Light Fixture Troubleshooting
The day when lighting fixtures were incandescent or fluorescent is just a matter of the past. Now the homeowner will even encounter LED — light-emitting diode — fixtures. Fortunately, the troubleshooting procedures are essentially the exact same for all three types. The fantastic news is that you will need is a noncontact voltage tester and a digital multimeter. If you need to buy a digital multimeter, buy an auto-ranging meter rather than a manual-ranging meter.
The Continuity Test
The basic assessment used when troubleshooting any other lighting fixture would be the continuity test. A continuity test determines when an electrical circuit is good or bad, continuous or broken. The first test to be done, before examining the fixture itself, would be to ascertain whether or not there’s voltage available at the lighting outlet box. A voltage check can be performed with the AC voltage function in your digital multimeter or with the noncontact voltage tester. The noncontact voltage tester is suggested for the homeowner because it doesn’t need you to actually touch the probe to call home, current-carrying wires; all you need to do is bring it near the light fixture when the light switch is on.
Troubleshooting Incandescent Fixtures
Switch off the circuit breaker for this branch circuit at the service panel. Check the circuit with the voltage tester to make certain that you’ve turned off the right circuit breaker. Lower the lighting fixture in the outlet box, then check to see that there’s a good relation between the arc wires as well as the branch circuit wires. These links are made using plastic, screw-on wire nuts and may slip out of them if installed improperly. Disconnect the fixture wires if you find the links were good. You need to disconnect the wires so you can assess the continuity. Using the meter set on the ohms function, check for continuity between the white fixture wire and the metal casing within the light socket. If there’s continuity, the meter will show “0.000” on its LCD. If the socket is bad, the LCD will show “O.L.” Check for continuity between the black fixture wire and the brass button in the lamp socket. The LCD will show “0.000” or “O.L.” If the socket checks out OK but the light still doesn’t work, the brass contact of the socket isn’t making contact with the base of the bulb and has to be pried away from the foundation of the socket.
Checking Fluorescent Fixtures
When it comes to troubleshooting fluorescent lights, your senses of sight, hearing and will go a long way to assisting you to locate the issue. If there’s voltage present however the lighting fails to come on, then first check to determine if the light bulbs are burnt black in their ends. If they’ve blackened ends, replace the bulbs and your issue will most probably be solved. If the lighting flickers but doesn’t appear on, the issue again might just be bad bulbs. Usually the flickering will be combined with blackened ends. A buzzing sound and/or a hot, tarry odor is indicative of a poor ballast that requires replacement. Awful contact between the pins on the light bulbs as well as the brass strips in their sockets isn’t a frequent issue, but it can happen. With poor sockets, replace them; don’t attempt and fix them.
Troubleshooting LED Lights
Troubleshooting LED lights is exactly the same as for lights unless they’re LED lights. With rope lights, if there’s voltage present as well as the circuit links are good, the one thing you can do is replace them.
Bad Circuit Neutral
A broken neutral wire somewhere between the light outlet box along with the neutral bar in the support panel will even keep the light out of operating. The noncontact voltage tester will still indicate the existence of voltage even if the neutral is bad. To determine if you have a neutral problem, you will need to use your digital multimeter. Set the meter’s function switch to AC volts, flip the circuit breaker and touch the probes to the circuit wires. If the neutral is good, the meter will show “120” on its LCD; if the impersonal is broken, it is going to show “0.000.” A broken neutral is uncommon, but it can happen. Finding a broken neutral wire within the walls of the home requires special circuit-tracing gear and is much better left to professionals.