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Old 12-15-2010, 03:00 PM   #1
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Detached Garage - Only one light is out


I have a detached garage with electrical run underground to it. It supplies power to 2 outlets as well as switches to lights inside and outside the garage. In addition, the outside lights can be operated from inside the house. Recently, the outside lights stopped responding to the switches. Upon further examination, the switches themselves are not getting power. All the other outlets and switches (including the switch that shares a box) still get power. Is it possible that this is a problem with the line underground, or is it something easier (more accessible)?

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Old 12-15-2010, 03:08 PM   #2
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Detached Garage - Only one light is out


How many conductors are in your underground feed? If your three way switch for the outside lights is in the garage (three conductors) you may be losing your power in the garage. If the 3-way is in the house you may have a flipped breaker in the house breaker box.

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Old 12-15-2010, 03:13 PM   #3
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Detached Garage - Only one light is out


I admittedly do not know a whole lot about the house. Recently moved in, about 50 years old. I do know that it is not a flipped breaker inside the house. The switch inside the house has power, the one in the garage does not.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:46 PM   #4
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Detached Garage - Only one light is out


Great. If the switch inside has power have you looked to see if it has 3 wires on it? What colors are they? Look at the switch in the garage, does it have 3 wires? What colors are they? What colors are on the wires at the cable going to the lights outside? Note all your colors and they can be followed from house to garage to lights. By the way did you check the light bulbs? I chased a problem like this once for 4 hours. Had everything disconnected and rewired everything only to find the damn light bulb was burned out. I'll never live that one down.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:13 PM   #5
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Detached Garage - Only one light is out


I will check the color of the wires when I get home. I tested the garage switch with a circuit tester, so I know there is no power there. However, I did not do that until after I already replaed the bulbs twice. Perhaps wishful thinking that it would be that easy.
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:17 PM   #6
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Detached Garage - Only one light is out


Due to an unusual schedule, and an aversion to visiting a detached garage in the winter, it took me a little more time than anticipated to check the wires. On the house side, I have a brown wire and two red wires running to the switch. On the garage switch, I have one red wire and two brown wires. Based on my rudimentary tests with the circuit tester, I've figured which red (on the inside) is hot. So am I correct in guessing that the other red and the brown go out to the garage?
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:50 PM   #7
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Detached Garage - Only one light is out


That would be an excellent guess! So now that you know which wire in the house is hot touch the other two wires with the tester as you operate the switch. Do they both turn on and off as you operate the switch? If they do then your house switch is good. Next make one of the two runners hot (or on) in the house and check all three wires on the switch in the garage. Two should be hot. Operate the garage switch. One of the live terminals on the switch should turn off. That should be the wire to the lights. If this doesn't happen then your garage switch is bad. If there is NO power at the garage switch at all check for a dirty or corroded wire nut connection, first in the garage between the switch and your UG cable, then in the house between your switch and your UG cable. You will finger it out!!

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