Question about Malibu ML200RTW - Low Voltage Power Pack -200 Watt - With Timer and Ground

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How do I do the wire connection to the transformer? i have a single wire leading to 2 up lights. this is a Malibu 200 watt with 3 connectors on the back.

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I'm assuming that you have a cord that has 2 leads, similar to a black extension cord. Connect one lead to the farthest one on the left screw, skip the middle screw, then connect the other lead to the right screw. Why they did this might be because they used a standard terminal block on all their product and were too lazy to take out the middle screw.

Posted on Jun 06, 2010


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As a licensed electrician, I must tell you to immediately unplug the power pack (transformer) from the 120 volt outlet and _DO_ NOT use it again until this problem has been solved. This is a definite FIRE HAZARD.
Based on what you stated, I strongly recommend replacing the existing 200 watt power pack with an Intermatic ML300RTW Malibu 300-Watt Power Pack or similar 300 WATT transformer.
ADDITIONALLY, I strongly recommend replacing the _entire_ existing main cable run with Intermatic ML12210 Malibu 100-Foot 12/2-Guage Low Voltage Cable. Make sure to get 12 gauge wire.
There are a few things going on here. First, the transformer is being overloaded. I suspect that you are running pretty close to 200 watts or more. Because the tranformer is overloaded it overheats and the solder in the built-in internal thermal overload melts and disconnects the circuit. When the transformer cools some, the solder in the overload solidifies enough to re-establish the circuit. If this cycle is allowed to continue, either the transformer burns out due to heat or starts a fire.
While these transformers are supposed to operate at full capacity, they will wear out quicker when operated in such a manner. For best results, don't operate the transformer at over 80%. For a 200 watt transformer that would be 160 watts ( 200 watts x .80 = 160 watts).
Secondly, I also suspect that the cable has been damaged, possibly when the siding was installed, and there is a short in the cable, which in turn is overloading the transformer. It's also possible that the end of the cable is shorting out.
In this case the only safe solution is to replace the cable. Even if you decide to keep the existing transformer and reduce the total wattage by using smaller watt bulbs or removing some lights, I still highly recommend replacing the cable.
Sorry to be so harsh about this, but this is a _serious_ matter. You've already had a fire in the mulch and melted the vinyl siding. If you don't feel comfortable dealing with this matter, please call a _qualified_ electrician.

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There are two possible problems you could be facing (excluding the transformer going bad) If you have replaced light bulbs with higher wattage ones, you could be drawing too much current through the transformer. (It is common for MR-16 style lightbulbs to be 20w in landscape lights, but 50w for inside lights, and the local hardware store usually only carries the 50w replacement lamps) Each transformer has a specific amount of "watts" it can supply (anywhere from 100w to 1000w) If you exceed the supply wattage of the transformer, the breaker inside the transformer will trip. The quick and easy way to test this is to take a few of the lightbulbs out and see if the breaker will hold.
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