1

I added 10 recessed lights in the kitchen (adding approximately 50 feet of wire), which draw 14 watts each (total 140 watts).

A two way switch controls 4 lights, another two way switch controls another 4 lights. The remaining two lights have their own switches.

There are another 7 lights on the same circuit (in the garage, deck, laundry room, etc.) and all of them use LEDs.

The total load shouldn’t be more than 500 watts. All these lights on a 15 amp breaker.

The issue is that when I switch on one of the foursome lights, the breaker trips.

What could be the problem? Overloaded circuit?

There are only 1 Black, 1 White and 1 ground where I connected one of the foursome lights. The other connection has 2 red, 2 black, 2 white and 2 ground. I might have connected there incorrectly.

  • 3
    Occam's Razor, either a) you miswired it so it is causing a dead short and tripping the breaker, or b) one of the fixtures or bulbs is defective and causing the same. This is a common question, there are probably several pertinent answers around. – Harper Jan 10 '17 at 22:56
  • Have you tried disconnecting the lights in the faulty set one at a time to isolate the problem? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 10 '17 at 23:06
  • Calling something a two-way switch is an odd back-formation where I come from. Can you clarify if it's one or two switches controlling each set of lights? – Aloysius Defenestrate Jan 10 '17 at 23:19
1

What could be the problem?

It could be that you miswired a switch so that it creates a short-circuit in one position. It could be that the miswiring occured elsewhere (in a junction box, a light fitting, etc)

Am I overloading the circuit?

No, the total load of 500 Watts is not enough to overload a 15 Amp circuit. At 110 Volts, 500 Watts is only 4.5 Amps.

1

There're 17 lights on that circuit, 13 work fine. There's a group of 4 lights, connected to their own switch, which trips the breaker.

I suggest you first remove those 4 bulbs to rule out a defective bulb.Flip the switch to test.

It is possible that maybe what you thought was a switch box was wired to be an outlet. Your switch would then short the power.

I suggest you remove that switch and connect a standard receptacle instead. Then plug something in that receptacle and see if it's powered.

On a different note, I suggest you install a GFCI on that 15A circuit, because it powers wet locations.

0

I agree with @RedGrittyBrick: the circuit breaker should not trip because of the intended load. A 15 amp breaker should be good for 1440 watts for continuous use or 1800 watts for non-continuous (up to two hours).

If the four-pack lights have never worked since installation, the most likely explanation is that the two-way switching is wired incorrectly. Probably the traveler is (incorrectly) wired to ground somewhere. See this answer for a correct wiring diagram.

  • There are only 1 Black, 1 White and 1 ground where I connected one of the foursome lights. The other connection has 2 red, 2 black, 2 white and 2 ground. I might have connected there incorrectly. – HI_UserAC Jan 11 '17 at 14:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.