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Old 08-02-2012, 01:38 AM   #1
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Wiring low voltage lights in garage, where to put the transformer


I am planning to install 12 LED downlights in my garage. 3Watts each, 36watts total for the 12 lights. After the electrical work, the walls will be covered with drywall but the ceiling will still remain unfinished (you will still see the beams above your head).

My plan for the wiring is:

14-2 wires switched then go through walls --->beam --->transformer to 12Volts ---> landscaping low voltage wires ----> LED lights.

I am asking here because with the transformer sticking out on the side of the beam looks weird. Is this the way to go? What is the correct way if this is not so. Thanks!
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:31 AM   #2
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Wiring low voltage lights in garage, where to put the transformer


I can not stress how important it would be to drywall that ceiling. You will be amazed at how much less dirt and how much better the light will relect as well as control the temp.....and you won't see the transformer....

I stress this because the ceiling needs to be drywalled 'before' you do the walls. Ceiling drywall depends on the edges being supported by the drywall on the side walls.
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:23 PM   #3
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Wiring low voltage lights in garage, where to put the transformer


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I can not stress how important it would be to drywall that ceiling. You will be amazed at how much less dirt and how much better the light will relect as well as control the temp.....and you won't see the transformer....

I stress this because the ceiling needs to be drywalled 'before' you do the walls. Ceiling drywall depends on the edges being supported by the drywall on the side walls.
That is a good suggestion but it's out of the question. This single-story ranch house is pretty old (built in 1957) and the beams are sagging as much as 3 inches down at the center point. Structurally it is fine but it's hard to put dry wall with that much of a bow.
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:27 PM   #4
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Wiring low voltage lights in garage, where to put the transformer


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That is a good suggestion but it's out of the question. This single-story ranch house is pretty old (built in 1957) and the beams are sagging as much as 3 inches down at the center point. Structurally it is fine but it's hard to put dry wall with that much of a bow.
Sounds like what my garage looked like....basically, it just had 2x4's on 24" OC strung across...essentualy they were rafter ties....

If this is the case for you, it would actually be pretty easy to install 2x6's.....you put them in first...get it all nailed in....then take out the 2x4's.

Is this an attached garage? Or detached?
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:47 PM   #5
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Wiring low voltage lights in garage, where to put the transformer


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Sounds like what my garage looked like....basically, it just had 2x4's on 24" OC strung across...essentualy they were rafter ties....

If this is the case for you, it would actually be pretty easy to install 2x6's.....you put them in first...get it all nailed in....then take out the 2x4's.

Is this an attached garage? Or detached?
This is an attached garage. The whole 450 sq-ft garage only has 3 2x6 beams across!!!! This is outrageous but all the houses around me were built like this and everybody has sagging roofs. I hired a structural engineer for this when I purchased the house and in his expert opinion, this garage is structurally sound.

I do not want to touch the structural side of my house, which is already laden with tons of remodeling projects.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:47 PM   #6
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Wiring low voltage lights in garage, where to put the transformer


Outdoor LV landscape wire (and other LV landscape lighting supplies) are not rated to be installed inside of structures.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:52 PM   #7
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Wiring low voltage lights in garage, where to put the transformer


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Outdoor LV landscape wire (and other LV landscape lighting supplies) are not rated to be installed inside of structures.
If the Landscaping wires can withstand the harsh outdoor environments, why can't it be used inside structures? Just curious.
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:06 PM   #8
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Wiring low voltage lights in garage, where to put the transformer


It has not been tested for it.

And, you have it backwards. In the SF bay area, your garage is a much harsher environment than that of a cable buried 6 inches deep in the ground.

How about your fixtures and transformer, are they "landscape" also ??
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:37 PM   #9
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Wiring low voltage lights in garage, where to put the transformer


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If the Landscaping wires can withstand the harsh outdoor environments, why can't it be used inside structures? Just curious.
Has nothing to do with that.... it's the jacket that is the issue.


411.4 Specific Location Requirements.
(A) Walls, Floors, and Ceilings. Conductors concealed or extended through a wall, floor, or ceiling shall be in accordance with (1) or (2):

(1) Installed using any of the wiring methods specified in
Chapter 3. (Landscape wire is NOT a chapter 3 wiring method.)

(2) Installed using wiring supplied by a listed Class 2 power
source and installed in accordance with 725.130
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:49 PM   #10
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Wiring low voltage lights in garage, where to put the transformer


Got it. Thanks a lot for the clarification! Yes, I was planning to use the lanscaping transformer in the garage. So it looks like it's against the code.
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:51 PM   #11
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Got it. Thanks a lot for the clarification! Yes, I was planning to use the lanscaping transformer in the garage. So it looks like it's against the code.
I use NM wire when doing low voltage lights, but technically most are still a violation, because chapter 3 wiring methods also requires boxes for the fixture wire splices, and we all know the fixtures are not designed for this.
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