landscape lighting


Old 06-20-07, 07:27 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 17
landscape lighting

Hi folks, I installed some landscape lighting 3 years ago, and yesterday they "went out". I found that one of the boxes that holds 3 wires all wired-nutted together had burnt up, the wire nuts were disintegrated. My setup has a few of the grey plastic boxes with large grey wire nuts rated for 6 #14 down to 2 #6 wires and I have three 12 gauge wires bound in each of two wire nuts in the box. The boxes are then buired in dirt/mulch. I replaced the box and re-wired everything and all is working. I just checked the box and it is warm to the touch---but not hot. So I opened it up and the two wire nuts are pretty warm, but again not hot. Is this normal or OK?
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Old 06-20-07, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 433
Did you properly splice the wires BEFORE the wire nut? The by product of current flow is heat, so a little warmth is OK. Loose connections alomost always are the cause. The box shouldn't be buried by code.
Old 06-20-07, 07:37 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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I'm not sure what you mean by properly splice the wires (novice here), I stripped off about 1/2 " of sheathing on each of the three wires and then put the nut on. I looked and didn't see any exposed wire.
I have one wire coming from the transformer (which is located in the garage) going to this box. Then one wire heads in one direction to feed two lights and the third wire heads in another direction to feed three more lights. That is why I have the junction box. Is there a box that is made for burial in this type of sitiuation? I don't want to be breaking code....
Old 06-20-07, 08:22 PM
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What size are the wires? How many watts and what voltage are the lights that you are using?

Low voltage lights require a larger size wire to handle the increased ampacity draw of the low voltage lights.
Old 06-20-07, 08:28 PM
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What size are the wires?

12 gauge wire

How many watts and what voltage are the lights that you are using?

6 lights and each are 50-watts, 12 V

Thanks for your help...
Old 06-21-07, 02:25 PM
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I would agree that your splices probably are not tight enough and are therefore causing higher resistance, and heat. Presuming you're using 12ga stranded wire (since it's LV), I usually strip off about an inch of the insulation so they can be twisted together before nutting them. (not intending to start a twist or not twist discussion)

Since they are outside/underground, I would also suggest using waterproof wire connectors. The blue ones work great - they have silicon or something similar inside to keep the connection dry.

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