Author Topic: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?  (Read 892 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« on: December 10, 2015, 02:45:25 AM »
I have some lights all around my house with various indoor and outdoor transformers.  Everything is working decently and all of my lights are standard low-voltage lights (Malibu, Moonrays, Intermatic, whatever).  Some people have mentioned the new LED lights that supposedly have a longer life and that can get a lot of light out of a small bulb.  Someone I know showed me a picture of their yard after they installed the LED lights.  He was like, "That's a 3W bulb on the tree and a 5W bulb on the house a 2W bulb by the mailbox..." which seems like very small bulbs compared to my 20W, 30W, 50W, etc. and his were very bright.  I have heard that the LED fixtures will connect directly to standard low-voltage wiring and transformers and that the lights come in "bright" and "warm" colors, etc.  Has anyone played with these?  I would consider upgrading some of my fixtures that could use a little OOMPH.  Cheers.

Offline duboman

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Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2015, 01:25:16 PM »
I can't speak to the quality or performance of the DIY big box brands as I am an authorized Kichler lighting installer. Yes, LED will provide the same illumination quality using less power and fixture s will last much longer than traditional halogen bulbs. Keep in mind upfront cost is more. When the bulb actually fails you have to replace the fixture but that is many years worth of use with a quality product. As for the actual light. Early on LED users complained about the starkness and overly white appearance but technology has improved that to a softer, more natural light and are continuing to improve as technology does. You can simply replace existing fixtures directly to your existing wiring without issue. Feel free to pm me and I can talk to you further about other specific questions you might have

Gary

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Offline pete b

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Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2015, 02:19:27 PM »
What's up with the fixtures? I buy the new LED bulbs that just screw into regular fixtures. They are great. Is that something different?
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Offline duboman

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Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2015, 03:57:38 PM »
What's up with the fixtures? I buy the new LED bulbs that just screw into regular fixtures. They are great. Is that something different?
These are low voltage outdoor lights for path and accent, not the same as indoor line voltage fixtures

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Offline pete b

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Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2015, 04:33:44 PM »
What's up with the fixtures? I buy the new LED bulbs that just screw into regular fixtures. They are great. Is that something different?
These are low voltage outdoor lights for path and accent, not the same as indoor line voltage fixtures

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Gotcha. I do recommend the new LED bulbs with the soft light, they are fantastic, and it appears (although I haven't isolated other factors, such as not needing to dehumidify the basement as much the last couple of months)that they are using significantly less energy.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2015, 05:06:01 PM »
Gary:  Thanks for the reply.  The guy that services my outdoor sprinkler is also a lighting guy and he showed me some Kichler fixtures that he told me were $250+ each.  Gulp.  I have seen LED fixtures on Amazon and at some other retailers (Volt electronics) for $30 or so.  I guess I'm curious about putting the LED fixtures onto an existing system (12g line and a transformer) and also what would happen with these fixtures that are clearly "cheaper" than some others.  Would they just not last as long?  Good stuff and thanks again.

Offline duboman

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Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2015, 07:13:59 PM »
What's up with the fixtures? I buy the new LED bulbs that just screw into regular fixtures. They are great. Is that something different?
These are low voltage outdoor lights for path and accent, not the same as indoor line voltage fixtures

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Gotcha. I do recommend the new LED bulbs with the soft light, they are fantastic, and it appears (although I haven't isolated other factors, such as not needing to dehumidify the basement as much the last couple of months)that they are using significantly less energy.
Agreed! I've been switching to them as well, room by room when I can find the good ones on sale and you can dim them:)

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Offline duboman

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Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2015, 09:17:18 PM »
Yup, LED are a bit pricey, especially good contractor/commercial grade, I think I know your sprinkler guy;)

Like I said, you can certainly buy other fixtures and swap them in to existing wiring without issue. Like anything else though, there is good LED and not so good, also for the durability of the fixture itself.. My guess is if what you're looking at is that inexpensive then neither the quality or durability isn't there and you'll probably be replacing them sooner rather than later:( kind of a pay me now or pay me later scenario......



