Issues with Wiring Outdoor Lights
Our expert, Randall Whitehead, IALD, troubleshoots a troublesome wiring issue with low voltage outdoor lights.
 
I installed new low voltage wire to my exterior light fixtures after an animal chewed through the old wire. After the sun set and the lights came on, they were only half power — if that. The transformer is not overloaded. The wires are connected properly. The lamps are new. What’s wrong?
If the fixtures all are at low output, you may have the incorrect voltage of lamps. See if you have 24V lamps instead of a 12V. (The boxes look the same.). Also, most transformers are multi-tap for numerous voltages. Make sure that you have connected to the voltage that matches the lamp voltage. If the fixtures are dimmer at the end of the run and brighter at the end closest to the transformer, then you may be using the incorrect gauge of wire, resulting in voltage drop. There could also still be a tear in the wiring, resulting in power “leaking” into the soil. Or your house may have been built over a graveyard like in “Poltergeist.” Make sure your daughter has not disappeared into the television.
randall_whitehead
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com and follow his blog www.lightmakesright.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Lastest from ask randall

Yes, it is a frequently asked question, but I think it's an important one. LED products will last for a long time, longer than most marriages. You... read full story
I, too, am excited about everything that's happening with LEDs. As far as undercabinet task lighting goes, I like to mount the fixtures toward the... read full story
You pose an interesting question. I know that when I did theatrical lighting, we did take into consideration the skin tones of the cast. I don't know... read full story
This is a fun question to answer. I can offer you a solution that is both dramatic and energy efficient, even though that’s not exactly what you’re... read full story

Webinars

Sponsored by Access Lighting, Engineered Lighting Products, Ferguson, GM Lighting and Maxim Lighting/ET2.   Register here for this live CEU webinar at 2 p.m. EDT on... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, AFX Inc., Engineered Lighting Products, Langlais Group and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting.   This live webinar has already taken place, but... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, Civilight, GM Lighting, Langlais Group Inc. and Nora Lighting.   Live webinar has taken place, but you can watch the archived webinar by... read full story