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LED Floods + Rain = Smokey Darkness


crazytrain83
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crazytrain83

We came home in the rain tonight and noticed that one of our LED Floods was out. The wife checked to make sure it was screwed in right, but couldn't get it to turn on. She unplugged and re-plugged the cord, but no use. Right about the time we decided to head in and fix it tomorrow, there was a puff of smoke by the Flood. We took the flood and socket inside and there was black soot running out of the socket, and the bulb has a hole near the base.

We have 5 other floods in the yard, and all are working fine. All with similar flood stakes that we've used in previous years. Both floods and stakes are supposedly "weatherproof". I did notice that the LED floods were slighly narrower than the standard floods we used last year.

So....

Did the wife allow water into the socket when she was fiddlin' with it, and that's why it blew?

Did water leak in during the day, and that's why the light wasn't on when we got home?

Any theories, or ideas to prevent this from happening again?

Thanks!

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Hopefully slightly relevant:

We have a flag which I light up 11 months of the year (the 12th is when the pole doubles as our Mega-Tree). The light is a flood which points near straight up. In the past I used a standard flood-holder and bulb. The first one was a cheapo green plastic one from Christmas -- it lasted about a year before it died an unnatural death, tripping the breaker. It turned out that water was collecting in there, even with the rubber washer, and it was badly corroded. No wonder the GFCI tripped whenever it rained...

I then upgraded to a nice metal flood stake, but it was no better -- maybe even worse. It didn't destroy itself, but it still tripped the GFCI whenever it rained.

I then switched to a sealed unit that had a built-in reflector and took a spade-base bulb. It worked well weather-wise, but the pattern was too wide to light up the flag.

Just this year, I switched to an LED spot bulb. Wanting to avoid the issues with weather, and figuring the LED fixture would last awhile, I caulked the bulb to the flood base, hopefully keeping moisture out for good. I'm not real happy with the light output but at least it's cheap to run :P

So in summary -- water can and will collect in these things. You might want to try the caulk option if you're using expensive LED bulbs.

-Tim

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Not sure why the light was not working when you got home. However, your wife appears to have let out the magic smoke that makes electronics work. So technically, it is her fault.

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crazytrain83

Stupid magic smoke!

I had thought of running a circle of duct tape around the bulb, since it's LED and heat shouldn't be an issue. Maybe we will go with the caulk.

Thanks for the input guys!

(..and when the wife finds something wrong around the house, you gotta know she blames me first as well!)

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crazytrain83

One thing I forgot to mention....

While we were out in the yard messing around with the flood in the middle of the night, our neighbor across the street drove up and gave us one of those "what are you guys doing?" yells, intended to scare away hoodlums that are up to no good.

We replied that it was just us trying to fix something, and thanked her for her concern.

With this being our first year with LOR, we were worried about two things...

1) Security for our stuff
2) Annoying our neighbors with the lights.

Obviously, we live in a great neighborhood, and neither of these things should be a problem. ;)

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