Turning lights on trips circuit breaker

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Everyone has overlooked the possibility that the "light" that the OP is turning on may contain a faulty electric light bulb. If she is turning on the lights by turning on a light switch by her front door, and the bulb in the fixture that she expects to light up when she turns on the switch has failed and developed an internal short, she will get exactly the situation described. Haven't many of us seen a breaker trip when a light bulb fails??? Disconnecting all applianes that are plugged in, that are on the same circuit, will not solve the problem if a bulb in a ceiling hallway fixture, for example, has a shorted light bulb.
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in part:

I once saw a fixture short. The cause: The wires leading to the socket got twisted, because the socket had turned, because someone screwed bulbs in too tightly. The insulation on the wires got soft when the bulb was on and making heat, then POW!
Actually, that time the short was not a dead short. Instead of the breaker popping immediately, the fixture spewed purplish flame for about half a minute.
--
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)

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wrote:

There is some problem in the wires to that light, or the light fixture itself.

I don't know what you mean by piggybacked?? But I gather everything was working until the other night, so I'm curious to know what you mean, but I doubt it's the problem.

I doubt very much if there will be. The off position he mentioned was the position before you tried to turn the light on. If you have 3-way switches**, two switches controlling the same light, leave both of them the way they were. If you turned one on and blew the breaker, and didn't turn it back off, turn it back off and leave it that way. (Most people automatically turn a switch off if something goes wrong when they turn it on, if they know something went wrong. You hear the weird noise, so you probably already turned it off. You'll know when you reset the breaker.
** They call them 3-way, but they are really 2-way, so don't wonder which is the third way.

It will be okay.
It's not especially likely that the problem will be behind the wall switch. You could take off the plate if you want, and look for soot or black marks on the inside of the plate, or anywhere near the switch in question. That woudl be clue there was a problem in that area, but I really don't expect it. Is your house more than 60 years old? when did they still use cloth insulated wires. 80 years ago? That kind of insulation can go bad and fall off just sitting around in the wall for 80 years, but even then the wires wouldn't be touching each other.
It's more likely it's in the light fixture, which gets rained and snowed on, at the wires or the socket. I've never had a burned-out light bulb cause a short circuit, which is what you have. When my bulbs burn out, they just "open" and I have an open circuit, which is like having one more switch in the circuit which is turned off. It's like having a water pipe with a valve closed. A short circuit is like having a water pipe with a hole in it, except with electricity, the leaking wire has to touch something that conducts electricity and is connected to a return path. Water will just go anywhere.
It wouldn't hurt to unscrew the light bulb some, or even to change the bulb, but I wouldn't throw away the old bulb without testing it in a lamp. It's probably fine.

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wrote:

bulbs like automotive tail lamps etc - higher current per watt of output and more vibration may have something to do with it - but #1157 dual fillament bulbs are well known for this failure mode.
I HAVE had it happen on 115 volt (or 120 - whatever you want to call them) bulbs - the most recent one being a tri-light.
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On Sun, 24 Apr 2011 22:39:54 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That's amazing. It sounds like at least 4 separate bulbs. In the 1157, the struts that hold the filament at each end are 1/2 inch apart. How could they ever touch each other? I've never seen the inside glass break.
Tri-light? A two filament bulb, with three settings?
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wrote:

high and low filament, but there was one brand of 1157 bulbs - cannot remember the name, that failed shorted with allarming regularity about 25 years ago.

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wrote:

I agree with this.
My point though.......
If the light switch has any outets on it with anything plugged in, UNPLUG ALL THAT STUFF! and see if the problem goes away.
I have several switches here that turn on not just lights but outlets too.
One is at the front door, it tuns on the outlets for the living room lights, all floor and table lamps since theres no cieling fixture, the living room switch is ganged, with a lamp outside the front door and a switch for a driveway flood light.
OP may have ganged switches like that, they are pretty common so something plugged into a outlet thats switch controlled could have a short. In my case a living room light.......
incidently this has occured here
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wrote:

Big if though. Does not sound like ANY of the receptacles are switched - only several lighting circuits.

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I've been an electrician for over forty years and I've never seen an overload of the type you are hypothesizing trip a breaker as soon as the load was energized. I haven't seen every fault type there is to see yet but that doesn't seem the most likely cause of the problem as described. -- Tom Horne
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.
The dead give away here is the fact that Jo said in the original post that the switch makes a noise when she turns it on and trips the breaker. Hard to explain how if the light is just one load too much, it makes a noise and instantly trips the breaker. That is however explained by a short in the light circuit.
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On Sun, 24 Apr 2011 08:06:29 -0700, "Bill"

Actually, they use SIGNIFICANTLY LESS.

A whole lot of wasted time and effort - you can bank on it.
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On Sun, 24 Apr 2011 22:42:48 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Per inch, sure, but large plasma TVs suck a lot of juice.

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Roy is trying out for group moron. It's a tough competition but he's up for it.
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I wouldnt leave the troubled circuit as is, best to get it fixed. rather than leave a unknown issue hanging. since no one knows exactly whats wrong it could be a larger problem, and cause a fire in the future......
I unplug everything on any circuit that repeatedly trips a breaker, its free easy and fast. plus it narrows down the issue. before paying for a electrician its a good idea
one thing the pop means whatever it is is a dead short, which is easier to find than one that trips occasionally, for no apparent reason. I hate intermittents
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LCD TVs use less electricity than CRT TVs of the same size. But many people have gotten bigger TVs than they had before. And external audio equipment that is on when the TV is on.
--
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)

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.
Yeah if it fails when the light is turned on that narrows the problem down a lot. Just hope its not a nail through the cable that has been sitting there for 30 years to finally get ya.
Jimmie
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Would you PLEASE killfile the thread?
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wrote:

It really is a sign of weakness to admit that you feel compelled to read every post just because it's there. BTW, you've already claimed that you killfiled me. Didn't bother me then and it's not likely to now.
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wrote:

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