Outdoor Flood Lights-Juice but no Light

I am a little baffled. I have flood lights that used to work. They stopped working so I replaced the bulbs with indoor/outdoor type flood lights. This did not fix the problem. I checked the sockets with my little $6 voltage detector and there is power. In fact, there is power in the sockets whether the switch is on or off.
Now could it not be working because I need a special 'Outdoor' bulb? Or, since I get a power reading with the switch on or off, is there something wrong in the wiring?
Any suggestions would be great!
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On Tue, 29 May 2007 12:06:52 -0400, CooSer wrote:

Find someone who can troubleshoot it from the source. I don't think you know enough (not an insult) about it.
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Meat Plow wrote:

I'bet you are seeing a "phantom" voltage being capacitively coupled past an open circuit.
Try this:
Screw in just ONE bulb and see if you still find "power" there with your voltage detector. Betcha dont anymore!
Then, as a previous poster suggested, find a way to learn more about what you need to know to diagnose and fix the problem, it sounds like it'd be pretty hard to bring you far enough up the learning curve via a newsgroup.
Good Luck,
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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On Tue, 29 May 2007 16:49:08 -0400, "RBM" <rbm2(remove

Or like me flipping the wrong switch off and on :-))
-- Oren
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the photo..
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What type is your tester? Is it an inexpensive volt-meter or a neon- bulb or similar? If the former w/ a needle indicator it's quite possible as Jeff says the voltage is phantom. If it is a indicator light type, and the light is being lit, then the voltage is real and the problem is twofold...
If you don't find the problem first, post the answer to the question and I'll not start a tome on what else to look for... :)
Although I will ask -- is there more than one location from which to turn the lights on/off from? It's possible the other switch is the problem of voltage.
Also, if there is real (not phantom) voltage, and the light doesn't light, then the problem almost certainly has to be in the base--either dirt/corrosion or perhaps the base tab has become flattened to where the bottom of the bulb isn't making contact.
But, I'd say first guess of reading a impressed voltage is probably the most likely culprit...
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Any voltage you can measure is a real one ("phantom" doesn't make sense here, meters measure real voltages only). What's different is the source impedance (the effective resistance of the source, which determines how much the voltage drops with load). When dealing with power, you want a LOW source impedance, so the load causes very little voltage drop. With a very high source impedance, the load causes the voltage to drop too low to light the bulb.

Yes.
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Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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"Phantom" in the sense following -- which you obviously knew and understood but just wanted to be a ... :(

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At this point, you realized you had nothing to say, and felt an uncontrollable need to say something nasty anyway.

Sometimes I wish there was a "maturity test" for usenet posters...

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wrote:

(How do WE fit in? Exclude, yourself!) Can I post as a graduate of 9th grade?
-- Oren
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the photo..
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I'd have said nothing further had previous poster not felt obligated to make cheapshot remark initially...at that point I indeed, had something to say which was I didn't appreciate it nor your even cheaper "pile-on"...
If you want to correct the rudeness, start w/ the prior poster (or yourself), not me... :(
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What I put in my post was not intended as rudeness, but as honest observation. The fact that you interpreted it that way does mean something.
The prior post shows no evidence of rudeness whatsoever.
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Whatever...
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Mark Lloyd wrote:

Don't quibble with just me Mark. NEMA recognizes "phantom" as a term too: <G>
http://www.nema.org/stds/eng-bulletins/upload/Bulletin-88.pdf
Jeff
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likely cause is that the fixture has crapped out, being out in the weather year round and all. Postive test for that, is to remove fixture, and hang a 3-dollar pigtail socket with a bulb from the wires. The 3 bucks is well invested- even if you only use it every couple years, a pigtail is a handy thing to have around. Outdoor fixtures are cheap. Made cheaply and far away, but cheap.
aem sends...
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wrote:

another fixture or use a known working bulb the floodlight.
You should not be reading voltage with the switch off. Try testing with a reliable tester
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wrote:

A disconnected wire (such as this one, with the switch off and no bulb in the socket) running close to a wire carrying AC current will form a transformer and you'll get some voltage. Circuit impedance will be high, and any significant load will drop it to near zero.
--
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Mark Lloyd wrote:

Yup. And if the OP is using an inductive "test instrument" he will read a false positive, since he is testing with no-load (bulb unscrewed).
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It may not be the fact that anything is wrong with the OPs tester. It may be picking up a voltage quite normally capacitively 'induced' through the proximity of various wires even though the switch is 'off'. One of the best testers is a regular lamp bulb. Apart from something stupid like the replacement bulb/s not having a long enough base to screw in and touch the terminals of the lamp socket; very unlikely IMO, it is most probably a switch that has gone defective, or something broken or corroded in the wiring or lamp sockets.

Accordingly it would be best from a family safety and insurance viewpoint to get someone knowledgeable to fix or at least assist. One problem with misunderstood repairs is that an improper one may 'seem to work'! "Hey look I fixed it". However next time a bulb is to be replaced the switch is in the wrong wire "How come I have a white wire connected to a black wire. That's not what my cousin, neighbour, friend local mechanic told me?" Or something is not properly grounded "What's this yellow/green wire for??" and a person on a ladder gets a shock and falls. Or a wire connected incorrectly "I thought that's where the black wire went before I disconnected it!", gets hot within a wall or fixture or switch box and "FIRE". Insurance cos. many of whom are just looking for a reason NOT to pay out, are not very sympathetic! So be very careful you know what you are doing. Pretty sure knowledgeable people reading this item could come up with anywhere from 9 to 15 'possible' reasons any of which would be plausible and simple to repair But be careful!.
Therefore mention this anecdote: The car of a non mechanically inclined young lady driving some distance away from home had been dripping coolant slowly on the ground, which she had ignored. It had now lost most of it and overheated. She called home and discussed it with her father who said "Let it cool down for an hour or so then refill with water and drive slowly to the nearest service station you can find. Then call me, collect, from there and I'll speak to the mechanic for you. After waiting the young lady lifted the hood; took off the oil filler cap and filled up the engine crankcase etc. with water. naturally she never made to the service station and the engine was ruined! So the moral; like electrical wiring, know what you are doing. One little mistake and could be costly!
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Yes. Indeed you do.
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