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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never played with electricity before, but I have this scary a light fixture. If I thought my insurance company might pay me full-value, I might not have "noticed" the sparks. But multi-unit dwelling = multi-lawsuit. :rolleyes:

So...

1. I thought I heard it arch AFTER I turned off the power. Is this possible??? If this is in my head, then I'll just tape down the switch and take care of it on Saturday. But if it is possible that power is still getting to the light (even when off), then I need to remove it like now.

2. May I have confidence that I will not get zapped after the circuit is turned off? Should I buy one of those doohickeys, or just test it by turning the breaker on/off/on/off... I'd probably do that about 80 times before getting up there with clippers.
 

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if you can live without electricity in that room for a few days, just turn the circuit off at the board, that will kill all the flow to that area, and then when you have time you can work on it.

if you are uncomfortable working on electrical, get someone to look at it who is.

yes, it is my experience that you can have electricity arch after turn the switch off - happend to me a month ago when I was changing the fixtures in my kitchen. I just turned the power off then and took the bad fixture back down and rewrapped the connection with more electrical tape.

good luck
 

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If some idiot has installed the switch on the neutral wire instead of the life one funny things may happen. Switch off the power at the fuse box when in doubt. If you don't have a ground fault circuit interrupter, have one installed. They safe lives and homes.
 

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If the switch is off, you can't get shocked. (unless the switch is shorted). If you saw a flash, the breaker might be flipped already.
 

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Kristin said:
I've never played with electricity before, but I have this scary a light fixture. If I thought my insurance company might pay me full-value, I might not have "noticed" the sparks. But multi-unit dwelling = multi-lawsuit. :rolleyes:

So...

1. I thought I heard it arch AFTER I turned off the power. Is this possible??? If this is in my head, then I'll just tape down the switch and take care of it on Saturday. But if it is possible that power is still getting to the light (even when off), then I need to remove it like now.

2. May I have confidence that I will not get zapped after the circuit is turned off? Should I buy one of those doohickeys, or just test it by turning the breaker on/off/on/off... I'd probably do that about 80 times before getting up there with clippers.
What kind of breakers do you have? One for the whole place or multiple ones for different zones? If the light doesn't turn on when you flip the switch it's off...

--also make sure the problem is actually the fixture and not the wiring leading to the fixture. If that's the case you might get an electrician in to diagnose and fix it.
 

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lousylegs said:
buy a tester, they cost just a few bucks - believe me, better safe than sorry - as lame as that sounds.
can a light fixture actually electrocute you? I didn't think the amperage was strong enough...now 220 is another story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No flash

MR_GRUMPY said:
If the switch is off, you can't get shocked. (unless the switch is shorted). If you saw a flash, the breaker might be flipped already.
The breaker is on. Unfort, my home office is on the same circuit. I guess I'll take everything down in about 20 minutes and disconnect the light. I'll terminate the wires and then bring the circuit back up. Then I'll shop for new fixtures this weekend.

This is a new contrustion home. Builder used monkeys to do the wiring so it is very possible that they installed the nuetral backwards. I priced the fixtures and they spent $7.89 on this particular beauty. Faux track lighting...very fashionable. This fixture began its life by eating bulbs at the rate of 1/month/fixture (3 faux track lights). An EE friend recommended I wrap the bulb bases in tin foil to get a better connection in the socket. The tinfoil never came out of the sockets later and sometimes sparks, but I have never had the courage to remove it. In the last 3-6 months I noticed that the output is not constant and its gotten worse. Then yesterday it started arching and the base has a black spot on it.
 

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Kristin said:
The breaker is on. Unfort, my home office is on the same circuit. I guess I'll take everything down in about 20 minutes and disconnect the light. I'll terminate the wires and then bring the circuit back up. Then I'll shop for new fixtures this weekend.

