A while back the outdoor back light stopped working. The obvious thing
to do was to replace the light bulb, but even with new bulbs, the
light still doesn't work at all. Now assuming the inside light --which
is on the same circuit & circuitbreaker -- is still working, why
doesn't the outdoor light work? Suggestions, anyone?
Just because a light bulb is new doesnt mean the filament is intact
these days where everything is made in a crappy Asian factory. Can you
check for continuity?
Most likely reason is one of the riveted wire connectors is loose or
the wiring in the fixture is burned due to a higher wattage light bulb
being used that the fixture wasnt designed for. Most fixtures can
only handle a maximum 60 watt bulb due to the socket being made of
Bakelite instead of ceramic especially if the orientation of the light
bulb is pointing down where the generated heat is concentrated on the
Outside light issues like this are typically corrosion related. Get a
voltmeter and a screwdriver and take the fixture off and see if there's
current getting to the wires and inspect for discoloration, corrosion,
broken wires, etc. The socket itself sometimes gets a layer of crud on it,
especially the center tab. If that all looks OK I'd go look at the switch
to see if the wires are unbroken and still properly connected. A typical
failure point is where the insulation was stripped. Too deep a nick into
the wire can eventually lead to a total break, especially in outdoor
fixtures subject to frequent changes in humidity and temperature.
*Bad switch, bad socket, bad connections, incandescent changed out for a
compact fluorescent, or something else.
Remove the light fixture and see if you have juice there or remove the light
switch and connect the two wires together.
"incandescent changed out for a compact fluorescent"
Why? All my outdoor light fixtures have been changed from incands to CFL
with no problem, except for the few seconds it takes a CFL to warm to
*Some people have controls such as timers for their outside lights. Some
controls do not have a separate neutral connection, but instead use the
incandescent filament to complete the circuit. It cannot complete the
circuit on CFL's.
I just finished a job replacing 194 outside lights on townhomes with energy
efficient light fixtures. About half a dozen would not work because of the
timers that the homeowners had to control their old fixture.
On Sun, 19 Sep 2010 15:03:13 -0400, "John Grabowski"
Also many motion detectors cannot handle CFLs. you have to make sure
you are getting one rated for fluorescent or for motor load. I ordered
on a few years ago both for this reason and because the ones I was
buying at the big box kept going bad, probably not sufficiently
lightning-resistant for Florida.
Also lighted switches may not be compatible with CFLs. A "lit when on"
switch will probably be OK (though I haven't tried it). A "lit when
off" switch very likely will not work, but you'll know it because the
CFL bulb will flash every few seconds. (The switch-light circuit also
goes through the bulb, which is no big deal with incandescent because
the current is small and limited by the light in the switch. I assume
they do it this way so the light in the switch goes off when the
circuit is open elsewhere. With a CFL, the circuit is basically open
at the bulb when off, and the voltage builds up over a few seconds
until it the bulb lights, but then immediately goes out because the
other light has limited the current. At least this is what I worked
out from my observations when it happened to me. Quite possibly other
lighted switches don't trickle through the bulb and so are OK.)
Been there, done that.
Most lights are controlled by switches. If you've had any visitors,
somebody probably turned yours "off" by mistake.
A schematic diagram would be the best way to locate the switch. If you
know the model number of your house, you can buy a schematic from SAMS
I had a lamppost with a similar issue. A bulb went out and I replaced
itm but it didn't work. The bul I took out was bad, and the new one
was good (worked in a different socket). It turned out that there was
a bit of debris that fell into the socket when I took the old bulb
out, preventing contact for the new bulb. The debris was a piece of
glass from the housing that was broken by a ball.
I cleared that and replaced the bulb, and it worked. For a while. I
did not replace the glass right away, and forgot about it. I ended up
getting water into the fixture and shorting it out.
So, there are two possibilities. Hope its helpful, and if its one of
tyhe two, I hope its the first. Just make sure that the fixture is
protected if it is the case.
I have some humongous lights outside. They take a 250W Metalarc light.
They can run on 220 or 110. If you hook them up to 110, there is a
transformer. There is also what looks to be a very large capacitor (may be
ballast) in the transformer box.
You have not provided enough information about your light. There are lots
of different types. Perhaps if you were a little more specific
............... It could be transformer, ballast, capacitor, bulb(s), lots
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.