Driveway area light struggle

Old 01-31-12, 08:23 AM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,737
Received 33 Votes on 27 Posts
Driveway area light struggle

OK, I have one of those real bright area lights up on a post, to cover my driveway.
Original one had 175W large light bulb, and lasted about 8-9 yrs.
It died on me a month ago.
Replaced light bulb, came back to life for about a day, died again. Replaced light bulb again - does not work anymore, had only tiny green glow inside the bulb.
Same time, I found that those light fixtures have ballasts and all kinds of electronic inside. I safely assumed that fixture finally broke, and replaced it.
Original fixture is up too high for me to reach, so the new one, I bought, I had to set about 2 feet lower on the post, where I could reach it.
It is a 100W metal halide light bulb fixture, from HD, for $79 or so.
Wall-Mount Outdoor Metal-Halide Area Light-OAL12100M120PER at The Home Depot
As I could not remove the original fixture, I spliced into it's power supply. I think I did ok splicing, dine it many times before.
New fixture worked VERY WELL. It's dusk to dawn one, and turned out to be much brighter, than the original one. I was very proud of myself.
Well, this morning, leaving for work, I found that it's dead also. It worked fine yesterday night, before we went to bed.
Total useful time for the new one - roughly 2 weeks.
It is VERY HARD for me to get up there, as I am 270lb, and have to balance on the very tip of our ladder, to replace fixture.

What in the world am I missing with those fixtures? That circuit is on the same breaker, as all our garage lights/openers, and appliances, and they all work fine. Is it even possible for a light fixture to work fine for 2 weeks, then get shortened, or something? As, at this point, I do assume that there is some sort of short, intermittent, that keeps messing them, not just chitty product with chitty light bulbs. Bulbs are not cheap to keep replacing also.

Suggestions? It's a very long driveway, I hate it to stay dark, as we live out in sticks.
Old 01-31-12, 10:20 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 27,639
Received 1,451 Votes on 1,305 Posts
First, I would make the climb up to the light and verify that it is getting power. There could be a loose connection or broken wire leading to the fixture.

I had a similar problem last year and digging into it found that the previous owner had direct buried NM wire in the ground about 6" deep (a no-no), poured a driveway over it and put several flower beds over it. Eventually the wire broke somewhere. The light worked sometimes and sometimes not. Never shorting out but just an open so the fixture could not get power.
Old 01-31-12, 10:28 AM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,737
Received 33 Votes on 27 Posts
that is very possible. we have at least flowerbed and driveway on top of power cable, I know that. What I'll do, I'll run extension cord to it, and see what happens. Of course, after checking for power supply. Makes things worse, on those light bulbs, there's no telling if they are good or bad.
Old 02-04-12, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I agree with Pilot Dane about your first step is to check your voltage.

The light you purchased is manufactured by Lithonia.
Lithonia is having issues with very short bulb life.
Since your fixture is less than 90 days old you can return it.
Another option is to exchange the light bulb. You must use
lithonia metal halide bulb, because of its shape.

Last edited by remi300ultramag; 02-04-12 at 06:59 AM. Reason: used wrong name
Old 02-04-12, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
Posts: 4,295
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
With all due respect, I suggest that the first thing you do is to get a better, longer ladder. Otherwise, you may be looking up at flashing red lights - as the ambulance pulls in to pick you up off the ground. Balancing on the tip of a ladder is an accident in the making.
Old 02-04-12, 05:23 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,737
Received 33 Votes on 27 Posts
sure. point taken. though I was not balancing, it's a tripod type ladder, very stable. my only fear was that I weigh 275 and stood on the very top rungs, and it's one of those ladders, when upper section slides into the lower section. ladder did fine.

oh, and btw - light went back to life. I took bulb out, and it came out very easily. maybe it simply was not tight enough - daahh. I screwed it back in same night I started this post - and it works ever since.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: