Shorted out low voltage landscape lighting

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Old 03-12-14, 12:56 PM
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Shorted out low voltage landscape lighting

I am trying to get an idea of how bad a situation I am facing. The other day I was replacing a bulb in a Kichler fixture that is part of our low voltage landscape lighting. Additionally, the base had been cracked during shoveling, and I was trying to tighten it, but evidently I crimped the wires somehow, as it started to smolder, and all of the lights in the entire yard went out. I unplugged the transformer. I did not realize at the time, but now in checking, all of the bulbs are fried. Does this mean that the fixtures are going to be bad? All of the wiring? Or could it just have been a surge that fried the bulbs? I am just hoping that I don't have to replace all of the fixtures and wiring. What about the transformer? Is it a goner for certain, or is it possible that it's fine? We have a ton of snow and the ground is frozen so I can't have someone out for awhile, but I am wondering if anyone has an ideas as to how bad a repair I am facing. I realize that this is supposition, but thought I would try to get an opinion. Thanks!
 
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Old 03-12-14, 01:08 PM
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I don't see how you crimped the wires by tightening the bulb. The shoveling probably had more to do with it. I wouldn't trust the transformer but the rest might be okay, except the fixture, with the cracked base.
 
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Old 03-12-14, 03:06 PM
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Sorry, I was not clear, these were two separate steps. I inserted the bulb, THEN I tried to secure the fixture back into the cracked base. It had been standing up straight in the frozen ground even though the base was cracked, but then we had a bit of a thaw, and it was crooked. I turned the fixture several times, assuming the the wires were moving freely inside the post, but evidently something crossed, thus the smoke and burn out of all the lights. Everything was working perfectly before this.

Thanks.
 

Last edited by Linda Bradley; 03-12-14 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 03-12-14, 04:21 PM
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I would severely doubt you damaged all the bulbs by causing a short. You will probably find that the transformer, especially if it's a Kichler, has a protection fuse inside it.
 
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Old 03-14-14, 08:27 AM
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Thanks. The electrician mentioned checking for a fuse. Hope to be able to do that over the weekend as the weather will be warmer. Unfortunately the bulbs are visibly burnt out. They are blackened, and one was partially fused into the base. That's what stared my concern in the first place.
 
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Old 03-14-14, 11:11 AM
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If you use the system a lot..... like every night...... then the bulbs will get blackened from use and age. Many better transformers have multiple voltage taps in them where you can lower the voltage to the lights.

The transformer is supposed to put out 12 volts but it actually puts out more so that based on wire distances and a full compliment of lights the voltage ends up around 12 volts. If you don't have many lights on the system or as one burns out.... the voltage will increase and burn out the other bulbs faster and cause them to run hotter.... melting the sockets.

As an electrician I service outdoor lighting. I'll usually change all the bulbs at one time if I notice several out.
 
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Old 03-23-14, 06:54 AM
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Thanks for the information! Still have not be able to get to the wiring due to the frozen, wet ground, but hopefully soon.
 
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