Troubleshooting a 12V Landscape Lighting Power Pack

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A landscape lighting power pack reduces the 120-volt line voltage from your home to 12 volts, letting you safely operate landscape lighting without using an enormous amount of electricity and inflate your energy bill. When your landscape lights begin to malfunction, check the light bulbs in the fixtures to confirm they haven’t burned out. Inspect the cable and confirm it wasn’t accidentally cut and check the fixture’s connection to the cable, confirming the connection is tight. If all these items appear to be in working order, take some steps to troubleshoot your landscape lighting power pack.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape
  • Check the power cord from the 12-volt lighting power pack. Confirm the cord connects to the GFCI wall outlet. Press the “Reset” button on the GFCI outlet face to confirm the outlet has not tripped if the power pack fails to turn on the landscape lights.

  • Check the power switch, if your power pack has one, and confirm it is turned to the “On” position. The power pack should hum, and the landscape lights should come on. If the lights do not come on, the power pack or the built-in timer has failed. You must replace the power pack.

  • Confirm the low-voltage cables connect to the terminals on the power pack. If the power pack hums and the lights do not come on, the cables are not connected to the terminals.

  • Feel the side of the power pack if the lights are cycling off and on. A 12-volt power pack does get hot as it operates. Cycling lights are a sign the power pack is getting too hot because the total wattage of the lights exceeds the wattage rating of the power pack. Keep your hand on the side of the power pack to get an idea how hot the power pack gets before it turns off.

  • Place your hand on the side of the power pack as soon as the lights turn on. If there is a noticeable temperature difference, the power pack is getting too hot to operate and must cool down first. Remove one or two landscape lights from the cable or lower the wattage of the landscape light bulbs to lower the total wattage of the lights.

  • Put a piece of tape on the timer dial, if your power pack has a built-in timer, and place another piece of tape on the body of the power pack. Line the two pieces of tape up next to each other. Check the tape in one or two hours. If the tape hasn’t moved, the built-in timer has failed, and you need to replace the power pack.

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