tried to wire new lights... but... NEED HELP

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Old 12-11-11, 03:23 PM
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tried to wire new lights... but... NEED HELP

My basement ceiling had 3 light fixtures wired to one 600W light switch. I recently ran new wire (14/2) and daisy-chained together 7 mono point fixtures (each allowing 75 max halogen lamps) to replace the 3 old fixtures. I connected them together in a chain... matching black and white wires as I went along... and ended where the first of the old light fixtures was (so that I could attach the wires coming from the light switch). It should be noted that several other wires coming from under the rafters met at this first box... and are twisted together inside of that light box. I left them as is... incorporated my new set of wires... and attached the final mono point.

I turned the power back on...

When I turned the light switch on, there was a pop at the switch... a spark... and no lights! It also tripped the fuse in the garage.

I went back and checked my wiring... it appears it is all ok. The big x-factor is a small box that was attached to the outside of the first light-box described above. It had two small wires attached to it running off under the rafters. A contractor had commented that he thought they were powering the door bell. At any rate, I had to remove those wires when I installed the final box for the mono point that was receiving the feed from the light switch. I thought I had re-attached those wires correctly. Just in case, I switched them... went back to fuse box. re-engaged all of the fuses... went back to the light switch... and....

nothing.

no pop


no light

no power.

The fuse box is definitely on.

So, I need help.

Did I blow the light switch (is it possible to do that?)

I am really frustrated because this seemed like such a simple procedure.
 
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Old 12-11-11, 04:49 PM
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First so we are on the same page you keep writing fuse box but it sounds like a breaker box. Is it a breaker box.

incorporated my new set of wires..
More detail please. At the switch is there only one cable with a black and white wire on the switch. Is there a group of white wires connected together at the light? If so it sounds like you miswired a switch loop.
 
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Old 12-11-11, 05:08 PM
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A pop at the switch is never good. Since you mentioned it is a 600watt switch I will assume it is a dimmer. You likely burned up the switch. Take it out and install a inexpensive toggle ($0.25) switch before continuing with your troubleshooting.
 
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Old 12-11-11, 05:18 PM
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Replacing the switch as mentioned above will narrow down where the problem is.
 
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Old 12-11-11, 05:26 PM
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@ ray:

Yes. I meant breaker box. Sorry about that...

And yes, only one wire at the switch. At the first light there is a group of wires. (actually 4 wires bundled white, 4 wires bundled black, and then a separate bundle of 2 black). Things are slightly complicated because of two things:

One of the wires bundled in the black is red.

One of the wires bundled with the white is black (it appears that the little box attached to the outside of the light box [the one that has two little external wires that run off under the joists] has two black wires that attach to the bundles on the inside of the box. One runs to the white bundle... the other to the black bundle).

I started to take these bundles apart because I was going to install a new box to attach the monopoint to... then, at the last minute I decided to use the same box and bundled the wires back together. I'm almost positive that I put those bundles back together. It's the two little wires on the outside of the box that I'm not 100% sure about (it was dark... one is thin red wire and the other one is thin white wire and they both look the same in the dark... I thought the red was screwed onto a right hand attachment and the white was screwed onto the left...

If I didn't attach those two little wire right, would that cause the problem?


@Tolyn: yes, you are right. It's a dimmer switch.


Would pictures of this situation help??

If I switched up wires by accident, how do I go about sorting them out again? This all makes me a little nervous. I've wired fixtures, etc. in the past... but I've never had a big spark fly out of a light switch at me! For a non-electrician, it's a tad intimidating.
 
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Old 12-11-11, 05:57 PM
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The small red and white sound like doorbell wires.

Can you look to see if you can see any areas that look like they sparked to another wire or a metal clamp or the box?
 
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Old 12-11-11, 06:03 PM
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Thanks for your reply... not sure I understand what you are asking me to look for. What would I be looking for?
 
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Old 12-11-11, 06:30 PM
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PCboss means burnt areas.

And yes, only one wire at the switch
I assume you mean one cable with two wires. That means that at the light one of the white wires is from the switch and it should be bundled with the black power cable.
I started to take these bundles apart because I was going to install a new box to attach the monopoint to... then, at the last minute I decided to use the same box and bundled the wires back together. I'm almost positive that I put those bundles back together.
I'm guessing you got the switch white in the wrong bundle.

Do you have a multimeter to do voltage and continuity checks with?
 
