low voltage exterior lighting is HOT!

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  #1  
Old 07-07-08, 08:41 AM
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low voltage exterior lighting is HOT!

Hello,
I'm extending my low voltage run with a connector. (I have not exceeded my total wattage.) The original wire that came with the kit is possibly 16 ga. I have looped a 14 gauge wire and connected to the original wire successfully, and have 3 new lights working. From the new, 14 ga. wire, I am attempting to connect a piece of the old wire - possibly 16 ga. - that's just been sitting around, buried, but not in use. I am using the manufacturer's recommended connectors (Intermatic). I am just adding two lights to this 16 ga wire.

Here's the problem:
Neither of the 2, new lights on the old wire are working, and the other lights were dimmer. There was a little smoke coming from the connection at the first light. The connection was also HOT. After I pulled the plug, I disconnected the first light. I plugged the transformer back in and the second - and now - only light, did not work. The other lights were no longer dim.

The wire from the light fixture on that first light was melted a bit at the connection.

Here's the question: I'm pretty sure I should just buy some more 14 ga wire, and get rid of the old wire, but is there some underlying cause here that I should be concerned about?

TIA
Barb
 
  #2  
Old 07-07-08, 10:16 AM
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In addition to a wattage limit, manufacturers also have a wire-length limit. Make sure you don't exceed it.
 
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Old 07-07-08, 10:35 AM
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a wire-length limit. . .?

Maybe due to a minimum design brightness for the lamps, or a uniform brightness from the first lamp to the last?
 
  #4  
Old 07-07-08, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
In addition to a wattage limit, manufacturers also have a wire-length limit. Make sure you don't exceed it.
I'm not sure what the length limit is, this was originally installed a long time ago. I am aware of such limitations, but I thought that only affects the brightness, not cause melting of wires and such. (Such as once the offending fixture had been removed, the last fixture didn't light.)

How about this:
My transformer has an A and a B terminal. (As I mentioned, it's older and I can't find any documentation.) The wire is hooked up to both A and B. I could address any length limitations by running two separate wires; one from A and one from B. Is this a typical setup?
 
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Old 07-07-08, 01:13 PM
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I don't quite understand about the transformer wiring. Are you saying that your transformer only has two connections, and that you have the same wire connected to both (i.e., you are shorting out your transformer)?
 
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Old 07-07-08, 03:32 PM
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hehehe,
that doesn't sound good.

The transformer has two screws coming out of the bottom. One is marked A and one is marked B. I currently have only one wire (possibly 16 ga.). One side of the wire is hooked up to A, and the other side of the wire is hooked up to B.

I haven't had any other problems. I would assume if I was shorting out the transformer, it would not work, and I would possibly, by now, have a house engulfed in flames. It has been hooked up this way for approximately 9 to 10 years.


barb


oh dear.
I just double checked out there, they are not marked A or B, there are just 2 screws. I was looking at some transformers the other day that had A and B connections, so my brain shorted out, and replaced that image with my transformer. Sorry for the trouble.

Is there any way to run two wires from such a set up?

And I'm still curious why the wire and connector got so hot that it melted the wire.
 

Last edited by BarbArian; 07-07-08 at 03:36 PM. Reason: i'm stoopid
  #7  
Old 07-07-08, 03:52 PM
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I have a link to a drawing that shows my setup.
Here's a link to the bottom of my transformer. (that's just paint on the wire, they are both black.)
 
  #8  
Old 07-07-08, 05:22 PM
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Here's an update:
The helpful hardware guy at my local store thought that the culprit might be the cheap and easy connectors. So I picked up the fancy wire nuts with silicone and did things the old fashioned way. So far so good. They are working just fine.

Thanks for all your help!
Barb
 
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Old 07-07-08, 06:41 PM
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really? that makes sense.
 
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Old 07-08-08, 09:56 AM
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I currently have only one wire (possibly 16 ga.). One side of the wire is hooked up to A, and the other side of the wire is hooked up to B.
Barb, we seem to have a terminology problem. As far as I know, wires don't have "sides". When multiple "wires" are enclosed in the same sheathing, we usually call that a "cable". Sometimes we call it a "cord" when we're talking about the type of cord that comes on a lamp. So it's best to reserve the word "wire" to talk about a single insulated conductor. Multiple wires together must be called something else to avoid confusion.
 
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Old 07-09-08, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
Barb, we seem to have a terminology problem. As far as I know, wires don't have "sides". When multiple "wires" are enclosed in the same sheathing, we usually call that a "cable". Sometimes we call it a "cord" when we're talking about the type of cord that comes on a lamp. So it's best to reserve the word "wire" to talk about a single insulated conductor. Multiple wires together must be called something else to avoid confusion.
Wow, thanks for clearing that up John, (now I really feel like an idiot).

So, I have a cable with 2-14 ga. wires. One of the wires is connected to one of the screws. The other wire is connected to the other screw. Oh, wait a minute. Is it okay to call them screws? hmmm, now I'm really confused.
 
  #12  
Old 07-09-08, 06:31 PM
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No, they're not "screws". They are "spiral attachment devices".
 
  #13  
Old 07-10-08, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
No, they're not "screws". They are "spiral attachment devices".
good to know, thanks
Barb
 
 

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