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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:17 pm 
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Hi,

I wonder if anyone can help.

I have low voltage strip lights on both side of the kitchen, each with their own transformer. On the one side the second bulb in failed so I went to change it and where the metal pole attaches to the left-hand wire it started to spark. For info they consist of two insulated wires that stretch across the room with a metal bar connecting the two at intervals to which a 12v bulb is attached. Sorry picture files too big. Each side of the room has 6 bulbs attached.

I moved the bulb slightly and it came on and all was OK and I couldn't recreate what happened. The bulb went again yesterday, so I decided to remove that fitting and clean it to make sure all the connections were good. Once on it started to spark again and all the lights are now off on that side.

I think the toroidal transformer has gone, but I haven't removed and replaced the 4A fuse on the primary side yet. I can still get this exact transformer so it will just be a case of replacing one with the other, but my main concerns are:

1. Is there an underlying problem which will burn out the new transformer, and if so how do I check prior to installation. These transformers are not cheap!
2. The electrician that installed it has run the wires for the transformer on the other side of the roof from the inputs on this transformer. It looks a squeeze to get both sets into the transformer, so should I run the supply to a junction then feed both transformers separately?

Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:24 pm 
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Loose connections seem responsible for the sparking and this could have potentially caused the fuse to blow - simply replacing it with the correct type, value and rating should restore operation.

The connections at the catenary wires (those strung across the room) also need to be checked - sounds like a loose screw connection somewhere to me.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:31 pm 
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Cheers.

I did notice when I removed the fuse that the live wire on the primary side of the transformer - the one that connects into the block opposite the live feed was not fastened in at all and was just rattling loose.

I will check all connections and change the fuse and get back to you.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:52 pm 
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Terminal screws can work loose through vibration or thermal stresses (getting alternately hot/cold) but these should have been checked and rechecked before the system was handed over as 'installed'.

These things do happen though.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:57 pm 
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You can even get a "torque" screwdriver set. No, not its name but one that you can adjust how tight it will tighten. Click here

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No such thing as "Thou shalt put this wire here, Thou shalt put that wire there" .............Take a picture BEFORE you do the job.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:00 pm 
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Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:05 pm 
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Don't waste your time (or money) with a torque screwdriver.

The manufacturers of the terminals rarely provide that sort of information so you'll be guessing at any setting and your own sensible judgement will suffice - we're not all NASA- rated!!!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:26 pm 
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:thumbleft:


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:31 am 
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If a toroidal transformer then unlikely to fail they are quite robust compared with "electronic transformers" (which are not really simple transformers) but the toroidal transformer lacks voltage regulation, however they are able to work with LED lamps. Using LED lamps will reduce current and as a result some of the sparking problems. Can you convert to LED?

Also note 12 volt is extra low voltage and 230 volt is low voltage. I am sure your talking about extra low voltage.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:49 pm 
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Thanks ericmark.

How do I convert to LED?

Remove the fittings that connect between the wires and hold the bulb fittings?

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 1:32 pm 
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Take the existing lamps out and swap them to 12v Led lamps.

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Take it easy, a forum is only a collection of opinions. Above, are mine.

Which is correct? Metre or Meter? Click the link. to find out more.

No such thing as "Thou shalt put this wire here, Thou shalt put that wire there" .............Take a picture BEFORE you do the job.

If gloom had a voice, it would be me. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:49 pm 
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Thanks.

Just a quick question, the transformer is rated 150 - 300 watts. If there are 6 bulbs per string, does that mean I can have max 50w per bulb?

Currently I don't exceed 35 watt per bulb.

I've not replaced the fuse yet, but checked the tightness of all the contacts that feed the bulbs.

I'm not holding out much hope that it is the fuse as it's on the primary side, so any surge would have also taken out the other transformer as it's feed is taken from wires inserted in the feed to this transformer.

It is 17 years old so I can't really complain.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:39 pm 
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300 watt is its maximum capacity, so any combination of wattage is fine so long as it does not exceed 300.

e.g.
35 x 4 + 50 x 3 = 290

or
35 x 8 = 280

or
20 x 15 = 300

As said, a toroidal transformer really can take a lot of abuse before it fails, a spike is nothing to one of them.

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Take it easy, a forum is only a collection of opinions. Above, are mine.

Which is correct? Metre or Meter? Click the link. to find out more.

No such thing as "Thou shalt put this wire here, Thou shalt put that wire there" .............Take a picture BEFORE you do the job.

If gloom had a voice, it would be me. :mrgreen:

:idea1: How to post a picture on this forum Click here


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 7:01 pm 
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Thanks.

If it's not the fuse, and all connections are tight, is there any way I can test it with my multimeter.

I take it that the two wires that come out of the top of the transformer and run the length of the ceiling are +ve and -ve so I should get a reading from them, yes?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 7:12 pm 
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Scoobie wrote:
I take it that the two wires that come out of the top of the transformer and run the length of the ceiling are +ve and -ve so I should get a reading from them, yes?


Technically no.

+ and - Refer to d.c. current and voltage. A transformer supplies a.c.

So if you set your meter to D.C. it will show as being "dead" so you should set your meter to the a.c. scale, then you will get a reading.

A.c. is not refereed to as positive and negative. (Although most people do)

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Take it easy, a forum is only a collection of opinions. Above, are mine.

Which is correct? Metre or Meter? Click the link. to find out more.

No such thing as "Thou shalt put this wire here, Thou shalt put that wire there" .............Take a picture BEFORE you do the job.

If gloom had a voice, it would be me. :mrgreen:

:idea1: How to post a picture on this forum Click here


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