I am stumped. Can anyone help? Basement bathroom finish with lighting issue

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DRGWSPUP

New User
Location
Colorado
Occupation
RETIRED ATTORNEY/diy HOMEOWNER
Hi folks, hoping I can get some ideas to troubleshoot a lighting problem in a DIY basement finishing project. This is my second basement finish and have done all the rough in/finish electrical without issue until now. The problem is in the bathroom, here are my steps so far:

Bathroom has three fixtures roughed in. From the wall switch box (power into the switch box) the order of fixtures are: a three bulb halogen light over the sink, Halo H5ICT recessed fixture in the shower (the problem child) and then a 4" recessed can over the toilet.

Everything was roughed in and passed inspection. Drywall finishers came in and shot the texture on the walls/ceiling. Unfortunately the protective wadding I put in the can apparently fell out during the process and drywall mud got into the socket.

Cleaned socket out with a wire brush and added an incandescent flood light bulb I had from the rest of the basement finish for testing purposes. Installed the halogen light over the sink and installed the LED retro trim in the 4" can over the toilet. Installed a dimmer switch rated for LED and halogen.

Energized the circuit and flipped the switch and the halogen fixture and 4" can lit right up. Shower can light was DOA. So light #1 worked, #2 did not and #3 did. Started with the simplest possible problem and tried a new bulb, nada. Confirmed both bulbs worked in another fixture. So cleaned out the socket again thinking I didn't get all the drywall muck out. Tried again and the shower light was still dark. Removed the bulb.

I used my non contact voltage tester to see if power was getting to the socket in the can. It crossed my mind that even though I passed inspection perhaps I had a loose wire nut connection in the can's box from the rough in. My non contact voltage sniffer beeped that the black wire was energized. Ok, so power was getting to the socket. Tried cleaning it again. Still no go.

OK with power getting to the socket and the bulbs being good, I thought that the socket was defective. So I removed that and installed a retro fit LED trim since I wanted to match the trim for the toilet light. I clipped off the orange retro fit connector and attached the fixture using wire nuts. Flipped the switch, shower can still dark. WTF!

Thought maybe I got a bad LED retro trim. Removed the LED retro trim in the shower and tested that light in another lamp fixture. Behold it worked. So LED fixture not the problem.

Thought maybe the dimmer was the problem. Replaced that with a single pole switch. Still no light in the shower.

Ok back to the shower can with now a black and white wire dangling down, ground connected to the can. Non contact sniffer said black was hot. Thinking maybe I was getting a false reading for some reason, I used a contact tester also and that lit up. OK so wires were energized coming into the can.

Thinking I must not have attached the LED via wire nuts improperly, redid the connections. Still dark but now the GFCI tripped and sent all the lights dark. I redid the connections and tried again, halogen and 4" can worked. Nada on the shower light.

What is going on???

One other thing, as I was removing the socket from the can, there appears to be a thermal breaker or something in line on the hot. It popped off the roof of the can it that matters at all but is still intact. And two of the three halogen bulbs have burned out prematurely in my opinion. Not sure if thats related. Maybe finger oil got on the bulbs during install.

Thanks to everyone for reading this. Let me know if you see what I am doing wrong.

Mark
 

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