fixture hot but no lights

Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2015 12:47 pm
I have a kitchen light that tripped breaker when turned on i went to change it out and while unhooking the ground was shocked even though switch was off. After the shock i lost lights in all lights on this breaker but breaker did not trip. How do i locate where in circuit i should begin to look for problem? I am showing electricity to bulb on each fixture just no lights?
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Tes yeux noirs
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2015 12:51 pm
How do i locate where in circuit i should begin to look for problem?

You call an electrician. You already got one shock.
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Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2015 02:48 pm
The kitchen light is probably on the GFI circuit. The GFI tripped before the breaker. You can probably confirm by finding the GFI outlet in your kitchen.

Question: When you say "change it out", what do you mean? Were you replacing the entire fixture? How do you know the switch was off? Are there multiple switches on the outlet?
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2015 07:46 pm
Yes was changing fixture now everything on that circuit is hot 120 with voltage meter but no lights,
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2015 07:49 pm
That breaker though kitchen does not have gfi
Joe Dunn
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 09:26 am
FORGET the BAD advice about the GFI being tripped ...
1) A GFCI is designed & installed to protect you from electrocution. In the event of an deadly electrical shock hazard, caused by the use or misuse of a cord wired appliance, tool, or other device, that might pass through your body to ground - the GFCI sensing a current imbalance of 20ma between load side Hot & Neutral - will trip itself thus preventing electrocution;
2) - only a HACK would wire kitchen ceiling light fixtures to the load side of a GFCI Receptacle. If a HACK had done that ... you would have already been inundated with nuisance tripping of the GFCI and knew to reset that GFCI;
3) - a properly installed, hardwired & grounded, ceiling mounted light fixture that becomes energized will result in a Direct Ground Fault Condition thus tripping the overload protection device, circuit breaker, on that branch circuit.

Regarding your problem - if all of the none working light fixtures are hot, not controlled by the same single wall switch ... you need to actually measure the voltage at each fixture with a Digital Multi-meter. As you move from light to light note which switch or switches control the presence or absence of power.

Power the meter on and verify that it's set to measure AC VOLTS. At each fixture first measure and record the Voltage on the Hot to Neutral conductors. Then measure and record the Voltage on the Hot to Ground conductors.

On a properly wired circuit you should be measuring 120V on each set of readings.

If your Hot to Ground readings are all 120V and/or one or more Hot to Neutral readings are not 120V ... you might have found the Open Neutral condition at or between that string of light fixtures ... get back to us for further instructions.

The circuit is HOT so USE CARE while making the measurements. If you observe any loose or broken wires please take a picture and post them back here.

If the other lights were working prior to removing the suspected bad light fixture - then the problem is probably an open "Neutral" white conductor in that ceiling box where you got shocked. This is what might have happen ...

1) When you removed the light fixture and got shocked - maybe you pulled on and loosened or disconnected one or more of the multiple white "Neutral" conductors that were under the wire nut. You had to undo that wire nut to remove the white "Neutral" conductor from the fixture's lamp socket.

Do not confused the role of the white "Neutral" conductors with that of the bare copper/green ground conductors in that ceiling box. You need the white "Neutral" conductor to complete the circuit. The bare copper/green conductor must be kept isolated from the white "Neutral" conductors. The bare copper/green conductors are for that fixtures Ground Fault Protection.

Assuming that power for the light fixtures is fed from the ceiling box and you have a Romex Cable for the "Switch Loop" that I'm calling Cable(X) with (1)Black, (1)White, and (1)Bare Copper conductors between the ceiling box/fixture and a single pole wall switch controlling ONLY the fixture you replaced...

- then -

you will have the following wiring configuration:

1) Power(Blk)=> Ceiling Box=> Cable(X) Wht=> SinglePole Switch(top screw)
NEC NOTE: The White conductor of Cable(X) being used in a Switch Loop MUST be re-identified(marked with a black trace to indicate that it is being used as a ungrounded HOT conductor in a Switched Loop) on both ends(Ceiling Box & Switch)

2) Single Pole Switch(bottom screw)=> Cable(X) Blk(Switched Hot)

3) Cable(X) Blk(Switched Hot)=> Ceiling Box=> Blk conductor of fixture

4) Wht conductor of the fixture=> Wht "Neutral" conductor(s) in Ceiling Box.

Two other wire conditions might exist -

1) Power could be fed from a Switch and the open "Neutral" condition is at the Switch Box.
2) You might have a 3-Way switch controlling these light fixtures with an open "Neutral" at either one of the Switch Boxes or one or more ceiling boxes.

Hope this helps ... let us know how you make out!
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