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View Full Version : lights not working PLEASE READ HELP!!!


perfectlawncare
06-22-2008, 10:19 PM
Hey guys I put in a 1100 watt system with all cast bullet lights 35w and I used a Pantech 1200w trans. The lights came on 1st night no problem and the 2nd night the didnt. So i switched out the trans with an MDL 1200w trans and a new timer and this time they worked for 2 nights and they stoped working. Both times the program was lost in the timer. Now my elec guy who put in the recep jumped it from a furnice under the house all on a 15amp circuit but the circuit never trips so I am lost... Should I 1 put the trans on a sep 20amp circuit 2 replace some of my bulbs to 20w to lower the load or 3 put in a 1500w trans. All my home runs are ran with 10ga wire. PLEASE HELP this customer is so pissed.. Thanks guys for your help..

extlights
06-22-2008, 10:46 PM
Are you using a photocell also or just a timer? If the breaker isn't tripping anywhere (meaning the main panel, the outlet, or on the transformer) and you're simply just using a timer I would think that your timers went bad. Sounds like it should be a pretty easy fix.

klkanders
06-22-2008, 10:49 PM
Some questions for you,
How many 10ga home runs?
Distance of each home run?
Distance to first fixture on each run?
Number of fixtures on each run?
Amp and voltage readings?
Do you happen to have a diagram of how everything is laid out?
Do you actually need 35w lamps?
1200w trans at 80% is 960 watts
1500w trans at 80% is 1200 watts

The answer to some or all of these questions should lead to an answer.
Thanks!

perfectlawncare
06-22-2008, 10:50 PM
i replaced 2 timers should i go to an analog one. i ve never replaced the photo cell

perfectlawncare
06-22-2008, 10:53 PM
4 home runs

all readings check out

no i dont need all 35w thats why i was thinking about switching to 20w bulbs

60 ft is my longest home run

extlights
06-22-2008, 11:11 PM
4 Homeruns on 1100 watts? Anyway.....I still think it's a timer or photocell problem. If you haven't checked the photocell you might want to try that. We've had a lot of photocells fail prematurely over the years.

TXNSLighting
06-22-2008, 11:34 PM
30 lights on 4 home runs???! am i adding that properly? When you bypass the timer are they coming on? if so its the timer. what brand of timers are you using? or the fact that your using only 4 runs for that amount of lights.

Pro-Scapes
06-22-2008, 11:43 PM
time out... back up Jason.

He pulled you a recptical to run a 1200w trans (10amps) off the furnance line which is rated for 15amps ? soooooo what happens when that furnace and the lights come on at the same time ? so a 10a draw for my stuff I ALWAYS get a dedicated line.

Are you sure there is nothing switching the line and your line voltage is ALWAYS hot ? Simple thing to do would be bypass the photocell and set your timer for 2 min ahead and see if the lights come on.

Anyways your numbers are not accurate. You got 31.4 lights @35w to add up to 1100 ? Or do you have 1050w?? Whats your primary amps ? Your incoming voltage ??? If the voltage falls flat on its face for some reason your relay wont be closing inside the trans.

im willing to bet the prob is in the line voltage. Is there some kind of thermal protector around the furnace wiring ? Sounds like its time to find a new electrician. Again primary voltage ??????

I think the client is pissed because you and I have discussed what you charge and he should be expecting and should of gotten a nice system that operates like it should.

klkanders
06-23-2008, 12:03 AM
Sorry it took me so long to get back. I see others have stepped in.
I agree your system should have its own dedicated GFI.
Check the line voltage as Billy stated and or run system without timer and photocell to narrow it down.
Too few home runs for that many fixtures and wattages. I believe the max is 288 and you were at 280?
It would be a more efficient system with more home runs and or lower wattage lamps.

Keep us posted on the outcome!
Good Luck!

Pro-Scapes
06-23-2008, 08:47 AM
Im still scratching my head about not needing 35w but you installed them anyways.


I didnt even do the math til just now about how many watts you had on your lines. This system needs to be reinstalled from the breaker panel to the lamps. Sorry to break it to ya but the system is unsafe as described.:nono::nono:

Lite4
06-23-2008, 12:43 PM
Wow, I bet those wires are getting mighty hot!!

