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Jason
Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3614
Experience:  Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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I recently replaced 3 ten year old sets of track lights in

Resolved Question:

I recently replaced 3 ten year old sets of track lights in my kitchen because they all were intermittently switching on and off. I believed this was due to the transformers being old and overheating. Replacing them seemed to do the trick except for one of the sets still turns on and off every 10 minutes or so. I got another new set and replaced the transformer again - but still same problem.
- All three new sets of track lights are on same circuit.
- The three sets are connected to two separate dimmer switches.
- Only one switches on and off.
What are the could be causing this problem and how might I go about troubleshooting?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 10 months ago.

Jason :

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.

Jason :

Can we just clarify a few details as we get started?

Jason :

I understand that there are 3 sets of track lights, and 2 dimmer switches. Does one dimmer control 2 tracks, and the other dimmer controls 1?

Customer:

Hi Jason - each dimmer switch controls all three.

Customer:

I didn't think the switches were an issue, but I thought I would disclose everything

Jason :

OK, thank you for clearing that up. That's a bit of an odd setup. Typically, when we set up a 3 way switching circuit, and we want dimming, we would only put a dimmer in one of the switch locations, not both.

Jason :

They probably aren't, since all lights are controlled together, and only one is dropping out.

Customer:

yeah, the people we bought the house from did some interesting rennovations!

Jason :

You may want to consider replacing one of the dimmers with a standard flip type 3 way. This is because dimming both switches down would result in an extremely low voltage to the bulbs. With transformers on track lights, the life of the lighting could be affected. So, on to the problem...

Jason :

Typically, when a light is dropping out, it's due to a loose connection or a bad switch. We've already eliminated the switches.

Jason :

Presumably, the wires for the light in question come from one of the other ceiling boxes. How many sets of ceiling wires are in the box at the fixture in question?

Customer:

The base has a white, black, and green. Ceiling box has white, black, and ground. I connected W-W, B-B, grn-G with wirenuts. I have removed and redone these connections at least 4 times trying to make sure they were tight. I assumed I did it right since the other two have been fine. Not that I tested my theory, but it seems like the transformer gets hot, shuts off... cools off, them comes back on. Like a space heater. Not that that is the cause, abut at least describes the behavior as well as I can.

Jason :

I understand. So, at the fixture that is dropping out, is there only one set of building wires in the box... one white, one black, and one ground? If so, the other end of those wires should be at one of the other track light boxes, and there could be a loose connection there. I am at least a little suspicious of the transformer after your last post. But if you have already replaced the fixture/transformer once, that kind of rules the light itself out as the culprit. One thing to note...

Jason :

On the low voltage track lights (using a transformer to step the 120 volts down), there is often a resettable overload on the transformer itself. If this protection is functioning normally, it should trip if the transformer gets too hot, and require a manual reset. It's not typically automatic.

Customer:

So what I'm hearing is: 1- the first step would be to re-check and secure the connections on the two "functioning" track light and see what happens and 2- probably not overheating as if this was the case the track shouldn't come back on after cooling off without a manual reset?

Customer:

Sorry, I'm at work and gotta run home now. I'll pop back on line in 30-45min.

Jason :

Item 1, yes, exactly.

Jason :

No problem. I'll watch for you.

Jason :

Item 2, true - but only if your transformer has the overload. Not all of them do.

Customer:

Hi Jason,

Customer:

Sorry for the long delay. Got sidetracked and forgot. I checked all the other two lights/transformer, checked the connections, and they both seemed fine. Still same problem with the one turning on/off. I still think it is an overheating thing, but I'm no expert. Not sure what else to do at this point. Try moving transformers around to see what happens? Call an electrician? If you have any ideas, feel free to let me know. Either way I'll give you a rating so you can get paid!

Customer:

Again sorry for delay.

Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3614
Experience: Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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