How to Repair a Light Circuit
Why are my lights not working? When I was replacing a light fixture two wires touched and all three of my lights stopped working. How to Repair a Light Circuit.© By: Dave Rongey
Problem with a Light Circuit
Electrical Question: Why are my lights not working?
- I have three ceiling recessed lights with a four way switch. I also have a closet florescent light.
- When I was replacing the florescent light fixture, two wires touched and all three recessed lights stopped working.
- However, the florescent light in the closet is working fine once I connected the light fixture.
- I don’t understand why the recessed lights are not working.
- If I take the tester and connect one end inside the bulb socket and the another end to the two prongs of the socket where it holds the socket to the box, the tester light comes on and the switch turns it on and off, But if I install the bulb, it does not work.
Any clue as to what is going on here? How can I fix the lights?
Background: Gautam, a Homeowner from Lilburn, Georgia.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Gautam.
Repairing a Light Circuit
Application: Troubleshooting and Testing Electrical Circuit Wiring for a Light Circuit.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with hand tools and electrical troubleshooting skills.
Precaution: Identify the circuit, turn it OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any wiring or inspections.
Note: Electrical troubleshooting is best performed by a qualified electrical contractor.
Steps to Troubleshoot a Light Circuit
- First I would make sure that there are no tripped circuit breakers, because it is possible that the circuit may be a multi-wire circuit where one side of a 2-pole breaker is On while the other side is OFF.
- Circuit breakers may appear to be in the ON position when they are actually tripped, so turning the suspected circuit breaker all the way OFF then back ON will make sure.
- It is very possible that the reading that you are getting from your tester may be a result of a neutral feedback.
- The circuit should be tested with a voltage tester and not a non-contact tester, where the power source is tested to ground.
- I would start by testing the switches that control these recessed lights to make sure the full voltage is present.
- There is a remote possibility that when the wires arced together that this blew out a switch, so a voltage tester would also verify the condition of the switches.
Testing voltage while a circuit is ON is very dangerous and is best done by a licensed electrician.
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