Power to a fixture

Reply

  #1  
Old 06-27-09, 10:16 AM
spidermurphy116's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 46
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Power to a fixture

I'm sure this is going to sound silly to you experts, but I'm stumped. A light bulb broke off at the neck and the end piece is stuck in the ceilng fixture. I have very carefully tried to remove it using needle nose pliers and even went as far as the 'old wives' tale of using a potato. Not surprisingly this did not work.Is there an easy way to remove this without turning off the power? (I don't know which breaker is for that outlet).

The 2nd question I have is this: I tested the power to this same outlet and with the wall switch in the off position it showed no power and obviously with the switch in the on postion it showed power. If the switch is in the off position and the breaker still on, is it safe to change this fixture?

Thanks
 
  #2  
Old 06-27-09, 10:40 AM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,524
Received 37 Votes on 34 Posts
Hi spider, until the electricians can jump in here and walk you through your problem, your answer is "no" it may not be safe to work on without identifying the breaker and turning it off. In some wiring arrangements, there can still be power at the light when the switch is off. And meters are often unreliable, so don't bet your life on one.

Just hold tight and they will come.

Bud
 
  #3  
Old 06-27-09, 10:44 AM
spidermurphy116's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 46
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks I didn't think so. But that comment about the meter is scary. So when trying to find the right breaker, I assumed that when a breaker is turned off and the meter no longer shows power that is proof that I found the right breaker.
 
  #4  
Old 06-27-09, 10:58 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
If unsure turn off the main breaker. When you use the needle nose grip the threaded base of the bulb. If it sill won't go you may have to use the plier to bend the bulb's threaded shell in slightly. I have occasionally had to collapse the bulb's metal shell in on itself to remove but you want to be very careful not to damage the socket.
 
  #5  
Old 06-27-09, 11:50 AM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
Oh, boy, I get to post THE SERMON!

When you first move into a new home (new to you) you need to "map out" the electrical circuits. By this I mean that you need to one-by-one turn off each circuit breaker and check which receptacles and which lights are controlled by that particular circuit breaker.

You need to locate each and every GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacle and know if there are any receptacles or lights that are wired "downstream” of this receptacle.

You need to make a detailed "Panel Schedule" that lists all of the above information. Do NOT rely on the existing panel schedule (if there even is one) because it may be wrong.

Keep the panel schedule at the circuit breaker panel and keep a spare copy with your electrical tools. If you make any changes in your electrical system such as adding a receptacle be sure to make a new panel schedule reflecting those changes.

This information is important. Some day it could save your life.
 
  #6  
Old 06-27-09, 12:17 PM
spidermurphy116's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 46
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Furd, I'm glad I was able to let you give your sermon. I know you are right and everytime I need to find a breaker I say I will do this. 17 years later, and it's only 1/2 done.

Ray, thanks for your advice as well, aside from turning off the main breaker, I did try that and it won't budge. I have no problem replacing this fixture (I've had a new one for quite some time).
Although it would be a little more work, I don't know why the electricians would not mark the breaker box when they are doing the initial wiring.

Does anyone have a comment on the meters not being reliable that Bud mentions.

Thanks all
 
  #7  
Old 06-27-09, 12:32 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,965
Received 6 Votes on 6 Posts
Wasn't "his" sermon, but we know where it came from (good ole Bob). But the message is sage.
As far as meters being unreliable in detecting power to lights, etc., it isn't so much the meter, but your ability to find a viable neutral or ground when testing. Using a tick tracer makes this a little easier, as you don't need a neutral to find a live wire.
Good electricians will make sure your box is marked and/or a separate sheet provided in one of those stick on envelopes on the door.
 
  #8  
Old 06-27-09, 12:49 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,113
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
One note..since it hasn't been commented on...
Your main won't move? Thats a bad bad bad thing! Forget the light fixture for now..you need to get the main looked at and fixed!
 
  #9  
Old 06-27-09, 12:57 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
"The Sermon" is my own wording but the inspiration came from a former moderator on this site who would always mention that an up-to-date panel schedule always needs to be present at the circuit breaker panel. My own panel schedule is a four page word document that I update every time I make any changes to my electrical system. I keep a copy at the electrical panel and also on every computer I own.

I know that "mapping out" the panel is a time consuming and boring job but it is one that has many paybacks and could save your life or the life of a loved one. When I moved into my present home the panel did have a very poor schedule done by the electrician that installed it many years prior. It pretty much consisted of "dryer", "range", "kitchen", "lights" and "outlets" and was just barely better than completely useless. My current schedule details each and every light fixture, receptacle and fixed appliance in the entire house.


As for that "main breaker that won't budge", you need to get this repaired as soon as possible. Usually replacing a main breaker is NOT a DIY job.
 
  #10  
Old 06-27-09, 01:19 PM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,524
Received 37 Votes on 34 Posts
I commented on the meter because we never know what you may be using and if you are skilled at using it. You sound all right, but you have to judge your confidence.

As for the main breaker, I am reading your post differently. It was still the bulb base that wouldn't budge, not the main breaker. I think?

Bud
 
  #11  
Old 06-27-09, 01:24 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,113
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
We hope thats what he meant Bud! You may be right..could be what was meant after re-reading it.
 
  #12  
Old 06-27-09, 01:59 PM
E
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,627
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by chandler View Post
As far as meters being unreliable in detecting power to lights, etc., it isn't so much the meter, but your ability to find a viable neutral or ground when testing. Using a tick tracer makes this a little easier, as you don't need a neutral to find a live wire.
This might sound obvious - but with a wire tracer or any meter, make sure you pick up current somewhere else first, on that piece of testing equipment, before asssuming it works, and/or that the batteries or fuse inside might be dead.
 
  #13  
Old 06-27-09, 02:04 PM
spidermurphy116's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 46
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sorry guys, I re-read my response to see why everyone thinks I meant the main breaker wouldn't budge, and I did not word that correctly. I meant, I hadn't tried turning the main breaker off, but did try the rest of Ray's recommendation and the bulb thing did not budge. Anyway I found the breaker so all is well.

Thanks again.
 
  #14  
Old 06-27-09, 02:09 PM
spidermurphy116's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 46
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks again guys and BTW I am a she., but please don't hold that against me.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: