Installing Electrical Wiring For Post Lights

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Install and Troubleshoot Wiring For Outdoor Post Lights: Checking the Wiring, Connections to the GFI, Post Light Wiring.

Electrical Wiring For Outdoor Post Lights

Electrical Question: I just replaced the wiring to an outdoor lamp post with a plug in the base.

  • It was wired with indoor 12/3 and no GFCI. The power feed comes from a junction box in the basement which supplies the other 2 outdoor plugs around the house.
  • There is a line to a switch at the front door upstairs which controls the outdoor lamp.
  • The only alteration I made was to add a GFCI plug where the cable exits the house. Downstream to this is the lamp post and plug.
  • Now, if I turn the lamp on, the GFCI trips. The lamp and plug share a neutral line. Is this the problem?

I would appreciate your advice.

This electrical wiring question came from: Geoff, a Handyman from London, Ontario, Canada.
Additional Comments: Great website!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Geoff.

How to Install and Troubleshoot Wiring For Outdoor Post Lights

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and install electrical circuit wiring.
Notice: Installing additional electrical circuit wiring should be done with a permit and be inspected.

  • Checking the Wiring
    I would suggest that you check all your connections and make sure the GFI is mounted properly.
  • Connections to the GFI
    The wiring of the GFI should have both the power and the neutral wired through the GFI outlet.
  • Post Light Wiring
    The wiring to the post light should be direct burial cable or wire in conduit.

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