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View Full Version : LV to line inverter? Or LV fountain pump?


irrig8r
06-30-2007, 04:29 PM
A customer asked me whether or no there might be some kind of inverter available to take the LV line back up to line voltage to power a wall fountain pump.

First, is this possible? And if so, what kind of amperage would it draw and could it run on the same transformer as the lights? (250 W, right now only 60 to 100 of which will be used.)

A masonry contractor ran the #12/2 cable though concrete and stone (hopefully in conduit) to a free standing masonry wall that screens part of the yard and patio from a parking area.

I guess my other option, if there is conduit, is to use it for line voltage instead, and mount a small transformer as hidden as possible in the planter bed on the same circuit as the fountain.

Or, has anyone ever come up with a LV fountain pump? We're just talking about a small wall mounted fountain. I've run in to this situation before... maybe I'll Google it...


Gregg

irrig8r
06-30-2007, 04:48 PM
WOW.

Google gave me a few links for LV pumps.

Anyone used one or have a recommendation?

These look interesting

http://www.discount-pumps.biz/low_voltage_pumps.htm

Pro-Scapes
06-30-2007, 06:01 PM
for that price would you question quality ? Also there is probably some restrictions about using these. It would have to definatly be a seperate trans anyways so you might as well use a line volt pump and low volt lights. Otherwise your pump would only run at night.

Im working with a similar situation now... The fountain should be in around july 19th but we ill have to pull up the paver patio laid in 1909 to get the wiring in.

irrig8r
06-30-2007, 06:10 PM
Jeez... that was kind of an oversight on my part, eh? :dizzy:

Maybe she only wants the fountain to run at night?

Well, she did ask if the pump could run with the lights... but the better solution, allowing the pump to run independently would be to use the conduit for line voltage, etc.

The mason ran the cable. I've done a lot of lighting on this property, but somehow they got rolling on this with the mason assuming he was going to do the lights too...so he ran the cable into the garage nearby, not towards any of the seven different existing transformer locations on the property...

Sounds like I'm going to have to call in my electrician friend.

High Performance Lighting
06-30-2007, 11:45 PM
I saw something on a jobsite that blew my mind last week. I did a service call for an old retired electrician who is the father of one of my clients. She asked if I would go there and fix his low voltage lights. He comes out with a huge multimeter that was not digital but had a "speedometer dial" on it. I did everything I could to contain myself and politely declined his meter and told him I was more comfortable using my own. That's not the thing that blew my mind though. He had a black 90 watt malibu transformer mounted to the house with a 12 gauge cable coming from it when I went behind the little fountain I realized that he had another transformer there that had the same wire from the other transformer wired to the terminals. The power cord was hard wired to the power cord from the 120v mini fountain pump. And sure enough when the malibu transformer was switched on the pump worked. He said he had this set up for 15 years without a problem. he said it was too expensive to extend the 120v from the house 40' to the back of the fountain. This guy was real old school. I'm not sure if this is kosher and safe or how code legal it is but I'll be damned the pump worked and the water flowed.

Pro-Scapes
07-01-2007, 12:31 AM
am I getting this right ? He had the 2nd trans acting as an inverter?

I dont see why this wouldnt work since its AC and there is nothing to stop the current as there would be in a DC piece of equip. Wow I dont even think this is old school... Sounds like some good ol boy engineering to me. Was there duct tape or WD40 to be found in the area ? Perhaps a moon shine still ?

ChampionLS
07-01-2007, 02:21 AM
How about using a boat bilge pump and a rectifying bridge to bring the current back to DC. (get a 25 amp one at Radio Shack) very simple.

ChampionLS
07-01-2007, 02:32 AM
I saw something on a jobsite that blew my mind last week. I did a service call for an old retired electrician who is the father of one of my clients. She asked if I would go there and fix his low voltage lights. He comes out with a huge multimeter that was not digital but had a "speedometer dial" on it. I did everything I could to contain myself and politely declined his meter and told him I was more comfortable using my own. That's not the thing that blew my mind though. He had a black 90 watt malibu transformer mounted to the house with a 12 Gage cable coming from it when I went behind the little fountain I realized that he had another transformer there that had the same wire from the other transformer wired to the terminals. The power cord was hard wired to the power cord from the 120v mini fountain pump. And sure enough when the malibu transformer was switched on the pump worked. He said he had this set up for 15 years without a problem. he said it was too expensive to extend the 120v from the house 40' to the back of the fountain. This guy was real old school. I'm not sure if this is kosher and safe or how code legal it is but I'll be damned the pump worked and the water flowed.


