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Old 05-19-2011, 01:05 PM   #1
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Need to fix line voltage outdoor lighting


We just closed on a home and it appears that there is line voltage outdoor lighting. The thing is, I can't get any of them to come on. The reason I am assuming it is line voltage is because there is a switch for it in the panel and also because every light has a box next to it.

I would like to get this outdoor lighting working as painlessly as possible.

I haven't checked the bulbs yet, but my first order of business will be to check each light fixture to see if there was any power on it with a volt meter. Problem is, I don't know which switch in the house or garage turns on the outdoor lighting which is in the front and back.

Will this simply be a matter of trial and error to determine which switch or switches powers the outdoor lighting?

Thanks for any tips or suggestions.....
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Last edited by noone; 05-19-2011 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:22 PM   #2
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Need to fix line voltage outdoor lighting


I think my first instinct would be to look for more clues. Do you have a basement? Can you find where any wire(s) exit the house? Are there any external clues (conduit) which might identify where wires exit the house? Once found, could this suggest which switch controls it, if any?

Check wire at one of the fixtures. Does this confirm line voltage, or suggest LV?

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I haven't checked the bulbs yet, but my first order of business was to check each light fixture to see if there was any power on it with a volt meter. Problem is, I don't know which switch in the house or garage turns on the outdoor lighting which is in the front and back.
Have you, in fact, checked voltage and found none?

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Old 05-19-2011, 02:46 PM   #3
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Need to fix line voltage outdoor lighting


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I think my first instinct would be to look for more clues. Do you have a basement? Can you find where any wire(s) exit the house? Are there any external clues (conduit) which might identify where wires exit the house? Once found, could this suggest which switch controls it, if any?

Check wire at one of the fixtures. Does this confirm line voltage, or suggest LV?



Have you, in fact, checked voltage and found none?
No basement. Cannot find any obvious areas where the wires exit. All wires look to be buried very well into the ground. I believe they are switched into wall switch from the panel in the garage. I just do not know how to determine what switch. Have not checked voltage yet (should have mentioned that I **will** be checking voltage first).

Just wanted to get a general consensus before I start into this.

Last edited by noone; 05-19-2011 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:20 PM   #4
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Need to fix line voltage outdoor lighting


that could be low voltage, but then again not. it should be on a GFI, but it may not have been required when installed. Check in out of the way locations for a tripped gfi

if it is low volt it might be a bad transformer
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:55 PM   #5
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Need to fix line voltage outdoor lighting


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that could be low voltage, but then again not. it should be on a GFI, but it may not have been required when installed. Check in out of the way locations for a tripped gfi

if it is low volt it might be a bad transformer
Definitely not low voltage. No transformer anywhere. Looked everywhere for a transformer like what I installed in our old house. This has to be line voltage since it is on a breaker in the electrical panel.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:49 PM   #6
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Need to fix line voltage outdoor lighting


Is it 3wire or 2wire? if it's 2 it's more than likely low voltage, can you tell what gauge it is?

Another thing that you might try is to get a tool called a toner and try to trace the lines. There may be a break in it. If your brave enough for it you can also disconnect the wires that you think go to those lights in the panel and start twisting the wires together int he junction boxes, then with a meter, set it to audible ohms and see if you get a tone out of the meter at the panel end of the wires you disconnected.

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