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Old 12-07-2007, 01:23 PM
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A little help please.

Hey guys,
I am not in to lighting and dont plant to be. Im usually over in the irrigation forum but have a project at home that needs some help.

Ive put in some lights in the yard, all 10w spots on trees and a couple on walls. Ive got a 300w supply and 12 guage wire. Now none of the equipment is expensive or a decent make, all Malibu from Lowes, I have no desire to blow 1000 bucks on decent material, though I know it would be better. At any rate, I have 2 12 guage strands of 100' each tied together with silicone wire nuts. 3 lights on the first strand and 4 on the second. Every light on the second strand is significantly dimmed whereas the first three are nice and bright. Ive redone the connetion numerous times between the two strands to no avail. Im only pulling 70 watts on a 300 watt supply and 12 gauge wire is pretty hefty, no? I know this is not the system of the year, but it would be nice if it would at least work correctly for a while. Figure its either bad wire or connection. Thanks for your input on possible solutions.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:13 PM
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Your wire is fine. You are experiencing voltage drop along your wire. You need a multi-tap transformer and a voltage tester to ensure you receive the proper voltage at your lights. Everybody has to deal with this in low volt lighting. Unfortunately with Malibu, you get what you pay for and there is no remedy. Sorry
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:26 PM
irrig8r irrig8r is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoskm01 View Post
Hey guys,
I am not in to lighting and dont plant to be. Im usually over in the irrigation forum but have a project at home that needs some help.

Ive put in some lights in the yard, all 10w spots on trees and a couple on walls. Ive got a 300w supply and 12 guage wire. Now none of the equipment is expensive or a decent make, all Malibu from Lowes, I have no desire to blow 1000 bucks on decent material, though I know it would be better. At any rate, I have 2 12 guage strands of 100' each tied together with silicone wire nuts. 3 lights on the first strand and 4 on the second. Every light on the second strand is significantly dimmed whereas the first three are nice and bright. Ive redone the connetion numerous times between the two strands to no avail. Im only pulling 70 watts on a 300 watt supply and 12 gauge wire is pretty hefty, no? I know this is not the system of the year, but it would be nice if it would at least work correctly for a while. Figure its either bad wire or connection. Thanks for your input on possible solutions.

The first thing is that my recollection is that Malibu kits come with #14 and #16 wire, not #12.

Is the dimmed run longer? Did you happen to loose a few stands when you stripped the end, thus reducing it's carrying capacity?

try some irrigation analogies:

Think of amperage as flow (current) and voltage as pressure, and voltage drop as friction loss.

Even with sufficient voltage at the transformer, any splice along the way is like adding a branch line, and any time you lose strands when making a splice is like forcing water through a reduced size coupling.

Using a heavier gauge wire might effectively increase your available "flow".
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:45 PM
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you get what you pay for...
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:57 PM
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There is no hope. Scrap the TF and buy a Unique 360 and you will be able to atleast get 12v to your first connection. Everything there after has to do with your wiring design.
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Old 12-07-2007, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly Prof. Lighting View Post
Your wire is fine. You are experiencing voltage drop along your wire. You need a multi-tap transformer and a voltage tester to ensure you receive the proper voltage at your lights. Everybody has to deal with this in low volt lighting. Unfortunately with Malibu, you get what you pay for and there is no remedy. Sorry
And a multi-tap transformer would have more than one terminal to connect to? It does have 3 terminals on the bottom. Why would it be fine in the first 3 lights and not on the next 4? The first 3 are on the first strand of 100', then the next 4 on the next strand, after the connection. the four are all equally dim. So the transformer is putting out seemingly good juice at least to the splice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irrig8r View Post
Is the dimmed run longer? Did you happen to loose a few stands when you stripped the end, thus reducing it's carrying capacity?

Using a heavier gauge wire might effectively increase your available "flow".
I redid the connection numerous times, they were all clean and consistent. Is there a better way to connect the two strands than nuts?

Can you go bigger than #12?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texanlawnandlandscape View Post
you get what you pay for...
Im hoping I have a connection problem, hoping for help with that, thanks though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyD View Post
There is no hope. Scrap the TF and buy a Unique 360 and you will be able to atleast get 12v to your first connection. Everything there after has to do with your wiring design.
So, lets say I go buy a new transformer. Now whats the best way to splice my wires?
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:58 PM
irrig8r irrig8r is offline
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Hey guys. Matt's a good guy (with good taste in beer.) He doesn't need a lecture about his crappy lights.

He's looking for a little hand with his problem.

If you have a helpful suggestion, then pass it on, but if you just want to chime in and give him a hard time... well, I guess it reflects more on you than on him, eh?

And BTW, Matt, if you shop at Ewing and you ever want to upgrade your lights you should probably check out FX's stuff. Reasonably priced, simple and reliable.
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Old 12-07-2007, 04:06 PM
irrig8r irrig8r is offline
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Matt, reading your post again it sounds like you have two runs coming off of a single cable that then runs back to the transformer? Better if you have them run back separately in your case, or like Joey says use a higher voltage "home" run out to where you split off, with a multi-tap transformer like Unique's or FX's.

Do you have a decent multi-tester? What's the outgoing voltage at your transformer?

And "multi-tap" refers to the different taps with incrementally increasing voltage available. FX goes up to 15 V. Unique goes up to 15 or 22 V. Malibu doesn't offer such as far as I know.
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Last edited by irrig8r; 12-07-2007 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:49 AM
Chris J Chris J is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irrig8r View Post
Hey guys. Matt's a good guy (with good taste in beer.) He doesn't need a lecture about his crappy lights.

He's looking for a little hand with his problem.

If you have a helpful suggestion, then pass it on, but if you just want to chime in and give him a hard time... well, I guess it reflects more on you than on him, eh?

And BTW, Matt, if you shop at Ewing and you ever want to upgrade your lights you should probably check out FX's stuff. Reasonably priced, simple and reliable.
This is probably the first time I've had a problem with you, but I'm gonna speak my peace. If you're such a good friend of Matt, then you should just go ahead and do the job for him and provide him with a little knowledge. Or, you could call him directly, and tell him over the phone in 5 minutes everything you know about lighting?
The first post of this forum is for "home owners" and/or "do it yourselfers".
It is clearly explained that we professionals make our living from designing and installing quality lighinting systems. Please don't try to defend someone who is not a lighting pro that happens to wander upon this forum. We are not here to help people take business from our individual companies, nor should you. Even though this person might be a good person, or even a great friend, he is still not a lighting contractor. This forum is for lighting contractors!!
No offense, but you hit a nerve.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:11 AM
pete scalia pete scalia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post
This is probably the first time I've had a problem with you, but I'm gonna speak my peace. If you're such a good friend of Matt, then you should just go ahead and do the job for him and provide him with a little knowledge. Or, you could call him directly, and tell him over the phone in 5 minutes everything you know about lighting?
The first post of this forum is for "home owners" and/or "do it yourselfers".
It is clearly explained that we professionals make our living from designing and installing quality lighinting systems. Please don't try to defend someone who is not a lighting pro that happens to wander upon this forum. We are not here to help people take business from our individual companies, nor should you. Even though this person might be a good person, or even a great friend, he is still not a lighting contractor. This forum is for lighting contractors!!
No offense, but you hit a nerve.
Well said Chris.
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