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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Came home this afternoon and when DH flipped the switch for the living room light it flashed and when off. I assumed the breaker had blown but all of the breakers were in the right place. I flipped the one for the living room off and back on again, but it didn't fix anything. I'm guessing the breaker itself is bad - is that a good guess?
 

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Breaker probably ok; probably a burnred/loose connection. Is there anything else on the breaker (wall sockets, etc.? If so check & see if they still work. If you're not sure cut the breaker off & check & see if that kills other lights, wall sockets. If you find one that's dead, turn the breaker back on & if it comes to life the problem is in the light circuit itself; not the breaker.

Hope this helps!

Lew in TX
 

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Which brings up the question, how many HTers does it take to replace a light bulb?

 

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Given what you said about the light coming on then flashing off, you have some trouble in the circuit that needs to be fixed before a new breaker can be installed. If the trouble was so bad it blew out the breaker to where it could not be reset, then you need to track down the trouble first. Then replace the breaker. It takes a heckuva sudden load to completely blow a breaker. Alternately, a wire could have melted or a connection blown when current was applied.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Jim, that makes sense (doesn't make me at all happy, but makes a lot of sense). This is a very awkward circuit - it has sockets in the kitchen, living room, office (all downstairs) as well as in 1 or 2 of the upstairs bedrooms. It also has the ceiling lights in the living room and office. I know every outlet and lamp on the circuit, but I have no idea which order they are wired in and since the placement is somewhat random, logic really doesn't apply! lol
 

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When resetting a breaker make sure to take it all the way to the off position, this allows a reset to engage before returning it to the on position. Your above described circuit sounds overloaded to start with. What amperage is the breaker labeled?
 

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Could be a bad breaker. They will snap on and off and still be bad. Replaced two Square D's recently for relatives. Same symptoms.

If you have (or can borrow) a neon voltage tester, check the output of the breaker first. These testers are cheap (few$) and easy to use.
 

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If it has outlets anywhere near water they are supposed to be GFI's. If they are tripped the entire circuit will stay off. Look for a reset button on the outlets
 

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mistletoad said:
Thanks Jim, that makes sense (doesn't make me at all happy, but makes a lot of sense). This is a very awkward circuit - it has sockets in the kitchen, living room, office (all downstairs) as well as in 1 or 2 of the upstairs bedrooms. It also has the ceiling lights in the living room and office. I know every outlet and lamp on the circuit, but I have no idea which order they are wired in and since the placement is somewhat random, logic really doesn't apply! lol
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"EXACTLY" how MANY outlets and/or lamps are on this particular circuit? Do an actual count and let us know and then also let us know the amperage rating of that particular breaker. You may very well have to get an electrician in to rewire those into TWO (2) separate circuits; as I'm betting that you are over the limit as far as the electrical code allows. It just isn't safe and you're betting your families lives on the "savings" of NOT doing anything about it. :nono:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It isn't overloaded and I resent the accusation that I am putting my family in danger to save a few bucks! Furthermore I am not aware of any code that states a maximum number of outlets on a regular residential circuit.

This circuit has 5 duplex outlets: 1 in the kitchen that powers an undercounter lamp and is rarely used, 1 in the living room that powers the tv, 1 in the office that powers the modem and router, 1 in a bedroom that powers a bedside lamp and radio, 1 in another bedroom that is never used due to awkward placement (I am not actually sure that this recepticle is on the same circuit, but since it is on the same vertical wall as the others it seems likely). It also has 2 ceiling fixtures that are fitted with 13w cfls. So 7 boxes at the most which is far fewer than most electricians would put on a 20 amp breaker.

AND until I get a chance to check each box, the circuit is turned off at the breaker.
 

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If the circuit breaker is frequently tripped, I'd say it might be overloaded, but that's not what was posted.

Sometimes when a bulb fails an arc strikes inside the globe. Bulbs that fail like this have a flash and sometimes a audible pop when they fail. It frequently happens when turning them on. This internal arc can draw a lot of current and blow breakers or dimmers.

I'd bet bad breaker. If you can work inside the panel, just swap the wire from the circuit in question to another breaker (take off the other circuit first) and if it works, buy a new breaker.
 

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If you open the main disconnect to the breaker box and reset the breaker does it stay closed? If it stays closed until you power up the box again and then blows that will rule out the breaker. Hope that makes sense.
 
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