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Old 03-16-2015, 09:07 AM
kellanv kellanv is online now
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Wire tracing/Ground Fault Detecting on Lighting system

Obviously this probably should go in the lighting section but I suspect that many of you are more adept at these activities.

So we have a new install that I suspect has a ground fault somewhere. Steel edging was installed after the wires were run by another company and I'm losing 6+VAC in less than 50 feet on 12 ga wire. The transformer is also pulling about 65W over what the nominal load should be.

That being said, are there any tricks to using a ground fault detector on a lighting system? What do I need to do to make sure I dont fry all of the LEDs? Remove them all? Will they be ok? I'll disconnect everything from the transformer obviously.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:43 AM
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Wet_Boots Wet_Boots is online now
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I wonder if a simple wire toner might do the trick. Obviously, if you pull all the LEDs and/or bulbs, they don't get damaged from whatever you connect to trace the path of your wire.
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Old 03-16-2015, 11:56 AM
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1idejim 1idejim is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellanv View Post
Obviously this probably should go in the lighting section but I suspect that many of you are more adept at these activities.

So we have a new install that I suspect has a ground fault somewhere. Steel edging was installed after the wires were run by another company and I'm losing 6+VAC in less than 50 feet on 12 ga wire. The transformer is also pulling about 65W over what the nominal load should be.

That being said, are there any tricks to using a ground fault detector on a lighting system? What do I need to do to make sure I dont fry all of the LEDs? Remove them all? Will they be ok? I'll disconnect everything from the transformer obviously.

Thanks in advance!
It was nice to speak with you again Kellan, call anytime

When applying voltage to any conductor where there's a concern about damage I use this saying, "when in doubt, take em out".

Measure your potential to earth from the edging to eliminate damage from the installation.

Use your clamp meter to find the drop and isolate that portion of the run.

If you're getting a short to earth measurement, its gfl time. Remember, for a ground fault locator to work, there has to be a path to ground.
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Old 03-16-2015, 04:19 PM
kellanv kellanv is online now
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Well I guess this got moved anyway!

Thanks very much for the time, Jim. I think I have a pretty intentional plan to get this thing corrected.

Anyone else have a suggestion besides a ground fault? New transformer and LEDs. Brand new wire (but construction done AFTER wires installed). Showing 196W off the transformer yet only 130W worth of lamps in the field. Extremely high drops in voltage from transformer within 100' of wire. (9V drop to a lamp ~100' away and 6V drop to a lamp ~50' away).

Thanks!

Last edited by kellanv; 03-16-2015 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 03-16-2015, 07:46 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Run a new wire and be done with it.
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:22 PM
kellanv kellanv is online now
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I would have to reconnect about 18 fixtures. They are daisy chained.
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:05 PM
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Kellan, You said steel edging was installed after you buried the wire.
Aren't there a couple likely places where it could be damaged?
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:15 PM
kellanv kellanv is online now
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Kellan, You said steel edging was installed after you buried the wire.
Aren't there a couple likely places where it could be damaged?
Yes and thats where I will start. If it is that simple I will be delighted and move on. Just looking for alternate theories/suggestions.
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:51 AM
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If it's daisy chained, it shouldn't be too hard to roughly trace the path of the cable between each light and examine it anywhere the steel edging intersects it. You already know of one 50' section to check; start there and move on. It should be pretty easy to locate because it obviously wasn't buried deep if they cut it with the edging. I will generally only tone out a section of cable if there hasn't been any landscaping disturbance on a long run. It then is most likely critter related.
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:52 PM
Chris J Chris J is offline
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How are you measuring wattage? Are you measuring the amp load at the transformer and then calculating wattage? Just curious.
As far as suggestions, I would simply go to the half-way point in the run and cut it. If your problem still exists, replace the wire from the transformer to that point. If it doesn't, replace the other half of the run or reconnect your cut and cut it again half way down that length....... rinse and repeat as necessary.
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