One light out of four quit working with switch

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Old 08-03-19, 10:23 AM
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One light out of four quit working with switch

The switch at the top of my basement steps turns on four lights, two above the stairs and two separate bulbs in the ceiling of the unfinished section of the basement. Recently one of the lights in the basement quit coming on with the switch. The other three still work. What puzzles me is that the bad light works fine if I use the string hanging from it to turn it on/off, so it's not a bad bulb. And the switch still operates the other three lights, so obviously it has power.

Any ideas? Thanks!
 
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Old 08-03-19, 10:34 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

A pull chain fixture is not usually used on a switched lighting line. Typically a pull chain light is used in a remote area and is not needed to come on with the rest of the lights.

So if the light operates normally.... it may not be on the switch with the other lights.
 
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Old 08-03-19, 10:45 AM
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It is on the switch though. It turned on and off with it until a couple days ago.
 
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Old 08-03-19, 10:55 AM
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the bad light works fine if I use the string hanging from it to turn it on/off,
If it turns on with the string then there is no problem with it.
 
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Old 08-03-19, 12:11 PM
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Perhaps it both switch and string controlled. If you leave it on with the string does it go off with the switch.
 
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Old 08-03-19, 03:02 PM
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If I leave it on with the string, the switch does not turn it off. It used to. That's the problem. All I can figure is a wire somehow came loose between the light and the wall switch.

I realize it's unusual to have the light on both kinds of switches, but I think the prior owner (we moved in last fall) did some odd stuff with his wiring. For example, when we got here, we realized a light in the attic above the garage was always on. We couldn't find a switch or a chain for it because there wasn't one. Someone added the light and didn't bother putting in a switch with it. Oh, and the garage door safety sensors that should be mounted near ground level on either end of the door were about a foot away from each other on the ceiling. Safety first!

Thanks for the replies and welcome. I've lurked a few times but never posted before.
 
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Old 08-03-19, 03:29 PM
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If the wire on that pull chain was loose..... it would have to become disconnected from the switched circuit and then connected to the always live circuit to behave like it is now.

Possibly the light in the attic is also a pull chain switch and the chain got pulled out.
A fairly common problem.
 
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Old 08-03-19, 04:07 PM
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The operation of the lights with the basement wall switch and the light with the pull switch is not possible with ordinary on/off switches. Can you provide pictures of the wall switch and pull switch bulb socket (with attached wires) pulled out of their electrical box?
 
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Old 08-03-19, 05:17 PM
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If I leave it on with the string, the switch does not turn it off. It used to. That's the problem. All I can figure is a wire somehow came loose between the light and the wall switch.
I can not conceive of a way this would happen on its own. The power wire to the light would need to be disconnected from the switched wire and connected to the always hot wire. If the switched wire was to short to the hot wire the light would stay on but so would all the other switched lights.
 
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