Circuit with LV transformer continually trips

Discussion in 'Ask' started by Sequim Jim, Dec 30, 2019.

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  1. Sequim Jim

    Sequim Jim New Member

    Dec 29, 2019
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    I had a complete Volt lighting system installed by our landscape installer at our new house earlier this year.

    The installation includes 8 - G4 Infiniti 60 LED floodlights; 10 - China Hat Shade path lights with G4 LED bi-pin bulbs; 600 Watt transformer, model VTR-600-NG-SS.

    There are three lighting runs (length/wire ga/watts per run): (a) 124' - 12 ga. wire, 60 watts (b) 111' - 12 ga. wire, 40 watts (c) 120' - 12 ga wire, 48 watts. Based on this, I believe the 600 Watt LV transformer has more than ample capacity to power the installation.

    Since the installation was complete in March, the main breaker the feeds the GFCI plug for with the LV transformer trips frequently. The breaker trips only when the system turns on based on the time clock setting. After resetting, the system would operated properly for 4 - 8 days and then trip again.

    For the first round of troubleshooting, the landscape installer had the LV transformer replaced under warranty: it was humming.

    After replacing the LV transformer, the problem continued and the installer felt it was no longer a landscape lighting issue causing the breaker to trip.

    The electrician that wired the house was called in to troubleshoot the problem as well. In their last effort, they left the GFCI outlet on a separate home run back to the main panel: no other outlets or devices were plugged into that circuit. The problem continued.

    In an effort to try an isolate the problem, I plugged the LV transformer into a heavy duty extension cord and plugged that into a different circuit. The problem stopped.

    The electrician is at a loss on next steps to take with the outside GFCI outlet. I'm wondering if anyone here has had a similar experience or can offer other ideas on troubleshooting: I do not want to operate the system via an extension cord running from my garage to the transformer.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
  2. Evan Kruk

    Evan Kruk Online Liaison Staff Member

    Jul 27, 2018
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    Please correct me if I am wrong but, with the troubleshooting and replacing the transformer you have narrowed down the issue to the GFCI outlet; either the GFCI outlet itself or the circuit this outlet is on having too much amperage ? Whether its fixing or updating the outlet/circuit, it is likely not the cheapest of projects so, either tapping into another existing circuit that has a smaller load on it/larger capacity and adding a new GFCI. Or, locating another GFCI on the premise that is on a different, capable circuit and relocating the transformer to this outlet and splicing in more cable where needed.
  3. Mesodude2

    Mesodude2 Member

    Oct 18, 2019
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    I’m not an electrician but a decent troubleshooter (imho). A few question/thoughts. First, when exactly did the problem begin? You said the install was in March. Did the circuit start tripping right after the install (and you’ve been re-setting the breaker ever since)? Or did it start weeks or months later? If the latter, perhaps you can recall some specific change or event at your house that could explain why this would suddenly started happening? Next, you mentioned plugging the extension cord “into a different circuit”. Was that also a GFCI? Just curious. Finally, even experts make mistakes and miss things. For instance could the GFCI itself be the culprit (iow gone bad) and the electrician missed this? Could one or more fixtures be overloaded? Evan will correct me if I’m wrong but I believe estate size paths handle higher wattage bulbs than the smaller models. Again, just some thoughts.
    Evan Kruk likes this.