DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

Low Voltage Lighting

4131 Views 20 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Yoyizit
Ok guys need some advice - need to put in some path lights and uplighting in the front of my house. I would like to get the better lights, such as Kichler but my budget just does not warrant it right now. I need about 10-12 lights in total - with 8 or so path lights and 2 flood lights or up lights to accent a couple of trees. I was thinking about buying a package - such as malibu but not sure which are the best ones? I see that there are LED lights now, are they better? any recommendations?
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Malibu or Kichler or anything you like is fine. Try to get the LED bulbs though. If you put in 4, 7, 10, 20W bulbs you will rack up higher instalation and operation costs. They have Superbrite LED's in 1 to 4W ratings and multiple colors that put out more lumens than the regular bulbs and the LED's @ a 50,000 to 100,000 hour life span running at 12 hours a night will last from 11- 23 years before they need to be replaced.
Thanks - I need to get back to HD or Lowes and see what they have - last I checked they had very limited stock on LED's.
Do NOT repeat do NOT but HD crap unless you're ok with replacing everything every 5 years. All of the plastic crap is crap and will not last. Got to a REAL lighting store get a nice REAL 3,6 or 900 watt transformer / timer/ photocell control and 100' or so of REAL #12 awg cable.

Then get your 1st 2 or 3 real quality fixtures and add to the system as you can afford it. Malibu and Tork and the Lowes and HD brands (hampton bay, harbor breeze, whatever they call it) is all crap and you are throwing your money away.

You'd be better off just buying low-grade line voltage stuff which is cheaper. A little more $ to operate and install, but less to buy and the payback is quicker.
Good point and one that I am tossing around. I really like the kichler products, but the fixture are almost 300 a pop
Obviously Sparky doesn't like anything from HD or Menards, or LOWES. If you are not sure about dealing with your local suppliers try going on line. The different manufacturers all have on line "stores" and while you are cruising check '12VDC LED lighting' on yahoo or google. They even have planning and load calc info for most everything you might like to do.
I've had good luck with these, but they're not plug and play, had to wire up a converter etc:
Thanks - I only see flood lights though - nothing for path lighting. These might be nice to install in the soffits - thanks for the information. Still looking hard for traditional path lighting in LED's
Here's a "economy" 12 volt path light
it says it requires a 12 volt mr16 bulb, which you could buy seperately:
I imagine the downside is the led technology won't be inexpensive, but I used to have track lighting in my old place and I swear the regular mr 16's were 10$ back then, I'm sure they've come down, but for a little over double you can slap an led one in and never replace it.
Thanks - 2 good sites I will check out. Still trying to determine if the additional upfront cost for the LED's makes sense. As I said initially, cost is certainly a factor in this project - funds are being allocated to other plans at the moment
yeah, gotta weigh out the options, cheaper light with led bulb, or better light with normal bulb, or technically cheaper light with cheaper bulb.
Do not buy cheap led bulbs

I've had a lot of experience with this, and I can tell you right now whtever you do don't buy cheap LED bulbs. It's not worth the hassle and the quality of light deteriorates VERY QUICKLY.:no:
Don't buy cheap LED's

Cheap LEDs will fade and change color prematurely. I sell lighting daily and know from first hand experience. Price is a huge motivator in anything, but there are some things you just can't afford to go cheap on and LED lighting is one of them.
See my links list

Have you looked at focus industries? They have some decently priced fixtures and are still of a quality that will last years. Be very careful, once again, on going inexpensive. Althoug it's not as important as with the LED bulbs, a well made brass fixture will last decades, while a cheap HD or Lowes fixture will begin to rust of fall apart in no time.
Thanks for the great feedback, I will check out that site - Let me ask you guys, although its probably a matter of preference, however should I be looking at LED's or just a better low voltage Halogen? It seem like I would be better off buying a few better fixtures from a brand like Kichler then I would be by buying a Malibu set or something? I am trying to get the project done for about $50 per fixture
If that budget is tight start off with a few good Kichler fixtures, as you said, and you can get retrofit LED bulbs later if you decide you want to go that way. Every year LEd are being mde better for less money, so in that respect you may be better off going with halogen for now anyway.
Thanks - I think thats the way to go - I need to find a good Kichler supplier and take it from there - you do any remote "design" if a pic of the application is sent to you?
If you go with incand. and you don't use all the bulbs in the string the voltage to each will be higher due to poor xformer regulation, so for long bulb life I recommend a series high wattage resistor on the low voltage side of the 'former. Then you can select your lamp life vs. brightness.
I can definitely help you with the design and I can give you good prices on Kichler fixtures. Visit my site and contact me with any pictures or more information. My emails on the bottom of the contact page.
Thanks - I am trying to pick out a fixture style to get an idea. I will send you a couple of pics along with some measurements. What is the proper spacing for path lights? My walk is ~60ft I would guess - should I space them at 10' apart?
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.