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Old 12-22-2012, 11:26 PM   #1
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Light post, not running on full power?


I have 2 identical apartment building that both have photosensors that controls two light fixtures and 4 entry lights.

Since I bought the place the end of the line light post on one building has not worked. I replaced all of the lamp post heads as they were all missing glass, and figured this would solve that problem too. However, it is still not working.

I took it all apart again, stripped the wires back about an inch and reconnected everything in the two lamp posts on that building (the end of the line one feeds from the other). The light still does not work. I have a field tester and it tests hot, and the cfl inside has some dim flickering near the base. Aluminum wire feeds into the first post, with copper coming out.

I made sure the connections were tight yet again and still no luck. It looks like someone else has tried everything I did because the wires were short (I had to cut back insulation) and there was white residue on the wires (I forget the name but know it is for this purpose). Any ideas? Thanks!


Last edited by oh'mike; 12-23-2012 at 08:36 AM. Reason: added spaces
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:29 AM   #2
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Light post, not running on full power?


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Originally Posted by Jude1986 View Post
I have 2 identical apartment building that both have photosensors that controls two light fixtures and 4 entry lights. Since I bought the place the end of the line light post on one building has not worked. I replaced all of the lamp post heads as they were all missing glass, and figured this would solve that problem too. However, it is still not working. I took it all apart again, stripped the wires back about an inch and reconnected everything in the two lamp posts on that building (the end of the line one feeds from the other). The light still does not work. I have a field tester and it tests hot, and the cfl inside has some dim flickering near the base. Aluminum wire feeds into the first post, with copper coming out. I made sure the connections were tight yet again and still no luck. It looks like someone else has tried everything I did because the wires were short (I had to cut back insulation) and there was white residue on the wires (I forget the name but know it is for this purpose). Any ideas? Thanks!

Do you know the path of the cable,
IE were it starts were it ends and the route in between ?
Check for power at start of cable run !

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Old 12-23-2012, 12:57 AM   #3
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Light post, not running on full power?


Thanks for the reply. The path is from panel to junction box where it splits to a (1.) Series of 4 entry lights and (2.)Series of two lampposts. Following the split to the lamp posts we have post 1, working fine, than post 2, with power readings but not enough for full operation.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:24 AM   #4
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Light post, not running on full power?


Have you measure the voltage (hot to neutral) at each lamp socket with the lights turned on?

It is not unusual for underground wires, particularly if they are aluminum, to "rust out". Animals or biodegradation destroy the insulation and then mosture gets at the conductors. There may be a period of time when the corrosion residues conduct electricity but not enough to light up the lamp at full brightness.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:31 AM   #5
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Light post, not running on full power?


Have you measure the voltage (hot to neutral) at each lamp socket with the lights turned on?

It is not unusual for underground wires, particularly if they are aluminum, to "rust out". Animals or biodegradation destroy the insulation and then mosture gets at the conductors. There may be a period of time when the corrosion residues conduct electricity but not enough to light up the lamp at full brightness.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:45 AM   #6
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Light post, not running on full power?


Have you measure the voltage (hot to neutral) at each lamp socket with the lights turned on?

It is not unusual for underground wires, particularly if they are aluminum, to "rust out". Animals or biodegradation destroy the insulation and then mosture gets at the conductors. There may be a period of time when the corrosion residues conduct electricity but not enough to light up the lamp at full brightness.
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Stop wasting time re-adjusting the pattern. Have several lawn sprinklers, one for each pattern.
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:08 AM   #7
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Light post, not running on full power?


Have you measure the voltage (hot to neutral) at each lamp socket with the lights turned on?

It is not unusual for underground wires, particularly if they are aluminum, to "rust out". Animals or biodegradation destroy the insulation and then mosture gets at the conductors. There may be a period of time when the corrosion residues conduct electricity but not enough to light up the lamp at full brightness.
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Stop wasting time re-adjusting the pattern. Have several lawn sprinklers, one for each pattern.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:01 PM   #8
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Light post, not running on full power?


Can you measure the voltage at post 1 with light on.
Then measure the voltage at post 2 also with light on .
Could be a faulty cable or loose/dirty joint.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:52 PM   #9
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Light post, not running on full power?


I just picked up a tester so that I can take that measurement. I am assuming that this is what the problem is at this point. There has not been any digging in the area recently. The aluminum wire runs to the light that is working, and the copper runs from that light to the one that is not working. I wonder if I take the bulb out of the first light, if the second light will work. I believe that would tell us if we are only getting enough power to light one light, and that the problem may be furthur down the line.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:42 PM   #10
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Light post, not running on full power?


Start by undo'ing every joint at the first pole .
Power off, of course !
Do they look tight and shiney ?
Any obvious corrossion or rust ?
Do the same at 2nd pole.
Also check the lamp fixtures.

If this does not fix it,
then theres a good chance that the cable is faulty.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:28 PM   #11
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Light post, not running on full power?


Thats what I was fearing. I already did those steps, I took both lights off and cut the wire back about an inch and restripped it, used better wire nuts and triple checked to make sure the connections were tight. Still the same problem. Would that wire be in conduit underground? Should I be able to hook the new line to the old one and muscle it through, or am I going to be digging? Thanbks for all the help!
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:20 PM   #12
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Light post, not running on full power?


If the cable route is not too tortuous,
then you might be able to attach a new section of cable
to the old section
and slowely and carefully pull the new one thru.
Worth a try !

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