Landscape lighting not working

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Old 09-24-14, 10:36 AM
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Landscape lighting not working

HI,
About 3 weeks ago, I thought we had a lightning strike close to the house. All was well except the landscape lighting stopped working. I tested the tranformer/timer and it was toast. I replaced it, and tested the system. The 7 lights in the back yard worked, the 7 in the front yard did not. I check a few bulbs and they were ok. I check the voltage at those same fixtures and they were dead.
I started pulling on wires from each fixture and ended up at a sort of junction point in the middle of the front yard. I disconnected all of the wires from this point which turned out to be 7.
I turned the transformer back on and the lights in the back went on, the ones in the front were dead. I checked the heavier duty wire that seemed to be coming from the direction of the new transformer and it read 12v, so I was confident I had the curcuit for the front yard. I wired back one fixture to this line, checked it with the multimeter and got zeros, I take the fixture wires off and I get 12v. Why would this be? I did this for 3 seperate fixtures and got the same results. Also, none of the lights came on either.
 
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Old 09-24-14, 10:42 AM
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Are you using a digital multimeter or an analog multimeter? If digital you could be getting a false reading, especially with that low a voltage. You are using the AC setting aren't you?
 
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Old 09-26-14, 06:02 AM
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It is digital, but as I said, I took a reading on 3 fixtures ang go zero reading and the bulbs didn't light up either.
 
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Old 09-26-14, 07:27 AM
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Try connecting the ones that don't work directly to the power supply. Try with the ones that work disconnected.
 
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Old 09-26-14, 07:36 AM
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I checked the heavier duty wire that seemed to be coming from the direction of the new transformer and it read 12v
When you put a load on this wire you lose voltage. When you remove load the voltage becomes normal.

You have a rusted or corroded connection. You need to go back to where the heavier wire connects to look for problems. Take a light back to where the heavier wire connects and test it there.
 
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Old 09-26-14, 11:34 AM
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Ok, after doing some digging, I found the main wire coming from the transforrmer. From the grass / landscaping, the wire goes underneith a paver driveway and ends up in the garage through the concrete floor. The transformer is mounted on the wall above that entry point. I took the wires off the terminals on the transformer. I did a continuity test on it and I got a ping. I'm guessing there is a short?
 
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Old 09-26-14, 12:29 PM
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Were the wires disconnected and isolated from each other on the other end?
 
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Old 09-26-14, 12:39 PM
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Yes, they were disconnected and isolated.
 
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Old 09-26-14, 06:28 PM
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Technically the wires aren't actually shorted. If they were shorted your transformer would have blown a fuse or shorted out.

Your wiring or splice is probably sitting in water or very wet ground and that is causing your reading. If there isn't a splice then somehow the wires became bare. I'm guessing you are seeing a very high resistance.... probably better than 10,000 ohms.

Sounds like a wire replacement is in order.
 
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Old 09-27-14, 07:16 AM
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I'm confused even more now

1) No reading on the ohm meter. Puzzling
2) If I do a continuity check on the wires that were connected to the transformer, it pings.
3) If I do a continuity check on the other end of those wires, I don't get a ping. It does flash some sort of a reading for a second.
4) Yes, the ground is wet and perhaps the leads are still wet too. Should I blow dry the leads and retake readings?
It does sound like a wire replacement, agreed.
 
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Old 09-27-14, 07:34 AM
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A dead short is 0 ohms.

If the underground wiring was exposed, at this time, to the damp earth you could see any reading from a couple of hundred ohms to a couple of thousand ohms to nothing depending on the amount of moisture. An automatic setting ohmmeter can be hard to use as it doesn't know which setting to adjust to.

The wires being wet outside of the ground shouldn't be a factor but if your touching both probes with your fingers.... that will affect the measurement as your skin has resistance.
 
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