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Old 08-03-2008, 12:02 PM   #1
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Lamp outside front door burning out bulbs


So, about a month ago the light bulb for the lamp outside my front door died.

I replaced the bulb, and everything seemed OK. Then I noticed it didnít work the next day. Sure enough, the bulb was blown.

The unit was old/weather worn , so I figured Iíd replace it and also take a look at the wires while I was at it.

The outlet box wires seemed fine and there was no water inside (it had rained the night before).

I connected the new lamp and tested a new bulb before closing everything up. Breaker on. Then turn on the switch, and the bulb doesnít flash on, but fades on for a second or two then burns out?

What the heck?

So, I tested the receptacle voltages and got the following results:

Black+white = 122v
Black+green = 122v
White+green = 0.6v

Seemed OK. Yet, I did notice that touching the black alone (other multi-meter lead is in the air) gives a reading of 13v (AC)?

That seemed unusual, but not sure if it is related.

The light just inside the door (hallway) is controlled by a switch right next to the outside the door switch (double wide switch box on same circuit), and no problems with bulbs there.

Other outlets on the same circuit breaker are fine also. (house built in 60ís - copper wiring).

What could it be? Suggested next steps?

Thx

-K
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:33 PM   #2
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Then I noticed it didn’t work the next day. Sure enough, the bulb was blown.
I connected the new lamp and tested a new bulb before closing everything up. Breaker on. Then turn on the switch, and the bulb doesn’t flash on, but fades on for a second or two then burns out?

white+green = 0.6v
This seems a bit high.

Seemed OK. Yet, I did notice that touching the black alone (other multi-meter lead is in the air) gives a reading of 13v (AC)?
The voltage really is there. If you do the same with an oscilloscope you'll see a raggedy sine wave.

The light just inside . . .no problems with bulbs there.
Other outlets. . .fine also.
Bad batch of bulbs?
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:43 PM   #3
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Lamp outside front door burning out bulbs


try a 130V a-lamp (bulb) rated watt or less for fixture.

your power company is running a little hot...
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:50 PM   #4
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Lamp outside front door burning out bulbs


Bad bulbs

Lamp connected between hot and ground instead of hot and neutral

Do the burned bulbs have kinda white cloudy color inside ?
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Old 08-03-2008, 05:30 PM   #5
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Lamp outside front door burning out bulbs


hmmmm... need a sparky to answer... could this maybe be a loose connection? .6v feed back on ground? Got to be more on this circuit...?
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:08 PM   #6
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Lamp outside front door burning out bulbs


thx for the input so far...just got back in. Maybe tomorrow after work I'll check the voltage at the switch box inside, then take it from there.
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:06 PM   #7
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Lamp outside front door burning out bulbs


I would suspect a bad connection. Scrape the conductors with a knife blade before wire nutting them to remove any oxidation. Use new wire nuts, not the old ones. Slamming a door next to the fixture is hard on lamps.

The small voltages are most likely phantom voltage readings from your meter. This is normal.
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Old 08-10-2008, 04:28 PM   #8
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Lamp outside front door burning out bulbs


OK, finally had a chance to work on it again (crazy week at work). It's been working for a day now w/o problems.

I can't say for sure what specifically fixed the issue since I did more than 1 thing at the same time. I replaced the bulb & wire nuts and scraped the (heavy) oxidation off the connections.

Good to go now.

Thx all!

-K
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:36 PM   #9
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Lamp outside front door burning out bulbs


Is there a photo cell in the circuit? You cannot use a compact florescent bulb with a photocell. In some cases both the photocell and the bulb will quit working. You must use a regular incandescent or halogen bulb with the photocell or remove the photocell and use a timer.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:46 PM   #10
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Is there a photo cell in the circuit?
It's a motion sensing lamp assy.

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Originally Posted by The Lighting Geek View Post
You must use a regular incandescent or halogen bulb with the photocell or remove the photocell and use a timer.
Yup, that's what I've been using. Thanks for the add'l input though. -K
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:55 PM   #11
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I would look into the motion detector unit if the problem persists. They can have the same issue as the photocell. So are you using CFL's?
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Old 08-20-2008, 07:54 PM   #12
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I would look into the motion detector unit if the problem persists. They can have the same issue as the photocell. So are you using CFL's?
I just got back from a camping trip. Anyway, no, I am using incandescent (vs CFL) & still working fine.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:35 AM   #13
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Lamp outside front door burning out bulbs


Great. Thanks for posting back that it is still working. That helps other people with similar problems.
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