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Old 04-18-2012, 10:05 AM   #1
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Recommend a low voltage supplier (deck and landscaping).


I'm planning to add some deck stair lighting this spring/summer to our newly finished deck, and knew I was going to go with low voltage. Then it had me thinking...I would also like to run low voltage in place of where we had originally planned to place solar lights along our sidewalk that's beside the deck (lights here will be embedded in river rock). Anyways, I know to steer clear of the HD and Lowe's brands, but I don't really know where to begin for quality lighting. I want the transformer to be rather large since it will have to handle larger runs, and be able to handle additional lights that may be added on down the road. Plus I want a timer/photo sensitivity built in. I was curious if anyone had any specific brands to recommend? I did see Kichler recommended in a few searches I made here, but any others?

Any general recommendations would be appreciated as well (i.e. buying a kit vs buying the transformer, wire, lights, connectors, etc. separate).

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Old 04-18-2012, 10:36 AM   #2
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Recommend a low voltage supplier (deck and landscaping).


Google "low voltage outdoor lighting".

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Old 04-18-2012, 12:00 PM   #3
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Recommend a low voltage supplier (deck and landscaping).


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Originally Posted by brric View Post
Google "low voltage outdoor lighting".
Spent 2 hours today doing that, believe me:D

I don't know what manufacturers are reputable, and what aren't. This information can only come from people who have used them.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:29 PM   #4
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Recommend a low voltage supplier (deck and landscaping).


Generally, the plastic fixtures in the kits (or solar lamps) turn very brittle fairly fast. I would avoid them. However, places like Big Lots sometimes have incredible deals on kits and they are worth it just for the wire and transformer/timer. Use the sockets and bulbs if you can or just toss them.

I would encourage you to look at auto and marine electric for sockets, bulbs and things. You may find some lv things that work out better for you than those specifically earmarked for landscaping. The sockets are, in some instances, better weatherproofed. You will find a wider range of wattage. Marine deck light options seem like they would be especially appropriate to your current challenge.

I have often made my own wooden fixtures or adapted lanterns and things you can buy at import stores. Clients love the look since it is not generic. I found some little lanterns with stained glass that made charming patio tree lights.

Visit a lighting store to at least have a higher end reference point for fixtures. They will have some that are more sturdy than the plastic ones and a wider variety. Or they can order just about anything you want.

A lighting or electrical supply store will have greater transformer/timer options as well. You might want to consider using the transformers from a Big Lots type purchase and just splitting things into different circuits. Not sure what you gain having both a timer and photosensor on the circuit?

Have fun. Think outside the box. Plan out the types of illumination you want ahead of time. Are you setting a mood or is the purpose of the light utilitarian and safety oriented.

Last edited by user1007; 04-18-2012 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
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Recommend a low voltage supplier (deck and landscaping).


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Generally, the plastic fixtures in the kits (or solar lamps) turn very brittle fairly fast. I would avoid them. However, places like Big Lots sometimes have incredible deals on kits and they are worth it just for the wire and transformer/timer. Use the sockets and bulbs if you can or just toss them.

I would encourage you to look at auto and marine electric for sockets, bulbs and things. You may find some lv things that work out better for you than those specifically earmarked for landscaping. The sockets are, in some instances, better weatherproofed. You will find a wider range of wattage. Marine deck light options seem like they would be especially appropriate to your current challenge.

I have often made my own wooden fixtures or adapted lanterns and things you can buy at import stores. Clients love the look since it is not generic. I found some little lanterns with stained glass that made charming patio tree lights.

Visit a lighting store to at least have a higher end reference point for fixtures. They will have some that are more sturdy than the plastic ones and a wider variety. Or they can order just about anything you want.

A lighting or electrical supply store will have greater transformer/timer options as well. You might want to consider using the transformers from a Big Lots type purchase and just splitting things into different circuits. Not sure what you gain having both a timer and photosensor on the circuit?

Have fun. Think outside the box. Plan out the types of illumination you want ahead of time. Are you setting a mood or is the purpose of the light utilitarian and safety oriented.
Thanks. Didn't think about the marine store.

With regard to the photosensor and timer, I would like to be able to set the timer to kick power on at say, 6:00pm and kick off at 12pm, but it would be nice to have it kick on the lights once it gets dark enough, so the the lights aren't on and I don't need to change the timer according to lighting changes throughout the year (pure laziness I suppose)
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:46 PM   #6
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Recommend a low voltage supplier (deck and landscaping).


Unique Lighting and Focus Industries are the two relatively high quality landscape companies that I see used quite often.
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Old 05-15-2012, 10:44 AM   #7
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Recommend a low voltage supplier (deck and landscaping).


