Troubleshooting A Low Voltage Halogen Light System - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:30 PM   #1
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troubleshooting a low voltage halogen light system


I have one of those fairly old fashioned twin wire low voltage halogen light systems in our kitchen.
This morning the 5 lights were flickering a bit.
when I gave the transformer a bit of a tap, everything went back to normal. All lights on.
Later they all just went Off.

(it sounds as if those poster had the same problems:
https://www.diychatroom.com/f18/halo...reading-92678/)



Doing a little bit of testing, my power indicator probe (it lights up when it detects live power) lights up all through the system: Transformer, wires, the steel bits of the 5 fixtures.
but none of the halogen bulbs lights up.
I've continuity tested the bulbs - they are still good.



What could be going on? is it possible the system is getting power but not enough to power the buibs?
using a multimeter with probes on either side of a fixture, I get somewhat eratic voltage readings.

But as the attached drawing shows, I am getting 12v out of the transformer (where those leads connect to the 2 wires.) and at each of the five fixtures I am generally getting 1.8 to 2.xv readings. although the MM readings jump around alot when I test at various bits of the stainless steel light fixture.

what can I test further?
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:15 PM   #2
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Re: troubleshooting a low voltage halogen light system


You probably have loose connections. Are the lines to the individual lamps clamped on the twin supply wires running along the ceiling? Check screw fastenings up there. Also screw terminals at the lamp sockets.

Using clean toilet paper or cloth, remove and re-insert each lamp twice which will scrape clean the contact with the socket.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:35 PM   #3
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Re: troubleshooting a low voltage halogen light system


thanks
but it seems strange to me that all 5 fixtures would fail at the same time.
in the past I have had 1 fixture fail but the other 4 worked.



and in this case, even if I hold the bare pins of a good "unit" (these are conical glass light units in which the bulb is encased, so you do not actually touch the bulb when encased in the unit. what are they called? MR11s.)
anyway, even if I hold the bare pins to the stainless steel bits of the fixture, they don't light up.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:36 PM   #4
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Re: troubleshooting a low voltage halogen light system


hmm, though maybe I need to touch one lead to each of the opposite sides of the fixture and not just to the same side....
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Old 01-08-2019, 05:49 AM   #5
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Re: troubleshooting a low voltage halogen light system


Quote:
Originally Posted by pjstock View Post
I have one of those fairly old fashioned twin wire low voltage halogen light systems in our kitchen.
This morning the 5 lights were flickering a bit.
when I gave the transformer a bit of a tap, everything went back to normal. All lights on.
Later they all just went Off.
From that it is obvious that there is a loose connection/high resistance joint somewhere.

It may be in the transformer but it could be elsewhere, if the "bit of a tap'" which you gave the transformer was transmitted further along.

Take apart and clean any of the "common" connections up to A and B in your diagram.

(Assuming 50 W halogens, you are using 250 W when these devices are in operation. If you were to replaced them with equivalent LED devices - and an appropriate power supply - you would be using only about 50 W.

Can you really continue to waste and pay for so much unnecessary energy?)

Last edited by FrodoOne; 01-08-2019 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:16 AM   #6
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Re: troubleshooting a low voltage halogen light system


But I am currently getting 12v volts at A-B.

and yet nothing further down the line is lighting up.
doesn't that suggest that the problem is "downstream" of A/B, at the individual fixture level?



further, I agree that this system is wasteful. But I like the look. I am careful to turn it off when we are not in the kitchen.
But I have not yet found a source of LED MR11s
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:24 AM   #7
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Re: troubleshooting a low voltage halogen light system


well, that wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.
I've just ordered a set of replacement LED MR11s.
Now if I can just get this fixture working again....
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Old 01-08-2019, 05:56 PM   #8
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Re: troubleshooting a low voltage halogen light system


I would sur mise that you have bad connections,
Probably where the cross wires connect to the main feeder,
They have probably oxidesed.
At low voltage a small resistance can have a significant result.
Try cleaning these up a bit.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:49 PM   #9
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Re: troubleshooting a low voltage halogen light system


and bad connections it is.
thank you all.
in the end, I hooked up another transformer to the wires and still did not get "Light".
the connector at A and B is a double pointy ended bolt that has to drive through the plastic coated wires to make contact.
finally I just gave an extra couple of half turns to the contact bolts that connected to the long cables and .... Presto! everything came back to life.
Dumb. My apologies for wasting your time on this simple issue. But I was surprised when it just all failed suddenly.
Peter
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:17 AM   #10
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Re: troubleshooting a low voltage halogen light system


Quote:
Originally Posted by pjstock View Post
and bad connections it is.
thank you all.
My apologies for wasting your time on this simple issue. But I was surprised when it just all failed suddenly.
Your apologies are unnecessary and (personally) my time was not wasted, since I and others could see what the problem had to be although you (initially) could not see it.
I am glad to have been of assistance and I am sure that others must be equally glad.

You have had a learning experience - as we all have had at one time or another.

As Mr. Spock was want to say, "Live long and prosper."
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