Outdoor lighting problem.

peterdeMarch 18, 2011

Below is a picture of a connector of one of my low voltage lighting runs. Its a long run, so I ran a wire to the center of the run so power will be evenly distributed. This is the second time I found the connector in this condition. At first I thought it was water intrusion, but this has a slight burnt smell. Could water do this, a short, high resistance in the wire or just poor connectors? Its a 300 watt transformer, and the lights add up to less then that.

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Three hundred watts at 12 volts is 25 amps. That's a fair bit of current. Maybe you're getting some corrosion which would cause increased resistance, which in turn would cause excessive heating.

You might try using lower wattage bulbs. If it were my system I would probably do away with all the crimp-on connectors. I'd solder and tape all connections, then coat with liquid electrical tape.

Brickeeye might have some better ideas than mine.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 12:52AM
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Sure, water intrusion could have caused your problem.
water certainly conducts, shorts out , = burnt connection.

18v with water will burn off a 18ga center conductor on RG6 cable.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 8:02AM
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18v with water will burn off a 18ga center conductor on RG6 cable.

RG6 is an RF cable. It isn't meant to be used as power cable, certainly not for landscape lights.

FYI, pure water doesn't conduct electricity. But this is mostly theoretical, since pure water isn't common in nature.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 4:07PM
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That is quite a bit of current and really does need a good quality connection. The picture appears to indicate corrosion that may be from minerals in the soil (or sometimes well water) or from products contained in fertilizers or other lawn/garden treatments.

A better quality connection that doesn't use pierced type connectors would most likely solve your problem.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 8:38PM
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The use of low voltage DC power also accelerates the corrosion when water gets in, and it WILL get in.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 2:21PM
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As noted there is a good deal of corrosion that accumulated over a long time from water, garden chemicals, etc. The cause has to be removed so check the location for ponding water, etc. Good connectors are certainly important but the best ones won't overcome intrusion of that much water and/or chemicals.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 9:42AM
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In a situation like that, if I had to make a splice, I'd probably twist the wires securely, solder them, and then insulate with tape and sealer.

Solder is outstanding for excluding moisture and air (and thus corrosion) from splices, but it has to be applied correctly.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 1:07AM
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The correct heat shrink splices for the individual wires will create as good a seal as you can make while creating a soldered joint.

Some quality rubber splicing tape with an overcoat of vinyl electrical tape should make a decent long term splice.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 8:15PM
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