Are you in need of a low voltage landscape lighting repair? You have come to the right place. Dolce Electric Company schedules an in-office electrician in Mesa AZ that you can consult with free of charge about troubleshooting low voltage landscape lighting systems.
Having over 30 years of experience with troubleshooting landscape lighting and being voted best electrician Mesa AZ, he will answer all of your questions and get you the landscape light repair help that you are looking for. Our electricians in Mesa are available today, Tuesday, February 25th, 2020, between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Give our experts a call; you will be happy you did!
How to Repair Landscape Lighting
In some cases, repairing landscape lighting can be as simple as replacing the bulbs. Other times low voltage landscape lighting troubleshooting can involve identifying and repairing an electrical problem in the system. Below are some of the most common symptoms and solutions for your review or you can call our local Mesa electricians for help.
Some Of My Lights Work And Others Do Not
Burned out bulbs
Try replacing the bulb with a new one. Incandescent bulbs typically have a life of 500 to 2000 hours. We always recommend replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs because of lower power consumption and longer life expectancy.
Corrosion is commonly found on the socket contact points of cheaper fixtures that are not sealed to keep moisture out. Using a small file, clean the contact points in the socket. Keep in mind that knowing how to fix landscape lighting sockets is nothing more than a temporary fix. The corrosion will happen again because the fixture still allows moisture to enter.
Note: If a fixture replacement is required, look for fixtures that utilize beryllium copper sockets with machine thread and O-ring sealed assembly for a moisture tight enclosure.
Wire connection failure
If the bulb has been replaced and the socket looks good, check the underground wiring connections between the fixture wires and the underground cable. Undo the splice, separate the wires and clean them off. After cleaning, twist the wires together and cover the splice with a silicone sealed underground rated wire nut.
Note: Pierce-point connectors are notorious for failure. Mechanically, they poke a hole through the wiring insulation to make the connection. These holes also allow moisture and dirt to enter and corrode the connections. Replace these underground pierce-point connectors with moisture tight wire nuts that are rated for low voltage underground splices.
None Of My Low Voltage Lights Are Working
A power surge is a sudden and brief burst of excessive voltage that can seriously damage your landscape lighting system. LED landscape lighting systems are much more vulnerable to power surges because LED’s generate their light through semiconductor chips, similar to the ones in your computer. If this has happened, the damage can be great or small depending on the size and duration of the surge. The only solution is to replace what has been damaged and install a whole house surge protector to prevent this from happening again. To learn more about protecting yourself from power surges, visit our page about whole house surge protectors.
GFCI outlet has tripped
Most low voltage landscape lighting systems get their power from a transformer that is simply plugged into an exterior outlet. These exterior outlets are required to be GFCI protected. If the GFCI outlet won’t reset, or is tripped, the transformer will not get power and the landscape lights will not work. Make sure the GFCI outlet protecting this exterior power is not tripped and reset if discovered.
Problem with the low voltage wires
- Make sure that all of the low voltage wires are connected to the transformer. These are the wires that carry the power to the lights.
- Check for a cut wire. Take a voltage reading on the secondary side of the transformer. You should be getting around 12 volts (on a standard transformer) between the common terminal and the voltage terminal. If voltage is present at the transformer, take a reading at the first underground connections. This will most likely be at the light closest to the transformer. If no power is present at the first connections the underground wire is cut. This cut will need to be dug up and repaired.
Transformer has failed
Every low voltage landscape lighting system gets its power through a transformer. If the transformer has failed the lights will not come on. Use the following steps to verify that the transformer is working correctly or give our local Mesa AZ electricians a call. They have been voted best electricians Mesa AZ and are looking forward to earning your vote too.
Landscape lighting transformer troubleshooting step by step
- Check the power supple outlet that the transformer is plugged into. If no power is detected, check for a tripped circuit breaker or a tripped GFCI outlet. Approximately 120 volts must be available at this outlet for the transformer to work.
- Make sure the time-clock is set with the proper time and times of operation. If these settings are correct, bypass the time-clock by manually switching the transformer to the on position. If the transformer utilizes a modular time-clock that can be unplugged, remove it and plug the internal power cord directly into the time-clock module receptacle.
- Some transformers will turn on and off through the use of a photocell. These devices switch the power on when it gets dark outside and off at daybreak. To bypass the photocell, unplug it from the photocell receptacle port and insert the jumper cable to complete the circuit.
- Check all built-in fuses and circuit breakers. These device protect the transformer from overloading. Reset all circuit breakers to the on position and replace any blown fuses.
- Check the secondary voltage by taking a voltage reading between the common wire terminal and one of the voltage wire terminals. If power is now present, there is a problem with either the bypassed time-clock or the photocell. If no voltage is being delivered a new transformer will be required.
How To Fix An Entire Section Of Lights That Is Not Working
Wire connection failure
- Start with the nonoperational light that is closest to the transformer. Check the underground wiring connections for voltage at this light. Continue checking all underground connections leading back to the transformer until voltage is detected. Repair this splice if necessary and make sure all other underground connections are tight and spliced with wire nuts that are rated for underground use. Be sure to check the terminal connections on the transformer too.
- If power is still lost between any two points there is either another unaccounted for connection in-between or the wire is cut. In either case the connection or cut will need to be dug up and repaired.
Some Of My Lights Are Dim and Others Are Not
This is a symptom of voltage drop. By definition, voltage drop is the amount of voltage loss through all or part of a circuit due to impedance. In practical terms it means that either the wires are too small for the amount of power they need to carry, the wires are too small for the length of the circuit or the underground connections are failing. Any one of these factors or any combination will result in voltage drop.
The wires are too small for the amount of power needed
This is something that would have stood out when the system was first installed. Instead, it is more than likely that over time the bulbs have been replaced with higher wattage bulbs. This increases the power demand on the wires, which can cause voltage drop and result in dim lights. Many times, unaware individuals will try replacing these dim bulbs with even higher wattage bulbs to correct the problem. This will only make the situation worse because even more power is trying to flow across the wires. The best solution is to reduce the power demand by replacing the bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs.
The wires are too small for the length of the circuit
This would again be apparent from the moment the system was first installed. It is more than likely that the system was expanded at some point and the distance of the circuit was increased along with the voltage drop. This is commonly found in older systems that still use halogen bulbs. The solution is to either replace the existing halogen bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs, replace the existing wires with larger wires or back loop the circuit with additional wires.
The underground connections are failing
Any loose or corroded underground connections will cause voltage drop and result in dimming lights. This is especially common when pierce-point connectors have been used. Starting with the fixture that is furthest from the transformer and replace the existing connections with underground rated wire nuts.
My Bulbs Burn Out Quickly
This is a classic sign of improper voltage. Check the voltage at each individual fixture. A reading of between 10 volts to 12 volts is considered optimal. If the voltage is too high or too low it will shorten the life expectancy of the bulb. The further the voltage is from the norm the shorter the life expectancy. This will require having our electricians diagnose the problem to determine the best solution.
What Should I Do Next?
For more information about fixing landscape lighting, call our in-office electricians. They are available to take your call today, Tuesday, February 25th, 2020, between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Give them a call; you will be happy you did!