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Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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I am trying to change out light fixtures in my basement (to

Customer Question

I am trying to change out light fixtures in my basement (to recessed). The existing wiring from main breaker was supplemented a few years back when we added wall sockets and switches. At that time, the electrician also installed another breaker box with four lines coming out. Now, when I tried to reconnect all the wires that had been in the old fixture, the breaker keeps tripping. Also, it seems that a couple of my neutral wires are hot coming out of the newer breaker box.
JA: How old is the system in question? And have you consulted an electrician yet?
Customer: The original system is late 70's (when the house was built), and I have talked briefly to an electrician, but he has not seen the problem. He just told me to test all the wiring with a hot stick.
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: I started because I thought I was just changing out light fixtures but it's gotten a lot more complicated.
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: it seems to me that two different lines from the breaker box are feeding into the same fixtures, going two different routes. When I try to hook up just one line, I get nothing, when I hook up both, it blows the breaker.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 11 months ago.

Hi, I'm Mike and I'll be assisting you. Please stand by while I review your question.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 11 months ago.

Do you have a 2 wire voltage tester?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
no I just have a stick with one tip
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Non contact 50-600VAC
Expert:  Mike G. replied 11 months ago.

Unfortunately that tester will not work to troubleshoot the problem. It only indicates a live wire in a box. Induction from a live wire to others gives faults information. Get a 2 wire tester and we can continue.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok, it may be awhile before I can get one. How long do I have you for?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 11 months ago.

Come back when you can.