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Let me try to explain this the best I can:

  • I have a single recessed LED circuit that has 13 lights on two dimmers, 9 on one and 4 on another, covering kitchen and dinning, respectively, on a 15 amp breaker. It was working no issues for about 8 years
  • I also have two other led circuits with each having 6 lights on dimmers, one in living and other in family rooms.
  • I found the plastic sleeve into the panel, that hold the wires, for the liv/fam rooms were lose. So I opened the panel and discovered that the circuits are connected to the same 15A breaker (two circuits one breaker).
  • So I fixed the issue by adding another 15 A breaker, resulting in three circuits (kitchen+dinning, living and family) for three breakers (all 15A).
  • When I was doing above I had to pull the wires from all three breakers out and rearrange them, since they are badly tangled.
  • When I turned on the Kit/Din breaker, I heard a loud pop and the the dinning room LED lights (second dimmer in the circuit) would not come on, but kitchen LEDs came on when dimmers are operated. The breaker did NOT trip.
  • I checked the dimmer for dinning and it was burned at where load side wiring is. Tried again with a new dimmer and same results. Btw, I really took care to follow the wiring diagram and the old wiring (took a pic)
  • I removed the dimmer and circuit for dinning and turned on the breaker. Now the breaker tripped and would not stay on.
  • I checked the wiring that I could see in the panel and behind the boxes of dimmers and all seemed to be fine.
  • Unable to find the issue so shut the circuit (kitchen/dinette) off, at the panel.
  • I took care to do the wiring correct from dimmer to line/load/neutral/ground. The panel connection have been checked many times and all good. The panel is old Federal Pioneer. The breakers are existing ones that was working fine. I even changed the breakers that I knew for sure worked fine.
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  • When you removed the dimmer and circuit for the dining room lights, did you cap off the wires going to the dimmer? Mar 14 at 21:03
  • Yes they were capped off.
    – Nick
    Mar 15 at 1:50
  • You say you took pics, how about sharing them with the class. That will help people help you. Edit your post to add them in - hit the "sun and mountain" button to include the links, or just drag & drop them into the edit box.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 15 at 13:43
  • When you capped them off, did you put all the wires under the same nut? Or did you use separate nuts for each wire? Probably a dumb question but gotta ask... Mar 15 at 18:12
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The LED "circuits" that landed on the same breaker may have been interconnected at a switch box, who knows why, but maybe somebody else didn't know what they were doing. At any rate, when you re-arranged the breakers, you probably moved one to the opposite phase of a 240 v circuit, resulting in supplying 240 volts to a 120 volt device. They don't like that!

BTW, why change it? Power consumption by LEDS is so very low that you can practically run an entire house's lighting on one circuit. I prefer at least 2, but I don't think you had a problem initially. What was the problem you were trying to fix?

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  • 1
    My guess to "why change it" is "didn't like having two wires on a single breaker connection. But the solution to that is a pigtail. Mar 15 at 1:14
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    Each time turned off the other two circuits (liv/fam rooms) at the panel. Then turned kitchen circuit on. When the dinning room is not attached only one dimmer is attached to kitchen (none for dinning) breaker trips and stays off. When dinning is attached and a dimmer attached to that part of the circuit dimmer blows with a fairly loud pop sound.
    – Nick
    Mar 15 at 1:57
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    As much as we hate to say it here, you might need to call an electrician to sort this out. I still believe by moving around the breakers and a possible cross connect someplace between the 2 circuits you either created a dead short, or provided 240v to 120 devices. THIS IS NOT A SAFE PLACE TO BE! Really SORRY to say this, but I think you need to hire a pro at this point. Mar 15 at 2:19
  • Actually George I think your call on the wiring was correct. With the switch off the light on, sounds just like what you described. I have a circuit in my current home that was doubled I left it that way because it won’t hurt anything and the 2 circuits are connected someplace so I left them on 1 breaker and it’s ok for many panels (check listing). If I put them on opposite legs there would have been a problem (pop) if I chose the correct leg I would then have to turn off 2 circuit breakers to kill the outlets, just safer combined until I feel like tracing it down.++
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 15 at 15:54
  • @EdBeal Thanks Ed, coming from you, that's high praise! When people don't understand how 120/240 is supplied via opposite phases, it can really be perplexing. Mar 15 at 18:29

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