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Old 12-11-11, 06:44 PM
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I don;t have a multimeter...

Coming from the switch there is one cable.

I'm assuming that it has one white and one black wire in it... right?

Would the white wire get bundled with other white wires and the black wire get bundled with other black wires?


If I mixed-up the little "doorbell" wires on the outside of the light box, would that cause this problem??
 

Last edited by tsand72; 12-11-11 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 12-11-11, 08:20 PM
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I'm assuming that it has one white and one black wire in it... right?
What do you see when you look at the switch?

Would the white wire get bundled with other white wires and the black wire get bundled with other black wires?
If a switch loop the white wire from the switch cable goes to the black bundle of wires. The black of the switch cable goes only to the lights not to the other black wires.

Tech Note: The white of a switch loop is by code supposed to be recolored black or red or any color but white or green or gray because it is used as a hot wire but many tines it isn't recolored. If you connect that wire to a bundle of neutrals you are creating a dead short.

 

Last edited by ray2047; 12-11-11 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 12-12-11, 04:56 AM
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I'll need to look and see...

I do remember seeing a red wire. If I wired that red in with the bundle of whites, there's a good chance that I created the short that way?

Also, just to clarify... back to those little wires (which we are assuming are door bell wires)... if i reversed those, could that be the cause of the short?
 
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Old 12-12-11, 06:51 AM
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Also, just to clarify... back to those little wires (which we are assuming are door bell wires)... if i reversed those, could that be the cause of the short?
If you mean the secondary (low voltage wires) of a transformer they are not relevant to this unless you connected them to line voltage wiring.

I do remember seeing a red wire. If I wired that red in with the bundle of whites, there's a good chance that I created the short that way?
Yes.
 
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Old 12-13-11, 12:48 PM
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Okay, I checked the wires. There is a red and black wire coming from the switch. In the light box, the red wire is bundled with the blacks and the black wire is bundled with the whites. Also, the grounding wires are bundled. There are also two black wires bundled.

I've also gone to each of the other lights. At each one the the back wires, white wires, and grounding wires are all bundled separately.

Light 1 is wired to light 2 which is wired to light 3.... So on... All the way to light 7 (which is where the wiring ends).

I also didn't see any evidence of burn marks.

Is there anything g else that I should be looking for?

What if, the 5th light, the white wiring linked to the mono point appears to be bundled correctly, but isn't touching the exposed portions of the two other white wired (inside of the cap)???? Should I go back and take apart all of the connections and rebundle them? I did notice that the back and white wires associated with each mono point are much flimsier (made up of stands of smaller wires) than the much stiffer wires running power from light to light. Perhaps the wires didn't connect correctly somewhere down the line?

Thoughts?
 
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Old 12-13-11, 01:45 PM
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Should I go back and take apart all of the connections and rebundle them?
Yes that is the next step.

In the light box, the red wire is bundled with the blacks and the black wire is bundled with the whites.
That makes no sense. Is there a 3-way switch? http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...-pictures.html
 
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Old 12-14-11, 11:21 AM
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I apologize for my inability to describe this better... I am a total fish out of water here. I know this is probably relatively simple... I obviously goofed at some point. I'll include some pictures in this post.

Let me preface this by saying that that there is only one light switch. It used to turn on and off 5 lights in an unfinished part of our basement. We had a contractor divide that space in half. After he was finished, the switch only turned was linked to three lights (he added another switch in to control the other two. Fast forward to now. I wired 7 monopoints... 6 of the boxes that the monopoints are attached to are new (installed by me)...the only one that I didn't change is the one that I am including in the pictures. This is the one that has a bunch of different wires running into it. My intention had been to remove the wire that ran from the first light to the old second light and add in a new wire coming from the "new" second light (monopoint) in it's place. I'm almost positive that I did that. In my head, I thought all I had to do was fully wire and install 6 moinpoints... then cut the power... move the light box for what is going to be the first monpoint... remove the old wire that ran to the old second light... insert the wire that runs to the second monopoint in its place and voila! I would have a quick and dirty replacement! But, maybe I didn't wire it right. Something tells me that the problem lies here.. in the first (pictured) light box.

Do you see anything? This is so frustrating! Wishing I was an expert...

[IMG][/IMG]



Thanks. (very much!)
 
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Old 12-14-11, 11:58 AM
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Could you give us a picture of the switch box also.If I see the wires at the switch I may be able to solve the mystery. I think I see the problem but need to be sure of the switch wiring.

