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Old 02-29-2012, 05:53 AM   #1
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Landscape lighting question: Where do you put the transformer? Crawlspace?


I am planning to add some landscape lighting to the backyard. So where do you guys put the transformer?

I do not want to have the transformer mounted outside. I want a more concealed look. But where do you guys put your transformer? Show me photos if you happen to have any.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:10 AM   #2
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Many of the transformers say they are for exterior use only. Also voltage drop becomes more of an issue the further from the load they are mounted.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:22 AM   #3
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Ideally the transformer should be outside, more or less at the middle of the low voltage cable runs. This keeps voltage drop to a minimum.

If you use thick enough wires for the low voltage runs, it doesn't matter where you put the transformer. I am guessing that 12 gauge wire would permit having the transformer up to 100 feet from the furthest light if you are using incandescent lights.

(Precise calculations vary with each installation and would be somewhat complex given that the as you get past each light along the run, the current draw further on is smaller.)
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:26 AM   #4
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Depends on the transformer you buy. Some must be mounted outside, some are approved for inside mounting. They even makes ones that are buried in the ground.

Also many transformers have an electric eye feature that requires they be outside to work, Some have the electric eye feature that can be mounted remotely from the transformer.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:31 AM   #5
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Wonder if you can use one of those cover disguise things. Some look like rocks.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:20 PM   #6
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I mounted mine next to where we keep the garbage bins and irrigation valves. There was an outlet there already, so it was perfect.

I wanted something that would last, so I bought a real transformer with multiple voltage connections (12v through 24v I think) to deal with the voltage drop. Its made of stainless steel and is weather tight. I also bought solid brass fixtures since I wanted stuff that would withstand time.

If you want quality components, google Volt Lighting...The first result is where I bought my stuff. More $$ than the bix box store, but much better quality.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:39 PM   #7
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Why not just go with solor, No wiring no transformer.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Why not just go with solor, No wiring no transformer.
Solar is a viable option if you just want some decorative accent lighting, and the fixtures are in the sun. That said, if you want to be able to use the light, or if you want to up-light a tree for instance, wired lighting is the way to go.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:27 PM   #9
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I have become a big fan of LED landscape lighting. Desiring to get by on a budget, I simply purchase fixtures as they go on clearance (matching up as best I can).

In the fixtures I use LED retrofit lamps. I get mine online from superbrightLED.com (or something like that). They have worked well.

The bigger point is that one needs to be less concerned about voltage drop. Also, this opens up the options for a variety of power supplies, including many that can mount inside. I use 50watt regulated supplies with one on each of the extreme corners of the house.

My transformers are mounted inside (basement ceiling area). Works great!
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:45 AM   #10
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As others have said, some transformers are rated for indoor or outdoor; or both.

Considerations:[LIST][*]Indoors: You will need to run wires through an exterior wall - this requires appropriate metal conduit to comply with NEC code.[*]Indoors: Any wires that are run inside the home need to be comply with NEC as well.[*]Crawl space: Bad idea, hard to access for installation and servicing[*]Indoors: If you system is larger - greater than 900W, best not to install transformer closer than 15 ft. to the home breaker panel to avoid inrush problems that could trip breakers.[*]Indoors: as said in another post, the most common way to control a transformer is with both a timer and photocell. If mounted indoors, you'll need to use a remote photocell that extends through the wall and mounted on the side of the house.


Enjoy!
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:52 AM   #11
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Timer "Up Stream" of 24V Transformers?


I have three 24V transformers running my outdoor lights (previous home owner did the install with heavy duty transformers he "borrowed" from his job at the mine). These three transformers are all on one breaker and each supply power to three separate low voltage outdoor lighting runs. I am wanting to know if I can put a timer switch between the transformers and the breaker basically letting one time control all three lighting runs.

The transformers are super heavy duty and weigh about 30 lbs each, I'm sure they'd last forever and I've not had any problems with them so far. What about my idea? Would the timer switch work?
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:22 PM   #12
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You can mount an Intermatic mechanical, digital, or astronomical timer inside the house near the breaker panel to control the transformers. Just be sure that it's sized properly and has the features you want. There are many models - best to consult an electrician.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:26 PM   #13
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Thanks


Thanks, just wanted to know if it was possible. Will consult my friendly neighborhood electrician.
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