|Part 1||Part 3|
Therefore the method you use to wire your outdoor low voltage lighting system can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful home improvement project.
The most common method of installation of an outdoor low voltage lighting system has a transformer, possibly with options such as photo cells and timers, mounted on the wall of the home. The transformer has an input of 120VAC and then a cable, with 2 wires, runs from the transformer to the first light fixture, then to the second light fixture and so on, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3 - Low voltage wiring diagram 1
The second lamp in the circuit will have reduced voltage, and hence less light output than the first lamp in the circuit. This is because it is receiving less voltage due to the additional length of wire between the first and second lamp. The third lamp in the circuit will have less voltage than the second lamp, and hence less light output than the first or second lamp in the circuit, and so on.
This does not make for attractive landscape lighting.
There are a few things that can be done to reduce the voltage drop to the light fixtures and make all of the lamps have similar light output.
Note: There is a design limit to the total amount of watts that any specific wire gauge can handle. Table 2 provides the total wattage over defined distances relative to wire gauges. It is important to keep this information in mind when designing the wiring of your outdoor low voltage lighting system.
Maximum Wattage For Wire Gauges
|Wire gauge||Maximum Watts|
Figure 4 - Low voltage wiring diagram 2
Figure 5 - Using different size wires