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Old 04-24-2008, 10:17 AM   #1
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Hard wired Low Voltage Transformer?


This is really a product question I guess. I am having trouble locating something (which may not exist).

I would like to hardwire a small 12V Transformer on to an existing "switched but empty" receptacle box on the (unprotected) exterior of my house. Is there such a product that is weatherproof, can be hardwired to a switched receptacle, mounted to the exterior wall at the receptacle, and will transform 110v to 12v AC? Oh, it should have a built in timer too....

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Old 04-24-2008, 12:13 PM   #2
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Hard wired Low Voltage Transformer?


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Is there such a product that is weatherproof, can be hardwired to a switched receptacle, mounted to the exterior wall at the receptacle, and will transform 110v to 12v AC? Oh, it should have a built in timer too....
Is this for low voltage lighting? If so, the answer is absolutely!

Now, I have a few thoughts. Do you want the ability to turn the landscaping lights on/off via the switch? If so, you'll want to find a transformer that can be forced on (many can be but some of the more sophisicated models fall back to a default setting when the power is cycled). The timer is merely preference but I prefer using a photocontrol. That way, you're not constantly tweaking the on/off times based on the change in daylight hours. There would be no reason to use a 24-hr timer if your intent is to use the switch to control it.

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Old 04-24-2008, 02:32 PM   #3
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Hard wired Low Voltage Transformer?


Jimmy, yes, low voltage lighting. I specifically do not want (actually do not care about) photocontrol - I would rather have timed control that can be over-ridden (off) by my existing wall switch.

In other words, I will just set the time for 5-11P, but use the switch to turn the lights on. If I forget they will switch off at 11P. Like I said, photovoltaic is not desried personally. (thinkign this through, I guess I can put a timer on the switch instead, if I can find an aesthetically pleasing one)

Anyway, I know this generally exists, but am curious if it comes in a form that I can easily just mount on to the existing outside receptacle box (no outlet, just wire).
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:42 PM   #4
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Hard wired Low Voltage Transformer?


Here is a line from Malibu. The photo cell is an option. I think they are available at Home Depot.

http://www.malibulights.com/index.ph...=0&did=1&sid=9
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Old 04-24-2008, 06:36 PM   #5
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Hard wired Low Voltage Transformer?


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Here is a line from Malibu. The photo cell is an option. I think they are available at Home Depot.

http://www.malibulights.com/index.ph...=0&did=1&sid=9

Thanks, but this is a plug in not hardwire model. I think I have found a way to extend the single gang box and fit a small hard wired transformer insode it, which meets my criteria.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:38 PM   #6
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Hard wired Low Voltage Transformer?


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Thanks, but this is a plug in not hardwire model. I think I have found a way to extend the single gang box and fit a small hard wired transformer insode it, which meets my criteria.
I doubt very seriously that you're going to be able to fit any kind of LV transformer into a single gang box. A standard doorbell transformer wouldn't fit and its only rated at a few VA.

I now understand what you're trying to do with the switch and the timer and I have the following comments. If you're planning on buying a transformer with a built-in timer, this is not a good idea. When you turn the trans off with the light switch (assuming that you're simply killing the 120VAC power), the timer will stop. Let's say you do this at 10:30p. The next night, you turn the switch back on and the timer begins running from where it left off, i.e. 10:30p and will trip the unit off a half hour later (assuming 11p as you said). See the problem? You'd be constantly resetting the timer.

A better bet would be to buy a line voltage timer switch (Intermatic makes both motor-driven and electronic versions) which you can use to cut the line voltage to the transformer. Simply buy either a transformer with no timer or one that can be forced on. Then you could add the switch in series with that on the timer so that the lights will not come on unless your wall switch is on. In this case though, the timer will run regardless of whether there is power to the LV transformer and keep time.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:08 PM   #7
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Hard wired Low Voltage Transformer?


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I doubt very seriously that you're going to be able to fit any kind of LV transformer into a single gang box. A standard doorbell transformer wouldn't fit and its only rated at a few VA.

I now understand what you're trying to do with the switch and the timer and I have the following comments. If you're planning on buying a transformer with a built-in timer, this is not a good idea. When you turn the trans off with the light switch (assuming that you're simply killing the 120VAC power), the timer will stop. Let's say you do this at 10:30p. The next night, you turn the switch back on and the timer begins running from where it left off, i.e. 10:30p and will trip the unit off a half hour later (assuming 11p as you said). See the problem? You'd be constantly resetting the timer.

A better bet would be to buy a line voltage timer switch (Intermatic makes both motor-driven and electronic versions) which you can use to cut the line voltage to the transformer. Simply buy either a transformer with no timer or one that can be forced on. Then you could add the switch in series with that on the timer so that the lights will not come on unless your wall switch is on. In this case though, the timer will run regardless of whether there is power to the LV transformer and keep time.
Yep, you got it.

Couple comments:
I did find a small transformer that will fit in a one gang box if the box is extended with a weather proof extension. I MAY go that route.

I understamd the problem with the timer. Having the timer is not a huge issue and I think I will fore go it.

Thanks for all the input.
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:28 AM   #8
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Hard wired Low Voltage Transformer?


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I did find a small transformer that will fit in a one gang box if the box is extended with a weather proof extension. I MAY go that route.
One last thing to consider. If memory serves, you have an exterior receptacle. Why not buy an outdoor cover/box extension that is designed to allow a plug-in load, i.e. Red Dot Code Keeper or similar. Then you could go with a plug-in transformer which greatly increases your selections.

One other thought. I did a LV lighting install for a friend a year ago who wanted to use a photocontrol but didn't necessarily want the lights on all night. The particular brand that I used came with a photosensor on a 20' piece of zip cord (low, not line voltage unit). I spliced into this (the low voltage control) and tapped a length of bell wire into the house. We installed a standard line voltage switch in a separate box near the rest of his ganged exterior switches. Now he can shut off the lights by interrupting the photo control switch leg. Just yet another thought.

Good luck,
Jim
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Old 04-25-2008, 10:02 AM   #9
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Hard wired Low Voltage Transformer?


Make sure that small transformer has enough VA to power the lights you are installing.
I could easily find a 12 volt transformer to fit into a box but it wouldn't even power one light.
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Old 04-25-2008, 10:04 AM   #10
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Hard wired Low Voltage Transformer?


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Make sure that small transformer has enough VA to power the lights you are installing.
I could easily find a 12 volt transformer to fit into a box but it wouldn't even power one light.
Yep, thanks. The very small one I found (75) will probbaly accomodate 6 small lights which is on the small side of my needs.

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