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-   -   Stapling electrical wire triggers sparks (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f9/stapling-electrical-wire-triggers-sparks-4488/)

pressureseal 06-23-2008 10:22 PM

Stapling electrical wire triggers sparks
 
I have just finished the wiring for a room in my house and was putting in the last few staples to hold the wire down. I didn't think to turn the power off while doing this. While pounding in a staple of a wire going into a switch box, the switch box threw a series of sparks and the power off of the switch went out.

My question is, what exactly caused this to happen? My wiring in the switch box seems to be solid. Whites and neutrals twisted together tight and locked into pig tails. The wire ends to the switches are wrapped around solid. Could this have been caused by a small spark from when the hammer hitt the staple? The electrical switch wasn't screwed into the box so could it have bumped into the box by the shaking and returned via the neutral? Any theories?

My main concern here is that I have done something wrong with the wiring. I have a permit and am having it inspected but would still like to be relatively certain I don't have a dangerous setup here.

kok328 06-24-2008 04:03 PM

Sounds like that last staple pierced or crushed the wires inside the casing. Pull that staple back out, inspect and repair your wires. You'll probably have to replace the switch/outlet and reset the circuit breaker (after all repairs have been completed).

speedy petey 06-28-2008 08:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kok328 (Post 20499)
Sounds like that last staple pierced or crushed the wires inside the casing. Pull that staple back out, inspect and repair your wires. You'll probably have to replace the switch/outlet and reset the circuit breaker (after all repairs have been completed).

No because:
Quote:

Originally Posted by pressureseal (Post 20472)
While pounding in a staple of a wire going into a switch box, the switch box threw a series of sparks and the power off of the switch went out.






Quote:

Originally Posted by pressureseal (Post 20472)
The electrical switch wasn't screwed into the box so could it have bumped into the box by the shaking and returned via the neutral?

THIS is your problem. The switch shorted to the box. It did not "return" on the neutral. The box should be bonded to the ground wire.


WHY the hell were you working with the power on????

kok328 06-28-2008 11:21 AM

My Bad!

I didn't think about those metal boxes in residential. I'm industrial, so I'm ashamed that this escaped me.

Probably because, I wrap electrical tape around the back of the outlet or switch to cover the exposed lugs.

glennjanie 06-28-2008 01:23 PM

Haven't we all had a little zinger from wiring a divice hot? I sure have had my share.... stupid, I know. It can be a heart stopper and should never be the practice of an electrician. Step 1. turn the power off and check to be sure its off with a meter.
Glenn

shan2themax 06-28-2008 03:44 PM

I learned my lesson also.... :o

triple D 06-29-2008 01:52 AM

I cant make sparks.....
 
When the device is screwed in, even just a little bit and wiggling, it's hard to short out screws on device to the box unless they are not screwed in to device. If you don't see where the screw sparked on box, maybe you had the switch on, and shorted with a staple, the switch leg, this could cause a switch to throw sparks. Just another two cents, as always good luck.....

pressureseal 07-31-2008 07:42 PM

You guys were correct. The switch wasn't screwed down so when I was nailing in the staple, the pressure must have been just enough to pull the hot side to the box and ZAAAPPP!

COMP 08-02-2008 03:51 AM

you are lucky

frodo 08-05-2008 10:19 AM

i was hooking up a kitchen sink once, and the wire to the disposal was hot
and buzzed my ear. the electrican on the job apolgised, after i stoped chasing him.


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