Do you mean a Analog Multimeter? They have been around for years and are actually more reliable than digital ones. (this is part of the reason you don't see digital gages in cars anymore. A pointing needle is easier to read than converting numerals in your head to get an acceptable reading)

Intermatic doesn't make 90 watt transformers, but this idea would only work if the pump used a minuscule amount of power. You can't take 110 volts, convert it to 12 volts ac.. then convert it back to 110 again and get the same usable amperage. It's a loss each time. You'd probably need 300 watts of 12 volts AC to power a step-up transformer, just to run a tiny little motor. You'd have better luck running electronics than a power hungry device.

David Gretzmier
07-01-2007, 02:40 AM
although it would work in theory, I'd still stick with an electrician and a 120 volt pump. finding an outdoor rated step up inverter would be a fun search, as most inverters are for cars DC voltage, but it is probably out there. good luck and let us know what you ended up doing.

Pro-Scapes
07-01-2007, 07:48 AM
Do you mean a Analog Multimeter? They have been around for years and are actually more reliable than digital ones. .


Man that jamaican stuff must be great. A QUALITY digital meter should have no issues with being reliable as long as its not abused. The main problem with analog meters is the high impedance... they are not true RMS and not nearly acurate enough. Granted its better than using nothing tho.

If you saw what he said these things were over 15 yrs old...Maybe malibu made one back then. I could see this working if it was a small fountain. I am going to set this up with some malibus we removed from a property and post my findings.

High Performance Lighting
07-01-2007, 09:51 AM
Do you mean a Analog Multimeter? They have been around for years and are actually more reliable than digital ones. (this is part of the reason you don't see digital gages in cars anymore. A pointing needle is easier to read than converting numerals in your head to get an acceptable reading)

Intermatic doesn't make 90 watt transformers, but this idea would only work if the pump used a minuscule amount of power. You can't take 110 volts, convert it to 12 volts ac.. then convert it back to 110 again and get the same usable amperage. It's a loss each time. You'd probably need 300 watts of 12 volts AC to power a step-up transformer, just to run a tiny little motor. You'd have better luck running electronics than a power hungry device.


it was an analog meter and no way was this one more accurate than a digital. The needle pointed to a general voltage range. No way to pinpoint a number. The malibu transformer was the one with the plastic flip top that used to be sold with their kits it was no more powerful than 100 watts. please excuse me but I don't use intermatic products so I couldn't tell you the exact VA. If you'd read closer I said it was a small pump. And it worked so don't break my balls . Aren't you the guy who uses clip on connectors? Enough said!

High Performance Lighting
07-01-2007, 09:55 AM
Man that jamaican stuff must be great. A QUALITY digital meter should have no issues with being reliable as long as its not abused. The main problem with analog meters is the high impedance... they are not true RMS and not nearly acurate enough. Granted its better than using nothing tho.

If you saw what he said these things were over 15 yrs old...Maybe malibu made one back then. I could see this working if it was a small fountain. I am going to set this up with some malibus we removed from a property and post my findings.


Billy take it from hence it comes. Just another manufacturer or distributor or whatever this guy is with a hard on. Like what I'm doing is any threat to his business.

ChampionLS
07-01-2007, 11:40 AM
it was an analog meter and no way was this one more accurate than a digital. The needle pointed to a general voltage range. No way to pinpoint a number. The malibu transformer was the one with the plastic flip top that used to be sold with their kits it was no more powerful than 100 watts. please excuse me but I don't use intermatic products so I couldn't tell you the exact VA. If you'd read closer I said it was a small pump. And it worked so don't break my balls . Aren't you the guy who uses clip on connectors? Enough said!

You should get your facts straight before you show your intelligence to the public. THATS EXACTLY RIGHT- it showed a general voltage range. What do you think was around before digital mulimeters? They were ALL analog. Analog gages are more accurate for reading voltage fluctuations than digital ones that are subject to voltage spikes and peaks- a false reading. At times they are too sensitive and are only suitable for electronics work.

