problem with lighting going off and on


Hey guys... I have an issue. I've got a new townhouse and have had a problem for more than a couple of years. There are a couple of ceiling lights that just seem to turn themselves off randomly. The lights will turn off for a while (seems like an hour or two) and then turn on again. Then, after a couple of hourse, off again.
Anyone have any idea what might be causing this? Your advice appreciated.
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On 8 Mar 2007 21:30:37 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I can think of 2 possibilities.
1. Your house is haunted 2. You have a loose connection somewhere.
Are the problem lights all on the same circuit? Figure out which breaker feeds those lights. If it's the same breaker, your job will be easier. If it's not on the same circuit, you may have one leg of your system that is bad, and I'd start checking the mains. Assuming it's all the same circuit. Start by swapping breakers, or just install a new one and save the old one in case it's still good. If the new breaker solves the problem, you had a bad breaker and your problem is solved. If not, open every electrical box on that circuit. Check and tighten every screw and wirenut, on every switch, outlet and light fixture. Look for any overheated wires. Often a bad connection will leave a burnt look to the wires or connections. This should solve the problem unless its a ghost, in which case you're on your own.
By the way, if you suspect one leg is going out, turn on your electric range (if you have one) and see if it works (or any other 220 device). You might have a loose connection on the power pole too....
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Some lights shut off if they become too warm and come back on again when they cool.
Check the wattage of the bulb.
It could be to high for the fixture.
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If it is a loose connection, chances are it will do a lot of flickering as well as go on and off. If these are recessed lights, they have thermal cutouts built into them, which will disconnect the lamp if they overheat, then reconnect when they cool. It could be insulation is run over the frame of a non IC type fixture, trapping the heat, or something as simple as the lamp wattage is to high for the fixture. There should be a lamp guide inside the trim to give you the type and max wattage useable in the fixtures

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On Mar 8, 11:30 pm, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

By far the most common reason for this flickering is cheap marginal sockets. The center socket contact is small, cheap plated steel (not beryllium spring copper} and sags after being subjected to heat. Replace the socket with a porcelain type from an electrical distributor store, or temporarily, turn off the voltage, unscrew the lamp and pull the center socket contact up 1/16" or so, replace lamp, etc. The problem will likely go away. HTH
Joe
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Thanks Joe. Just to clarify-the light does not flicker, it just goes off after a while and turns back on. There are 3 other lights on the same switch and none of the others do that. It sounds like you've found the cause. Thanks.
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Ok, I'll throw in my 2 cents. I have 8 ceiling cans in my kitchen on 3 different dimmers/switches. I have 50 watt capsule lamps in each. I now have one light that behaves as you describe. After it's been on for a while, maybe an hour or 2, you hear a click, and it goes out. Then when the fixture/lamp cools down, it turns back on .... this time with a much quieter click. I have had this in other sockets in the past, so I don't think it has anything to do with the fixture itself. There might be a high temperature cut out in the fixture, however, when I installed them some 15 years ago, I don't remember seeing anything like that. So, I'm assuming it's the lamp, as the other socket where this happened, now doesn't do it, after the lamp was changed.
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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RBM has already correctly IMO pinpointed the problem. You have internal thermal protection. The lamps are getting too hot.
You need to use a smaller wattage bulb or help air circulate around the fixture.
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