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The lamp on the ceiling of my living room consists of two bulbs. One of them recently got broke, so I removed it, checked it, and bought a similar one (60 W all of them). I fixed the new one, and now both of them refuse to work, even the existing one. Also removing the new one again doesn't help.

The fuse is fine. How can I troubleshoot this problem?

  • Edit: I found it's actually a circuit breaker, not a fuse. Just in case this makes a difference.
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Did the light work with the single (unbroken) bulb, or did it stop working altogether when the bulb got broken? How did the bulb get broken? –  Tester101 Nov 28 '11 at 17:35
    
Fuse? Or breaker? –  The Evil Greebo Nov 28 '11 at 17:36
    
@Tester101, the light did work when both the unbroken and the broken bulb were in it, but as far as I remember, I didn't try with only the single bulb in it. I think the other bulb was simply burned out. –  bonifaz Nov 28 '11 at 17:50
    
@TheEvilGreebo, sorry what's the difference? I mean the thing that I can turn on or off to provide electricity for an entire room. It gets switched off automatically in case of high, sudden voltage, in which case you can switch it on manually again. Something like that: content5.videojug.com/74/74153912-caf0-4d77-c063-abddc07fc808/… –  bonifaz Nov 28 '11 at 17:53
    
So with a broken (possibly burnt out) bulb and a good bulb, one bulb lit up. But with the same good bulb and a new bulb, neither bulb lights up? –  Tester101 Nov 28 '11 at 18:02
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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted
  • Grab your non-contact voltage tester (you do have a non-contact voltage tester, don't you?).
  • Turn on the switch.
  • Move the tester near the sockets (don't jam it in the socket, it's non-contact, remember).

If there is voltage at the fixture, inspect the sockets to make sure the contacts are in the proper position, and clear of debris (remember to turn off the breaker, Before sticking your fingers in the socket). Sometimes the contact inside the socket can get bent, and prevents the bulb from properly making contact when screwed into the socket.

If no bells and whistles go off.

  • Turn off the breaker.
  • Carefully remove the fixture from the ceiling.
  • Insure that all connections are secure, and properly connected.
  • Inspect the fixture for signs of arcing, or other damage.
  • Turn the breaker and switch on.
  • Move the non-contact tester near the wires feeding the fixture.

If bells and whistles go off, replace the fixture (or have it done by an electrician, if you are not comfortable doing it yourself). If there are still no bells and whistles, you'll have to move to the switch to make sure it is functioning properly.

  • Turn off the breaker.
  • Carefully remove the switch from the wall.
  • Insure that all connections are secure, and properly connected.
  • Inspect the switch for signs of arcing, or other damage.
  • Turn the breaker on, and the switch off.
  • Move the non-contact tester near the wires attached to the switch.
  • Turn the switch on.
  • Move the non-contact tester near the wires attached to the switch.

If there is voltage coming into the switch, but not going out of the switch (when it's on). Replace the switch (or have it done by an electrician, if you are not comfortable doing it yourself). If there is no voltage at the switch in either position, call an electrician to trace the circuit further.

WARNING

If at anytime during the procedure you see sparks, the breaker will not reset, or you just don't feel comfortable doing any of the steps, please contact an electrician.

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Alright, will borrow such a device from a friend tomorrow and give it a try, thank you. –  bonifaz Nov 28 '11 at 22:13
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Troubleshooting through continuity. You'll need a few things, like the non-contact voltage tester, a continuity tester (a cheap one with a light will work) and replacement wire-nuts (unless something different is required where you live). Never, never ever (did I say never) use a continuity tester on a live circuit.

Turn the breaker off and tag it or lock the panel to keep anyone from turning the power back on...been there done that. Remove the light fixture from the ceiling and remove what wires are connected. Even after turning the power off, always use a voltage tester or a non-contact voltage tester to make sure there is no power where you are working. If you are uncertain about how to wire it up later then you probably should not be doing this.

After you are off the ladder and have the fixture where you can comfortably check it you can now check for continuity. You probably have two black wires and two white wires and maybe a ground. Put one end of the continuity checker on the end of the black wire and then touch the other end to the center tab of the socket. You should have continuity. If not you have a faulty socket. Now to check the white wire to the continuity tester to the end of the white wire and then to the metal threaded part of the socket. If no continuity then the socket is bad.

If all this is good then the problem is either the switch or a wire-nut / connector.

If you want to check the continuity on the switch, remove the switch from the wires and put the continuity checker on the screw terminals. Turn the switch on and off and the continuity checker should mimic the switch.

When you button everything up just make sure you do it correctly. Wire-nuts have a certain way that they have to be done so Google wire-nuts and learn how to do them. Never re-use wire-nuts. Use care when rewiring the switch. It's a little harder to do correctly, but a lot harder to troubleshoot if a wire slips out.

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Step 1: Test the bulbs in a different socket.

If the bulbs work in other sockets...

Step 2: Shut off power to that circuit. If you're not sure which fuse/breaker controls that circuit, shut off power to the house.

Step 3: Remove the fixture, inspect the wiring connected to it and tighten/resecure if necessary. Replace the fixture.

Step 4: Restore power. Try again.

If that fails...

Step 5: Call an electrician.

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If(Step1=true)GoTo Step5. –  Tester101 Nov 28 '11 at 17:44
    
Granted, I'm assuming some basic electrical know how here. –  The Evil Greebo Nov 28 '11 at 17:49
    
Step 1 failed ... 'll give it another try before I give up, though ... thank you. –  bonifaz Nov 28 '11 at 22:14
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