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Old 12-04-2012, 09:36 PM   #1
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Outdoor Lamp Post No Power - New Homeowner


Hi all,

Just found this forum and looks like an awesome resource. I recently bought my first house so I'm sure to have plenty of DIY projects!

First up is my lamp post out by the street. It's not getting any power (tested with wire testers).

It's on it's own circuit in my circuit breaker. There is a switch for the light on the inside of my home which also does not get any power.

Probably a dumb question, but is the wire being run from the breaker box to the lamp post, then from the lamp post to the switch inside the house?

I did find a thin black wire laying on top of the ground the other day while raking leaves. It appears to have been cut since it goes no where.

I followed the other end of the wire toward the house and it appears to be going to the side of my house where the breaker is located. I assume this is the wire that should be powering my lamp post? I thought that type of wire was much thicker? This is a really thin black wire.

As you can tell I know very little about electricity so any help would be very much appreciated. I'm the only house in the neighborhood without a street light!

Cheers,
Marc

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:43 PM   #2
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Outdoor Lamp Post No Power - New Homeowner


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Originally Posted by marcus118 View Post
Hi all,

Just found this forum and looks like an awesome resource. I recently bought my first house so I'm sure to have plenty of DIY projects!

First up is my lamp post out by the street. It's not getting any power (tested with wire testers).

It's on it's own circuit in my circuit breaker. There is a switch for the light on the inside of my home which also does not get any power.

Probably a dumb question, but is the wire being run from the breaker box to the lamp post, then from the lamp post to the switch inside the house?


As you can tell I know very little about electricity so any help would be very much appreciated. I'm the only house in the neighborhood without a street light!

Cheers,
Marc
Usually the power goes to the switch first !
But any thing is possable with some DIYers.

Can you physically follow the cable back from the post ?
Is there power at the switch ?
If not follow the wires to see were they go !

Follow the little black wire the other way,
and see were it goes ?

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:58 PM   #3
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Outdoor Lamp Post No Power - New Homeowner


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Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
Usually the power goes to the switch first !
But any thing is possable with some DIYers.

Can you physically follow the cable back from the post ?
Is there power at the switch ?
If not follow the wires to see were they go !

Follow the little black wire the other way,
and see were it goes ?
I don't see any wire coming from the post - only a wire laying lose on the ground about 10 yards away. That lose wire is what goes back to the side of the house.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:34 PM   #4
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Outdoor Lamp Post No Power - New Homeowner


In the switch box you will usually see one or more white wires capped together. Of any black wires (could be red also), one is likely the hot supply from the main breaker box.

This hot black wire must feed one terminal of the switch. A black wire from the lamp post goes on the other terminal. The white wire from the lamp post connects to the group of white wires and doesn't connect to the switch.

So the switch either sends power ('on' position) or it doesn't ('off').

To test if there's power at the switch, a tester would have to have one leg on the white wire or cluster of white wires and the other leg on the switch terminals, one at a time.

If you have an outdoor GFI outlet next (after the switch) which then continues the run to the lamp post, check if test button on GFI receptacle has tripped.

If wiring was cut outdoors, the safe thing would be to disconnect cable run from lamp post to switch at the switch.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:35 AM   #5
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Outdoor Lamp Post No Power - New Homeowner


Here is a photo of the light switch box in the house (it's got 3 switches the one on the right being the outdoor lamp post)


So I need to pull out those white wires and test? Can I use one of the other working switches to test?

Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:44 AM   #6
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Outdoor Lamp Post No Power - New Homeowner


Back up and take another picture, someones going to need to see where the wires go that are just out of frame.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Back up and take another picture, someones going to need to see where the wires go that are just out of frame.
here is the zoomed out shot

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Old 12-05-2012, 10:21 AM   #8
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all those switches are are fed from same circuit.test the switches from the terminal that the black wire from the wire nutted bunch goes to the wire nutted white wires. if you have 120 volts turn your pole light switch on and check for power. if no power on the load side you have a bad switch. if you have power then you will need to do more troubleshooting
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:28 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by pokey View Post
all those switches are are fed from same circuit.test the switches from the terminal that the black wire from the wire nutted bunch goes to the wire nutted white wires. if you have 120 volts turn your pole light switch on and check for power. if no power on the load side you have a bad switch. if you have power then you will need to do more troubleshooting
Thanks Pokey. Sorry but I'm lost - what should I be testing?
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:39 AM   #10
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Thanks Pokey. Sorry but I'm lost - what should I be testing?
Nevermind I understand now. Read it wrong the first time. Will test now.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokey View Post
all those switches are are fed from same circuit.test the switches from the terminal that the black wire from the wire nutted bunch goes to the wire nutted white wires. if you have 120 volts turn your pole light switch on and check for power. if no power on the load side you have a bad switch. if you have power then you will need to do more troubleshooting
Just checked this and looks to be fine. Stuck one leg of wire tester in white bundle and other in terminal going to the black bundle in the off position. Lights up fine. Turned the switch on and tested load terminal and also lights up on my tester.

So the switch is not the problem?

I guess the lamp post is not on its own circuit then - the old homeowners must have labeled it wrong!
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:31 PM   #12
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Outdoor Lamp Post No Power - New Homeowner


Sounds like the problem is either in the wiring from the switch to the lamp post, or in the lamp post itself where the lamp wires
connect to the underground wire. I would check inside the lamp post first, and if it's not there, it's shovel time!
Good luck, and please turn off the breaker first, if the wires in the lamp post are loose, they could short to the
post and make it hot.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:17 PM   #13
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as TTW suggested remove the light assembly from the pole to access the wires (after the breaker is turned off) check all connections and safely test for power at the light connections (after turning breaker back on). If no power you will indeed have to dig around base of pole to see where the wires come in. Turn off breaker while digging . If it is an old pole light you may want to consider replacing it.Either way you need to find the wires entering the pole if there is no power to socket. It could be as simple as a hack splice at base of pole. Or the wires could be damaged or eliminated even.Troubleshooting feeds can be time consuming. Just make sure the breaker is off along with the switch until you find the problem
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:35 PM   #14
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I drew a little diagram to show what I'm talking about with that random cut wire on the ground by the side of the house.



I'm no electrician but wouldn't the wire from the switch be running underground along the sidewalk out to the lamp post?

I'm hoping that random cut wire has nothing to do with the lamp post

Last edited by marcus118; 12-05-2012 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by marcus118 View Post
I drew a little diagram to show what I'm talking about with that random cut wire on the ground by the side of the house.



I'm no electrician but wouldn't the wire from the switch be running underground along the sidewalk out to the lamp post?

I'm hoping that random cut wire has nothing to do with the lamp post
The cut wire you found could be for cable TV.

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