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Stephen Cutler
Stephen Cutler, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2062
Experience:  35 years of troubleshooting construction, remodel, component & material failures. What to do next
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I have a Hampton Bay Touch Dimmer connected to 3 undercabinet

Customer Question

I have a Hampton Bay Touch Dimmer connected to 3 undercabinet puck lights. I installed the dimmer and connected the puck lights and they work fine for about 2-3 months and then the dimmer fails. This has happened at least 3, maybe 4 times. Why is the dimmer failing so frequently?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Eric M. Bright replied 2 years ago.

Hi, Welcome to JustAnswer.com, I am glad you are here! My name is Eric & I will endeavor to answer your question.

 

If your dimmer is controlling a low voltage transformer which in turn is converting 120 VAC to 12 volts to power the lights, you can not use a regular incandescent dimmer on the transformer. You have to buy a dimmer made to control an electronic low voltage transformer.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, I just came back from Home Depot to get a new bulb with its packaging and another dimmer. Turns out to be a 120V Halogen bulb. Soooo, I liked your answer, but I needed to give you more info. I talked to the HD associate and he says he never heard of the problem and recommended talking to Hampton Bay. I did open a bad dimmer electronic unit and saw a small fuze. It is 2A 125V. I took the good fuze out of the new dimmer electronic unit and put it in the old dimmer electronic unit and it is now working again. So, I guess the question now is "Why are the fuzes going bad in my puck light dimmers?" The dimmer is rated up to 200 watts. There are 3 puck lights on one unit and 2 on another. Each puck light has a 20 watt 120V Halogen bulb. So one unit is controlling 60W and the other 40W. I am stumped.
Expert:  Eric M. Bright replied 2 years ago.
Being that your three 20 watt light system is only drawing .5 Amp total and your two 20 watt light system is only drawing .34 Amp total, the only thing in the system that I am able to think of is that there is undue resistance. What gauge wire are you using between the dimmer and the lights and between the lights themselves? Also, how long is that wire? Also, make sure your connections and wire nuts are nice and tight Last, the lights should be wired in parallel not in series, do you have that correct?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The wire is standard lamp cord that is copper stranded. The three lines are about 2 ft, 2.5 ft, and 5 feet on the 3 lamp unit. They run straight from the lamps to the dimmer unit which looks a lot like a power strip so all lines are in parallel. All connections are tight.
Expert:  Eric M. Bright replied 2 years ago.

You probably have 18 or 16 ga. cord and whereby I might have used a heavier ga. (14), considering your short lengths, that should not cause enough of a bump in your resistance to blow a 2A fuse. Honestly, I have never encountered this in the 27 years I have been doing LV lighting.

 

My recommendation is to try another brand of dimmer. I like Lutron (especially the Maestro series) and have installed hundreds of them with great success!

 

If you wind up calling Hampton Bay and they are able to actually offer a solution, please post back and let me know what they said!

 

 

Expert:  Stephen Cutler replied 2 years ago.
just checking to see if my verified logo shows up on this electrical question. no need to reply

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