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Old 04-20-2010, 02:23 PM   #1
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Landscape lighting question


Hello!

I'm trying to spruce up the house we bought last summer...this is my first spring trying to figure out everything outside and get a lot of my landscaping ideas going.

The house came with a large Hampton Bay transformer with variable options and a photo sensing cell. It seems fancy and expensive, but I can't find the voltage anywhere on it! It had 14 18W lights attached. When I plugged it in, only four worked. However, when I went around and wiggled wires, many others came on. I went to Home Depot and bought new bulbs and almost all of them came on then, but they are varying degrees of brightness. I also bought some 4W replacement units (all they had that matched) for some where the connections were actually broken off. Now they are all on, but some look extremely weak. Granted, it's not dark yet, but you can still tell that even the same wattage bulbs have varying degrees of brightness.

Could this be a problem with the transformer, or a problem with the wiring? I just want to get it all fixed and looking nice! Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-23-2010, 05:28 PM   #2
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Landscape lighting question


Low voltage landscape lighting is usually 12 volt, with the option on some multi-tap transformers to increase the voltage to 13, 14 or 15 volts. The trouble with low voltage systems is that the fixtures at the end of the line are dimmer than the fixtures at the beginning. You can overcome this by running the wire in a loop, with both ends connected to the transformer and the lights along the loop. If you have a multi-tap transformer, you can increase the voltage to get more light. The longer the run of lights, the larger gauge wire you should use.

Check all the connections- if you wiggle the wires and some lights work- this sound like bad connections. The connections should also be waterproof.
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:36 PM   #3
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Landscape lighting question


I think you bought a money/[repair]time sink.

In any case, I used a power resistor to drop the voltage slightly but give me a lot longer lamp life.

If you don't use all the bulbs the t'former output voltage will be high and burn out what bulbs you are using.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 04-24-2010 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 04-24-2010, 02:48 PM   #4
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Landscape lighting question


Quote:
you can increase the voltage to get more light


I wouldn't be comfortable with increasing the voltage on any circuit to get better performance.
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Old 04-24-2010, 05:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by downunder View Post


I wouldn't be comfortable with increasing the voltage on any circuit to get better performance.
15v on a 12v incand. will give you about 4% of rated lifetime hours and twice the brightness.

4w is not bright enough for people with poor night vision.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 04-24-2010 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:33 PM   #6
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Landscape lighting question


Increasing the voltage at the transformer over 12 volts will compensate for long runs of wire. Voltage drops result in dim lights, so increasing the voltage on a multi tap transformer can give you closer to 12 volts at the end of a run.

Nothing uncomfortable about this.
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