is there a short?

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  #1  
Old 01-15-10, 06:56 PM
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is there a short?

Hi there.....I have a light in an enclosed (unheated) hot tub room. The room is quit large with lots of windows and a seperate door. Everything has been good since I renovated the room in tongue and groove cedar three years ago. I put a canlight in the cealing at that time. Recently, while the light (switch) is on, the light goes out. I turn the switch off and return later to find the light goes on but the problem reoccurs. I am thinking there must be a short somewhere? Thanks for any suggestions.
 
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Old 01-15-10, 07:07 PM
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Edit: If this is a can light then ignore my answer and see the answers below mine.

A short refers to the hot and neutral touching causing excessive current flow and hopefully tripping a breaker. What you have is probably an intermittent open caused by a loose connection. First though replace the light switch. If that doesn't do it then start checking connections at the light. Remove and redo any wire nuts. Tighten any screws. Then go to the switch. If any receptacles on the circuit move connections from back stabs to the screws.
 

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Old 01-15-10, 07:29 PM
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sounds like it might be a thermal overload in the light itself. Very common to find them in can lights.

do you have anything to check voltage with?
 
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Old 01-15-10, 08:07 PM
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I'm betting on Nap's thought. Check to make sure the can is not over lamped. If it has a shower trim on it the max wattage is a 60 watt lamp.
 
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Old 01-16-10, 04:50 AM
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thermal overload?

Hi Ray2047, yes it is a can light.

Hi Nap, yes it is a can light and yes I have a voltage meter. Can you tell me how to check this to see if it is in thermal overload? When the light switch is on but the light goes out, usually when I flick the switch right away, the light will not turn on. Once I come back later, it will go on. If it is thermal overload, does the light need to be replaced? What does thermal overload mean?

Hi Tolyn Ironhand, yes the max is labeled 60 watts and that is what I have in there for a bulb. I have been using the same watt for three years with no problem and then this started.
 
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Old 01-16-10, 12:11 PM
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a thermal overload or thermal cut out or thermal protection


very simply put; it is a thermally activated switch that will open if the lamp draws too much current, such as a lamp that is too large will or there is a type that sets right on the side of the can that simple reacts to ambient heat.
]
here is a pic of one of those, It is the metal rectangle on the outside of the reflector



depending on if you have access from the top of you have to do this from the bottom. top is easier to check for this problem.

basically, what you need to do is when the light goes out, see if you still have power to the light. From above, you can access the junction box easily. From below, you have to be able to access the wires fast enough (after removing the lamp, trim, and opening the junction box) before the thermal resets (they are automatic).


one thing I would try if this is an incandescent fixture would be to just put a smaller lamp in it and see if that changes it. While a bad thermal may even open with a smaller lamp, it should take considerable longer to cause enough heat to do it.
If there is a removeable lens try removing the lens as well.

do you have a lamp no larger than the max recommended wattage in place?

so, to make any further suggestions easier and more on point:

is this incandescent or flourescent

is there a lens

can you access this from the top or just the underside?
 
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Old 01-19-10, 07:02 PM
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After double checking the canlight is for moisture areas and has a seal.....the light/bulb and all I can see is in good shape and ther is no visible water issues.......access is also a problem so I started with the paths of least resistence. First, the light is not over lamped.......too high a wattage. I inspected and replaced the switch because there was some moisture here. I plan a getting a moisture cover. Since replacing the switch, I have not had the problem with the light going off. I have used it several times and had it on different times for an hour plus and no problems. I am crossing my fingers but I hope this problem is solved......Any further thoughts? thanks again,
 
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Old 01-19-10, 08:24 PM
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Considering the water probably has chlorine or bromine in it, I suppose it could have caused corrosion on the contacts and maybe got some strange action.

doesn't sound real likely to me but I have had stranger things happen.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 04:09 PM
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yes I am using bromine and the inside of the switch box was definetely not dry.......I need to purchase a cover that will help to keep the water out. I have continued to use the light and there have been no problems since.......I would continue to trouble shoot but I have no idea what to continue to search for unless the problem re-occurs. thanks again.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 05:27 PM
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hey, if you don't have a problem, you can't diagnose it.


sounds like you might have hit it. I would just wait and see.
 
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