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Old 02-04-2014, 11:17 AM   #1
bigdog
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Default Light fixture install issue?

Installing a new light fixture in bathroom, over mirror, and having problems, could use some suggestions....

Typical installation.....
Light fixture attaches to a metal bracket, which is attached to wall. Fixture and light came in package together. Used a metal utility box.

Light fixture has black (hot) and white (neutral) wires. Bracket has a ground copper wire attached to it

Main power supply Romex: Black, White, Copper ground

No brainer right? Have done many of these in the past.
Installed white to white, black to black, copper to copper.......
Simple right......not so fast...... Followed this connection, and no lights?

I'm thinking I have a grounding issue here....
I attached the copper wire from Romex main supply around a green screw on metal utility box, then to the copper wire on the light fixture bracket, and tied together with wire nut.

Because of my particular configuration (because of close quarters), I could not attach the fixture bracket directly to the metal utilty box. Not sure if that matters? I had to attach the metal fixture bracket to the wall using plastic wall anchors.

Does attaching the bracket to the metal utility box, provide the actual grounding?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated !

BD
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:30 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
Does attaching the bracket to the metal utility box, provide the actual grounding?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated !

BD
Usually, yes. But I suggest you go back to more basic testing. Starting with, do you have a circuit tester or multi-meter? (If not, I suggest you stop now. Your first step should have been to use the tester to make sure the circuit was dead before working on it. If you know this already, apologies for being so basic)

Are you sure you are getting power from the circuit? I.e., if you test black and white wires, do you have current? You can also test the black to the ground which may tell you if there is a problem with the common (white) wire, or the ground.

Once you've established that the circuit is ok, then you are correct in looking for a grounding issue, or perhaps the light is faulty.

Does the fixture work if you plug it in somewhere else?
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:15 PM   #3
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Yes..... Started by shutting off power to bathroom. Come to find out the original eletrician who did initial electrical when home was built, tied all 3 bathrooms on same circuit.... And bathrooms are on 2 floor levels. What a maroon !

Needless to say, when I cut the power to the bathroom in question, the others go 'dark' ! Come to think of it, thought I heard my wife yelling from downstiars bathroom... Oppppppppps !

Don't have a 'tester' here, to test circuit. However, before I pulled things apart I had power to the old light fixture and now don't with new fixture.

It's possible that the new light fixture may be faulty, but highly unlikely.
Haven't tried reconnecting old fixture, but that would prove this theory, if new fixture is faulty. Maybe my next step ?

Thanks!
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:42 PM   #4
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Your ground connection is a *safety*, it does not carry any current. You do not need a ground connection for the lights to work (but you do need/want it for safety reasons).

It sounds like a basic wiring issue, might be the wires in the fixture are broken or something, but the solution to your problem does not lie in the ground.

IF connecting the ground wire makes it work, that would indicate your NEUTRAL wire is faulty somewhere and current from the hot wire is returning via the ground. This is a bad thing as it would also mean the metal fixture is energized and is a shock hazard.
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:55 PM   #5
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You also need to verify if the feed comes into the switch first or the fixture first. How you use the white and black wires in each situation differs.

For instance, the white wire that comes up from the switch in a fixture feed first installation, is being used to create the current loop for that fixture only, by feeding or receiving current to the switch.

In the more common wiring method of the feed coming to the switch first, the white wire is used to "link" all the fixtures on that light circuit (it is more technical than that, but not really needed in my example).
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:23 PM   #6
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Have a circuit tester at other house, but not available now.

If I purchase a new circuit-tester, I assume, I would be testing black & white wires from main Romex source for 110-voltage....

Correct?

Thanks
BD
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Old 02-04-2014, 02:25 PM   #7
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This is a handy non contact voltage tester.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-Too...1SEN/100661787

Of course it is not as useful as a VOM but you can make quick tests of insulated wire. It detects the electromagnet field of AC voltage. It would not verify the continuity of the common or ground wires.
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Old 02-04-2014, 02:48 PM   #8
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perhaps the GFCI has triggered, interrupting power to the light.

perhaps the light is on a GFCI circuit fed from an outlet in another bathroom, then maybe it has popped. This would explain why there's no power even though the breaker is on.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loony View Post
perhaps the GFCI has triggered, interrupting power to the light.

perhaps the light is on a GFCI circuit fed from an outlet in another bathroom, then maybe it has popped. This would explain why there's no power even though the breaker is on.
This. But get a tester...or a new hairdo!
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Old 02-05-2014, 12:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loony View Post
perhaps the GFCI has triggered, interrupting power to the light.

perhaps the light is on a GFCI circuit fed from an outlet in another bathroom, then maybe it has popped. This would explain why there's no power even though the breaker is on.
Definitely check for tripped gfci's. I pulled my hair one day until I found a tripped gfci. They can be tripped even by pounding action around the outlet during construction.
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Old 02-05-2014, 03:50 PM   #11
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Thanks SIKSUKR you discovered my issue.... Tripped GFC was the issue, didnt ever think to look at that?

