Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mysterious lights

A string of pathway lights decided to play hookey just as 2 dozen guests were going to be walking around the place for a "marshmallow roast" after sundown. Below is the area where you can spot several of the more than a dozen lights that suddenly went dark.

Checked all the fuses and breakers, so it wasn't that. The lights that went off are on the same switch as 2 dozen more that remained lit, so I deduced (with some help from a smart person)that it had to be a bad wire that was a branch of the (partial) good (bad) circuit. Found the ground box where the circuit branched and identified the good and the bad(both were ugly).

The challenge was to find the link to the first light along that branch and run a new wire to it to see if all the others would blink back on.

After a brief search that seemed as if it was going to be endless and random, I found a splice buried beneath a stepping stone in the middle of a path. The wire had a place bare of insulation, and upon testing continuity between the ground box wire and the unearthed wire, I determined that to be the specific stretch of wire shorting out.

In a short while, I had a trench dug and a new "direct burial" cable directly buried to the splice location from the ground box.

When the wires were connected and the switch thrown, the lights came back on, and the marshmallow roast was saved!