1. Yes, it's a whole new look! Have questions or need help? Please post your question in the New Forum Questions thread Click the X to the right to dismiss this notice
  2. Seeing tons of unread posts after the upgrade? See this thread for help. Click the X to the right to dismiss this notice

Repair: Trouble with out door 'solar' light?

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by rhall0917, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. rhall0917

    rhall0917 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    The light that is next to our driveway - the one that many houses have that's supposed to turn on automatically when it gets dark - has been nothing but trouble since we moved in 8 months ago.

    First, it stayed on all the time. We replaced the sensor and the bulb. That seemed to fix the problem - until the first rain. Now, we have to replace the bulb every time it rains.

    Any one else having issues? Not sure what to do next.
     
  2. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,124
    Likes Received:
    76
    Does it trip the circuit breaker too? Are you using incandescent bulbs? It's probably just a bad connection causing a short.
     
  3. rhall0917

    rhall0917 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    It does not trip the circuit breaker. We were using the flourescent energy efficient bulbs - didn't work - and now my husband has an incandescent flood in it...still not working.

    Suggestions?
     
  4. Twinmama

    Twinmama Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    10
    Do you know where the gfci for that is? I have lived here for over a year and cannot find it for anything! We're in a fitzgerald.
     
  5. rhall0917

    rhall0917 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    To show my ignorance - is the 'gfci' the circuit breaker? Or is there something else?
     
  6. Mom8386

    Mom8386 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ours used to go out everytime it rained. When it rained hard there would be water standing inside the fixture. A neighbor suggested caulking all seams with clear silicone and guess what? It worked. The only time we have to change bulbs now is when they really burn out. They used to basically explode due to the water, but now they usually just burn out after a couple of months instead of one rainstorm.
     
  7. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,230
    Likes Received:
    210
    GFI is the ground fault interrupt. Those red and black buttons you see on outlets in your bathroom/kitchen. All circuits that will risk being wet will have a GFI outlet on at least one of the outlets on that circuit - but not usually all of them, just one. That includes your circuits that go outside, like to the light.

    The problem is identifying all the outlets that are on that same circuit as the light, and finding which one has the GFI outlet.

    The GFI can trip, breaking all power on the circuit.. without the breaker in your electric panel pop'ing. Having the GFI trip is the most common reason in the neighborhood for their light posts to fail to turn on.. followed by the sensor failing. Since you've already replaced the sensor.. it's likely the GFI is tripped. If it keeps tripping, especially after rain/weather... you may have water issues in the light post itself causing the circuit to pop.
     
  8. rhall0917

    rhall0917 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Steve, thanks for that explanation! Now, I think I have to go on the hunt for the GFI - good project for this weekend! (Any idea where it's usually located?;))
     
  9. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,230
    Likes Received:
    210
    Look in your bathrooms and around the basement/garage. Use the test and reset buttons to force them to reset.

    Basically the builders are going cheap.. so they like to piggy back the circuit on one where they would need a GFI anyways.. so they are often in bathrooms.
     
  10. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,124
    Likes Received:
    76
    If the GFI trips you lose power to light the bulb. So how do your replacement bulbs emit light until it rains, unless you're already resetting the GFI?
     
  11. JJB

    JJB New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    4
    your main GFI recepticle is probably in the basement somewhere near the electrical panel
     
  12. stoner

    stoner Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    16
    We are also in a Fitz, and our GFI for the front light is located on the wall right under the electrical breaker boxes in the basement.
     
  13. Thuy Dinh

    Thuy Dinh New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2018
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the advice. I am going to try that this weekend and reset it. My light pole was just replaced last Spring when previous owner moved out - it's brand new. And I'm pretty sure it's not the sensor issue because I have good sunlight on the pole position. Frustrating!
     
  14. chrisatpc

    chrisatpc New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    1
    Our GFCI for the front light pole was actually underneath the basement stairs. Not easy to find....
     
  15. jwf

    jwf Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    15
    At my house first the sensor went bad. I replaced that and the new sensor works with CFL and that was a bonus. Then gfi kept tripping and I replaced it as well. Mine was also in the basement on the wall next to the furnace. But it wasn't the gfi. What it was was the wiring that went to the post from the garage. There is an outside junction box where the wires exit the garage wall to the outside. The wire connections were corroded somewhat. Once I cleaned then all has been fine. The bad connections were causing the GFI to trip.

    Since then my CFL pay light has lasted 2 years and counting.
     

Share This Page