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Old 10-12-2015, 10:28 AM   #1
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Landscape lighting??


I'm slowly working on adding low-voltage landscape lights around my house. I currently have a 200w or 300w transformer(12v) that I bought from Lowes. I'd have to double check wattage. I'm trying to go LED whenever possible and realize I have to stay within the limits of the system.

The questions I have concern the wiring. Is it best to always run the larger 12 gauge wire or is it acceptable to occasionally run smaller wire such as 14 or 16 gauge? A friend of mine, who already has his house mostly lit up says I need to be running the largest gauge and that I need to always loop the wire back, so if I have a light 20' from the transformer, I need 40' of wire.

Can anyone offer advice on this?

A good example is I have a tree out between the street and the sidewalk. It's about 25' from my house....do I need to run a 25' or 50' run of wire for this single light? I'll use a LED spot on it. Can I get away with a 14 or 16 gauge wire on this single light?

My plan is to run 12 gauge wire from the transformer around the perimeter of my house. For floods or spots that I might shine on the body of house or for any lights in the nearby flower beds they'd be tied into the 12 gauge wire, but if it's a light that further away, can i get by with lesser wire?

My thought/logic is that, just like 110v house wire, I need to calculate the load on the wire and size accordingly. For my current setup, I'm not really sure what that load will be, because I'm doing this in stages so I plan to error on the side of caution and will likely run 12 gauge wire around the perimeter, only question there is do I need to loop it back to transformer. Then for things like tree lights and possibly lights to go up my front step, where they are away from this loop can i get away with a smaller gauge wire and should that be looped back? My thought on these is sort of like a lamp in your house. It might be plugged into a 12 gauge 20amp circuit, but the lamp is only wired with lamp cord.

I hope this is clear, any advice is appreciated.

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Old 10-12-2015, 10:43 AM   #2
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I don't understand why you would loop back .

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Old 10-12-2015, 10:54 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
I don't understand why you would loop back .
He says his lights are brighter because of less voltage drop. My thought is, then maybe he doesn't have large enough wire to start with?!?! I say that, but think he's using 12 gauge wire, doesn't appear to be horribly overloaded with lights and he said he was told to do it this way...not sure by whom, that part of the discussion was a year or two ago, but he brought it up the other day, when I bought some more lights.

Another question that is arising from my going out online looking and watching youtube videos is, are crimp on connectors bad? I know the ones that come with the lights aren't normally great, BUT is it necessary to always cut and splice? Is there a reason behind that other than crimping into the wire? ....does it make it a parallel connection verses a daisy chain?
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Old 10-13-2015, 11:36 PM   #4
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You don't want to T off one main run, but create runs of equal length and ideally load.

You may need to relocate transformer or purchase additional.

Volt sells direct and has quality similar to Kichler. Staff may help you layout and put together order.


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Old 10-14-2015, 02:00 AM   #5
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LED runs on a voltage RANGE and will shine at full strength no matter what the volts as long as they are in the range the light is rated for. Based on the length of your run and the Gauge of your wire will determine what you NEED.

A higher end transformer will give you taps with 12-15v so you can run a long drop off the 15v so you are in the 11-13 range when you reach your light.

The old addage of equal length wire to each light for consistency doesnt apply to LED.

Ill second the use of VOLT they make great products. well worth the money MUCH MUCH better then big box store crap.

LED will also pull very low wattage so you should be able to easily run 50+ lights off your current transformer.

Let me know if you have any more questions or need help choosing lights or designing your layout.
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