Low voltage high hat issue

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Old 09-18-18, 10:33 AM
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Low voltage high hat issue

My kitchen has a series of low voltage high hats. The original bulbs in each can was an MR16 halogen bulb. As these halogens have burned out in the past year or so I have been replacing them with MR16 LED bulbs, under the theory that the LED bulbs would run cooler and last longer. I'm not sure either of those are accurate assumptions, but that was what I have been doing.

In the past 2 days one of the halogen lights went out, so as I have done I popped in an LED light. Since I have had a hard time finding the same LED lights each time I buy them, I used what I bought this go round which was a GE Basic LED 12 volt 6.5 watt bulb. This is the same type of bulb as the other LED I used, some of which were Utilitech and Phillips.

Not too long after installing the new bulb, I noticed the light was out again. I took the light out, which was quite hot, and a while later put it back in and the light went on again. I stayed and timed it and it stayed on for about 5 minutes then went out again. I started doing some research and found several possible reasons for this, and also had a handyman friend over who also consulted an electrician for some guidance.

One possible issue I found was there could be a problem in the pin connection itself. Another issue was the thermal protection switch could be bad. Issues I had not considered was that the high hat may not be suitable for an LED bulb. Is this a concern? None of the other high hats had any problems with an LED replacement. If it is the pin connection I will have to scour online for a possible replacement, as no stores including local electrical supply ones carry anything like this. If it is the thermal switch, where would that be located? Is that what is on the other side of the circular disc where the pins connect to? Inside the can itself there is no parts themselves, so if it is not what is attached to the disk then it must be something in the housing. Since this is in the kitchen there is no insulation in the equation. I have also included a picture of the interior of the housing, and from there the wires go out of the housing and without taking apart my ceiling that is a s far as I can go to troubleshoot this.

By the way, with the can dropped from the housing I had the light on for about 45 minutes before it shut itself off. I let it cool for a few minutes, unplugged the pins from the connector, and then plugged it back in and the light is on again.
 
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Old 09-18-18, 12:44 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

I'd go ahead and change that mini bi-pin socket. The pins loosen up with age and from the heat of the incandescent bulbs. They are widely available.

mini bi-pin replacement sockets
 
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Old 09-18-18, 01:30 PM
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Thanks. I see one on Amazon that has consistently solid reviews, but it comes without the little heat shield. Do the heat shields come off so it can be used with the new socket? I can't tell if those are mini nails or some sort of set screw attaching the socket to the shield, and if it is a screw none of my allen wrenches seem to be small enough to fit in it.
 
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Old 09-18-18, 01:33 PM
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The heat shield won't be needed with LED bulbs. LED's don't operate anywhere nears as hot.
All the parts on those sockets are riveted together.
 
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Old 09-18-18, 01:34 PM
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OK, thanks for the tips. Going to place order and see how it works.
 
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Old 09-22-18, 05:15 PM
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I think I can rule out the socket as the cause of the problem. I replaced the socket and the light still stays on for about 5 minutes, then turns off, and once I pull it from the socket and reinsert the bulb it turns back on and the cycle repeats itself.

Next possible solution? Thermal protector?
 
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Old 09-23-18, 05:23 AM
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I found this page online which leads me to think perhaps the thermal overload protector is not the issue either. In my case the bulb does not come back on when things cool down unless I first remove the bulb then re-insert it. Scratching my head trying to figure this out.

​​​​​​A can light's thermal overload protector disconnects the electricity to the light bulb when the lighting fixture's temperature rises above its maximum level. A functioning thermal overload protector turns on the electricity to the light bulb once it detects the fixture's temperature has dropped to an acceptable level. Replacement thermal overload protectors must match the original's thermal and voltage ratings. If the thermal overload protector routinely turns the light on and off, compare the light bulb's wattage rating to the fixture's maximum wattage rating. Light bulbs with a wattage rating exceeding the fixture's rating will overheat the fixture.
 
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Old 09-23-18, 05:49 AM
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I suspect the transformer is failing. Swap the a transformer from another can to this can and see if that solves the issue.
 
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Old 09-23-18, 10:46 AM
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Pardon the question but where would the transformer be located? Is that what is pictured in the first picture I posted? If not, then it is outside the housing and would likely require cutting the ceiling some which is what I am hoping to avoid.
 
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Old 09-23-18, 02:00 PM
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Yes... the transformer is the item in your first picture. Parts like that are always serviceable from below the ceiling with high hats.

It's actually pretty rare for a transformer to fail like that. Usually they are good or bad. Many transformers are internally thermally protected but when that device fails.... it's the end of the transformer.... it doesn't reset.

It is likely the thermal protector in the can is tripping. Can you run the light out of the fixture to see if it still trips ?
 
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Old 09-24-18, 10:48 AM
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Inside the can the light goes out after @ 5 minutes. Outside the can it goes out after @ 25 minutes.
 
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Old 09-24-18, 05:55 PM
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Sounds like the thermal limiter.
If it's convenient..... bypass it and run the bulb outside the can and see if it still operates.
 
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Old 09-25-18, 08:32 AM
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Not even sure where the thermal limiter is located - would that also be where the transformer is? BTW, I did notice that after extended time off the bulb will go on again without having to take it out of the socket and place it bag in. So it will go on immediately if I remove it and then put it back in, or if I wait a few hours and turn the lights back on it will go on as well.
 
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Old 09-25-18, 09:50 AM
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From your description of the light turning itself on and off in a sort of timed fashion, I would definitely suspect the thermal limiter. Either it's bad, or something in the can is overheating and it is doing its job. When it shuts off after 5 minutes, can you tell if the transformer is exceptionally hot? (don't burn yourself). Usually the bulb is what is overheating the can... but in your case, maybe the transformer is producing too much heat for the can to dissipate?

Do you know if there is insulation over the can?
 
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Old 09-27-18, 06:10 PM
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No insulation over the can - this is a first floor kitchen with a floor above it. I'm assuming if the bulb is still going out even when it is hanging outside the can that it may not be from direct heat. That's what makes this odd. I'm back to wondering if having an LED bulb is the issue, but I have replaced at least 3 other lights in the kitchen with the LED's without any problems. I'm going to try to pick up a different brand LED as well a new halogen and see if the same behavior happens. Grasping at straws here. If it were the thermal protector I could understand if it only happened inside the can, but outside? And remember outside still trips but at a much later time than when inside the can.
 
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Old 09-29-18, 08:02 AM
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The thermal protector might be tripping out due to the transformer overheating (and thus, failing) and have nothing to do with the LED lamp. That is why I suggested to swap the transformer from another can to see if that solves the issue.
 
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Old 12-08-18, 02:07 PM
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Just to bring this thread full circle, after debating whether to bring in an electrician or not, I finally decided to take an led bulb from another high hat and put it in the one that kept going out, and took the bulb that kept going out in another high hat. The bulb that was tripping the high hat continued to do so in the new location, and the bulb that was working also worked in the high hat where the other bulb was tripping it. Long story short it appears the bulb itself may have been the source of the problem. Even though it was a similar LED, same wattage and labeled dimmable, all the lights are now working so long as I'm not using the GE bulb that started this problem.
 
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