Would smoke in a connection of two wires destroy the whole wire?

I replaced the power pack for my line of low-voltage landscape lamps. Only the first lamp in the line came on. I knew it must be a place between the 2nd and 3rd light where I keep having to redo the connection between 2 wires. Stupidly, I forgot to turn the power pack off and pulled the 2 wires apart, whereupon there was a spark and smoke was produced. The revealed wires were a bit brown, so I cut them back until I could see nice, bright wires under the insulation. I connected them well, but then not even the 1st light would go on anymore. I tested a new light with a new wire before the 1st original lamp, and it worked, making me think I must have destroyed the wire. I then bought a multimeter with not very extensive instructions from a Home Depot guy in order to figure out whether the whole 100-foot wire was really fried, but I could not get it to register anything even by testing a good battery (so it's either bad or I don't know what I'm doing). So I put the new wire back on the power pack, thinking to test it to see if the multimeter works, and now not even that light will go on. It just goes from bad to worse. I need some advice.

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Hazel, it sounds like you are just getting really frustrated. Take a deep breath....;-) From your description it sounds like you shorted the wire, happens all the time :-) , you are not the first one to do this. Now, it would help if you can give us some number or post an image of your power supply. If anything I would think that you have a bad fuse, but this would require us to know which power supply you have. Any label, description etc. will help as well. To check anything with your multimeter, give us a bit of a description of that too. A battery is DC so you will have to set you meter dial to DC voltage and select the proper scale. i.e. for a 12V battery set it to DC 50. The common probe on your meter is negative and the other one (usually red) is the positive. Use the black to touch the negative post and the red for the positive post. You should now get a reading. Do make sure that your meter is on and that you have a battery in it. Lets get started to fix your lighting :-)


Not sure I am supposed to click Post Answer since I am still asking questions, but the Add Comment option did not appear until I posted my answer!


OK, I've taken a deep breath and also the photos you requested :>) But I don't see how to attach them here. With regard to the multimeter, I tested it on a battery by following the instructions to setting the dial to BAT and in this case 1.5v. Did insert the battery. Brand is Commercial Electric #M1015B 300V CATII. I do know how to test a battery and what the colors mean. As far as turning the meter on I have to assume it's ON when you turn the dial from OFF to any other setting on it. The only other thing I find is a dial on the side (similar to a volume control, but turning it doesn't make any difference that I can see.

Now, on power pack issue, it is a Malibu brand model # 81009120-01, 120 watts. When you say "bad fuse," I don't know where you are referring to--a bad fuse in the power supply? At my breaker box? And is that related to shorting out the wire?

I don't know if this will work, but I dragged the photos into this box and they turned into links. So, maybe . . .


/Users/hazel/Desktop/Power Pack.jpg


Hazel, "I do know how to test a battery and what the colors mean. " I did not mean to insult or belittle you. Sorry about that. I can't seem to cross-reference your model, but it seems that Malibu's landscape lights are 12V, but no indication of AC or DC. So to test it, use your multimeter on the 50V AC scale. Measure on the actual cut wires, see if you have any voltage. If your multimeter does not show anything, turn it to the 50VDC scale and see what you get. If the needle should move to the left instead to the right, switch the wires to test to the opposite probe. I would expect that there is some sort of short-circuit protection in the power supply. See if the power supply appears to be separable. In order to post images on here, check my answer on this question repair battery connector iPhone 4 for a quick tutorial. hope this helps, good luck.


First let me say that you misinterpreted my tone about testing a battery. I was not at all insulted, just wanted to assure you that that is one of the few things I do know how to do, at least electrically :>) Otherwise, assume I know nothing! Also, I looked at your answer in the link you provided and saw references to posting images but no instructions on how to do so. I clicked on a couple of links in that series but could find nothing. Perhaps you could just paste the instructions here???

Yes, the light is 12v. The fellow at the store who tried to explain how to use the multimeter said to use the AC side and to set it to 300 to be "safe." He also told me to take both sections of the wire and stick them into the 2 holes on the bottom sides of the multimeter; he did not say to use the probes. And I tried switching the wires when there was no movement, just in case that was the problem. So, let me clarify what you want me to do. Set the dial on 50 AC; plug in the probes; take the two exposed wires and touch them with the probes, switching if necessary. Without the wires being attached to any power source? Or do mean attach the wires to the power pack but test the other end with the probes? I have not exposed wires at the other end since I wouldn't need to do so for this purpose.

Please explain what you mean by "see if the power supply appears to be separable."


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