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Question DetailsAsked on 5/4/2016

sparks flew out of my track lighting when it was turned off

light was turned off, sparks flew out, what would cause this, did not kick the breaker

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2 Answers


Loose connection and probably not propery spliced. Call an electrician

Answered 3 years ago by Kestrel Electric


I am going to go a different direction than Kestrel - because I can't see a loose connection sparking when you turned the ligth OFF - when turning ON yes, OFF I can't see any reason for it to choose that time to arc and spark.

I am going to guess one of two things - you have a LED or CFL bulb in there and it chose that moment to fail. Some LED lights fail in that mode - when you turn the power off they still have juice stored in them in capacitors, and when turned off they can flicker and eventually can flash faill and spark as the electronics that drive them fail. I have had that happen with several brands - a real safety hazard.

A second possibility is that you have a low voltage system and the low-voltage wiring is what goes through the switch, so the transformer is always 'live" at 120V - poor wiring practice but is done at times. In that case, when you turned light off the transformer may have failed at that moment or be putting high voltage through the system (which would cause almost instantaneous bulb failure at the higher voltage).

A variation on this which is more likely - if you have mini halogen or other low-voltage lighting with the transformer and/or capacitors at each track head - and one failed. These low voltage systems can be real fire hazards because when they fail commonly the transformer/capacitor unit self-destructs and/or melts, putting out sparks or even flaming molten plastic - I have seen several instances of that happening.

I would, to be safe, turn off the breaker for that circuit so you are certain there is no power to it, and call an electrician. Might just have been a bulb going out - you could check that out, but if not positive that the track is OK I would call the electrician.

I would also file a report on the track lighting system (in manufacturer info and model are on a label you can see - unfortunately usually on back) or on the bulb (if just a bulb failing was the cause) with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (which can order recalls), so other people with same brand are warned of the danger of sparking.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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