Note to self...... 'Think simple and look for the obvious' !

Thanks again for everyones comments.....

BD
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:31 PM   #12
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I own a condo that has three floors.
In the master bath on the top floor the power quit.
After an hour of confusion and copious use of "verbal lubrication" my neighbor stopped by and showed me the problem.
There is a GFCI receptacle in the garage that was tripped.
The master bath is powered downstream from it.


GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8gv View Post
I own a condo that has three floors.
In the master bath on the top floor the power quit.
After an hour of confusion and copious use of "verbal lubrication" my neighbor stopped by and showed me the problem.
There is a GFCI receptacle in the garage that was tripped.
The master bath is powered downstream from it.


GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
HA, now I don't feel like a big fool, or at least I'm in good company. A few years back we got new phones that wouldn't charge. We brought them back and they were replaced. When the new ones wouldn't charge either I had a feeling that there was something wrong with the outlet...sure 'nuff...no juice. Pressed the reset button and all was good again!! Took me a while to figure that out. Actually called an electrician friend wo "solved" the problem. We had a good laugh over it.
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Old 02-06-2014, 11:48 AM   #14
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GFCI cause lots of problems, and quite often there are some weird not so straight forward wiring practices used.

I myself have a porch light and outlet, that are tied to a GFCI back in my bathroom... It is a code issue, here in Ma. And Rather then run another circuit, and put in a GFCI curcuit breaker the short cut was to wire it to the outlet in the Bathroom.

In talking to the Home inspector this was done quite often.....

The bottom line is look at the situation logically... You know you have wired a fixture up correctly... The old fixture worked, the new one doesn't....

next step is always to verify something on the same breaker is working.....
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8gv View Post
I own a condo that has three floors.
In the master bath on the top floor the power quit.
After an hour of confusion and copious use of "verbal lubrication" my neighbor stopped by and showed me the problem.
There is a GFCI receptacle in the garage that was tripped.
The master bath is powered downstream from it.


GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
My condo has the kitchen, bathrooms and garage connected to the GFCI unit on the sundeck! It was built in the late 70's so I guess that was code. I guess not! There is a condo built in the early 2000 that was wired the same way but with the GFCI in the garage! You would think it would be in the code by then.

Did you know, a Laconia native invented the GFCI? I just found out when I read the obits. His daughter was my sister's best friend.

http://laconiadailysun.com/index.php...l-m-johnson-74
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroadHopper View Post
My condo has the kitchen, bathrooms and garage connected to the GFCI unit on the sundeck! It was built in the late 70's so I guess that was code. I guess not! There is a condo built in the early 2000 that was wired the same way but with the GFCI in the garage! You would think it would be in the code by then.

Did you know, a Laconia native invented the GFCI? I just found out when I read the obits. His daughter was my sister's best friend.

http://laconiadailysun.com/index.php...l-m-johnson-74
That's not what I was taught when I went to engineering school. I always understood that it was Charles Dalziel who invented the Ground Fault Current Interrupter.
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
That's not what I was taught when I went to engineering school. I always understood that it was Charles Dalziel who invented the Ground Fault Current Interrupter.
Charles Dalziel's patent can be found here:
http://www.google.com/patents/US3213321
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Old 02-06-2014, 03:37 PM   #18
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Default Sensor for the Ground Fault Interruptor

https://www.google.com/patents/US368...ed=0CGsQ6AEwCA

Me bad, it was not GFCI but the sensor.
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Old 02-07-2014, 11:15 AM   #19
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This happenned to me once. Took an hour of detaching/re-attaching and a couple testers before I replaced the bulb that came with the fixture.



Don't tell anyone.
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Old 02-07-2014, 09:45 PM   #20
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Back when GFI first came out they were quite expensive. It was not uncommon to run all the loads that were required to be protected thru one device. That's not the case today.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:04 AM   #21
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If you follow the circuit out of the breakers, you may find a junction box where the wires split out to each bathroom. If you have space in your c/b box you can separate the circuits and just run new wires from the c/b's to that junction but I'd suggest a separate junction box for each of those connections. In some places 'code' may require it but it will help you keep it all clear in your head.

My house was supposedly re-wired by a professional but I've found and fixed a few short-cuts over the years. Since your house hasn't burned down yet, it's probably all safe but keep your eyes open during projects in case there are more deficiencies.

Some day when your bored.... Plug a radio into an outlet and turn it up loud. Go flick the breakers until it turns off. Do this with all your outlets. Normally all the outlets in a room will use the same circuit but sometimes when you need a new outlet it is easier to connect through the outlet on the other side of the wall. I have clip boards next to my breakers and the sub-panel to remind me what goes where. I also wrote the circuit number on or in the outlet/switch cover when I've worked on them.

Good luck!
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:39 PM   #22
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Sometimes it helps to flip the light switch on to resolve your issue !
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:38 PM   #23
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To me it would seem if a gfi outlet in a garage, in older construction, is linked to a bathroom the reason would be that the garage outlet was replaced at some point and a gfi was used because of the location of the outlet.
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