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Old 01-25-2012, 10:29 AM   #1
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


I have a single 20 watt 12 volt halogen puck light in a china display cabinet. The light is fed by a transformer on top of the cabinet that is plugged into a switched receptacle.

About 2 weeks ago my wife said the light did not work. Replaced the bulb with a spare. Still no light. Got out my multimeter and checked the transformer output, no 12 volts. Checked the AC input, 120 volts OK. Conclusion, bad transformer.

Ordered this transformer from Home Depot on line.


Progress Lighting
Electronic transformer for use with 12 volt lamps
Model P8560-30
120 VAC input, 11.5 volts, 60 watts output.
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

Wired it up, no light. Tested transformer, no output, input OK. Bad transformer DOA.

Called Home Depot and returned and reordered. Got the replacement yesterday. Exactly the same thing.

Could I have received 2 defective transformers in a row or am I missing something

Any insight would be appreciated.

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Old 01-25-2012, 11:18 AM   #2
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


Is there any other low voltage stuff you can test to make sure it's not your tester?

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Old 01-25-2012, 11:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julius793 View Post
Is there any other low voltage stuff you can test to make sure it's not your tester?
I was not sure if the output of the transformer was supposed to be AC or DC so I tested my car battery and got the expected 12 VDC and tested my door bell transformer and got 16 VAC.

Looks like my meter is fine.

Note that the transformer in question says it is and electronic transformer, is that meaningful?
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:51 AM   #4
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Note that the transformer in question says it is and electronic transformer, is that meaningful?
Not really. Although you may not get accurate voltage measurements of the output. They are switching DC power supplies without any filtering on the output which makes them more AC than DC. Real crappy looking AC.
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:53 AM   #5
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles

Note that the transformer in question says it is and electronic transformer, is that meaningful?
Honestly I don't know my boss is the one that usually buys meterial

However you should still be getting a reading of some sort.
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:03 PM   #6
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


oooooooOOOOOOOOOoooooooo....I just thought of something. They don't like to operate without a load so that might be the mystery. Measure the resistance of the complete circuit, bulb in socket and wires, right up to where it attaches to the power supply.
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:11 PM   #7
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


What I mean is, if the bulb is good and no bad connections it may start working if you hook it all up.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:48 PM   #8
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


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What I mean is, if the bulb is good and no bad connections it may start working if you hook it all up.
Tried it and still NG.

Did some more research; that transformer is intended to power a Xenon lamp and I am trying to use it for a Halogen. Is that my problem?

I may just send this one back and buy something that says it is made for halogen low voltage lamps. (I bought this one because it was on closeout- read I'm a cheapskate)
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:59 PM   #9
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


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Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Tried it and still NG.

Did some more research; that transformer is intended to power a Xenon lamp and I am trying to use it for a Halogen. Is that my problem?

I may just send this one back and buy something that says it is made for halogen low voltage lamps. (I bought this one because it was on closeout- read I'm a cheapskate)
It makes no difference at all, should still work. I'm curious, didja measure the resistance of the lamp circuit to make sure everything was ok there? It should be a pretty low resistance reading.

Question....does the new transformer have the same wattage rating as the old one? That could make a difference as these units will not work unless there is about a 50% nameplate load on it.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:20 PM   #10
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


These things are terrible to troubleshoot and the high current makes perfect connections mandatory.
Test each transformer by directly wiring to a known good 12v lamp, 20 W or more. Repeat each test several times in case there is an intermittent defect somewhere. Don't assume a connector is "connecting" or a wire has continuity.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:40 PM   #11
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


If you are running up against the maximum wattage of the transformer, it's over-current protection may be tripping. The only way to reset it is to disconnect the transformer from power and let it sit for about 30 seconds, then plug it back in. When you attempted to operate it with the lamp installed, it may have overloaded, tripped, and then stopped putting out power when you tried to check it with the meter. WHen you put the battery on it, the battery supplied enough power to make it work. this is NOT an advisable way of testing it however. If there was a short in the line, without a fuse. a big lead-acid battery could deliver enough current to quickly heat the wires up above combustion temperatures!
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:40 PM   #12
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


I have given up.
I have worked on this thing half the day and I have had it. I tested the lamp and the wire to by connecting to my car battery. I tested the fixture wires, the lamp and the socket for continuity. The transformer is rated for 60 watts and the single puck light has a 20 watt Halogen lamp. For grins and giggles I tried it with a 50 watt halogen, no change. These are G-6.35 bi-pin lamps.

I called Home Depot and got a RMN and am sending it back. I have found another transformer with a magnetic transformer and have ordered it.

Thanks to all those that tried to help
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:18 AM   #13
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Low voltage lighting transformer driving me nuts


The output is not DC. It is AC, but at very high frequency (50,000Hz or so). Many multimeters will not read it at all, or will read it very inaccurately on the AC volts setting. The voltage will also be all over the place if there's no load attached. The only good way to test without fancy equipment is using a known-good light bulb.

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