I have a Hampton Bay light hanging light fixture in my dining room that
has been installed for about 2 years. One night while the fixture was
on, we heard a pop and the light went out. Thinking it was just a bulb,
I replaced it and light never came on. took fixture apart and
discovered one of the wires was burnt about an inch before the
connection to the porcelan light socket. Replaced the wire and light
still did not work. I then replaced the dimmer switch which also burnt
out. After replacing the dimmer, light worked for about a half-hour
before the wire burned again. Rpleaced the wire for third time and
reduced wattage of the light bulb from 100 watts to 75 watts - same
Several years ago I had the same problem with a HD Hampton bay fixture and I
corresponded with UL Labs on it and sent them photos of the porcelain
sockets and the burnt wires.. The bulbs I had installed never exceeded the
wattage rating on the fixture per socket or total. UL seemed indifferent. I
guess Home Depot would have given me new lamp sockets if I pushed it, but I
Bring it back to HD and ask them "this is UL listed?"
1) Make sure your light socket is not cracked or corroded, if so
replace the socket.
2) Your lamp, from what I get from your post, sounds as if it is
getting too hot and melting the wiring, which then shorted out and
melted the switch. Not sure what this light looks like , so picturing
it and your problem is yet possible......would you have a model# of
this lamp or a location of a picture of the same model? You mentioned
it was hanging, so Im figuring that the wiring by the socket of problem
is not next to the ceiling but maybe 2 feet below?...is this correct?
This matters...for concerning insulation above fixture which protects
the wiring from overheating in incandescant ceiling fixtures.
3)You should probably make sure the breaker is working properly also.
This will not cause the problem but should avoid major current issues.
It sounds as if your breaker should have definetly tripped when this
4) Replace the fixture......they are not all that expensive.
Thanks so much for the replies and ideas.
To reply to some of your questions:
Can't find the model # but you are right in your assumption that the
socket in the fixture is about 2 feet from the ceiling box. The fixture
hangs from a chain which is about 2 feet long. I'm not sure if I
mentioned it but I did replace the socket also. What really bothers me
is this light was okay for 2 years before this problem occured and I
have not made any changes in my circuits.
Overvoltage was one thing to check for. I will try to get a meter to
check that but what would cause an overvoltage condition?
On 16 Nov 2006 10:04:07 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
Nope, on second thought, I agree with Mr. Wisnia.
I'd just keyed on device failure in two separate
places, and that triggered the "check the supplied
power" reflex. In retrospect, dimmer switches
are the sheep of electrical components, (they
spend their short, miserable lives looking for
a way to die) so it's not unlikely that
it was the death of the light that killed the dimmer,
not the same thing killing both directly.
Does this device have more than two wires in it?
maybe a fan motor that's stalled?
In the absence of that, I think I'd replace
all the wires and the little cartridge thing
that the light-bulb screws into. Those
are only a couple of bucks.
What it sounds like to me is that there's something
wrong inside the fixture - eg: a bare spot on a
wire, and when the fixture begins to heat up, thermal
flexing is causing it to dead short. It's a little
odd that it seems to repeatedly damaging the wire
at the box, rather than something else, but dead shorts
will certainly kill dimmers.
This is a chain-supported lamp? Check over the wire
down the chain _very carefully_ - check for chafing
and other scorch marks. Inspect all of the wiring
inside the fixture you can get at.
Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
Hi Chris. Yes, it is a chain supported lamp. I replaced the wire and
the socket. I went to Home Depot and they still sell the same fixture.
According to the specs on the box, the fixture is rated up to 100
watts. That is what I originally put in when I installed the fixture.
Everything was fine for 2 years before this problem surfaced. No
changes were made to the circuits feeding it. Would putting some shrink
tubing in the place where it usually burns out help insulate it enough
if the root cause is an external thermal issue? I am really baffled at
Unless the shrink tubing avoids a short from happening, it is not going
to help solve this problem. If a wire burns out anywhere but at the
connector end, the problem is probably related to too much current flow.
You could put an ammeter in series with the lamp and see whether
it is drawing more than it should.
bad socket high resistance causes heating and wire burn up near socket.
replace socket and enough wire till your back to wire that hasnt
i fix machines that use heaters for a living its a very common failure.
i carry a roll of wire for splicing cause it happens so much
overheating a 60 watt socket with a 100 watt bulb makes the socket
wattage warning tag fall off.
we have no dimmer on our ceiling fans, just pull chain switch for fan
and another for light.
i have been using the compact twist fluorescent bulbs as high as 42
watt input to get lots of reading light, but their failure rate is
sooner than normal probably because the decorative glass holds the
heat. mine do not permit use with a dimmer.
chase that wire or wires: could be invisibly burnt inside its
insulation all the way back to the bad wirenut connection.
make sure you are not running the fan off the dimmer unless it was made
maybe try replacing the dimmer with a wall switch and check its
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