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How can I fix a track lighting?

Discuss How can I fix a track lighting? in the Lighting Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

MarkElect

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My kitchen has track lighting.
It consists of three halogen light bulbs.
I've had the fixture for more than 25 years with no issues.

Last night as I was standing in the kitchen all the lights went out.
At first I thought it was a power failure in the neighborhood.
But I quickly saw that there was power in other rooms of my house.

I think something shorted somehow as there might have been a very slight pop sound.

I went to the basement and tried resetting the circuit breakers but it didn't help.
I replaced all the light bulbs but they still didn't turn on.

I went to sleep and in the middle of the night I noticed the lights were now on in the kitchen!
I don't know when they turned on exactly.
I turned them off and went back to sleep.

Today I turned the switch on again and they were still working.
But one light seemed dimmer than before. (These were all new bulbs).
I replaced it with one of the three bulbs I had removed.
That might have been a mistake. Because when I tried to turn on the lights now
to test them, none were working again.

Went to the basement and tried resetting the circuit breakers. It didn't help.

So now it's time to get pro advice on what's going on and how to fix this. :)
 
Are these a track where the light fittings can be removed from the track and repositioned?

You may have one or more faulty fittings…. Halogen lamps become very hot, and can make the lamp holders and surrounding materials brittle and crack.

Take off all but one fitting and see if it holds.

Check for damage around the copper contacts on each fitting where the fitting clips onto the track
 
Are these a track where the light fittings can be removed from the track and repositioned?

You may have one or more faulty fittings…. Halogen lamps become very hot, and can make the lamp holders and surrounding materials brittle and crack.

Take off all but one fitting and see if it holds.

Check for damage around the copper contacts on each fitting where the fitting clips onto the track
Yes that's the type of track I have.

What do you mean by "see if it holds"?

There is an orange strip (copper?) along the entire track.
I don't see any damage. I haven't removed any of the fittings.
I'm a little reluctant at this point to remove any.

What would your test check for?

Last night the exact same thing happened.
I reset the breaker but the lights didn't come on.
Sometime during the night they came on again!

Today I tested them again and they are working.

What could cause the delayed reaction to working?
 
Well my track lighting saga continues.
When things started working spontaneously a second time, I was just going to leave it alone.

But I knew one light was just not performing like it should.
I had very little experience adjusting these lights and didn't know the proper way to adjust them.

I got up on a chair and tried to adjust the aim of the light. For that first attempt I may have done more damage than good.
Then when I turned on the lights, there was a quick flicker in the two I had not adjusted and all the lights went off again.
I got back up on the chair and this time I learned how to adjust the lights properly. There are two locks.
One to allow the light to be adjusted and a second one to allow the light to be removed from the track.

I took off the light from the track and did see what looked like missing copper from the track.
I'll try to post photos of it here.

I put the light back onto the track but this time I moved it along the track where there was copper.
I tried turning on the lights but nothing happened. I went to the basement and reset the breakers again.
Still nothing. So I have left the switch on and am hoping they will come back to life for a third time, on their own.IMG_20240313_131747.jpgIMG_20240313_131812.jpgIMG_20240313_131822.jpg
 
Don’t adjust these with the switch on…. You’ll end up falling off the chair.

You won’t be able to see the copper contacts normally, so I think that’s just the metal shell off the track showing through white paint.


As I suggested before… take all the fittings down and visually inspect them for damage.
If it’s cracked, melted, broken, blacked or bent DO NOT put it back up.

Put the lights up one at a time, and check operation in between. If that single light doesn’t flicker or trip the breaker, then the fault lies with another one. Note that fitting as good, and move onto another one.

There may be more than one faulty fitting.
 
Don’t adjust these with the switch on…. You’ll end up falling off the chair.

You won’t be able to see the copper contacts normally, so I think that’s just the metal shell off the track showing through white paint.


As I suggested before… take all the fittings down and visually inspect them for damage.
If it’s cracked, melted, broken, blacked or bent DO NOT put it back up.

Put the lights up one at a time, and check operation in between. If that single light doesn’t flicker or trip the breaker, then the fault lies with another one. Note that fitting as good, and move onto another one.

There may be more than one faulty fitting.
Thanks again spark for helping out!
I followed your advice from above and have some good news and some bad news.

I tested all three fixtures one at a time. At first only one worked. I set it aside.
I replaced the bulbs (a second time) with the other two but that made no difference.
I took the one that worked and moved it to the track location that had the initial 'problem fixture'.

It worked in the new location.

I inspected the fixtures as best I could. I couldn't see any obvious damage. I did see rust inside the fixtures.
Less rust in the one that works, but I don't think that should be an issue. The rust wasn't near any wiring.

For my next test, I left the main 'problem fixture' aside put the other two on the track. They worked!
Well of course I was confused because only one had worked just before.

I added the 3rd fixture and then none of them worked.

And finally I went back to the two that had worked, and this time neither one worked. :(

So I'm at a loss here.
I think I'll scrap the 'problem fixture'.
But it seems the location I place the fixtures on the track makes a difference.

Ideas/suggestions?
 
If there's corrosion in the track then I would say it's time to replace it. Its only going to cause you more problems in the future.
 
Looking at the photos, I can’t see the actual track… it’ll be inside that white frame, and in a position not easily touched, therefore could be corroded, but we just can’t see it.

If the fittings themselves are corroded, it’s likely the track is too.
 
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