Electrical - What the fuc............................


I dont understand this at all, and I have years of electrical experience.
Last night I was doing some outdoor work after dark and I got out a trouble light. Everything was going fine until the light went out.When I grabbed it, the light came back on. OK, I figured the bulb was loose and attempted to tighten it. It seemed tight so I just hung it back where it was and started doing my work again. As soon as I started working again, the damn light went out again. I picked it up, and it came back on. I jiggled the switch a few times and the light remained on. I hung it up and started my work again. Sure enough, the light went out. This happened several more times, and I was getting quite pissed by then. I finally changed the bulb thinking the bulb was defective. I hung it back up and went back to work. You guessed it, the light went out. This time it stayed off, and I noticed that another light on that same circuit was also off. I checked the breaker and it was on. I then discovered that the GFI had tripped. I reset this GFI and went back to my work. Sure enough, the light went off, and once again the GFI tripped. By this time I was really angry, and I plugged the light into a non-gfi outlet. The light was working for a few minutes when all of a sudden it went off again. When I grabbed it, I heard that loud hum which indicates a direct short, and the breaker tripped. I unplugged the cord and threw that trouble light into the garbage, and got another one. That one worked fine, and I finiahed my work. (I had not turned the breaker back on, and I used a different outlet on another breaker.).
When I finished my work, I took that defective light out of the trash and brought it in the house. I completely disassembled it, and found no broken or disconnected wires, no burn marks to indicate a short. I put it back together and tried it, and it worked fine. Even with the same bulb.
Why did it trip the breaker? There are no loose or broken wires, nothing touching, and no burn marks to indicate a short. I also looked at the outlets and everything else that could have been the cause, and never found anything wrong.
OK, this cord is haunted, I thought......
Well, if you thing all of this is weird, it was the next day when I walked into the shed in the morning and found the ceiling light on. This light is on the same breaker that had blown, and I NEVER TURNED IT BACK ON. I live alone, and no one else had been here. THere was not even one of my cats in that shed. Yes, the breaker turned itself back on....... I am not joking about this, the breaker was back on and the ceiling light was on.
I dont get it. This makes no sense whatsoever. I have had no further problems with that circuit or with that trouble light., and I even re-created the whole thing by placing the light into the same outlet, with the same bulb and everything works fine.
W T F ?????
Mark
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

Get a new trouble light.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

That Certified Electrician that lives above you is sending you a message, perhaps you should have a talk with him, before he plays more tricks.
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Call a priest.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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This probably doesn't explain it, but I don't believe in ghosts so I have to come up with some other theory.
I think you could have a problem at the circuit breaker panel. One thing you could try is to sniff around near the panel an see if you detect any burning smell. Also, you could take the front cover off the panel and look inside at the breakers and where they attach to the center bar. What I am wondering is if you have a bad breaker that starts to arc and go bad as it heats up. And, possibly that breaker is interacting with an adjacent breaker.
I had a house where the occupants (not me) said the power went off, that they turned the breakers off and on and it went back on, then a few days later similar events took place. In each case, they hadn't turned anything on or plugged anything in at the time of the power failure. I assumed that something automatic like a refrigerator came on and tripped the breaker. After the second time, they mentioned that there was a faint smell of burning. I had them turn all of the power off and not reset any breakers. An electrician looked at it (with me present) and showed me how there was a defective main breaker and how the arcing had actually melted a portion of the center bar that all of the breakers connect to. He replaced the main breaker but had to relocate it to an area that wasn't melted. He said that the problem probably was happening as the panel and breaker heated up, then would correct itself and reset because it had cooled down when the breaker was turned off.
So, just a thought, but definitely check it out.

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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

Why do you think they call it a "trouble" light? <G>
The problem could be a difficult to notice intermittent conection of a broken wire inside the trouble lamp's cord. If the trouble lam is still in "one piece" you might try plugging it in, turning it on and pulling, twisting and bending the cord all along its length to see what happens.
Regarding the breaker, don't take offense, but I'm less than a year away from celebrating my 50th college reunion, and I'm shocked, shocked at the number of short term memory losses I'm experiencing. I haven't forgotten anything serious yet, but sometimes I do things like walk downstairs with the intent of bringing back some tool from my shop and a can of beans from the pantry and come back upstairs about a minute later with the tool but without the beans.
You may have reset that breaker and completely forgotten that you did it.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Jeff Wisnia posted for all of us...

Uh Jeff about the $5000 you owe me is this a good time?
--
Tekkie Don\'t bother to thank me, I do this as a public service.

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ask the power company for a free check of their service meter. and inside, it's probably time to have your electrician inspect all the electrical panel power connections and breaker connections. and replace the haunted breaker of course.
snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

Not sure if you meant your breaker is GFI or if you have a GFI outlet. If the latter, try replacing it with another. I had one that was particularly sensitive and kept tripping for no reason that I was ever able to detect.
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wrote:

The GFI is an outlet, the breaker is just a normal one. When the "short" occurred, I had moved the light to a non-gfi outlet because I suspected there was a some leakage in light, and although I planned to check out the light, it was getting late, very cold outside, and I only wanted to finish my job. I know there is a reason that a GFI trips, but I just figured I'd let the light work and not touch any metal parts of it. Thus, i moved it to a non-gfi outlet. Thats where it was plugged in when the (supposed) short occurred. I know the sound of a short, when the wires all hum for a split second before the breaker trips. Thats what happened. I should mention that I was doing some sheet metal work when this happened and I later though that one of the tiny pieces of tin that I had cut, may have fallen into the bulb socket when I replaced the bulb and shorted across the contacts. But that would have left a burn mark in the socket. There are no burn marks. I carefully inspected the inside of the trouble light, the cord, and there is nothing that could indicate a short or burn marks. This is a garage and barn. I was working in the barn, and the wiring for the barn comes from the garage. (fed by two 20A breakers) Thats why I never reset the breaker, I did not want to run over to the garage, so I just used the other circuit instead. Ya know, I was damn pissed by this time and half frozen with the outdoor temp being around 25 deg and its past midnight. The last thing I needed was to fuss any further with this stupid light issue, especially when all I had to do was put in a few more screws using a battery operated drill. I mention this because there is no refrigerator or anything else connected to these circuits. These two circuits only feed this barn, and nothing else was connected at the time other than a few ceiling lights, and my circular saw which was not being used, only plugged in. I am now wondering if there is a problem in the ceiling lights, and intend to open them all and inspect. I should mention that I just installed all this wiring last week.
Of course none of this indicates how the breaker reset itself.... I never entered the garage. I just finished my work and ran into the warm house. Yet the next morning all the ceiling lights were back on.....
To be perfectly honest, at this point a ghost seems more likely than any physical electrical short, and I dont believe in ghosts !!!! It was not due to the power company either because my yard light did not go out..... Soooooooooo,,,,,,,,, maybe I am being stalked by the ghost of someone who finds delight in pissing me off....... :)
Mark
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