Hi all, this situation is so wierd that I'd appreciate some
help. I replaced the dimmer module in my torche halogen floor
lamp, plugged it in to test, and nothing happened. I then
discoverd that all the outlets in my shop area were dead. I went
to the breaker box and the circuit breaker didn't look tripped,
but I reset it anyway... still nothing on that branch despite
multiple resets and unplugging everything.
Still wanting to test the lamp, I went into the garage and
plugged the lamp into an outlet that I know was energized
because I had just tested it when determining the extent of the
shop outlets problem. This time, since I was close to the
breaker box, I heard the "click" of a breaker being thrown and
still no light from my lamp. Back to the breaker box, where the
circuit breaker for the garage outlets looked fine, but once
again I reset it anyway... still no power despite multiple
resets and removing everything else from the circuit.
Both breakers now appear non-functional after simply plugging in
this innoculous halogen lamp! Has anybody seen a case where a
simple appliance has "killed" the circuit breakers? I'm really
stumped by this...
Breakers have to be pushed all the way off and then on again, but it
sounds like you've already tried this.
You almost certainly have a dead short in your lamp, in either the
wiring or the new module. Is it possible you may have inadvertantly
connected the wrong wires?
A short circuit will very often destroy a circuit breaker, especially if
they're old. The excessive heat and arcing causes parts inside to burn out.
Certain brands are more succeptible to this than others. Age is also a
factor. I had a recepticle fall apart and short out at my old home, it
ruined the ancient breaker that fed it. At my house now the refrigerator
cable got sawed thru while doing some plumbing, the 3mo old SquareD breaker
tripped but was not damaged.
New breakers are desgined to handle up to a 10,000A (IIRC) fault and
still be usable afterwards, older breakers wern't or may have worn to a
point where they can no longer do so. Even though your breaker is a "15amp
breaker", in a short-circuit fault situation the actual current will exceed
this, by a lot. Since the breaker still has to mechanically open the
circuit the current will still flow for a very brief moment while the
contacts get moving, all the while the bi-metal inside is still getting
hotter. This all may happen in a mere 10th of a second. The net result
however is that the conductive parts inside your breaker had enough current
flowing through them for that 10th of a second to cause damage.
You should be thankfull the breakers failed safe (ie: won't re-close yet
no longer offer protection).
Good reply Steve! I'll further add that some of the better-stocked hardware
stores carry a line of lamp repair kits and parts, including adapters and so
forth. It would be good if Michael made a complete job of it, including
rewiring the old lamp from the plug to the socket.
I took that evil lamp completly apart this morning and found a
frayed spot on the neutral wire way up in the head part of the
lamp. It wasn't all the way thru that I could tell, but it was
pressed up against the metal frame of the lame and must have
been leaking just enough return current to trip the GFIs.
It's all better now - thanks for the feedback everybody, I
really spaced out the GFI outlets when originally considering
Bingo! Duh... I'd completely spaced the fact that GFI
protection on these branches was not with the breaker but by GFI
outlets at the head of the branches. Resetting them got me back
up... and I do apparently have a nasty short in the lamp to resolve.
Thanks for sanity checking me
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