How am I NOT tripping the breaker?


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Old 02-02-15, 06:38 PM
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How am I NOT tripping the breaker?

Below is how the wires were hooked up. The feed on the left is the feed from box and the top nm cable goes to individual lights:

Full resolution:[IMG] http://i.imgur.com/AXhEfAP.png [/IMG]

1= Kitchen Light #1
2= Kitchen Light #2
3= Outside Light #1
4= Outside Light $2

I started to replace my electrical switches today in my kitchen. Switch number 1 was "loose" as in easy to switch on and off with little pressure, so I decided to replace them with decora switches. All lights worked when I started. For some reason I am now getting continuity between the hot feeders on switches 3 and 4 and the ground feed from the left. I would have continuity on all grounds of course but the switch grounds are not hooked up yet.

Common sense would dictate that I must have either have a short to ground or neutral on 3+4, but the grounds are not hooked up and the wiring in the photo is correct. If there was a short to ground/neutral, or if I was switching the neutral for some reason, the breaker would pop would it not? I am afraid to hook it back up how it was because I cannot wrap my brain around how this ever worked. Can anyone help? Thanks.

PS: The original hot was daisy chained from switch to switch using both the ground and backstab on the same "position". Also the kitchen lights are fluorescent lights with ballasts and outside are simple floods.

[edit] Got continuity between (neutrals and ground and outside hots). Now that I'm typing this I am thinking the outsides have continuity because they are filaments and the inside don't because they are infact ballast...
 
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Last edited by striker1211; 02-02-15 at 06:49 PM. Reason: imgur link
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Old 02-02-15, 07:43 PM
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Not sure if I understand your question but in general use pigtails for your hots. One pigtail to each switch. Do not use the back stabs. They are unreliable. Do the same with the grounds.
 
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Old 02-02-15, 08:07 PM
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Update: I'm a dummy. Everything was fine. Of course the blacks on 3 and 4 had continuity to ground because they were connecting to neutral through the bulb. I was worried over nothing. Instead of a ton of pigtails I ended up using one continuous hot wire with the sheathing stripped in a roughly 1" spot. The light no longer flicker like they did with the old backstabs and good connections all around. I hate backstabbers haha.
 
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Old 02-02-15, 08:23 PM
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Backstabs are a problem. I cannot tell you how many times I've pulled a receptacle out of the wall just to do some work or get a view and the wires just fall out.
The funny thing is when you want the wires to release they won't. As far as continuity goes, reserve that for tracing wires and not for testing if a device is wired properly.
 
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Old 02-02-15, 09:11 PM
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The funny thing is when you want the wires to release they won't.
Exactly.... and sometimes with a little tool pressed in they still wont release.
 
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Old 02-02-15, 10:52 PM
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Indeed I broke 6 out of 8 backstabs when I pushed a small flathead screwdriver in to release the wire. The plastic disintegrated.

If anyone is still reading this thread:

How tight should I screw the screw down on the terminal? I torque it until I cannot turn anymore without feeling like it is going to break.
 
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Old 02-02-15, 11:06 PM
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How tight should I screw the screw down on the terminal? I torque it until I cannot turn anymore without feeling like it is going to break.
That's not tight enough. You need to tighten it until it breaks and then back off one-half turn.

Seriously, medium tight, not so tight that it hurts your wrist.
 
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Old 02-03-15, 12:26 PM
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Haha. Thanks for the info.
 
 

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