Outdoor light question

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Old 10-05-11, 09:44 AM
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Outdoor light question

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Yesterday I bought a new front porch light to replace an outdated one and the install seemed simple enough. I shut the breaker off, removed the old light, and began to install the new one. Wired through the junction box was two sets of white wires, two sets of black wires, and two ground wires. The second set of wires is for a flood light mounted on the corner of the house and works off the same switch. I finished connecting the new light, and put light bulbs in as it was getting dark. I accidentally put 60w candle shaped light bulbs in the new light, instead of 40w light bulbs, and turned the switch on and both the flood light and new light came on. (I didn't realize my light bulb mistake at this point, as the manufacture stated that highest watt to use is 40w). The light was on for about an hour when I noticed it was no longer lit. As I investigated, I realized the breaker had tripped. I reset the breaker, the flood light came on as well as the outlets on this same circuit, but my new light did not. This morning, I secured the breaker, and removed the new light. Turned the breaker on, checked the wires with a volt meter going to this new light and they are "dead". The set of wires to the flood light that were in the same nut still work??? The GFCI on the outlet below was reset and both outlets still work? I walked around to the bathrooms and the exterior of the home looking for another GFCI to reset. I reset all I found, but these wires still have no current? Would this porch light be connected to a separate GFCI, or did me using the incorrect bulbs fry the wires to this new light? Thanks again for your help.
 
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Old 10-05-11, 12:54 PM
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Ok, so I have been looking further, and I see an error that I have made. When using the volt meter I should only have one live black wire because the other one is a relay to the flood light and uses the porch light as a bridge. So i believe that electricity is flowing to the junction box correctly. Do you think there is a ground or something in the light I bought? Could this new light draw more electricity and caused the circuit to overload? I am not sure what would of caused the breaker to trip? With the old light it never did. There is a refrigerator running on this same circuit.
 
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Old 10-05-11, 01:28 PM
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Depending on how the bulb is oriented it is possible for it to burn out and the filament to drop down in such a way as to short out the circuit. If it was a CFL type bulb it is even more likely. As long as all connections are tight and weather resistant everything should be fine. Over wattage on the bulb should not have caused the light to blow out. The wattage rating is more for heat build up than anything else.
Are you sure the black wires are all together and the same with the whites? Also be sure there is no bare parts of wires showing after the wire nuts are installed. I would be more inclined to think that somewhere the wires touched and created the short. Even a nick in the insulation against the metal box or bare ground wire could be a cause. It would heat up causing the wire to contact the ground even more and break the circuit. After it cools down and the load is removed (blown bulb) it may not happen again. There are tight quarters inside those light boxes and sometimes a wire might slip between the fixture and bracket and become pinched. Make sure everything is as far inside the box as you can get them and that no bare part of the black and white wires are exposed before you reinstall the fixture with a new 40 watt bulb.
 
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