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How to Install Low Voltage Lighting Systems

How to Install Low Voltage Lighting Systems
Low voltage lighting systems were invented in the 1950s by an electrical contractor, William (Bill) Locklin. He invented the system with a supply voltage of 12V, which is commonly known as low voltage lighting. This is used for decorating various areas of the garden or home.
HomeQuicks Staff
A low voltage lighting system is an economical and convenient option for decorating the yard. It consists of a plug-in transformer, which converts the mains voltage into 12V. The light fixtures are connected to the transformer using a cable. This system can be used for many purposes, like decorating the walkway entrances, driveways, patios, decks, and flowerbeds. The brightness of the light can be varied using the lights of different wattage. The bulbs are available in varying wattage, from 4W to 50W. You can even mix and match the brightness of the lighting by using bulbs of different wattages.
Layout
The first step is to decide the actual layout of the lighting. The best way is to take a walk in the lawn or the yard where you want to set up the lighting. There are many ways you can set it up so as to create different moods. Also, ensure that the lighting must not be obstructed or must not be an annoying source of glare. The beauty of low lighting is seen during the night, so you have to make it look subtle.
Light Fixtures
Choosing the style and type is the next step. The type of the light fixtures you choose will decide the exact number that are required for implementing your plans. There are many different ways in which low voltage lighting is installed. One of the layouts is to wire all the fixtures in a line and connect one end of this wire to the transformer. This is one of the most easiest ways to install it, and requires less efforts in comparison to the other methods. The second type is to form a loop of the fixtures and connect transformers on both side of the loop. The polarity of both the transformers should match with each other. Another type is like a star, in which the transformer is at the middle of the star. The fixtures are run sequentially in a straight line. Many straight lines of the fixtures are constructed and are connected to the transformer. This type of arrangement is called a split load.
Transformers
Once the arrangement is decided, the type of transformer that will suit the arrangement should be chosen. The VA rating of the transformer should be checked when you buy it, which may vary from 60W to 900W. To calculate the voltage rating requirement of your lighting, simply add the voltage ratings of all the light fixtures, and multiply this sum by 1.2.
Cables
The cables must not be buried in the ground, as they may get damaged due to the lawn equipment such as lawnmowers. The wires must always be encased in a PVC pipe to avoid any accidental damage. The fixtures and transformers should then be connected to each other according to the layout decided.
The implementation may take several hours and the time required is dependent upon how big the layout is. Installation can be done by a beginner and is quite easy. Low voltage designs are energy efficient and do not consume more power. Lastly, they are very safe and can be used even during the rains.
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