I have some track lights that run in my upstairs bedroom. A while ago they stopped working, I could flip the switch but there was no light. So I get around to doing some investigating and grab my non-contact meter and there is definitely voltage to each track. Next I take out the multi-meter to test the AC voltage. I was getting 84v AC which is too low, so I am thinking that maybe I have a bad neutral connection or something.

I head down to the basement to start flipping the breakers. I didn't have my entire house mapped at the time so I started turning off one breaker at a time and then running back upstairs to check the voltage with the non-contact meter. Well sure enough I tried them all and never got the power disconnected from the tracks. I then proceeded to turn of one whole side of the breaker box, go and check the voltage, and there is no voltage at the track. I figured I must have made a mistake when checking the 40 individually and proceed to turn the breakers on two at a time so I don't have to run up and down stairs so often. Finally I get power back to the tracks, I go downstairs and turn one of the two breakers off, and find that I still have voltage to the track. I think I have isolated the correct breaker until I turn the isolated one off and the one next to it on. I check the tracks again, and I still have voltage to them.

I can only remove the power if both breakers are closed. Did the two circuits accidentally get wired together? Can anyone else think what the cause of this might be?

  • 1
    Sure sounds like it...maybe you can post some photos of the situation? – ThreePhaseEel Nov 4 '16 at 22:27
  • "I can only remove the power if both breakers are closed." Do you mean when both breakers are open? When a breaker is in the OFF position, the contacts inside are open. Sorry to nip pick, but it's important to know if the breakers are on or off. – Tester101 Nov 5 '16 at 0:29
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    Non-contact meters are notorious for telling you there's voltage present when there is none. You should re-test with a contact meter or test load. – A. I. Breveleri Nov 5 '16 at 4:24

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