Electrical and Masonry - Repair

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Old 03-12-15, 10:55 AM
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Exclamation Electrical and Masonry - Repair

My driveway and external stairs/patio was installed 14 years ago -- before I purchased the home. Now two of the coach lights (one on a masonry pillar and one on a masonry wall that lines the stairs) are no longer working. I've removed the lights and their seems to be a short in the wiring within the masonry. How do I replace the wiring without destroying the masonry. These are all 120V lights controlled from inside the house.
 
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Old 03-12-15, 11:16 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

I moved your thread to electrical as it's going to be an electrical issue. It can be moved back at your request.

Replacing the wire inside the masonry can almost be impossible.What do you see coming out of the top where the light should be. A picture would be ideal but you could describe it.

Do you see three separate wires....... more...... less ? What colors ?
Does the wiring come up thru a pipe or conduit ?

Now..... how do you know there is a short.... is it tripping a circuit breaker ?
If it's just not working.... it's not a short.... it's an open.

You have two devices listed in the problem here. It's more than likely one device causing the problem. You may need a meter to do some testing. Do you have one ?
 
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Old 03-12-15, 11:31 AM
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I would start the troubleshooting at the switch to see if there is power there. With two fixtures not working, I agree that this sounds like an open, not a short.
 
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Old 03-12-15, 12:07 PM
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Thanks for the quick response. Let's see....this is from memory. I'll check tonight and take pictures. Three wires, white, black, ground (green). It appears the wires are in a conduit (PVC pipe). I'm thinking it's a short because when switched on I get about 50 volts across the white and black, but I may not be using the correct term. I should also probably explain the layout. The two lights with the issues are are separate switches. There are four driveway lights, two on the house on either side of the drive way and two on pillars on either side of the driveway. One of those isn't working. On the stairs, there are also four lights (two top; two bottom) and one (bottom) isn't working. I can only find one junction box outside, but I haven't yet tried to see what those wires control. I am getting current to the other lights, which come on.
 
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Old 03-12-15, 12:24 PM
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I'm thinking it's a short because when switched on I get about 50 volts across the white and black, but I may not be using the correct term.
You are using the wrong term. A short is a low resistance connection between hot and neutral (or if 240 hot and hot) that causes a breaker to trip. Low voltage is caused by a poor connection but if you are using a digital multimeter it may really be ~0 volts. An analog meter will give you a truer reading.

To test a switch remove the two wires. Connect them with a wire nut and turn the breaker back on. If the light works you have a bad switch.
 
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