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Old 10-04-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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I am about to install outdoor lighting. I can either go with low voltage or regular I believe either 40 or 60 watt incandecent bulbs. My question is how much will I actually save using low voltage as opposed to regular? Besides the less light of low voltage are there any other disadvantages to using them?
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Wouldn't you like to know?
9,113 posts, read 15,045,166 times
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Are you talking about the "spotlights" that I see around alot of very nice neighborhoods that shine "up" from the front of the house?"

I've always wanted to do that. Is it easy to do? They look 1000x better than using those solar "runway" lights as I call them....
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:29 PM
 
768 posts, read 2,355,887 times
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I was going to use the "three tier" type. I'm using it on a dock and I'm concerned about the amount of light I would get if I went with low voltage as opposed to high voltage. I also am concerned about safety that comes along with high voltage.
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:30 PM
 
768 posts, read 2,355,887 times
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I probably should have titled this thred High voltage vs low voltage outdoor lighting.
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:18 PM
 
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By low voltage, I assume you are referring to the type of garden lights which run off a 12-volt Direct Current transformer.

From a safety aspect around water, the 12-volt system is much safer than using an improperly installed 120-volt system running off regular house voltage. The 12-volt system doesn't carry enough kick to kill or seriously injure a person or animal should ther be a problem. That's why those systems alow the wires to buried directly in unprotected garden soil which can often be moisture laden. Just be sure to install the 12-volt transformer on shore, preferably connected to a Ground Fault protected outlet.

Solving your power consumption concern is simple. A Watt is a Watt is a Watt.

Most 12-volt DC system fixtures use bulbs rated at 4 or 6 watts. Therefore you can run 10 6-watt bulbs in the 12-volt sytem for roughly the same cost as a single 60-watt bulb hooked up to your 120-volt house system.

Of course, you won't get the same amount of light, but the suitability will depend on what you expect your dock lights to do. If you just want to be able to find your dock in the dark and have enough light to comfortably moor your boat, the 12-volt sytems will provide enough light. If your expectation is to read fine-print Shakespeare on your wharf at midnight, then you will want to opt for a 120-volt system with its much greater lighting capacity.

Any 120 volt, (house), wiring done in the vicinity of water should likely be done by a qualified professional.

The 12-volt stuff is DIY.
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Old 10-05-2007, 04:20 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,288 posts, read 17,189,129 times
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We have both low voltage and regular voltage lighting in our small back yard - our L-shaped wrap-around yard is a series of two large concrete and used brick terraces with lower areas - all filled with tables, chairs, couches and huge pots of large tropical plants, etc. We use the back for entertaining and can comfortably sit 24 people for dinner.

The low voltage lighting is installed on 2 x 4's - one light at the top, one near the bottom of each 2 x 4 - the wood is painted black and abuts up against the vine-covered block wall and up against the house - about every 8 feet or so....you really don't notice the poles at all. The ambient lighting is on a timer and comes on at dusk and stays on until about 4 am.

The ambient lighting is great for mood lighting but inefficient for lighting the space enough for our use in the evenings...so we had someone install overhead spot lights (we've experimented with different voltage bulbs so that the light isn't blinding)....spot lights combined with the ambient lighting allows us to see what we are doing on the barbecue and for people to actually be able to see what they are eating yet we can still have lots of candles and it looks romantic and not too bright.

In the evenings I love looking out the French doors to the soft glow of low voltage light that comes from the back yard...I think it is really nice and very useful if you can install both kinds of lighting especially if you use your yard a lot during summer evenings.

If you look closely to the right on this picture taken a few years ago, you can see the ambient lighting poles that abut up against the block wall and some of the spot lights are picture on the left.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:46 AM
 
Location: St Augustine
605 posts, read 4,199,623 times
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We used the low voltage system after comparing with other version (which for us would have required a profession electrician to set up wiring) We got a 200 w. box and used the 20w light bulbs to uplight the trees in the back and they are pretty bright. Everyone always thinks it's professional and if I can do it they certainly can. Our lights were submerged this week when we got 10"+ rain in NE Florida and they still work!

Luckily we built our house and had extra outlets put on each side of the house for xmas lights and they came in handy to plug the timer box into.

Remember when it comes to lighting less is more! No runway lights!
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Old 10-05-2007, 06:04 PM
 
768 posts, read 2,355,887 times
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The electricians came today and recommended high voltage. They said being I'm on salt water I'm better off with the fixtures I can get with high voltage. That the low voltage would require more maintaince. I'm having a boat lift installed and they ran the wiring through a pvc tube all the way from my panel to where the boat slip is. That part is ok. I'm also putting in the outdoor lighting and it dosent seem like there going to run the wirering through the pvc. It looks like there just going to bury it along side the pvc in the trench the dug.

Should't I be concerned about having a Live wire buryed underneath the ground with no pvc tubing? I know its on circut breakers but I'm still concerned? Anybody know if this is acceptable?

Thanks for the help folks I appreiceate it!.....
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 22,868,225 times
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I live near the ocean and all my outdoor lighting is 120 Volt. It's completely safe if installed correctly. I have an isolation transformer and ground fault protection. I can touch any wire and not get shocked. Of course that's just ONE wire not two! Using direct burial cable is legal in some areas but EXTREMELY bad practice. Better off using PVC conduit and pulling wires. Bury at least 1 foot deep. Again, make sure that your circuit breakers are GFCI. Anything less is a hazard.
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Old 06-04-2011, 03:14 AM
 
1 posts, read 8,138 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallrick View Post
I live near the ocean and all my outdoor lighting is 120 Volt. It's completely safe if installed correctly. I have an isolation transformer and ground fault protection. I can touch any wire and not get shocked. Of course that's just ONE wire not two! Using direct burial cable is legal in some areas but EXTREMELY bad practice. Better off using PVC conduit and pulling wires. Bury at least 1 foot deep. Again, make sure that your circuit breakers are GFCI. Anything less is a hazard.

Thanks for this information. I will definitely try this. You solved my problem.

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Last edited by Ultrarunner; 06-04-2011 at 10:55 AM.. Reason: Terms of Service do not allow new members to post links.
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