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Old 11-17-2013, 10:37 AM
bim bim is offline
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Electrical for outdoor lighting kit

Was hoping to get some help with some basic info. Probably a searchable question, but didn't even know what to search for as a newbie.

I want to put in an outdoor lighting kit. Currently, there is a single light about 30 feet from the door along the sidewalk. It's powered by the same wiring that powers the other indoor fixtures. It's ran underground and linked to a switch inside. I'd like to get rid of that light and add maybe 6 path lights and a couple of spots. As you can probably tell from my post, I don't really have any idea what I'm doing, but I'm a quick learner so pointed in the right direction, I'll figure it out.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:19 PM
GreenLight GreenLight is offline
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Is it low voltage? It's possible it is through varying configurations, but 8 times out of 10 if it's on a switch inside it's an electrician job who used line voltage. If that's the case, you should call an electrician and step away. If it's low voltage, you should probably still call a professional, but it's certainly a lot safer for you to work on.
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:37 PM
bim bim is offline
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From what I can tell it looks like line voltage. I was really interested in doing it myself if possible. Can't I just hook something up to that power that enables me to do my whole lighting set up?
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:49 PM
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Lite4 Lite4 is offline
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If you are wanting to DIY, low voltage is the answer for you. To answer your question as to whether you can hook up your lighting to the circuit with the switch; you will need an electrician to install a GFCI outlet that is on that circuit (if there isn't one already). Then you can install a transformer and install your lights. Go LED, this will keep you away from many of the pitfalls related to voltage drop when using halogen lamps. If you are looking for a nice design, consult with a lighting pro- if you are just wanting to install a few path lights- knock yourself out. Just use good, watertight connections.
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:55 PM
bim bim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lite4 View Post
If you are wanting to DIY, low voltage is the answer for you. To answer your question as to whether you can hook up your lighting to the circuit with the switch; you will need an electrician to install a GFCI outlet that is on that circuit (if there isn't one already). Then you can install a transformer and install your lights. Go LED, this will keep you away from many of the pitfalls related to voltage drop when using halogen lamps. If you are looking for a nice design, consult with a lighting pro- if you are just wanting to install a few path lights- knock yourself out. Just use good, watertight connections.
Great, this is helpful. I think I'll look into getting the GFCI outlet on the circuit then putting in the light through the switch. I'll look into LED, thanks!
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:05 PM
bim bim is offline
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Ok so looking into this not sure I shouldn't just do a separate low voltage system. I currently have a GFCI in back, but nothing in the front as far as power, other than the line voltage 20 feet from the house. It seems my only option would be to rip it up to bring it up closer to the house to put an outlet in?

I guess my question is, is there anyway to run a simple landscape light kit from the line voltage where it currently is, coming out of the ground?

Sorry for all the dumb questions and thanks for the help!
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:23 PM
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starry night starry night is offline
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You need a transformer to step down the line voltage to 12 volt. The transformer needs to be plugged in to a GFCI outlet on the outside of your home. Then the wires for your "lighting kit" run out of the secondary circuit on the transformer.
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:46 AM
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Lite4 Lite4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bim View Post
Ok so looking into this not sure I shouldn't just do a separate low voltage system. I currently have a GFCI in back, but nothing in the front as far as power, other than the line voltage 20 feet from the house. It seems my only option would be to rip it up to bring it up closer to the house to put an outlet in?

I guess my question is, is there anyway to run a simple landscape light kit from the line voltage where it currently is, coming out of the ground?

Sorry for all the dumb questions and thanks for the help!
If it were me approaching this system- Yes, I would remove the one path light and cut the UF cable (that's the line voltage cable you currently have) back close to the house- Please turn the power off first before you do this :-)

I would use Low voltage because the quality and variety of equipment is far superior to what is available on the line voltage market. With LED's, just about anyone can do it if they aren't afraid to get their hands a little dirty. The design is a bit trickier to get the spacing just right, but the beautiful thing about low volt lights is that you can pick them up and move them a foot here or a few inches there to get just the right effect you like.

Install the GFCI outlet on one of your less conspicuous outside walls and mount a transformer. Choose the transformer size based on how many lights you plan to run and add 20%. Simply add up the watts consumed and don't exceed 80% of the capacity on the transformer you are choosing. To be safe, or if you plan on adding on down the road, buy a larger capacity transformer than you originally need.

At this point you can run out all your 12/2 cable and install your lighting which will be powered by the transformer. side note*- Leave your switch on inside and use a good astro timer or manual timer placed inside your transformer. It is much easier than having to remember to turn it off and on every night.

Hope this helps
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Old 11-21-2013, 02:39 PM
drewguy drewguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bim View Post
I guess my question is, is there anyway to run a simple landscape light kit from the line voltage where it currently is, coming out of the ground?
If you really don't want to pull the wire up back to close to the house, in theory you could install a GFCI outlet where it comes out of the ground and a transformer there. But then you will have a transformer in the middle of your walk, which isn't very attractive.

Can you locate where the current wire exits the house in the basement? Perhaps there's a piece of conduit there that would allow you to run a new 120v wire outside, and simply dig down and start there, leaving the existing wire in place. Of course, all you really need to do is dig down where the wire exits the house, cut it off with enough length to add an outlet and go from there.
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:28 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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You might also consider the use of an in-grade transformer where the 120V wire terminates along the path. I know that Hadco, Focus, and Qtran make these, as well as some others.
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