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I am upgrading my basement and the builder initially put the family room and two lights in the basement all on one circuit. During the remodel I tried adding two more lights to that same run and it would trip the breaker after doing so. I believed this was due to having too many sockets on a two 15 amp breaker.

I then upgraded that breaker to a two 20 amp breaker in one. The lights continued to trip so with 3/4 lights on so I decided to remove two lights from that circuit and run it to a new one. So currently the lights should be exactly how the builder left it with two lights on the family room circuit, but with an upgraded 20 amp instead of 15, however that one light still trips the breaker. I am assuming this is due to the light fixture itself now as I replaced the original with a pocket light.

Am I right in thinking that its the new pocket light tripping the breaker somehow, or could it be the cable, or is it still too many items on that run?

Any help/advice is appreciated, I am a novice DIYer. Thanks!

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    I doubt you have too many of anything on the circuit, I suspect you have a wiring error instead. First: when you upgraded that breaker did you also upgrade the wire? Very specifically 15 amp circuits use 14 gauge wire, 20 amp circuits have 12 guage wire, if yous is now 20 amp with 14 gauge wire, Its wrong and could burn your house down. – Tyson Jan 11 '18 at 11:02
  • Does this breaker have a "TEST" button on the breaker? – Harper Jan 11 '18 at 14:47
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Am I right in thinking that its the new pocket light tripping the breaker somehow, or could it be the cable, or is it still too many items on that run?

Probably none of those.

You have probably miswired a switch. You might have miswired a wiring box. This is easy to do since a white wire is not always neutral, particularly where there is a switch-loop.

I then upgraded that breaker to a two 20 amp breaker

That is a good way to burn your house down without solving your initial problem.

It is extremely unlikely that your light fitting draws more than 15 amps - that would be an unbearably dazzling and roasting 1800 watt fixture using at least 18 of the brightest and least efficient old-fashioned 100W incandescent tungsten-filament bulbs you could normally find. Maybe fewer if you are cooking your dining table under a large bank of those halogen floodlights designed for exterior use.

It is dangerous to respond to a short-circuit by installing equipment that allows even more current to flow and allow the wiring inside your walls to run far hotter than designed for.

It may be that your circuit wiring is sized for 20A (but why?) in which case my alarm is unjustified (but if so, you should say so in the question).

I am a novice DIYer.

Trace out the wiring, take clear well-lit well-focussed photos of it all and draw a wiring diagram. Figure out how it is actually connected. You'll likely find the problem that way. If not, post the photos and diagrams here.

Useful references

  • Update: The cable running to the lights was 14 gauge then went to 12 gauge in between the 2 lights. So I downgraded that 20 amp to the 15 amp and replaced that cable running between the lights to the 14 gauge. I rewired the light boxes and both of them are fine, no weird colors just the standard white black and copper. So the original light switch itself has to be wrong then? There are 3 switches in the box, one switch goes to a closet near by, another is a 3 way switch to light the stairs on both ends. The last switch controls the 2 lights. I need an electrician I think to handle this box lol – Matt Jan 12 '18 at 4:37
  • @matt "Edit" that info into your question. Add a picture of how you have this connected and then we can attempt to help you find your wiring mistake. – Tyson Jan 12 '18 at 19:54

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