I've got a light that will turn on ok, but when I turn it off it flips
the breaker. I reset the breaker, turn the light on again and it goes
on a stays on. Then I shut it off and it triggers the breaker again.
Maybe - but I've tried 2 (of the same make/model) and they both trigger
it. Someone on alt.home.repair suggested I try a switch that "clicks"
and to check whether the breaker itself is one that detects arc-faults
too sensitively. I'm guessing it's the latter.
Is this a ceiling light or a desk lamp of some type? If it's a desk lamp, I
suggesting trying another lamp plugged into the same electrical outlet. If
the breaker still goes, then I'd suggest looking at the outlet. If it's a
ceiling light, my first suggestion is to try a lower wattage bulb and see if
that blows the breaker. That might be an indication of faulty wiring
It was a new lamp and a new problem. The lamp had never been used with
the original switch. The breaker may have been too sensitive for the
switch. At someone's suggestion a different type of switch was used
(it "clicks", as they recommended) and the problem hasn't again arisen.
I'm guessing that the circuit is actually a 3-way circuit. If thats the
case, then you've probably got a 2-way (spst) switch in a bad spot. If
your good at home repair and feel confident at it, check the circuit,
otherwise, have an electrictian check it out. The symptoms that you
describe would be the cause of just that.
First - why would he have a spst switch in a three way circuit? That would
defeat the three way functionality.
Second - putting a spst throw switch in a three way circuit would not cause
a breaker to trip. It interrupts the hot wire just like another three way
switch would, or as it would in a standard single switch circuit.
Define "off" in this context; IIRC it was a SPDT (aka 3-way) 15Amp toggle
switch for lighting, right? Next question: Is the switch either grounded
or lighted? If so, a short-circuit in the switch to ground can cause the
breaker to trip (this is not, however, very likely unless it is a very
crappy switch). If not, then the only mechanism that I can think of which
would cause the breaker to trip would be a high-resistance contact situation
in the switch (i.e. corrosion); to determine if this is the case, you must
clarify "off". Does "off" in this context indicate that the position of
the switch was such that the end of the toggle was closer to the floor,
or does "off" indicate that whatever load is controlled by the switch is
no longer receiving power?
In any case, replacement of the switch is called for.
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