Porch light keeps going out


Old 12-12-06, 11:14 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 107
Porch light keeps going out

The front/porch light I have keeps going out. At first, the bulbs blew but the terminal ends of the light halogen bulbs was actually burned off. I thought the light was defective, so I switched it. The second light, like the first, has now failed after about 5 months. Both were Hampton Creative Lights (sold at Lowes). The website shows the name Regent now but this looks like it is the same light. Now I wonder if there was a problem with the Hampton lights.


I check the switch and even replace that. I have a multitester (from Sears and the instruction book is lousy) and not being that familiar with its operations, was wondering how I can test the wires where the come out the front to make sure that the power is correct or can I do that with a multitester.

Everything was connected following the diagram. It was secure and grounded and as I said, I had it for about 5 months and dead. I have tried to replace the second light, hooked it up and had power for about 5 minutes when it died.

The front light power comes from a line up from the basement. The black goes to a terminal on the switch, a black line from the second terminal goes out to the front wall. The whites are pigtailed together and one white goes out to the front. Looks like the ground is to the box on the wall and I pigtailed the ground from the light, the wall to a third wire and that was grounded to the box on the front wall.

The wire front inside that goes to the front wall looks like it just goes outside and is run up behind the siding. I was wondering if there was a nail or screw in a wire that might be causing the problem. To get to it, the siding needs to come off and that is not in the plans this time of year.

Any suggestions (besides call an electrician)?

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Old 12-12-06, 11:49 AM
Pendragon's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,839
Bulbs usually burn out prematurely due to voltage spikes or over-voltages. It's possible that this fixture is on the same circuit as a high load, intermitent device, such as central ac, or is simply receiving more voltage than it is suppose to.

You need to use that multi-tester and find out what the voltage to that fixture is, anything over 120 volts is unacceptable, and you need to find out the cause, as such over-voltages are rarely isolated to a single fixture.

When you find out the voltage, post back and we can go from there.

It _sounds_ like it's wired correctly, at least on the fixture side.
Old 12-12-06, 12:29 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 107
Guess I need to get better instructions on the multitester.

I can put it on the AC setting but there are several setting there. It is very similar to this one. Any ideas what I need to look for?


I won't be able to test it until Sunday (working each day from now to then).

Old 12-12-06, 12:45 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 107
Just saw some instructions on how to set the meter and test. I will post after I get the numbers.

Old 12-15-06, 11:32 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 32
Lightbulb A few tips

After installing many of this type of light for customers, there are a few tips that I can share with you.

1. Halogen lamps in this type of fixture won't last long! Due to the motion sensor and the fact that the lights typically go on and off even when there is nobody there, due to motion sensor falsing, halogen lamps will burn out quickly since they operate at high temperatures and don't lend themsleves to being turned on and off all the time.

2. While $40.00 is a lot of money, it is relatively cheap for a fixture like this. I found that the cheap motion sensor fixtures are more of a problem than they are worth. I have found, through lots of trial and error and many call backs, that the Heath Zenith Journeyman series of fixture is one of the best. They are twice the cost of your current fixture but they will last. Lowes has them as does Home Depot. I would stay away from Halogen for two reasons. First, the heat from the halogen lights tends to make the motion sensor less sensitive after the lights have been on for any length of time. Two, the halogens seem to burn out faster than traditional lamps. Here is the link: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=182146-234-HD9250BZB&lpage=none

3. Last but not least, make sure that when you connect this new fixture, you turn off the breaker that controls the circuit feeding this fixture. While this may sound unnecessary, I have found that doing so will help insure that there is no power of any kind present which could harm the electronics inside the motion sensor, as it sounds has happened to your last fixture. Most instructions just tell you to make sure the switch is off, but take the extra time and turn off the breaker. Many electronic dimmers will tell you to turn off the circuit for the same reasons.

Hope this helps.
Good Luck!
Old 12-15-06, 12:19 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
One other comment. Do not touch the glass surface of the halogen bulbs. The oils on your fingers will damage them.

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