I just installed a row of five recessed lights in my basement. All of a sudden, I have one light that shuts off. When I remove the bulb next to it, it turns back on. This row is daisy chained on the same 15A circuit.

What is causing this and how do I fix it?

  • 1
    Does the light go out immediately? Or after some time? Is the ceiling insulated? – Speedy Petey Oct 23 '14 at 1:33
  • Is it a drop ceiling? Are you sure all the bulbs are tight? Have you checked all your connections? – Tester101 Oct 23 '14 at 11:51
  • It goes out immediately after I unscrew the bulb. 5 cans on a 15A circuit. Connections are good. Can't make any sense of it. – Bgnsty2 Oct 23 '14 at 13:44
  • No drop cieling. Drywall. – Bgnsty2 Oct 23 '14 at 13:45
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    In the question, you said the neighboring bulb turns on when you remove the original bulb, but in the comments you say it turns off. Which one is it? – Niall C. Oct 23 '14 at 14:34

If the last light goes out when the second to last is removed, the wiring error may be: enter image description here

Where electricity travels through the second to last bulb, on it's way to the last bulb. If so the last two bulbs may also have been dimmer than normal (if they are incandescent).

The bulb type matters here: using CFL or LED lights during testing can add to the confusion.

  • How could someone goof up this badly? Needless to say, a Edison-base-to-outlets adapter and a multimeter can be used to troubleshoot this for sure. – ThreePhaseEel Oct 28 '14 at 0:27

How many lights in total? The total wattage of all globes may exceed the switch/circuit rating? i.e. 6x 100W globes on a 400W dimmer or switch.

You could possibly run two parallel sets to reduce the load, but this will decrease brightness.

e.g. use


rather than

  • 1
    Are you suggesting that the fixtures are installed in series? – Tester101 Oct 23 '14 at 11:52
  • Daisychain is series... The OP said daisychain, so my suggestion is based on that. Normal house light circuits are wired in parallel to avoid the obvious 'Christmas lights effect' amongst other reasons. – Reece Oct 27 '14 at 5:23
  • Regardless of series or parallel, I still think the OP should check the switch or dimmer has the correct ratings to run 5 lights at the wattages he has chosen for the globes... 300W through a 240W dimmer will mean that one or more of the globes won't get power - usually the last one on the circuit. – Reece Oct 27 '14 at 5:26

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