Halogen Track Lights - Problem found.

So, on taking them apart in daylight, I've discovered the problem. One of the wires from the transformer to the track mounting points is burned through. I'm not sure how or why this happened - anyone care to suggest? Could it be low quality bulbs? I've always made sure to replace like with like, but have put in a couple that have been a different bulb manufacturer at some point (same volt/wattage/R-number etc).
I'm unsure exactly how it's all cabled together up there, and not sure if I removed the light fitting from (presumably) whatever screw-block connects that to the light circuit up there whether I'll then be without the other set of lights too.
That would enable me to see if it's feasible to replace this bit of wire (with something a bit thicker, perhaps?) or is it likely to be a case that the transformer is faulty and caused the wire burnout? it's only one out of the 3 or 4 that are in there.
It looks like it might be possible to get hold of another transformer (certainly there's a manufacturer etc stamped on the existing) so I'm hopeful even if that's called for it might not be the end of this pair of lights (I really do like them, and can't afford to shell out for new ones really).
Thanks for all the help I got here, it's much appreciated.
Velvet
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Velvet wrote on Tuesday (10/02/2004) :

None of those, it is probaly just the fact that the connections are under a great deal of stress due to the level of current which they have to carry.

Fit a couple of ordinary lampholders on the ends of the 240v cabling and fit some bulbs as a temporary solution.

Thicker would do no harm, but your real problem was perhaps poor connections or faulty soldering. Make sure any repairs you make are very sound and the connections clean/ free from blackening and tight.
--

Regards,
Harry (M1BYT) (L)
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Harry Bloomfield wrote:

Possibly, but the other unit shows no signs of similar problems whatsoever.

Didn't need to, having taken it off the end of the cable and insulating-taped them well apart, the other set (with it's own transformer) works still, so I have some light (if just reduced and full of shadows).

I'm puzzled as to why the whole of just that one cable has disintegrated in the way that it has. The other on that side of hte transformer hasn't.
Basically there seem to be two outputs from the transformer to the rails of the track. Two cables from each output of the transformer, but each of those two cables goes to separate rails. So, output 1 goes to track 1 and 2. Output 2 goes to track one and two.
And out of those four cables, only one has failed (ie, for example, output 1 to track 2, leaving output 2 to track 2 fine, and output 1 to track 1 fine).
They connect to the same bolt/washer arrangement onto the track mounting point, and all look secure, the only sign of damage is actually the insulation around that one cable, and the fact that the inner sheath on it has disintegrated just about completely, and the outer has suffered some melting from the heat in that inner cable. The other cable in that outer sheath seems fine.
Pics (they are large, but not put up there for your delectation originally but my families, so I'm not resizing them if you have a slow connection) are at
http://www.velvetpurrs.com/pics/halogen1.jpg
http://www.velvetpurrs.com/pics/halogen2.jpg
http://www.velvetpurrs.com/pics/halogen3.jpg
There is some slight blackening around the PCB/cable join on BOTH the cables that exit output 1, though I'm not sure whether this is as a result of heat transference across the PCB from the destroyed cable, since they are both linked by metal within the PCB, and only about a centimetre apart.
As I said, the other unit is fine, and shows absolutely no signs of anything like this starting, they've both been up for the same length of time, etc etc. I don't make a habit of running it with a bulb blown or anything like that, so a bit non-plussed as to why this has happened to only one output if it was faulty contacts at the bulb/track points.
Velvet
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On 10/02/2004 Velvet opined:-

Difficult to be certain from the photos, but what I would suggest caused this is a poor crimp on the lug connection to the bolt (bottom RH of photo).
Under that black sleeving the pair of blue wires go into a crimped on lug. You just got a bad one, made on a Friday afternoon ;-)
There will of been a great deal of heat build up due to the bad crimp, that caused the wire to heat up and oxidise. The oxidation then caused the wire itself to overheat as well due to its poor conductivity.
Heat can travel quite a way along a copper cable, especially when the cable is themally insulated by plastic insulation. Copper is not only a good electrical conducter, it is a good thermal conductor as well.
What you need to do is..... Clean the circuit board up, resolder some new wires, fit a suitable crimped lug on the other end, reconnect... Job done.
--

Regards,
Harry (M1BYT) (L)
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Yeah, it's tough getting a decent hairdresser these days.
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The Lord alerted my mind to the presence of this EVIL article by Harry Bloomfield, and I thusly replied:

Just like you "scraped off" the walls of uk.rec.caravanning so easily, Harold?
--
The Reverend Parson Peter Parsnip
Smiting Sinful Usenet Users Since 1874
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I must remember to clean my fridge one of these days.
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You're obsolete. Nobody wants to talk to you, irrelevant muppet.
-- "Polyarchal".
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The Lord alerted my mind to the presence of this EVIL article by Effected Butterfly, and I thusly replied:

There should be professionals who can be hired to clean fridges. Terrible business.
--
The Reverend Parson Peter Parsnip
Smiting Sinful Usenet Users Since 1874
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Ah, hell, just leave it like that.
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