Troubleshoot and Repair Broken Halogen Light Fixtures in 5 Steps

halogen light fixture on ceiling
  • 5-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-500

Halogen light fixtures feature a bulb that is designed to operate efficiently over a longer amount of time than traditional light bulbs. They are used in many applications, from table lamps to overhead lighting to headlights on automobiles.

Troubleshooting and repairing your broken halogen light fixture can be simple by using the following five simple steps.

Warning: A halogen lamp can operate at a temperature of up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Burns can happen quickly and can be severe, so make sure to unplug the fixture and allow it to cool prior to troubleshooting.

Step 1 - Identify the Problem

Several factors can cause a halogen light fixture to not function. First check if the bulb is burnt out. If the halogen bulb is not the problem, consider the bulb socket. The socket can be oxidized, corroded, or burned which can prevent an electrical connection with the bulb.

Other problems include an overheated transformer, a broken or disconnected switch, or an electrical short in the wiring.

Tip: When checking the bulb, do not handle it with your hands. Oils from your skin can cause the lamp to fail, so you will need to use gloves or a cloth to handle the bulb.

Step 2 - Repair the Socket

Even if you're not convinced the problem is connected to the socket, it is always good to clean it up and tighten the attachments as needed.

Problems found with the socket can be fixed by gently scraping the electrical contacts until any corrosion or oxidation is removed and the shiny metal beneath is visible.

Check that the socket attachments to the lamp are not loose. If they need to be tightened, gently squeeze them together by using needle-nose pliers.

Replace the bulb and turn the fixture back on to check if your repairs have fixed the problem. If the socket was too corroded, you may need to replace the socket entirely.

Step 3 - Check the Wiring

Once socket problems have been ruled out, check the fixture’s wiring. You can remove the base of the light fixture with a screwdriver to access the wiring compartment. Some bases may also open similarly to a battery compartment.

Once the base is removed, you will see the transformer, control switch, and the power cord. Check for any broken, burnt, or loose wires. If those are not readily visible, you can use a multimeter to test the wiring voltage and continuity, or flow, of electricity to the unit.

Repairs to wiring can be done by using a soldering iron or a splicer to reconnect or improve the electrical connection in the fixture.

Step 4 - Check the Transformer

Moving down the list of possible problems, the transformer is next after the wiring and socket have been taken care of or ruled out.

Using a VOM (Volt-Ohm-Milliammeter), you can measure the transformer output. This requires plugging the lighting fixture in to measure the voltage. Typical output is about 12 volts and input is 120 volts. Higher or lower readings may indicate a bad transformer. If this is the case, you will need to replace the halogen light transformer.

Step 5 - Get Replacement Parts

Determine the replacement parts needed to make your repairs. Make sure to find the right parts for your halogen light fixture. Incorrect or incompatible parts may permanently damage the fixture.

Transformers, wiring tools, and bulb sockets can be found at local electrical supply and home improvement stores.