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coastsidemike

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Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2015, 05:00:51 AM »
I reworked my outdoor lighting last year, I went cheap and have no regrets.  I more-or-less picked a random internet store and went with it  (this guy: http://directlandscapelighting.com, and I'm kinda disappointed that they don't have much in stock at the moment).

In the image below, going LED meant that a 45W lamp is replaceable with a 3.6W lamp, it makes the transformer selection and wiring simple because the load is so light.  It's kind of a no-brainer if you can find a source.  This is a $25 lamp; I've had no outages with about 15 different lamps, 8 months in.  I have all the lights going upward on trees and it's very soft on the eyes.  The photo is saturated color-wise, i.e., there is more visible than what it shows, roughly a 20-foot wide area along a fence.  In the front yard, I want to make sure if any neighbors or sheriffs drop by that they can see the entire yard without issue.



I live semi-rural and have a few different animals coming through nightly.  In my personal need to over-complicate, I also wired up some motion detectors with transformers attached to them.  What happened is the motion detectors created too much signal noise on the ground-wiring and the WiFi equipment was highly sensitive to it.  I let that part go, put it all on a timer with one circuit.

« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 05:22:05 AM by surfin.mikeg »

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2015, 11:08:23 PM »
I reworked my outdoor lighting last year, I went cheap and have no regrets.  I more-or-less picked a random internet store and went with it  (this guy: http://directlandscapelighting.com, and I'm kinda disappointed that they don't have much in stock at the moment).

In the image below, going LED meant that a 45W lamp is replaceable with a 3.6W lamp, it makes the transformer selection and wiring simple because the load is so light.  It's kind of a no-brainer if you can find a source.  This is a $25 lamp; I've had no outages with about 15 different lamps, 8 months in.  I have all the lights going upward on trees and it's very soft on the eyes.  The photo is saturated color-wise, i.e., there is more visible than what it shows, roughly a 20-foot wide area along a fence.  In the front yard, I want to make sure if any neighbors or sheriffs drop by that they can see the entire yard without issue.



I live semi-rural and have a few different animals coming through nightly.  In my personal need to over-complicate, I also wired up some motion detectors with transformers attached to them.  What happened is the motion detectors created too much signal noise on the ground-wiring and the WiFi equipment was highly sensitive to it.  I let that part go, put it all on a timer with one circuit.
Cool.  So that's a 3.6W LED light fixture in that pic?  Nice.  It does look very similar to the amount of light I might get out of my old-school 50W low-voltage fixtures I have in the front yard.  Your light also looks "warm" like a standard light as opposed to whitish-blue which is not nearly as nice looking.  Thanks for posting that.  I think I'm sold.  I'll probably try to pick some of these up over the winter and install them next spring.  Cheers.

coastsidemike

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Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2015, 06:36:24 AM »
Cool.  So that's a 3.6W LED light fixture in that pic?  Nice.  It does look very similar to the amount of light I might get out of my old-school 50W low-voltage fixtures I have in the front yard.  Your light also looks "warm" like a standard light as opposed to whitish-blue which is not nearly as nice looking.  Thanks for posting that.  I think I'm sold.  I'll probably try to pick some of these up over the winter and install them next spring.  Cheers.

That's a 3.6W LED Flood lamp, the bulb type is a PAR36.  It's about 4" across:  https://duckduckgo.com/?q=par36+outdoor+flood&t=ffsb&iax=1&ia=images

The one thing I've not found so far are good replacements for the 7W/11W small fixtures used for paths or steps, the T5 or T10 wedge base.  The ones I've tried are not that bright and not warm.  As far as other lights, I'm mostly using directional fixtures with 3W LED, pointed directly upwards (replaces 50W).  They highlight up to about 15' into the trees giving a soft reflection downwards.  It's great to not need multiple 200W to 300W transformers.

Also wondering if anyone has a good source for LED holiday lights.

Cheers!




« Last Edit: December 13, 2015, 06:38:44 AM by surfin.mikeg »