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Strange electrical/lighting situation.

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  • Strange electrical/lighting situation.

    We have one of those exterior, automatic dusk to dawn halogen/vapor bulb setups at the outside corner of our home which, last summer, stopped working. About a week before it quit it would take longer to warm up/power on, while exhibiting blinking stages. Then, it just stopped altogether. As I had loaned my ladder out, I had no means by which t get up that high, to see about changing the bulb out. When I finally did get my ladder back winter had set in, and I just thought that I would wait for spring. Last night, however, I went out to place something in the trash container, and saw the front of our garage lit up. Sure enough, that light had come back on - all in its own. Now, someone might question as to whether the light switch might have been accidentally switched off, for the period of time that the light remained dark. But that was NOT the case. I checked that first, at the very start of the problem. But, following, is what I am getting to:

    Is it at all possible that the described situation might be illustrative of a serious electrical problem?
    ~Blessings~

    Nathan

  • #2
    Re: Strange electrical/lighting situation.

    what you describe is typical of a failed bulb. as it becomes harder and harder to start, the ballast takes longer or may not have the ability at all to start it. it takes a bunch of high voltage electricity to start a vapor arc, which then drops off to a lower voltage. but, sometimes, the incoming voltage and outdoor temperature match up enough to allow the ballast to overcome the bulb's deficiencies again. Frequent starting of a bad bulb will seriously degrade the ballast.
    ~~

    ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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    • #3
      Re: Strange electrical/lighting situation.

      Originally posted by Plumber Punky View Post
      what you describe is typical of a failed bulb. as it becomes harder and harder to start, the ballast takes longer or may not have the ability at all to start it. it takes a bunch of high voltage electricity to start a vapor arc, which then drops off to a lower voltage. but, sometimes, the incoming voltage and outdoor temperature match up enough to allow the ballast to overcome the bulb's deficiencies again. Frequent starting of a bad bulb will seriously degrade the ballast.
      Thank you much, for your response. Not only was it prompt, but it's contents alleviated my fears of there being something wrong with the line, itself.
      ~Blessings~

      Nathan

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      • #4
        Re: Strange electrical/lighting situation.

        When the lamp starts to fail it draws more of a load until the point where the ballast can't deliver enough current to start it. Good idea to replace the lamp now, or you will eventually burn out the ballast or something else.

        Halogen/vapor? Its likely either a high pressure sodium or a metal halide lamp.

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