~Landscape splices BURNING ? (pics) need help.

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by clubkidcarlos, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. clubkidcarlos

    clubkidcarlos LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Hello all,

    hmmmmmmm... this one has me going.
    Here is the situation.

    I have a outdoor transformer with photocell.
    It is a 600watt, with 2 legs of 300 watt.

    The lights total 10 that are submersibles for the pond, and are 12volt, purchased from same Co.

    I have the transformer about 9 feet from a central "hub" where each leg running from the transformer fractions out to 5 lights.

    I'm fairly sure I'm not surpassing the 600watt max on all these lights.
    What makes me a little uncertain is I think the wifey might have changed out a 35w and replaced with a 50watt, and maybe now am surpassing ?

    For a year ( before wifey )... things were fine. Then, I noticed the lights starting going down. It's not every single one... just certain ones. When I lookat the splice areas what is nutty is one light spliced into another on a leg... there might be one down from that leg but not the rest ? weird..............

    I have also noticed BAD burning and corrosion on the splice areas.

    What could be causing all this ?

    Let's say I'm not over the 600w limit....
    is it bad wing nuts over the metal splice points ?
    to small on the 12/2 that runs from the trans to the splice point "hub"

    In the pic of the splice... that's not even half of the char that I normally see. The lights will work for a couple days,.... charge the splice.. and then back to certain lights off.

    What could I amend or change to get away from such a problem ?


  2. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    50 watts X 5 = 250 watts on your 12/2. 12/2 is recommended for 100w/8.3 amps, with a maximum of 192 watts/16 amps.

    Too hot.

    Another problem... you should not exceed 80% of your transformers wattage rating, since wire loss can be as high as 20%. 600 watt transformers should not be used for over 480 watts, you are at 500 for that as well.

    Another problem to consider is your fixture may also not be rated for 50 watts either.

    That's a possibility of three separate hazards.

    Another problem, I calculated a significant voltage drop, and unless you have a multitap transformer going over 20 volts, you will have lamp failure. The ideal voltage range for halogen lights is between 10.8 and 11.3 volts. Have you taken a voltage reading at the fixtures?

    Get those lamps back to 20 watts, which may be all they are rated for. You may need new wires. You may want to use a multitap transformer, and take a voltage reading with your meter at each fixture to make sure they are in the range. If not, bump up the tap to compensate. If you don't have a multi-tap transformer, call an LV lighting specialist to look at your set-up. You need to have this done right, starting with a knowledgeable installer and reliable, professional grade equipment and materials.

  3. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    Even if you only use 35 w each you are still over at 175. One lamp at 50 w puts you at 190 watts.
  4. clubkidcarlos

    clubkidcarlos LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Thanks for the reply mike ! I'm such a newb in this area and it shows !!
    I figured--- well it's 600 watt,.. just don't exceed that with the watt draw from the lights and all should be well (minus- extensive length of wire run for voltage drop)

    This is a trans that does not have the taps on it. Just the legs out to the 2 300 watt legs. Hmmmmmmmmmmm..... what if I reduced the number of lights ? let's say I take them down to 7 ---->4 of those 35watters. Could I still stick with the 12/2 or have to up it to the 10/2 ?

    I went back to the site I purchased the trans from and sure enough... don't carry it anymore and now have the better ones with taps on it. I'll have to take a look at the specs on the trans and see where I'm at with that.
  5. clubkidcarlos

    clubkidcarlos LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Almost forgot... .those lights are made with tough brass housing, and thick protective outer rubber casing. They are made to hold bulbs up to 75watt as proclaimed by the company I purchased them from. Are you familiar with ccl-lighting ? They come with the cord already attached to the brass housing for the underwater light,.. just ready to spice up on the other end.
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    wow thats a fire hazzard waiting to happen there. Overloading 12 ga :nono: :nono: poor splices.

    What brand of lights are they ? Is that trans rated for use with submersible fixtures ?

    to start you need to rewire this. If your budget permits I would call Nightscapes in kingland and have pauls team come check you out and see about getting you hooked up right.

    some issues I see.

    Over lamped... no multi tap on the trans... poor splices... over loaded wire runs. I have amazed clients by swapping out thier 50w bulbs for quality 20w bulbs and actually getting more output out of them. If your dead set on doing this yourself take the time to educate yourself more on it and learn to perform a good splice and learn how to use a multi meter.

    You said you got tough brass lights... no clue what brand you got but doesnt sound like you got a tough transformer either.

    Im willing to bet if you had 20w bulbs with proper voltage (probably not possible with your trans) you would have a much brighter lighting system.
  7. ChampionLS

    ChampionLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,066

    Those splices look ratty. There's not enough insulation stripped from either the conductor or the cable. Why are there cobb webs on the conductors? Wheres the wire nuts?

    Also keep in mind, Wattage isn't a measurement of light output, it's a measurement of current draw.
  8. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    Oops, wattage is a measurement of energy used. Amps is a measurment of current and volts is a measurement of potential energy.

    This system is a complete re-do. I'm sure that the 12/2 is wasted now that it has been overloaded for over a year. We re-did a system at Callahan and Vance Jackson is San Antonio that was alot like this.
  9. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    Yeah Mike!!
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I just noticed you metioned the brand. ccl lighting. I replaced 16 of these for a doctor who had them installed by a reputable landscaper in our area. They were daisy chained and first lamp was getting 13.5 v and last was getting about 8. Talk about over loaded.

    Note these lights failed within 2 years. Im not sure I would invest alot of money into your system but rather replace with good materials. Perhaps yours will last longer than his did but who knows. Your still hooked up in a hazzardous situation and need to at least replace the trans and wiring at a minimum

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