When measuring the value of an alternating current signal it is often necessary to convert the signal into a direct current signal of equivalent value (known as the RMS, Root Mean square, value). This process can be quite complex. Most low cost instrumentation (for example handheld multimeters of the sort used by maintenance engineers) carry out this conversion by filtering the signal into an average value and applying a correction factor. RIGHT back where we started- Averages.

Yes we use Tap Connectors, and if you are competent enough to understand the product line and how they are used you wouln't be arguing. :laugh:

High Performance Lighting
07-01-2007, 04:31 PM
You should get your facts straight before you show your intelligence to the public. THATS EXACTLY RIGHT- it showed a general voltage range. What do you think was around before digital mulimeters? They were ALL analog. Analog gages are more accurate for reading voltage fluctuations than digital ones that are subject to voltage spikes and peaks- a false reading. At times they are too sensitive and are only suitable for electronics work.

When measuring the value of an alternating current signal it is often necessary to convert the signal into a direct current signal of equivalent value (known as the RMS, Root Mean square, value). This process can be quite complex. Most low cost instrumentation (for example handheld multimeters of the sort used by maintenance engineers) carry out this conversion by filtering the signal into an average value and applying a correction factor. RIGHT back where we started- Averages.

Yes we use Tap Connectors, and if you are competent enough to understand the product line and how they are used you wouln't be arguing. :laugh:

Yes this indusrtry is full of a$$holes and I reckin we just found a huge one. :dizzy:

Pro-Scapes
07-01-2007, 04:39 PM
I'm not even going to touch this one....wait... I am lol... I'm stuck riding in the truck and on my pda so I'm bored.

Lets see now. An old school meter that gives u a good guestimate of the voltage or a quaility low impedance digital meter. I think for some reason I'm going digital.

Like you would be able to read your dial type fast enough to see the ac current. I don't think so. Not at this frequency. Thus we have the need to know the absolute closest average of voltage coming down the lines. If you really wanna get technical about the ac you would be carrying a scope out to each job.

Anthony I would have to say politly at this point you can stick with your analog meter and power taps and 4x lights that you can sting along 400 a a time and only bury your wire from 0 to 6 inches. The rest of us will with the proper tools and do our installs per code.

Let me guess now? Spades are overkill... since we only need to be under mulch anyways perhaps we shoulkd start using spatulas or thoes small seasonal color shovels. All wiring should be in a loop form and you guys gotta stop wasting your time with these ace connectors and solder joints. Afterall we can throw th3se hadco thumbtack connectors out in saltwater applications and the cable will magically heal around it.

I wouldn't be this cranky bout this but you always seem to butcher the code and proper sound install techniques to suit your own line.

High Performance Lighting
07-01-2007, 06:53 PM
I'm not even going to touch this one....wait... I am lol... I'm stuck riding in the truck and on my pda so I'm bored.

Lets see now. An old school meter that gives u a good guestimate of the voltage or a quaility low impedance digital meter. I think for some reason I'm going digital.

Like you would be able to read your dial type fast enough to see the ac current. I don't think so. Not at this frequency. Thus we have the need to know the absolute closest average of voltage coming down the lines. If you really wanna get technical about the ac you would be carrying a scope out to each job.

Anthony I would have to say politly at this point you can stick with your analog meter and power taps and 4x lights that you can sting along 400 a a time and only bury your wire from 0 to 6 inches. The rest of us will with the proper tools and do our installs per code.

Let me guess now? Spades are overkill... since we only need to be under mulch anyways perhaps we shoulkd start using spatulas or thoes small seasonal color shovels. All wiring should be in a loop form and you guys gotta stop wasting your time with these ace connectors and solder joints. Afterall we can throw th3se hadco thumbtack connectors out in saltwater applications and the cable will magically heal around it.

I wouldn't be this cranky bout this but you always seem to butcher the code and proper sound install techniques to suit your own line.

Billy, let's not waste anymore time on this guy. He's buried himself with his statements not only in this thread but others. If he had any sense he'd be embarassed to bottom feed by promoting his products in a competitor supported forum.:hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead:

Pro-Scapes
07-01-2007, 09:04 PM
Your right. Just gets me when someone is trying to spread false info to guys trying to learn something. I think I am going to rush out and buy some hadco power taps... wait... Doesnt some of these guys have a pile of quik discs they will sell me cheap ? After all its UL listed therefor must be of the highest quality.