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Wayne Roberts
Wayne Roberts, Electrical Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 78
Experience:  Electrican 6+ years
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After wiring new can lights and switches circuit breaker

Customer Question

After wiring new can lights and switches circuit breaker buzzes and the trips off 2-3 secs latter.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Eddie replied 9 months ago.

hi .........it sounds like you have a short somewhere ............are these old work or new work cans?.........can you go back and test all your connections and switch(es)?..........it is arcing that is why you are hearing a buzz ............the last thing it could be is a faulty breaker

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
These are old work cans. I dont think that it is a faulty breaker as it was working fine before adding the can lights.
Expert:  Eddie replied 9 months ago.

how much did you add to the circuit and what was on it before ..........it could be that you are overloading it

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I added 4 can lights and 1 scone light. however I only had 1 bulb in the can lights when I tried to turn the breaker on. Other than that it was a ceiling fan with(2 light kit) with the ceiling fan. Other things on the circuit a small bathroom and that is all. It is a 15 amp circuit.
Expert:  Eddie replied 9 months ago.

so you are adding 5 more lights 2 more switches.....this is already about 12 amps.................believe it or not but a ceiling fan should be on a dedicated circuit because it has a motor...but not too big a deal.........and then the bathroom 2 more lights? light/exhaust fan combination? GFCI?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Can you please opt out of this question. thank you
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

Hello my name is***** like to try to help.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

Turn all devices off that are on that 15 amp circuit and turn the breaker back on

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

Then you can turn on one light or fan at a time and see if the breaker trips. Remember to turn off each light or fan after the test.

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

If nothing trips the breaker this way, then you can start combining loads...

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

if the breaker trips due to having too much load you will have to consider tapping another circuit..or running new

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The original room set up had 3 switches. 1 switch for ceiling fan motor, 1 for ceiling fan light (2 lights) and 1 for receptacle outlet on the wall.
I added 1 switch for the new can lights (4 lights) and 1 switch for wall sconce. So now there is a total of 4 light switches because I do not want to keep the wall receptacle outlet switch.When I tried turning on the circuit breaker the first time I did not have any load on the circuit. So Im pretty sure it is not a load issue.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

hmm, you eliminated the switched receptacle...that is going to be a 3 wire from the switchbox. red/black/white/bare

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I wired both red/black directly to the incoming hot
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
then pig tailed the hot over to the switches.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

that sounds good, i was thinking double fed on something...

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

does the breaker make any sound before its trips?

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

buzzing?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I had all lights turned off and only 1 light bulb in the can lights. All of the other lights on the circuit were turned off. yes the breaker buzzed and then triped with in 2-3 seconds
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

if so it may be faulty, they can go bad if repeatedly tripped

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

try putting your main circuit feed on another 15 amp breaker and see if it will hold it...

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

...usually bathrooms are on 20 A circuits...were you able to determine the wire gauge?

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

when you say you didnt have any load on the circuit how are you sure of this?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
That seems weird as it was working fine before and the only thing that I had turned on was 1 light blub. One thing that is kind of different is that the new switches a GE Zwave dimmer switches and the fan switch is a Z wave GE Fan switch.The power has been turned off for about 3 weeks to this breaker and the only things that we have noticed that we dont have power to is the small bath room next to the room that I added lights to. So I would say there was a very small load when I tired turning on the breaker
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
New switches ARE GE Zwave
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

if the breaker switch does not fix it you have either

  1. overloaded the circuit
  2. a short somewhere...it could be anywhere...literally..
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
how do I diagnose a short?
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

oh wow, these z wave dimmers need a neutral

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have neutrals wired to neutral wires. could that be overloading somehow?
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

you have plenty of opportunity for a mix up thats for sure

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

were any of the new switches 3 way?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I know. I quadrupled checked the wiring before I tried the breaker to make sure hot was to hot and neutral was to neutral. I thought I had it correct. No none of these were 3way they were all single dimmer switches and one ceiling fan switch
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

there is the wiring diagram just for fun

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
that looks like how I have it wired.
Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

there are a lot of variables here, its going to take a load calculation and checking each splice in the circuit to find the problem

Expert:  Wayne Roberts replied 9 months ago.

i am recommending you call an electrician. This is one of those deals where someone is going to have to get their hands dirty..

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok understand