This is a new contrustion home. Builder used monkeys to do the wiring so it is very possible that they installed the nuetral backwards. I priced the fixtures and they spent $7.89 on this particular beauty. Faux track lighting...very fashionable. This fixture began its life by eating bulbs at the rate of 1/month/fixture (3 faux track lights). An EE friend recommended I wrap the bulb bases in tin foil to get a better connection in the socket. The tinfoil never came out of the sockets later and sometimes sparks, but I have never had the courage to remove it. In the last 3-6 months I noticed that the output is not constant and its gotten worse. Then yesterday it started arching and the base has a black spot on it.
tinfoil can start on fire. Never heard to put it in a light socket before. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me, but I'm no EE.
 

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MR_GRUMPY said:
If the switch is off, you can't get shocked. (unless the switch is shorted). If you saw a flash, the breaker might be flipped already.
Negative!

In many older and even some newer houses, the lights are back-fed from the fixture to the switch with the switch breaking the neutral instead of the hot. This means that the light is off but still hot.

Kristin: I was an electrician for 10 years and I've seen some sh*t that is downright scary. If you're not sure, at the very least kill the breaker and use a voltage tester to make sure it's truly off before you mess with it.
 

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KenB said:
Negative!

In many older and even some newer houses, the lights are back-fed from the fixture to the switch with the switch breaking the neutral instead of the hot. This means that the light is off but still hot.

Kristin: I was an electrician for 10 years and I've seen some sh*t that is downright scary. If you're not sure, at the very least kill the breaker and use a voltage tester to make sure it's truly off before you mess with it.
probably a good idea if you don't know how it's wired or suspect it was installed wrong to begin with.

// How about the tinfoil in the sockets?

/// Also how hard would you have to work to get electrocuted by household current (not 220)? I've been shocked before and it was uncomfortable, but I lived. I suppose if you were standing in a pool of water and you grabbed the wires and someone installed a penny in the fusebox instead of a fuse....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah, a real live electritian!!

KenB said:
Negative!

In many older and even some newer houses, the lights are back-fed from the fixture to the switch with the switch breaking the neutral instead of the hot. This means that the light is off but still hot.

Kristin: I was an electrician for 10 years and I've seen some sh*t that is downright scary. If you're not sure, at the very least kill the breaker and use a voltage tester to make sure it's truly off before you mess with it.
I will definately do that. I'm getting ready to head to Home Depot now. Can you tell me, is there a way to test the wiring to see if they installed it funny from the circuit box to the switch and light? Basically, I'm looking for a way to know if I "need" an electritian before I hire one?

Its a really cheap light, so it could just be a cheap light that's gonna catch on fire, but if this is being caused by an incorrectly wired room, I want to get someone in to fix that.
 

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Kristin said:
I will definately do that. I'm getting ready to head to Home Depot now. Can you tell me, is there a way to test the wiring to see if they installed it funny from the circuit box to the switch and light? Basically, I'm looking for a way to know if I "need" an electritian before I hire one?

Its a really cheap light, so it could just be a cheap light that's gonna catch on fire, but if this is being caused by an incorrectly wired room, I want to get someone in to fix that.
Turn the switch off and take the light down without disconnecting the wires. IF there are only 3 wires (black, white, bare) then it's a pretty safe bet that you can just disconnect the black, then the white then the ground.

If you see more than just those three wires... if there are connections made in the box or if there's a red wire in there take a pic and post it.
 

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KenB said:
Turn the switch off and take the light down without disconnecting the wires. IF there are only 3 wires (black, white, bare) then it's a pretty safe bet that you can just disconnect the black, then the white then the ground.

If you see more than just those three wires... if there are connections made in the box or if there's a red wire in there take a pic and post it.
.....
 

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Bocephus Jones II said:
probably a good idea if you don't know how it's wired or suspect it was installed wrong to begin with.

// How about the tinfoil in the sockets?

/// Also how hard would you have to work to get electrocuted by household current (not 220)? I've been shocked before and it was uncomfortable, but I lived. I suppose if you were standing in a pool of water and you grabbed the wires and someone installed a penny in the fusebox instead of a fuse....
You do kinda have to go out of your way to kill yourself with 120V. You've got to be well grounded. Best not to take any chances though.
 
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