I tried really hard to keep my Malibu (big box store brand) stuff going, but it is pathetic how short-lived their stuff is. I bought a set that included a small transformer with photo eye, wire, four path lights and two spot lights, all LED. The path lights are fine because the LED emitters are housed under a protective hood from rain and irrigation water. However the spotlights are horrible. After two weeks my first set of spotlights filled with water and I got a replacement set. Two weeks later, the same fate with those. I then upgraded to $50/each spotlights rather than the ones I had that cost half that and it lasted two days before it also filled with water.

At this point I am still running the Malibu transformer, which is fine, it's simple--it simply turns on via photoeye when it gets dark and you can adjust the amount of time it runs from sun-down from 2 to 12 hours. The pathlights are LED and have a nice warm tone to them. But for anything that points 'up' where water entry is a problem, I ended up turning to Vista Pro brand, including a few well lights (to point up trees) and some spots to highlight features in the yard. They are constructed much better than the Malibu stuff but rather than $25-$50 per fixture they are more like $50-$125 each. I say go ahead and buy a Malibu set to get the transformer, wire and some path lights then buy any well lights, spots, wall washers, etc. from Vista.

My lighting is simple, but here is a photo. Malibu LED pathlights on the path, a spot on the palm tree and in this photo, a spot at the base of the frontyard tree. Since this was taken those two spot lights died so I added a Vista on the palm, a small vista to illuminate the trunk of the front yard tree and two well lights on each side of the front yard tree near the dripline to illuminate the entire tree canopy. Obviously the tree hadn't leafed out yet when this photo was taken and it was prior to adding said well lights. It is very simple but I have received a bunch of complements from the neighbors on the lighting.


I highly recommend using LED stuff if you can find it in a warm white. I look for fixtures using Cree brand LEDs since they are efficient and have a nice warm tone. Cheap chinese LEDs have an ugly blue tone. Each path light is only 0.5 watts, the spotlights are only 2.5 watts but put out the same amount of light as a 20W MR16 halogen.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:31 PM   #8
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Recommend a low voltage supplier (deck and landscaping).


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Originally Posted by mgh-pa View Post

Any general recommendations would be appreciated as well (i.e. buying a kit vs buying the transformer, wire, lights, connectors, etc. separate).

The company you want to research first would be Intermatic, Malibu lights. They by far are the most popular and have systems ranging from very small to very large. Very popular and reliable.
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:23 PM   #9
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Recommend a low voltage supplier (deck and landscaping).


Quote:
Originally Posted by asimba2 View Post
I tried really hard to keep my Malibu (big box store brand) stuff going, but it is pathetic how short-lived their stuff is. I bought a set that included a small transformer with photo eye, wire, four path lights and two spot lights, all LED. The path lights are fine because the LED emitters are housed under a protective hood from rain and irrigation water. However the spotlights are horrible. After two weeks my first set of spotlights filled with water and I got a replacement set. Two weeks later, the same fate with those. I then upgraded to $50/each spotlights rather than the ones I had that cost half that and it lasted two days before it also filled with water.

At this point I am still running the Malibu transformer, which is fine, it's simple--it simply turns on via photoeye when it gets dark and you can adjust the amount of time it runs from sun-down from 2 to 12 hours. The pathlights are LED and have a nice warm tone to them. But for anything that points 'up' where water entry is a problem, I ended up turning to Vista Pro brand, including a few well lights (to point up trees) and some spots to highlight features in the yard. They are constructed much better than the Malibu stuff but rather than $25-$50 per fixture they are more like $50-$125 each. I say go ahead and buy a Malibu set to get the transformer, wire and some path lights then buy any well lights, spots, wall washers, etc. from Vista.

My lighting is simple, but here is a photo. Malibu LED pathlights on the path, a spot on the palm tree and in this photo, a spot at the base of the frontyard tree. Since this was taken those two spot lights died so I added a Vista on the palm, a small vista to illuminate the trunk of the front yard tree and two well lights on each side of the front yard tree near the dripline to illuminate the entire tree canopy. Obviously the tree hadn't leafed out yet when this photo was taken and it was prior to adding said well lights. It is very simple but I have received a bunch of complements from the neighbors on the lighting.


I highly recommend using LED stuff if you can find it in a warm white. I look for fixtures using Cree brand LEDs since they are efficient and have a nice warm tone. Cheap chinese LEDs have an ugly blue tone. Each path light is only 0.5 watts, the spotlights are only 2.5 watts but put out the same amount of light as a 20W MR16 halogen.

Thanks for the information, and the pictures are great. Gives me some ideas.

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