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Old 11-14-2007, 02:56 PM   #1
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Spotlights to illuminate home


I'm looking for 3-4 spotlights to illuminate the front of our house. I saw a pack of four SOLAR spotlights at Target, about $50. I don't need them to be super-bright, so has anyone used these for this purpose? I don't want to have to have an electician run any wire underground for this, so these are appealing. I may try them anyways, but I wanted to ask first in case anyone already had.

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Old 11-15-2007, 08:16 AM   #2
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Spotlights to illuminate home


I have some LED solar lights outside my home. They're very dim. You can tell they're on, but they're more accent than anything. In fact, you probably wouldn't even notice them when you drove past my house unless you were kinda paying attention. If you're really looking to accent the house, go with either regular voltage lights, or the low voltage 12V kind. I don't know how bright the 12V kind are though because I haven't done much research on them yet. Maybe in the spring when we do our landscaping I'll look more into it.

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Old 11-15-2007, 11:42 AM   #3
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Spotlights to illuminate home


I'm kind of out in the sticks, so when we're not home and the lights are off you literally can't even tell a house is there. So I'm just kinda looking for some frontal illumination.

I'm not sure what the difference is in voltage that you talk about, but my issue is that I didn't want to have an electrician come out to install them, nor was I really crazy about running an extension cord to a timer'd outlet. That would work in the winter I guess (under the snow), but it'd be tacky in the summer. Hrm...
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:50 AM   #4
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Spotlights to illuminate home


In a 12V system, you'll plug the transformer into the wall/timer and that'll take the voltage from 120V down to 12V. Then you run the wire to where you want the lights and attach the lights to the wire. As far as I know, you can bury that wire, but having never used a set like that, I'm not totally sure.

Eric
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:06 PM   #5
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Spotlights to illuminate home


What are the prices for something like that? And can that be purchased at HD/Lowes?
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:16 PM   #6
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Spotlights to illuminate home


For sure any HD or Lowes would have them. I'd guess $40 for 4-6 lights, but I really don't know for sure, so don't quote me.
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Old 11-24-2007, 11:16 AM   #7
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Spotlights to illuminate home


You'll pay more like 40$ per light fixture, maybe 300$ for the transformer, then you will need some 10 or 12 gauge wire. Good luck.
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Old 11-24-2007, 11:22 AM   #8
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Spotlights to illuminate home


What's wrong with 'tricians?
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Old 11-24-2007, 05:46 PM   #9
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Spotlights to illuminate home


Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy in ATL View Post
What's wrong with 'tricians?
The dudes always seem to want money to do things...can you believe that?

Money's just a bit tight these days, that's all...
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:43 AM   #10
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Spotlights to illuminate home


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Originally Posted by Stone Guy View Post
You'll pay more like 40$ per light fixture, maybe 300$ for the transformer, then you will need some 10 or 12 gauge wire. Good luck.
Where are these numbers coming from? The sets are far cheaper than that at HD/Lowes/Nards.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:15 AM   #11
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Spotlights to illuminate home


Well I ended up getting a $39 set of solar spotlights at HD. After three days/nights...they're awful. They are about 10' in front of the house, shining up. The beams are just enough to illuminate the house in a blue-ish LED light, and only faintly. I think I might have to go with the extension cord-hardwired light-timer combo.

I actually almost bought some $12 spotlights...they have little connectors that actually pierce the extension cord sheath to provide power. Does this damage the extension cord at all? I have a 100' extension cord and I should be able to pick up a cheap plug-in timer, so I may go that route with 2-3 spotlights.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:39 AM   #12
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Spotlights to illuminate home


Sounds like the ones I have too. I wouldn't say that they "light" my house, but they do provide some illumination. They work nice for me because they also light a path I have from the driveway to the back yard.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:46 AM   #13
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Spotlights to illuminate home


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Originally Posted by perpetual98 View Post
Sounds like the ones I have too. I wouldn't say that they "light" my house, but they do provide some illumination. They work nice for me because they also light a path I have from the driveway to the back yard.
Do you have the solar ones or the hardwired ones?
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:20 PM   #14
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Spotlights to illuminate home


proulx06, sorry to hear that you wasted some scare resources ($) on a worthless product but if you are a fairly proficient DIY'er you may can get what you want without too much expense.

First, I've been a lighting contractor since 1983. I've recently started a DIY site for lighting and when you get the extra cash, please visit www.lightityourself.com

For now, remember the fixture houses the lamp and the lamp is the thing that provides the amount and the pattern of the illumination. If it weren't for weather (primarily) you could just mount the lamp on a stick and it would accomplish the same thing as a $100 fixture.

Since we are talking about weather, there are two major approaches to lighting: low voltage and line voltage. Low voltage has the advantage of safety (no shock factor) and ease of installation. The disadvantage is you must have a transformer (120V to 12V AC.) You can plug your transformer in under a covered porch or even on an outside wall with a bubble cover over the receptacle.

Either way, you are going to need 120VAC (house current). You can pick up line voltage staked floods, (like you use at Christmas), put a Par 16 or 20 35-50 watt and it will be plenty of light. Each flood is about $5; use 12-2 w/Ground UF (underground burial, gray jacket) and run receptacles to each light location (usually you can place 2 lights at each recep) and cover each receptacle with a bubble cover ($10) Put the system on a photocell and you're good to go.

If you want a system that you don't have to worry about critter or kids getting hurt on, go to low voltage. For fixtures, go to a lighting gallery and ask for MR-16 or T4 bases (sockets). They should run $4-8 ea. Buy MR-16 20watt BAB floods and a roll of the heaviest aluminum or copper flashing you can find. Go to your local glass cutter have them cut some square pieces 3" X 3". Form your fixture boxes from the flashing, using rivets to hold them together, you can use high heat chalk to seal them and set the lenses. You can get the compression fittings at Home Depot in the electrical section to run the low volt cable into the back of the fixture and you can use PVC for a stake. Size your transformer for the number of lights you have and put the transformer in the middle of all your lights. You can run up to 65 feet from the transformer with no more than 100 watts on the leg.

Keep in mind, this is not going to be very attractive but the light source should be hid anyway! The effect will be noticeable as compared to your solar project at least.

If you need more info, you can email me: lightit@lightityourself.com
Good Luck!
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Old 12-17-2007, 03:50 PM   #15
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Spotlights to illuminate home


Whew! I've done a lot of research on this subject since I originally posted this, and I'm pretty much embarrassed by some of my questions/answers. What a noob!

I've decided to go low-voltage, though I'm still working out the details. I'm hoping to illuminate the front of my home, as well as add some smaller path lighting to the run. I don't like the stuff at HD/Lowes, so I've found a professional landscape lighting forum and I'm saving up to buy some quality equipment. I still think that I can get this done for about $500 by myself ($150 or so for a 300W transformer, $200 for lights, $100 for wiring)...my problem is that I'm not sure how big the lights need to be on the front of my house to light it up. I'll likely get the stuff, buy a few lights, and sort of experiment. I'll try to post my results here!

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