I am no expert but need help on lights

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by meets1, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,781

    I have a client that we now take care off. 4 columes with caps which have 6 inch LED lights under each wall. Each colume has what I would call a sitting wall between the two of them so 4 total with firepit in middle.

    Well they called today and they have one light working which is closest to the transformer and outlet. I did take the caps off which were heavy and see the wires that go down and look to go under either the paver patio or the outside uder the sod.

    So question how do I check it things work? I see no traces of little critters, no pets, they say its been three years now and until the other night they lost 3 of the 4 lights??
  2. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Trouble shooting, repairs and warranty claims are not places to get your feet wet in this business. Best would be to have the client contact the original installer of the lighting. If that is not possible, refer your client to a local professional lighting company. They will probably be appreciative for the referal and you can both move forward with a stronger, co-operative working relationship... them doing the lighting and you doing what it is that you do best.
  3. klkanders

    klkanders LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 848


    Where are you located in NW Iowa? I may be very close by to you. Give me a call my number is on my website and we can talk it over. :)

    Right on James!
  4. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,761

    meets1: I understand your situation. When I was in the landscape maintenance business, I tried to do as much as I could for a given client. But I only wanted to provide them with the services I really knew well and had prepared myself for. As an example, I learned irrigation maintenance and also obtained a pesticide applicator's license so that I could provide those services in addition to the less-technical mowing, trimming, and mulching. But I avoided any projects that I didn't know well. That's the basis for my advice to you.
    If you don't know enough about low-voltage lighting to even know where to start, don't start. Advise your client that even though you want to serve them, this is an area that you don't have the experience or know-how. I think they will appreciate you for that admission.
  5. Alan B

    Alan B Sponsor
    Posts: 420


    1. Turn the system on.
    2. Use a voltmeter (set it to 20 volt AC)
    3. Check the voltage at the splices (the home run wire from the transformer is connected to the first fixture via a splice). You should get around 12 volts (most LED fixtures can run on input voltages between 9 - 15 volts).
    4. Keep checking each splice. If the first fixture (the one closest to the transformer) is operating normally and the other 3 down stream are out, there is likely a short or loose connection somewhere between fixture 1 and 2. My guess is the splice at fixture #2 is bad and the break in the main line at the splice is preventing current from getting to the 2 last fixtures as well.

    It's a quick check that should take you 5 minutes. Afterwards make sure all the splices are really tight with a strong mechanical connection holding them together, no stray strands and that the connection is fully waterproofed.

    Good luck!
  6. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,113

    Has anybody been digging in the area where the cable might be running? Edgers are notorious for taking out wiring when the installer fails to bury the cable deep enough (which usually is the case)

    Alan gave you good advice. If it's not a physical break in the main cable, you probably have a weak connection at light number 2 which is impeding voltage to the lights down the line. Dig'em up and check- if the connection is not in the column (which I assume it's not), then it is probably just outside of the base of the column where the main cable runs.

    This isn't that hard, you can do this with a little time and troubleshooting. If you don't have a volt meter, just redo the connection at light #2 and see if that fixes the issue. (you'll know if the lights come on- pretty simple) Just use a very good, water proof connection when you repair it.

    If you do all this and still have no light, then you either have a break in the main cable between 1 and 2, or you have some LED's that are toast (not probable), but nothing is out of the realm of possibility if they have had a recent lightning strike or a whopper of a power surge.

    Good Luck!

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