Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 4/21/2018

Why did my Can track lights all stopped working ay once?

I have track lighting with the can type of fixtures. A couple of bulbs were out for a little while and then suddenly all of the rest went out. I have replaced all of the bulbs with LED bulbs. It is still not working. None of the cans have been moved so I don't think it is the connections. I also checked the fuse box. Every other light and Outlet is working in the house, only the track lighting is out. What else can I check?

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

3 Answers


Could be a problem at the wall switch.

Could be a bad connection in the ceiling outlet between house wiring and fixture.

Could be a transformer / ballast if these are 12V bulbs. If a transformer / ballast issue then best to replace the fixture

Answered 2 years ago by Kestrel Electric


In addition to the other possibilities in Kestrels reply, here is what I would check:

0) if this is a plug-in track (rather than hard wired) try something else you know works in the outlet to be sure you are getting power at the outlet. If that is good and the track is dead, could be a stressed connection or cord. Very commonly goes bad where the cord enters the track end if the cord has not been supported along its run or if it has an in-line switch in it which stresses the cord when the switch is turned on and off.

1) first, check the voltage the bulbs are supposed to be (usually a label inside the can, sometimes on the outside though so may or may not be accessible) - but if there is a transformer on it then definitely not 120V - commonly 12V or 24V but I have seen 36V, 48V, and 9V strip and can lights. Unfortunately, manufacturers have started producing both low and standard voltage bulbs with the same pin or base configurations, so check that out. If you have bulbs in there (maybe the first two) which lasted at least a couple days or a week or two they are probably the right voltage - mismatched voltage ones will burn out quickly - commonly almost instantly in a small explosion. Note some strip lights (including track lights) have one transformer at one end or sometimes concealed in the mounting electrical box, others have individual small transformers at each light point and run 120V through the strip or track - so don't assume that the strip is low voltage just because it uses low voltage bulbs.

2) being sure to turn it off while changing bulbs, try a new bulb in one socket - or if standard screw-in (E or Edison type base, like a standard E26 base) 120V socket, use any bulb which fits from another lamp which you know works- but do not exceed wattage rating of the can - usually 60 or 80 watts. If it lights OK and stays on indefinitely, then problem was probably wrong type bulbs - wrong voltage, or not rated for use in can lighting.

Generally, can lighting (inverted bulb, base up) requires not more than certain wattage bulb AND not larger than a certain size bulb to provide ventilation so it does not overheat. Also, it requires a bulb which is rated for inverted use in can fixtures - usually a Reflector type so the designation on the bulb would have an R followed by the bulb diameter in eights of an inch - like R25 or R30 or such. Might have a PAR or MR or similar rather than just R designation, indicating parabolic reflector or multi-faceted reflector or such but will have an R in the bulb type. Reflector types direct the light energy (and most of the heat from it) downwards from the can, rather than heating up the can and the air around the bulb by illuminating the interior of the can with wasted light - and overheating the bulb so it fails prematurely.

3) if you do the above but the string of can lights cuts out after awhile, then likely either a bad wiring connection, or possibly an overheating switch or controller.

4) if this string has a dimmer switch on it, check that the switch is proper for the bulb type - many LED and CFL bulbs do not work on dimmers, only on certain types, or only when the power setting is in the upper brightness range. Commonly, running them in the mid to lower brightness range on a dimmer will burn them out prematurely, because the electronics in the light bulb is continuously trying to "start" the bulb because of the low voltage it is receiving.

5) the same continuous starting effect can also happen in some string lights if the total wattageinstalled is too high, causing the bulbs to see less voltage thann they need to start correctly.

6) one other possibility - though normally designed that way with strings of lights like outdoor or seasonal lighting strings, I have seen this with low voltage string/track lights out of China, is that the bulbs are rated for a total of 120V but are lower voltage themselves and wiredin series rather than in parallel. So say if 4 in the string might be 30 or 36V rated lights in series totalling 120V across them. If the bulbs have a bypass circuit in case they fail, that means as bulbs go out the other bulbs are seeing higher voltage than they are designed for - this is common with modern Christmas tree lights for instance. Normally only seen with mini bulbs or mini LED's like with indoor/outdoor accent lighting, but I have seen it with strip kitchen and bathroom vanity/makeup lighting too. So in that case, if one or two died off from use, the others would then see significantly higher voltage than designed for and would die much more quickly than normally - possibly all the remaining bulbs almost simultaneously as they saw maybe twice the design voltage or moreonce two bulbs were dead.


Answered 2 years ago by LCD


This had happened to me and an electrician came in and pushed a reset button and on they came. They are off again but I can not find the reset button and I have tried to google this and still no luck. Does anyone know where this is?

Answered 7 months ago by light3944

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy