flourescent work light
Traveller # 2 - 4 LED Cannister does not work
BOX 3 = 1 switch
Traveller # 3 - 4 LED Cannister
BOX 4 - 1 switch only traveller # 3 from box 3
BOX 5 - 1 switch only traveller # 2 from box 2 does not work
All work except traveller # 2.
 
  #24  
Old 09-10-14, 03:57 PM
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I have to admit.... I'm completely baffled by your wiring.

You do need to get some terminology correct. You have a cable between switches. If you are working on a three way circuit then you have a three wire cable between the switches and in that three wire cable are two travelers. The two travelers are understood to be in that cable which makes it un-necessary to discuss traveler one and traveler two.

There is only one common screw on a three way switch. It is always the dark colored screw. The other two are travelers..... there is no traveler one and two.

When you wire a three wire way circuit.... you feed one three way switch. You put your hot wire to the common screw. Usually you send the neutral thru and use the red and black as travelers but that is your choice. At the other end, switch two, the black wire from the lights goes to the common screw.

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  #25  
Old 09-10-14, 06:57 PM
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Power is fed to BOX 2 from BOX 1
I got into this very late. As PJ stated, this is the most confusing thing I have ever read.

If you're having trouble wiring this don't feel bad. You are trying to wire one of the most complicated things you will ever run across in residential wiring. I say this because it sounds like you are trying to run 3-way wiring and power for additional lighting from box 1 to box 2 to box 3.

We already know power comes into box 1. We also know box 1 has a 3-way switch and switch for outside light.

Please explain the following:

How many cables (not wires) go from box 1 to box 2, and what do you want box 2 to do? For example, One 14/3 and one 14/2 go to box 2 for __________.

How many cables go from box 2 to box 3, and what is the box for.
Example, top of stairs for second 3-way.

From which box does power go to the the ceiling lights?

This would be easy if you didn't have 3 boxes. How is the other box involved in this?

It sounds to me like you are trying to feed another set of 3-way switches from box one and at the same time, continue your travelers from box 1 to maybe box 3.

Like I said, try to keep it simple, don't need to know where wires are connected inside boxes, just the overall layout.
 
  #26  
Old 09-11-14, 06:20 AM
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Sorry for the explanation.
Box 1 has a 3-way switch to control room 1 and switch for outside light.
Single pole switch for outside light
3-way switch for lights in room 1 that is used with a 3-way switch in Box 2.
Box 2 has 2 3-way switches. There are 2 wires going from box 1 to box 2 ( 14-2 power and 14-3 )
1st 3-way switch for room 1
2nd 3-way switch for lights in room 2 which is used with a 3-way switch at top of stairs.
In box 2, I have power going to another box that has a 3-way switch to control lights for room 3 but I will not include that as it gets confusing and I tend to write a lot.

Do you understand my layout for Room 1 and Room 2 or do you need anything else?
 
  #27  
Old 09-12-14, 06:00 AM
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Yes,
This is easier to understand now. Like I said, you are doing some "advanced" wiring.
I can help you but first I have a question of my own (I can wire the lights but I need clarification on one thing)

Mods: When extending power from box 1 to box 2 via the 14/2, I think the neutral on this one cable should be abandoned..... True? Or use it and keep them separated at box 2?
Basically Just use the hot wire from 14/2.
 
  #28  
Old 09-12-14, 06:31 AM
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I think the neutral on this one cable should be abandoned.
I have not been following the thread but sounds wrong to me. Both the grounded conductor and ungrounded conductor must be in the same raceway (sheath in this case) by code so the emf cancels out reducing heating of the wires.
 
  #29  
Old 09-12-14, 08:42 AM
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You Know, I thought I understood your layout but it's still a little confusing.
I'm going to assume some cables are where I think they are. You can correct me later but the principal's the same. This will get you started in the right direction.
On 3-way's, I'm going to refer to the black screw as "marked terminal".
The other 2 terminals are not called common, they're travelers.

Box 1.
Neutral will be connected to:
Porch light white, 14/3 white to box 2, 14/2 white to box 2.
Source Hot will be connected:
To 14/2 black to box 2, and 2 pigtails.
1 pigtail will go to porch switch. The other pigtail will go to 3-way marked terminal.
Black from porch light will go to other single pole switch terminal.
The 2 wires remaining, 14/3 red and black, are travelers and connected to two remaining terminals on 3-way.

Box 2.
I'm assuming you have the following: 14/3 and 14/2 from box 1. 14/3 to switch at top of stairs, 14/2 to lights (for 1st 3-way), 14/2 to provide power to yet another set of 3-ways.
This box may be where you went wrong, it's complicated.

First 3-way:
You use 14/3 from box 1 and 14/2 to lights:
White from 14/3 will go to 14/2 white to lights.
red and black from 14/3 will go to 3-way unmarked terminals (travelers).
3-way marked terminal goes to 14/2 black to lights.

Second 3-way: (and provide power downstream)
Use 14/2 from box 1.
Neutral, white, will go to:
14/3 white to box at top of stairs, 14/2 white proving downstream power.
Hot will connect to 14/2 providing downstream power, and have a pigtail to 2nd 3-way marked terminal.

The only wires you should have left are black and red from 14/3 going to top of stairs, these are your travelers. Connect to unmarked terminals of 2nd 3-way.

Box at top of stairs:

You should have 14/3 from box 2 and 14/2 to lights.
white from 14/3 will go to 14/2 white to lights.
red and black from 14/3 are travelers, connect to 3-way unmarked terminals.
14/2 black to lights will connect to 3-way marked terminal.

This sounds like what you're trying to do. Please post back results and if this is accurate to what you have.
 
  #30  
Old 09-12-14, 10:26 AM
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I appreciate everyone's help but I had an electrician for 35 years come over. He was stumped. It blew on him. He took box 2 apart and got it to blow. He took Room 2's lights apart so that only the first light was connected. It blew. He then played with power for rooms 2 and 3 and it blew.
He checked continuity between the first light in room 2 and the box and it was fine.
It then started working for him.
He said if it happens again, he would rewire everything.

He said it did matter but the heater I put in on a dedicated 20 AMP need a double pole breaker and I put in a single pole. I will fix that.

Brian, I appreciate your help.
The way I wired this was the way the electricain wired it 22 years ago.
My travellers were below. He said everything was wired OK as I was going to wire the way you suggested. All my other boxes are similar.
Box 1.
The 2 wires remaining, 14/3 red and white, are travelers and connected to two remaining terminals on 3-way.
3-way marked terminal to Light
 
  #31  
Old 09-12-14, 12:03 PM
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OK,
Thanks for the feedback. Good news is if you can understand this wiring, you can fix any wiring that may come up in the future.
 
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