Guide to Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting 12-volt garden lighting systems, consisting of a transformer, lamps,...
Guide to Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting
12-volt garden lighting systems, consisting of a transformer, lamps, fixtures, and special cable, offer many advantages over 120-volt lighting besides the obvious factor of safety. Low-voltage lamps use electricity more efficiently, giving more light per watt of power used. 12-volt lamps also last longer than 110-volt incandescent lamps, reducing maintenance on the systems. The flexibility of the wiring — no conduit is needed — makes installation easy and allows you to move fixtures as the garden grows and changes. Sometimes standard fixtures can be wired into a 12-volt system if special lamp adapters or bulbs are used, and some 12-volt fixtures come with integral transformers for wiring to house current. Modern 12-volt systems can tackle any residential lighting job, from groups of 50-foot oak trees to the smallest city garden.
The Urban Farmer Store carries only the highest quality products from carefully selected manufacturers. Our expert staff will be glad to help you plan your lighting design and specify the power requirements of the transformer and cable you will need. Ask about our free overnight loaner lighting kits containing a variety of fixtures so that you can experiment in your own garden with the different effects. We offer guaranteed satisfaction and warranty service for the products we sell.
|Fixtures come in a wide array of types, sizes, and finishes. Each fixture takes a specific lamp type (incandescent, Par 36, or quartz-halogen). Each lamp (bulb), in turn, comes in a variety of wattages and beam spreads. Choosing the appropriate lamp for a specific effect is the first step in design. Choosing the fixture to house the lamp is secondary. Uplights can turn trees and specimen plants into focal points of your garden. Pathlights illuminate walkways and beautify the landscape, while enabling safe and comfortable movement on stairs, paths, and driveways. Spotlights, both uplights and downlights, can highlight sculptures, water, and architectural features. Backlighting and wall-washing floodlights produce beautiful silhouettes, shadows, and textures, creating mood and interest in the garden.
||Transformers are required for 12-volt lighting systems to step-down 120-volt power. Selection is based on the total number of watts needed for a system, and for each zone of the system. Transformers come in wattages ranging from 100 to 1000 watts. As the garden changes and grows, allow for extra wattage on the transformer to grow with it, whether it be to add additional fixtures or increase the wattage of existing ones. Transformers are available in “raintite” weatherproof models that are plugged in directly, or in indoor models that are hard-wired.
|Lighting Cable comes in several sizes or gauges. Twelve, ten, or eight gauge cable tends to be the most commonly used, depending on the length of wire run and the wattage load. Choosing the correct size of cable is necessary to avoid excessive voltage-drop, which leads to the dimming of lamps at the end of wire runs. Correctly sizing wire is a simple but essential step in designing a lighting system that can grow and change with your garden.
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Enter the watts, wire size, and run length and this handy tool calculates the voltage drop on that run.
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Curious about outdoor lighting? Find answers to your questions in this basic guide to 12 volt lighting systems. Includes current pricing and information on our most popular brands of lighting and transformers.
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Read this article for some of our thoughts on low-voltage lighting systems.
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Get the most out of your hard work by installing your lighting wire with your irrigation pipe. Saves time and money!
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Using a volt-amp meter will assist you in properly installing and repairing your low-voltage lighting system.
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