David Gretzmier
06-23-2008, 01:11 PM
about wires getting hot,

I've never loaded that much wattage ( 280 watts? ) on 10 guage, or even 8 guage, I guess I am also used to trans that break the commons up in 300 watt chunks, and i've never knowingly loaded one common over 250 in an install setting. I think it might be possible you have overloaded a common, or the trans itself. When I go above a 900 watt trans I look to dedicated circuits. if I need 1080 watts, I'm jumping to two, a 900 and 600 trans, or a single 1500watt. I use the 80% rule and then some to keep the heat and load low , and expansion possibilities high.

I'm also trying to figure that many lights 60 feet from the trans. even adding leads, Is it possible you are going quite a bit further? many times with that many lights and only one trans on a "normal" 500,000 dollar house I am easily going 100-200 feet away. if that is the case, there is no way 10guage can handle those loads.

You need a clamp meter to measure the amps going through your wire at the trans. basically it clamps around your common to tell you your amp load. 20 amps at the 12 volt tap would be 240 watts. If you are at higher tap multiply amps times volts and you get the watts. I don't think I have ever installed a system with higher reading than 20 amp load on 10 guage. I think the wire is only rated for 20. I could be wrong on that.

It sounds like this might be your first system, and I hope you can put the pieces back together.

Pro-Scapes
06-23-2008, 03:16 PM
This isnt his first system. He has been at this awhile and should of known better.

David Gretzmier
06-23-2008, 03:29 PM
sorry, my bad

Lite4
06-23-2008, 07:57 PM
Sounds like it is time for more wire, more trenching and probably to be safe, an additional transformer also. This is what happens when you cut corners to keep the costs down.

TXNSLighting
06-23-2008, 08:02 PM
Sounds like it is time for more wire, more trenching and probably to be safe, an additional transformer also. This is what happens when you cut corners to keep the costs down.

Yep!!!!!!!

NightScenes
06-23-2008, 08:17 PM
Two words "amp meter"!

perfectlawncare
06-23-2008, 09:05 PM
OK i MISS SPOKE ABOUT 1100W ON THAT SYSTEM. I LOOKED AT MY NOTES TODAY AND I AM ONLY USING 910W. NOW ON COMMON 1 IT IS AT 15.8AMPS COMMON 2 IS AT 11.9 COMMON 3 IS AT 11.6 AND COMMON 4 IS AT 19.8. MY LOOP ON MY TRANS IS AT 8.1 AMPS UNDER FULL LOAD. ALL OF MY LIGHTS ARE AT 11.2 TO 11.9 I AM USING KICHLER DIGITAL TIMERS AND TODAY I SWITCHED TO A ANALOG TIMER AND PUT IT ON ITS OWN 20AMP CIRCUIT. I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR A WHILE AND EVEYDAY I LEARN SOMETHING NEW. AND FOR YOU BILLY I AM NOT THE HIGHEST GUY IN TOWN AND I GIVE THE BEST SERVICES AROUND. NO MATTER WHAT I CHARGE I TRY TO DO MY BEST EVERYTIME!!! I DID OVER 70 SYSTEMS LAST YEAR AND THIS ONE IS THE 1ST ONE THAT I HAD A PROBLEM WITH!!!

THANKS FOR YALLS INPUT.

ILL LET YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS

TXNSLighting
06-23-2008, 09:08 PM
No more caps!

NightScenes
06-23-2008, 09:40 PM
Now that we have some amp readings maybe we can get somewhere. If you bypass the photo control and the timer does the transformer operate?

perfectlawncare
06-23-2008, 11:26 PM
Cap Button Is Broke On This Pc Unless I Hold Down The Shift Key, Sorry. Yes I Tried No Timer And The Photo Cell Work Like It Should. They Worked Tonight Because I Just Got Back From Checking On Them.

Thanks Again For Everyone Trying To Help.

Jason

Pro-Scapes
06-24-2008, 05:18 AM
Now that you have real numbers its a different story.

Glad you got it figured out.