Buck Boost Transformers

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Bob Klaidman, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. Bob Klaidman

    Bob Klaidman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Can anyone tell me why it is a bad idea to use Buck Boost Transformers for landscape lighting?

    Here are the obvious reasons:
    1. Usually there is no secondary protection on the low voltage side.
    2. They usually dont limit the load.

    I am not answering my own question, I am really asking more about the function of the transformer. I feel like I should know this, but I dont. Buck Boost sre so much less expensive than Landscape style core and coil.

    I have scoured the internet and cant find any good info.

    Are they load dependent? How do they work with LEDs? How about Voltage drop? Etc, etc.

    I have a customer who has some problems and is using a Buck boost. I told him not to use it, but when he asked me why...I was not sure what to tell him.

  2. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    A typical Buck/Boost type transformer is not listed for use in landscape lighting applications. It is so important for people to understand this: Any installed electrical product must be listed specifically for the application that they are used for.

    Just as you cannot use a landscape lighting transformer inside a home to power up track lighting, the same goes for 'interior' or general purpose transformers for landscape lighting systems.

    That is enough of a reason for me.
  3. Hi Bob,
    James is correct, the primary reason should be that they are not listed for the purpose of landscape lighting. In Canada at least, that is a big deal for our electrical authorities.
    Why they are not and cannot be listed as landscape lighting transformers, is because there is no electrical isolation between the primary and secondary windings...they use a continuous winding. Landscape lighting transformers have to be electrically isolated. And in order to be used for water features, must also have a ground shield (Faraday shield) between the primary and secondary coils.

    John Higo
  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,113

    I had wondered that myself. Thanks for the explanation John.
  5. Bob Klaidman

    Bob Klaidman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Thanks for the replies, this site is not too Mobil phone friendly so I have not had a chance to respond.

    I think Unique lighting proved a long time ago that the proper "Landscape" or 1838 listing is not necessarily needed, but thats a separate topic. I do agree that a properly listed transformer should always be used.

    My question about the buck boost was more about performance. I find that electricians regularly use buck boost because of the low cost and are widely available at electrical supply houses.
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Just because some do, does not make it right. Gerry Delavega and Vince Noletti ran an excellent session on UL NEC etc at the AOLP conference a week ago. UL1838 is THE standard to which we as pros must adhere. No question in my mind. The reasons are pretty clear as the letters on this page.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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