Locating a break/short in outdoor lighting


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Old 05-09-21, 09:27 AM
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Locating a break/short in outdoor lighting

Any tips to finding a break in 120V outdoor lighting? The "break/short" must be somewhere between the indoor switch which has power and the fixtures outdoors. Wires are buried somewhere underground. Other then running a brand new line or trenching all over the place are there circuit/continuity tracers, etc that are designed for this purpose? Are they cost prohibitive? Can they penetrate the ground to find any breaks?
 
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Old 05-09-21, 09:45 AM
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There are tracers designed for checking/tracing underground wiring. They are not inexpensive. Many electricians have them. As far as a DIY method to test wiring.... there really isn't one without replacing the wiring.
 
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Old 05-09-21, 09:48 AM
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Any idea what kind of cost I'd be looking out? Any particular ones that are very good?
My experience with electricians in this scenario is most will just want to run new lines and not bother trying to find any break.
 
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Old 05-09-21, 04:35 PM
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I work with a Klein or Greenlee detector. Looks like an old metal detector.
I see many new models on the market. Some are very affordable.
Unfortunately I haven't tried any of the new ones.
Underground wire tracers
 
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Old 05-10-21, 02:59 AM
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Have these lights worked in the past? Have you been at this home for a while or just moved in?

When you say you have power at the switch how did you test for power?

If a short then it would trip the breaker when you flipped the light switch on or even turned the breaker on depending on the type of dead short you had. If it is not tripping the breaker then no short more than likely.

Do you have any other lighting outside the house other than the lights that this switch controls?

If no short then you could do a continuity test which basically will tell you if you have a break in the circuit. That's a bit more complicated to explain how to do but first let us know if these lights have worked in the past. Also, if recently has any other electrical worked been done in the house recently, even what may not have to do with the outdoor lights?

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