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High Voltage Landscape Lighting

 
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Old 06-14-2009, 01:12 PM   #1
 
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High Voltage Landscape Lighting


I'm about to install landscape lighting in my home and I think I've convinced myself to go with high voltage lighting, but have a couple of basic questions.

What concerns me most are the splices. I'm replacing a system a contractor put in where he buried wire nuts. (I didn't let him get beyond the wiring stage of the job.)

Are there any DBR splices that are rated for high voltage? Should I bury a watertight junction box instead? I don't mind soldering, but I'm not sure there's any advantage in this situation. Any reason not to use the lighting fixtures as a splice point and daisy-chain the lights?

There are existing outdoor outlets I'll be connecting to. What's a nice, clean way of making the transition from the outlet to the conduit? Ideally I would like to keep at least one of the outlets for future holiday lights.

I know that using high voltage landscape lights is unpopular. A number of reasons are often given for using low voltage, such as:

Safety - However with a GFI breaker, high voltage fixtures and conduit buried 12" I don't see that much of a risk.

Flexibility - However I'm seeing enough high voltage landscape lighting fixtures from companies such as Kichler I don't see a problem here. Also the flexibility with wiring runs using high voltage has a lot of advantages. Lastly I have wall dimmers on the exterior outlets giving me added flexibility.

Expense - With the cost of quality, multi-tap transformers and heavy gauge wire I would give the advantage to high voltage on this issue. Trenching and installing conduit are cheap for me!

Efficiency - With the voltage drops of low voltage effectively heating the ground I don't believe low voltage has an advantage here.

I'll have about 15 lights, including 4 lights on pilasters, please feel free to tell me I'm all wet on my reasoning, I'm mostly interested in anything else I should watch for and any tips for what I want to do.

paul
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Old 06-14-2009, 01:42 PM   #2
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Re: High Voltage Landscape Lighting


Sure sounds like you need an electrician involved. These are some pretty basic questions that, if you have to ask, you really shouldn't be doing the work. Some of what you objected to is completely legal and compliant, and some of what you propose is flatly illegal. You need professional help. Much of the terminology you use makes me believe you are a DIY homeowner.

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Old 06-14-2009, 01:58 PM   #3
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Re: High Voltage Landscape Lighting


Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
I'm about to install landscape lighting in my home and I think I've convinced myself to go with high voltage lighting, but have a couple of basic questions.

What concerns me most are the splices. I'm replacing a system a contractor put in where he buried wire nuts. (I didn't let him get beyond the wiring stage of the job.)

Are there any DBR splices that are rated for high voltage? Should I bury a watertight junction box instead? I don't mind soldering, but I'm not sure there's any advantage in this situation. Any reason not to use the lighting fixtures as a splice point and daisy-chain the lights?

There are existing outdoor outlets I'll be connecting to. What's a nice, clean way of making the transition from the outlet to the conduit? Ideally I would like to keep at least one of the outlets for future holiday lights.

I know that using high voltage landscape lights is unpopular. A number of reasons are often given for using low voltage, such as:

Safety - However with a GFI breaker, high voltage fixtures and conduit buried 12" I don't see that much of a risk.

Flexibility - However I'm seeing enough high voltage landscape lighting fixtures from companies such as Kichler I don't see a problem here. Also the flexibility with wiring runs using high voltage has a lot of advantages. Lastly I have wall dimmers on the exterior outlets giving me added flexibility.

Expense - With the cost of quality, multi-tap transformers and heavy gauge wire I would give the advantage to high voltage on this issue. Trenching and installing conduit are cheap for me!

Efficiency - With the voltage drops of low voltage effectively heating the ground I don't believe low voltage has an advantage here.

I'll have about 15 lights, including 4 lights on pilasters, please feel free to tell me I'm all wet on my reasoning, I'm mostly interested in anything else I should watch for and any tips for what I want to do.

paul
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:27 PM   #4
 
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Re: High Voltage Landscape Lighting


I would strongly advise against doing a 120v system. As a homeowner it is illegal and there are a lot of issues that can arise over time when installing 120v systems. also the digging and trenching can be a huge pain!!! It is much easier to bury low voltage wire. You think its easy now but going down 18" for long runs is no joke.
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