The black wire with the whites is from the transformer correct? If so in the future lets no mention it.
 
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Old 12-14-11, 02:08 PM
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Thanks for looking at the photos...

In answer to your question about the black bundled with the whites --- I don't know. I'm pretty sure that I found it that way... I wish I could go back in time and open up that light box for the first time all over again!

Here are some photos of the switch (let me know if you need more pictures... not sure if video would help... i could try that if you think that might be easier):

[IMG][/IMG]





It looks like 3 wires run down the wall to the switch.

For some reason, when our contractor split the 5 lights apart off of the switch (pictured) he left a wire that leads from the light box that I sent you photos of to the other two lights (that are now on another switch). But, I can only assume that this is all okay, because everything was working fine until I tried to wire in these 7 monopoints in place of the the 3 lights that operate off of the switch pictured above... I think this simply boils down to me having wired something incorrectly.

Thanks again for your time. I really appreciate it.
 
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Old 12-14-11, 02:53 PM
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Try connecting the red in the light box only to the black wire of the light and the black of the cable to the next light. All remaining blacks are connected together but separate from the light wires. The light whites connect to the other whites.
 
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Old 12-14-11, 05:49 PM
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Just to clarify... I should unbundle the wires that include the red wire (in the light box)... I should then wrap the red wire and the black wire from the monopoint AND the black wire of the next light together and cap those off (Red, Black monopoint, black next light).

Next, bundle together all remaining black wires (does that include the black wire that is currently bundled with white wires in the right hand side of the picture?).

When I'm all done, you're thinking that I should have four separate bundles in the light box:

1)grounds
2)Red wire + black from monopoint + black from wire leading to next light
3)All remaining black wires including the black wire currently bundled with white wires
4)ALL white wires
 
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Old 12-14-11, 06:41 PM
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Just to clarify... I should unbundle the wires that include the red wire (in the light box)... I should then wrap the red wire and the black wire from the monopoint AND the black wire of the next light together and cap those off (Red, Black monopoint, black next light).
Yes that is correct.

Next, bundle together all remaining black wires (does that include the black wire that is currently bundled with white wires in the right hand side of the picture?).
One wire of the transformer goes to the black bundle and the other transformer wire to the white bundle.

When I'm all done, you're thinking that I should have four separate bundles in the light box:

1)grounds
2)Red wire + black from monopoint + black from wire leading to next light
3)All remaining black wires including the black wire currently bundled with white wires
4)ALL white wires
Yes, with the exception of the transformer which you should treat as if one wire was black and one was white.

 

Last edited by ray2047; 12-14-11 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 12-15-11, 04:58 AM
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Okay... I think I understand the wiring... I don't quite understand the "transformer" references... quite honestly, I look at this nesting of wires and I see two wires coming from the light switch... two wires running to the next light... and two wires running off in the direction of the other lights in the basement (which are now on a separate switch). At the switch I see three sets of wires running to the switch. I'm assuming one set is carrying the power to the switch... the other set is running to the lights... and I have no idea where that third set of wires goes.

There in lies the difficulty of trying to explain something like this over the net, when I need the "2 year old" explanation!

A simple mystery, I'm sure.

My plan is to do my best to move the wires around per your recommendation... re-bundle them and then turn the power back on. The worst that can happen is that the circuit breaker shuts power off again, right?
 
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Old 12-15-11, 07:23 AM
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I don't quite understand the "transformer" references.
 
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Old 12-16-11, 08:59 AM
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Ray,

Thank you for your time AND your help.

I took the wires apart... re-wired everything... and IT WORKS!

Thank you.

Now, I have a new issue... three of the track lights came on. Four were out. It turns out, that the other 4 will turn on if you begin to dis-engage the track light and twist it out of the monopoint. The second I re-engage the track light into the monopoint, the light goes out.

Very strange.

I check polarity, and they all seem to be aligned correctly. The Monopoint bases and the track lights are all from a matching series.

Hmmm... ever seen anything like this?


Again. Thank you for studying the pictures and coming up with a solution.

Regards,
Tsand72
 
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Old 12-16-11, 10:08 AM
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Four were out. It turns out, that the other 4 will turn on if you begin to dis-engage the track light and twist it out of the monopoint. The second I re-engage the track light into the monopoint, the light goes out.
My first though would be faulty track or light. First try one of the good lights in the position on the track where the bad light was and try the bad light in the track position where the good light was.
 
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