Light switch trips breaker

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Old 09-26-17, 06:40 AM
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Light switch trips breaker

Hey y'all new to Do It Yourself forums. These problem just recently started. Every time I go to turn on the light in my 2nd masters bathroom or hall way bathroom they breaker trips. I have no hung any new recent pictures and I pulled the switches out as far as they can to make sure they aren't touching each other. It worked perfectly fine before.

Here are steps I've tried so far.
  • Pulled switches and outlets as far as they can making sure wires aren't touching
  • Turn switches on and breaker immediately trips.
  • Turned off switch
  • Reset breaker
  • Plugged lamp into outlet in 2nd masters
  • Turned on lamp (Lamp did not turn on) (No tripped breaker)
  • Plugged lamp into outlet in hall way bathroom
  • Turned on lamp (Lamp did not turn on) (No tripped breaker)
My experience working with electrical is mostly avionics type stuff. Pretty handy with a multimeter with tools all around.
 
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Old 09-26-17, 09:27 AM
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Did you pull the light the switch controls?
 
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Old 09-26-17, 10:07 AM
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Turn switches on and breaker immediately trips.
That doesn't make sense. Turning on one switch and the breaker trips makes sense. It would be highly unlikely that two switched circuits would become shorted at the same time unless it's a three way system with two or more switches.

You need to focus on what the switch that trips the breaker controls.
You also need to be using a meter or two probe tester.
 
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Old 09-26-17, 07:01 PM
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What do you mean by pull the light switch controls? As in pulling it out of the wall or disconnecting wires from the switches?
 
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Old 09-26-17, 07:04 PM
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So on the switch? What do you need me to test on multimeter? Continuity? Voltage? Also I tried throwing all the switches at one time. Every single switch will trigger the breaker to trip. Which is weird to me. I'm not sure if the breaker is weak which is unlikely because the breaker is less than 3 years old. I can take a picture of the wiring tomorrow to show you what I'm dealing with.
 
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Old 09-26-17, 07:25 PM
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What do you mean by pull the light switch controls?
No, what the switch controls, presumably a light. To pull means remove it from its junction box and look at the connections.
 
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Old 09-27-17, 10:10 AM
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I'm not sure if the breaker is weak which is unlikely because the breaker is less than 3 years old.

Is this a GFCI breaker? Assuming it is, it sounds like both bathrooms and the hallway light and receptacle are all on the same circuit and you have a bad neutral connection between the first load and the panel.
 
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Old 09-27-17, 01:21 PM
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@ray2047 Just to make sure I follow safety procedures right. I need to cut the main power. which is a switch on the top middle the panel before removing the breaker right?
 
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Old 09-27-17, 01:29 PM
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Does the breaker controlling this circuit have any type of reset or test button on it ?
 
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Old 09-27-17, 01:36 PM
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@PJmax it does. When the breaker is in the on postition and if i hit the test button it'll trip the breaker. When i reset it a red flashing light comes on. So i turn it back off and turn it back on again and the red light goes away.

@Ray2047 i pulled the breaker and the wires look good no corrosion. check the line going to the neutral bar and all seems fine.
 
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Old 09-27-17, 01:53 PM
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Ok.... that's a start. It's an AFCI breaker and it's probably not a weak breaker. It's probably not a light problem either. Like Joe mentioned.... it sounds like there is an issue with the neutral.

It's not going to be an easy fix. You will need to identify how the circuit is wired and start opening connections.

The way I'd start testing is to remove the white and black wires from the breaker. Using an ohmmeter check from black to ground and white to ground. There should be no continuity measured.
 
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Old 09-27-17, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
Ok.... that's a start. It's an AFCI breaker and it's probably not a weak breaker. It's probably not a light problem either. Like Joe mentioned.... it sounds like there is an issue with the neutral.

It's not going to be an easy fix. You will need to identify how the circuit is wired and start opening connections.

The way I'd start testing is to remove the white and black wires from the breaker. Using an ohmmeter check from black to ground and white to ground. There should be no continuity measured.
You are correct. I tested the Black wire and the white wire and neither have continuity measured.
 
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Old 09-27-17, 03:51 PM
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Hey everyone!

Solved my problem! I went to go check my terminals again on all the switches and outlets. Lo and behold I find the tip of one of the hot wires touching another hot wire due to it not being bent and seated around the screw correctly. Hopefully if someone has this problem this will help.

Thanks for all the help!
 
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Old 09-27-17, 04:38 PM
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Good job. ..................................................................
 
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