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Old 11-15-2014, 10:47 PM
GreenLight GreenLight is offline
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Vista transformer and led fixtures low audible buzzing sound.

Installed a medium size 24 light LED job and turned on the transformer and noticed a bit of a buzzing sound when under load. It wasn't the normal low hum, but it wasn't loud and immediately troubling either. Best description is it seemed unique to me. It was similar to having a bee flying very close by. I didn't think a whole lot about it until I was doing my light walk through and as I was checking lights I noticed the exact same low buzz coming from the LED lamps in the fixtures. That rocked the boat a bit for me as I have heard transformers of various brands have a weird low but audible sound when under load, but never really heard anything from the fixtures themselves. The transformer buzz is certainly a little more pronounced than the fixtures and you have to get right down next to the fixtures to hear it, but it's certainly present.

I checked amperage just out of curiosity because collectively it was only 132 total watts present and the amperage was at 10.75 from the leads coming from the transformer so that was acceptable. Double checked the taps on the transformer and they were ok, slightly over volted, but ok nonetheless. Checked voltage on a few end run fixtures and they were where they should be as well. Lights all performed fine and breaker was fine after leaving them on for an hour.

Im not sure I actually have an issue, but the gentle buzzing noise coming from each fixture was new to me and a bit unsettling. The transformer part was less disturbing, but still seems to be the root of the issue. Obviously I can change the transformer and see if that solves the problem, but I am curious to see if anyone else has experience something like this. It's a weird situation because everything works as it should and the voltage at all points is fine, but something just doesn't sit right with me about the whole thing.
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Old 11-16-2014, 05:23 AM
ledeez ledeez is offline
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You have dirty power... There's transients on your primary power. Couple quick troubleshooting steps

First is to grab an extension cord and try and plug into the other phase.... The other would be to plug into a generator and noise should be gone.


Short of convincing poco to come out and change a transformer on the pole there is no real fix.... Chokes can be tried but thats a crap shoot


There might be other reasons for the buzz but this would be my best guess
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:58 AM
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Lite4 Lite4 is offline
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I have not encountered anything so dramatic as that, but if it is dirty power as ledeez suggests, I wonder if installing a surge recepticle or whole home surge and lightning in the panel would smooth out any transients and minimize that buzz. Just a thought

http://www.probroadcastsupply.com/fu...-miw-surge-1g/
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:06 AM
ledeez ledeez is offline
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Tim funny thing sometimes surge protectors and battery backups actually cause the noise. Seen some funky stuff with LEDs last few years
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:03 AM
GreenLight GreenLight is offline
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Thanks for the replies.

I thought dirty power could possibly be the culprit and I think you may be right ledeez. It's an older house in a historic (wealthy) district. It's been redone basically inside and out and is close to 7000 square feet. If I had to guess, there has likely been MANY electricians over the years who have had their hands on the components and wiring at varying times running additional outlets and outdoor receptacles. Also the power source transformers for this area are likely pretty old.

Tim, I may end up giving your idea a shot. Im going to do a transformer swap first just in case, but if it's still going on I at least want to exhaust some options.. It's not noticeable enough to be a distraction even in dead silence, but it certainly doesn't seem like it can be all that great for the LEDs or the transformer.
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:39 AM
ledeez ledeez is offline
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First thing first power the trans from a generator
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:57 AM
GreenLight GreenLight is offline
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Will do. I also plan on double checking using another receptacle. The receptacle im using is outside and mounted in the natural area using a conduit riser and outdoor receptacle box. Previously there were 110 lights in the trees as well, but everything was re-landscaped and those lights were just gutted out with the trees. I don't think it's likely, but after thinking about it last night I suppose it's possible that those lights were continued in a series AFTER the outdoor receptacle using the same breaker. It's possible that stray voltage or an open ground could be the culprit as well.
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:12 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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What LED lamps or fixtures did you install?
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:44 PM
GreenLight GreenLight is offline
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They are just simple non-integrated brass Vista Fixtures with Vista 5.5 Watt LED lamps.
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Old 11-16-2014, 03:00 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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I have used a LOT of Vista LED MR16 lamps in the past 1.5 years. To say that they have a harmonics issue across the board would not be fair, but I have come across more than a few of these lamps that buzz. Normally it is not an issue in our landscape systems as the buzz is very faint and sporadic at best. It also tends to not be constant with the same lamp. Sometimes they buzz a bit and other times they don't.

Some systems are completely silent, on others you get a few that buzz. Change out the lamp may or may not affect the situation. Change out the transformer and same results. I have chalked it up as 'dirty power' or transients on the grid. Bottom line though, there is something about the Vista LED MR16 lamp driver that causes some noise some times.

In systems where we have a whole home surge arrest or power conditioning in place, I have not noticed any of the lamps making noise. So I would try that first.

Just this past week I installed 6 x Vista LED MR16 lamps in some in-floor uplights inside a screen room. They buzzed like crazy on the first two transformers I installed, buzzed slightly with a nightscaping transformer, and also with a Qtran transformer with onboard choke. When I pulled just one lamp from the system the buzzing was gone. The house did not have any power conditioning in place. I tried a small plug in surge arrest with no results. In the end I switched out all of the lamps for another brand as we could not have any noise in this application.

Hopefully Vista's lamp manufacturer is working on a fix for this, as it can be a real pain and barrier to using their lamps in all applications.
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