I went to help install a chandelier today and this is the sequence of events:

  • There was no light fixture in pace when I arrive. The previous owners had removed a fixture and my friend, who's lived there for two years, just got around to buying one.

  • At the fixture box, there was a black, white, and ground, all with wire nuts on them.

  • I connected the new fixture. Before I hung it, I put a bulb in and tested it. Everything worked fine.

  • I affixed the new light to the box and tested again. I heard a loud pop at the switch (a dimmer switch). The breaker at the panel had tripped.

  • Thinking it was the dimmer, I purchased a new dimmer and tried again. Another pop and the breaker tripped again.'

-After resetting the breaker, I bypassed the switch completely and the light worked.

  • I then purchased a single pole switch (no dimmer). I installed it and tested the light. It worked.

  • I put the switch back into the wall and tested again. It tripped the breaker.

  • I took the switch back out of the box and tried again. Tripped the breaker again.

From everything that's visible, there are no shorts.


  • 1
    How old is the wiring you're working with here? Can you post photos? – CactusCake May 9 '18 at 19:25
  • Does the dimmer require a neutral wire? – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 9 '18 at 21:46
  • Does the breaker have a "TEST" button on it?\ – ThreePhaseEel May 9 '18 at 22:31
  • Did you ever get this resolved? If so, please give a check-mark to the answer or write up your own answer explaining what you did to get it fixed and give yourself a check mark. That will help others with this kind of problem know that this has a resolution and is a good place to look for their answer. – FreeMan Aug 16 at 22:31

I would bet you pinched a wire in the light assembly when putting it back. The switch blew as it was the weak link, or this is where I would be looking. If there are no visible arc marks in the switch or light call an electrician and make sure they have a megger available. A megger is a high voltage ohm meter that will make it possible to find pinched wires that may intermittently work.

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  • I've been guilty of tightening a mounting screw right into a wire and shorting it. – Platinum Goose Apr 24 '19 at 14:28

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