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Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
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Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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I wired in a lithonia standard bar lamp, when I flipped the

Customer Question

I wired in a lithonia standard bar lamp, when I flipped the breaker the light came on. The light switch was in the off position and when I moved it to the on position the lights got brighter. What is causing this to happen?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Either at the wall switch or at the light bar wires, there is a loose wire termination or a faulty splice. Double check all of the wire splices.

2) The light bulb had a reduced illumination and got brighter due to a voltage drop. Loose wires or faulty terminations will cause a voltage drop.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
There is a series of 4 lights. I replaced the first one in the series with a newer fixture that had a smaller ballast. The last three lights in the series worked with the switch but the first did not. I also cancelled out the other lights and had the fixture wired straight into the switch and had no power. Any suggestions other than a loose wire.
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

You mention a ballast? What type of bulbs are you using ? CFL or fluorescent tube bulbs?

Is the wall switch a standard ON/OFF snap switch or a dimmer switch?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
They are fluorescent bulbs and it is a standard on/off light switch. Residential wire coming from the switch to light fixture. It is in a barn so the wiring is all Romex and conduit.
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

Thanks for the replies.

1) The light fixture and the tube types must match the ballast. Sounds like an incompatible ballast was installed?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I did not install a ballast. I replaced an old fixture with a version that is fifteen years newer. They are both 120v fixtures and I wired them up exactly the same as the previous fixture was wired. I have never had an electrical issue like this before. I have wired outdoor kitchens/ barns/ etc. I just can't believe that the switch works for three but not the first in the series.
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

You originally mentioned the following:

"I replaced the first one in the series with a newer fixture that had a smaller ballast".

The only thing I can think of is either a loose wire connection or an incompatible ballast or a faulty ground connection.

I don't want to delay you in my replies, but I will need to opt out of the question. I live in Northern Illinois and we have tornado warnings right now. I need to get into my basement.

I'm sure another electrician will pick up the question shortly..........Thanks............Kevin:)

Expert:  JACUSTOMER-1eysp1u4- replied 4 months ago.

Hello, welcome to Just Answer/Pearl, my name is***** will try to answer your electrical question today.

When you say the lights are in a series, do you mean the romex is daisy chained to each light , and if you remove the new light fixture from the circuit the existing lights still work by means of the switch without any trouble? I am trying to determine if there is something wrong with the new fixture itself.

Expert:  JACUSTOMER-1eysp1u4- replied 4 months ago.

You mention this is a standard light , do you have a wiring diagram you can upload or the Lithonia model number ?

Expert:  JACUSTOMER-1eysp1u4- replied 4 months ago.

It occurs to me that it is possible the lights may be wired so that the light switch is breaking the neutral wire instead of the hot ( a major code violation if that's the case ) because turning on the power at the breaker with the switch off should not complete the circuit the first light should not have come on, if the neutral wire or one of the return leads in the ballast , usually yellow are pinched and are making contact with the frame of the fixture which is grounded it in theory could light the fixture up, this is very dangerous if this hypothetical example is true, the swithc will need to be re-wired for the hot side of the circuit , not the grounded (neutral side)

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I have uploaded the product label and ballast. Yes the lights are in a daisy chain. If I pull the first light none of them work (which is what should happen if the circuit is broke). If I connect the first one back the light turns on as the breaker is switched on. The other lights in the series do not turn on until the switch is turned on. Also, when the light switch is turned on the first light gets brighter.

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