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Old 08-27-2012, 02:07 PM   #1
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Convert new install of lamp post to low voltage?


Back yard makeover.
Adding a Gazebo and patio among other things and was wanting a lamp post as part of lighting the patio area. My wife scored one new in the box at a yard sale for 50 bucks. It takes 3, 100 watt bulbs, which is perfect, as we want to be able to lite the area without firing up the whole yard with my flood lights. We also however want to be able to dim it just for ambiance or turn it off if less light is preferred... and possibly put it on a photo cell.

Now…
I want it and some other accent lighting and a small water feature pump to run on a low voltage system, mostly for ease of installation. Transformers and switches, dimmer, photo cell can be placed on the close by (<25 feet) Gazebo that has 110 power with a extra 20 amp circuit wired for this purpose.

I know I can just use 12 volt incandescent screw in bulbs in the post but I would like to use LED or CFL or etc to lower power usage. The post is equipped with standard porcelain sockets on reg hollow threaded nipples that could be changed if needed.

http://www.pbase.com/td2/image/145665220
http://www.pbase.com/td2/image/145665219

I know nothing about low voltage bulb types and their uses or output . What is the best solution for type of bulb to convert the post to….
Low voltage
Roughly 300 watt incandescent equivalent light output in an over all pattern.
Dimmable.
Photocell controlled on the 12 volt side, leaving full-time power to the water pump.
AND if possible, be non bug attracting. (yellow actually ok as there are yello rope lights on the Gazbo)

Sorry got a little long winded!
Thanks for any help you might provide.

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Old 08-27-2012, 02:25 PM   #2
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Convert new install of lamp post to low voltage?


It sounds to me as if your requirement is to be able to control your landscape lighting and water feature from the single switch. While I suppose you could do that by converting ALL to 12V, this introduces (in my mind) some complications. Perhaps there is an easier solution?

Have you considered replacing the post light switch with something like a Z-wave version, then using a Z-wave plug-in module or outlet to control your low-voltage system? The switch would, in addition to powering the post lamp, control the module/outlet via RF.

Keep the post light on 120V power. Dim it if you want to. My suspicion is that this would be least expensive, least intrusive from a wiring standpoint, and most effective.

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Old 08-27-2012, 02:44 PM   #3
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Convert new install of lamp post to low voltage?


I would not modify the post lamp as it is a UL listed device. I would use dimmable medium LEDs with a LED compatible dimmer. Problem is you will not get the light output of 3 100 watt incandescents.

Home Depot has some good 40 watt replacement LEDs for $10 each.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:14 PM   #4
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Convert new install of lamp post to low voltage?


Guess I'll give up. Leave it as is. Kind of a shame though as I'll already be running low voltage right by it for walk lights. I already conceded to 120 volt rope lights on the building for various reasons.
After further research my perception now is that it seems low voltage isn't much more than a novelty... not ready to do the heavy lifting maybe.
Might get a different view on a dedicated low voltage / solar forum.

Thanks
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:15 AM   #5
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Convert new install of lamp post to low voltage?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cparktd View Post
Back yard makeover.
Adding a Gazebo and patio among other things and was wanting a lamp post as part of lighting the patio area. My wife scored one new in the box at a yard sale for 50 bucks. It takes 3, 100 watt bulbs, which is perfect, as we want to be able to lite the area without firing up the whole yard with my flood lights. We also however want to be able to dim it just for ambiance or turn it off if less light is preferred... and possibly put it on a photo cell.

Now…
I want it and some other accent lighting and a small water feature pump to run on a low voltage system, mostly for ease of installation. Transformers and switches, dimmer, photo cell can be placed on the close by (<25 feet) Gazebo that has 110 power with a extra 20 amp circuit wired for this purpose.

I know I can just use 12 volt incandescent screw in bulbs in the post but I would like to use LED or CFL or etc to lower power usage. The post is equipped with standard porcelain sockets on reg hollow threaded nipples that could be changed if needed.

http://www.pbase.com/td2/image/145665220
http://www.pbase.com/td2/image/145665219

I know nothing about low voltage bulb types and their uses or output . What is the best solution for type of bulb to convert the post to….
Low voltage
Roughly 300 watt incandescent equivalent light output in an over all pattern.
Dimmable.
Photocell controlled on the 12 volt side, leaving full-time power to the water pump.
AND if possible, be non bug attracting. (yellow actually ok as there are yello rope lights on the Gazbo)

Sorry got a little long winded!
Thanks for any help you might provide.
300w of light at 12v ! thats a lot of current !
And huge cables !
stick with the mains lamps.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:01 AM   #6
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Convert new install of lamp post to low voltage?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cparktd View Post
After further research my perception now is that it seems low voltage isn't much more than a novelty... not ready to do the heavy lifting maybe.

LED lighting is here to stay. While it is still a little costly upfront it is much cheaper over a lifecycle (due to very long bulb life). As mass production continues prices will continue to fall.

The main benefit is they only require about 10% of the power for the same light output as incandescent. This is because they create light directly from current flow whereas incandescent uses heat to generate light.

Most of the focus has been on 120V bulb replacements for LED but you are starting to see 12V landscape stuff popping up. The obvious benefit is much smaller (thus cheaper) transformers and lighter gauge wiring and longer runs for the landscape stuff.

http://www.designrecycleinc.com/led%20comp%20chart.html
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:39 PM   #7
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Convert new install of lamp post to low voltage?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cparktd View Post
Guess I'll give up. Leave it as is. Kind of a shame though as I'll already be running low voltage right by it for walk lights. I already conceded to 120 volt rope lights on the building for various reasons.
After further research my perception now is that it seems low voltage isn't much more than a novelty... not ready to do the heavy lifting maybe.
Might get a different view on a dedicated low voltage / solar forum.

Thanks
LED light does have its place !
But it is still evolving,
Places where high light output is not required,
then it is fine,
and it does have some advantages,
such as low heat, low power, longer life.
But applications where high output is required (ie 300w)
especially if using 12v style lamps,
well its just impracticule.
LED outdoor flood lights are available(not impossable) ,
but they are not 12v operated.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:03 PM   #8
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Convert new install of lamp post to low voltage?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
300w of light at 12v ! thats a lot of current !
And huge cables !
stick with the mains lamps.
Not really, I do a lot of landscape lighting, the trick is to do a lot of homeruns, and split the loads up to keep the voltage drop down, I usually use #12 and #10 landscape wire....
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:30 PM   #9
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Convert new install of lamp post to low voltage?


While I agree that keeping it 120 Vac is easier.....just in case you want to 'explore' options....

Check out superbrightleds.com

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