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Old 05-02-2010, 11:59 AM   #1
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Can light puzzle


I have 2 can lights that were installed as part of a basement remodel a couple of years ago. The remodel included new wiring throughout the house. The two lights (over a small kitchenette) recently stopped working. I have swapped out the bulbs, checked the switch and tested for juice (there is power to the cans). Everything seems to be working fine...but the lights won't go on. I am stumped. Any suggestions from the electricians out there?

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Old 05-02-2010, 12:12 PM   #2
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Can light puzzle


You do get power when measuring between the socket shell and the contact in the bottom center of the socket with the bulb taken out?

Sometimes the contact tab at the bottom center gets flattened too much and doesn't make good contact with the tip of the light bulb. You need to turn the power off and gently lift the tab a bit until it holds an angled position not flat against the socket bottom.

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Old 05-02-2010, 12:18 PM   #3
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Can light puzzle


Yep - tried that. No luck. I am wondering if somehow the socket is faulty.
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:03 PM   #4
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Can light puzzle


there's power to the cans but is there power to the sockets?
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:47 PM   #5
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Can light puzzle


Check for adequate power - just because you get a bit of electricity doesn't mean the required amperage is there for full function.
So - wire up a different light, doesn't have to be a full light, could just be a bulb-socket replacement (bulb/screw bed and wiring) . . . see if those work. . . if an alternative light of equal amperage works then the problem is with your cans. If the alternative light doesn't work then the problem is with your wiring, switch or fuse.

process of elimination.
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:35 AM   #6
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Can light puzzle


Is there possibly something wrong with the can lights at this point?

I've never dealt with can lights before last week. But one of the things I noticed was that the can lights I bought includes instructions about the unit might have become over heated if the light begins to flash, making it sound like there is some special safty circuitry that's not obvious that could be faultly. It would be odd that both failed at the same time... but not out of the question if they've been in the same service.

The only other thing that jumps to mind that would cause both to go out (if they went out together, and not one then the other) is if wiring in the j-box attatched to the 1st light in the circuit wasn't done properly and something has gone wrong there. No easy to find out (unless you've got a drop ceiling) as getting access to the j-boxs for the can lights can be difficult after they have been installed.
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:45 PM   #7
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Can light puzzle


How did you test for power to the cans? Hot to ground? Test hot to neutral. The problem could be an open neutral.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:13 PM   #8
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Can light puzzle


Try one of those stubby little lamp-base-to-outlet adapters so you simulate a bulb being there.
Can also be a high resistance connection or phantom voltage such that a voltmeter shows 120v but a lamp won't light because it demands too much current.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 05-03-2010 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:19 PM   #9
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Just tested them with a volt meter. When I touch the neutral, I only get about 20v, but when I touch the side of the can I get 120v. That mean anything to y'all?
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:27 PM   #10
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Can light puzzle


Open neutral.

I only read this last post because I read this thread over on Contractortalk.com.
I replied here because this is where this thread belongs. It does not belong over on CT. As the sign up page clearly states, that is a "professionals only" site. This site is the DIY sister site.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:35 PM   #11
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Thanks. I am a professional...just not an electrician.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:37 PM   #12
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Can light puzzle


If it is an open neutral, where might it be given that both can lights went out at the same time but all of the of the other fixtures on the circuit work fine.
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:03 AM   #13
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Can light puzzle


If you know the wire routing the problem is in the last working device or the first not working device in the chain. Yes the problem could be in a working device. It could even be in a switch.

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