How Long Is Safe To Run Low Voltage Wire? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 06-15-2012, 09:35 AM   #1
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How long is safe to run low voltage wire?

We live on three acres of land with the house many yards from the road. I would like to add some low-voltage up-lighting to our entrance--unfortunately, however, there is no electricity down that way. My thoughts are that mounting a transformer on the side of the house and burying low-voltage wire all the way down to the road would be more cost-effective than having electricity ran down that way. Is this safe? Or are there other options I should explore? I already tried solar LEDs--they just do not put out enough light. Thanks in advance!


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Old 06-15-2012, 09:43 AM   #2
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You will have an issue with voltage drop over long distances. It would be better to run line voltage and install the transformer close to the load.


Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:11 AM   #3
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Solar powered with a deep cycle marine battery to hold the charge.
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:21 AM   #4
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You can run low voltage but as stated by others it is not perfect as the distance grows.

1) LED Landscape stuff is starting to show up, not as plentiful as incandescent but improving daily. The lower power will reduce the voltage drop issues.
2) Some commercial landscape transformers have multiple voltage taps so you can send, say 15VDC at the transformer, so by the time it gets to the first fixture it is 12V.
3) The problem with 2 is when a bulb burns out the voltage will rise and stress the remaining lamps more. This might be acceptable.
4) You can do a combination of #2 and heavier gauge wiring to address the voltage drop if it is very long.
5) I couldn't find one but I wonder if someone makes a landscape transformer with remote voltage sense. You run 12-14 AWG wires for the lamps and then say 18-20 gauge wires for a DC voltage feedback and the transformer regulates voltage to keep measurement point at 12VDC. Would seem an obvious feature (and pretty easy to do) but I couldn't find one. This would stop the issue of voltage bouncing around as bulbs burn out.
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