Multiple Recessed Cans on a Circuit Failed

Old 02-05-16, 04:51 PM
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Multiple Recessed Cans on a Circuit Failed

Hi all - just joined, because I've got a strange problem. I'm no electrician, but know just enough to know this is weird: 11 year old house, with 15 original Juno IC-22 cans in the kitchen on 3 way switch. After moving in, I replaced one of the switches with a Lutron dimmer. I used to be in the LED lighting business, so I replaced all but 2 of the 65BR lamps with various LED par flood samples I had around 2010. All worked perfectly until recently. And these were all the absolute best available on the market at the time - Solais, CRS, Lednovation (RIP).

First, the dimmer would no longer dim. Both the original 3-way switch and the dimmer would turn off/on to 100%. Then one of the two fixtures remaining with an incandescent failed. Before I got around to replacing it, 2 of the LED fixtures failed. The next day, 2 more. I thought maybe leaving the defective dimmer in was causing my LED lamps to fail.

So I go to the store, buy a new dimmer (C-L type - for CFL's and LED), bunch of bulbs, and start to replace. BUT - I find that none of the bulbs were failed. No power to the fixtures. Tried a standard incandescent in one, didn't work, but worked in other fixtures. Tried the "failed" LED's I'd removed in another fixture, and they worked. Tested the socket w/multimeter, and nothing.

So what could be the deal here? Nothing I can think of makes sense. Googled the Juno cut sheet to see if it had a thermal fuse or something (which wouldn't make sense anyway, since I'm using 6-8W lamps vs. 65-75W). Can't see that it uses them. Seems if a critter chewed the wires, the whole circuit would be out. Plus, the outages are scattered, not in a pattern that an electrician would likely have wired.

I haven't disassembled a fixture yet to see if all the connections are secure. Doesn't seem likely that 5 of 15 would suddenly work loose. But I guess I'll have to unless one of you can help me solve this mystery.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.
Old 02-05-16, 05:46 PM
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Maybe a bad thermal protector.

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Old 02-05-16, 06:36 PM
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Yes, that is a confusing set of symptoms. I'm guessing the dimmer thing is coincidence, but who knows.

Don't see any way to proceed but to open the dead cans and examine the connections.

It would not be unusual for the wiring to be in a non-obvious order because of desire to minimize drilling holes and lengths of runs. When doing a bank of cans, rather than wire from one can to next, I usually do it in a grid, with one run going through joists, and then a run down each joist bay picking up all the cans in that bay. Anyway, point is the order they are wired has more to do with the framing you can't see than the arrangement you can see.

If they were installed 11 years ago, they may have been some of the first to use push in connectors in the JBs; maybe you've got some that have loosened up.
Old 02-06-16, 05:43 AM
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You could have an open neutral. Make sure the neutrals are still connected well.

You need to start at the switch. Check there with a meter and see if you have 120 volts between the hot and neutral with the switch off, and neutral and the switch leg with the switch on. This needs to be done with a meter and not a non-contact voltage tester.

If you do then you need to work your way through the cans starting with the closest one to the switch.

If you don't, then you have an issue ahead of the switch.

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