Low Voltage cable size

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by devans175, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. devans175

    devans175 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I was wondering if someone could give me some quick advice on low voltage lighting cable? I happen to be opening a trench to the back of my property and I thought that I'd burry some low voltage cable to uplight some large oak trees in the future while the ground is opened. The distance to the last fixture will be about 200 feet. There will be 3 or 4 fixtures about 25 feet apart at the end of the cable. I just want to burry the cable now while the ground is opened. What size cable should I use and what is a good type of fixture for this type of treatment?
     
  2. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    With a run that long, you would have to use at least 10 guage wire and I would run at least 2 of them. Even using #10 wire, you will need a multi-tap transformer as well.

    I don't know what kind or size of trees that you are talking about so I don't know what wattages you would need but as far as fixture type goes, if you are placing the fixtures in a planting bed you should use above ground bullet lights. If the fixtures are being placed in turf areas they should be in-ground well lights that are installed at finished grade.
     
  3. devans175

    devans175 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Thanks for the info. Sounds like I should investigate other options. I will have a 120 V AC line close to the back of the property where the lights will be. That's actually why I'm digging the trench. I suppose I could install the controller out closer to the lights, but then I need to be able to turn them on and off. My ultimate plan is to have a pro install a system to light 4 or 5 different zones throughout my property and tie it together on a single "control pad". That's not in the budget till next spring, though. Right now I just want to burry whatever type of cable I need to opperate the lights in the back so that the installer doesn't need to dig everything up again (and to save me a few dollars.) What type of cable would I use between a keypad type control device (in the house) and the transformer at the back of the property? Remember, it's going to be burried.
     
  4. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    Now your talking! You can use multiple transformers and control them all from one location. Bury an additional #18 set of direct bury wire for a future controller. You may not even need it, depending on the control that you decide to use, but as long as you have the ditch open, stick that wire in it.
     
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    wow I wish I was going to install your lighting.. A client who is considerate and pre wires for us :)

    Personally I use X10 controllers which operate over the line voltage wires. Paul is right tho to just bury an extra control wire now just in case.

    By the time you bought a roll of 10ga and ran 2 runs in your trench (nearly a full spool) you would be best off and also see better performance to just install a good strong line voltage outlet out there and run a transformer (if its that small of a zone you could get a baby kichler one). Do yourself a favor tho and use quality wire!
     
  6. devans175

    devans175 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm sorry you guys are so far away. Sounds like you would do a nice job on my install next year. I'm curious about the X10 controllers and how they tie in to the transformers. Is there a web site where I can do more research? I went to the X10 web site, but there didn't appear to be anything specifically for landscape lighting... just security cameras and security lighting...
     
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I think its x10pro.com not just x10.com

    There are plug in moduals that go right inside the transformers (quality transformers have a place for a timer to be inserted inside) and then a control unit of your choice can go in your home.

    A typical set up for me would be

    2 pin modual in each trans.
    Mini head unit timer in the home someplace
    Tranciever modual
    Key Chain remotes.
    Perhaps a sundowner if needed.

    I retail this set up around 349 or so installed. No wires to run as it sends a signal over the line voltage lines. I have noticed the keychain remotes dont work very well. I am pretty sure you can find a good installer in your area. Just make sure you know what brands and methods they use for installation so you can assure your getting quality. If they dont seem to up and up on good lighting either find a new contractor or ask here.
     
  8. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    When you get ready to do this project let me know and I can refer you to a landscape lighting professional in your area.
     
  9. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    I'm not sure if they've improved the x10, but we had tons of problems with those years ago. We used to install them in probably 90% of all projects, but since have removed most of them due to problems. Also, the "alarm clock style timer" was very confusing for homeowners and we got called all the time because they couldn't figure out how to adjust it. It's a good concept, but we just had tons of problems with them. Maybe they have updated the system since I've used it though.....I haven't touched them in 2-3 years now.
     
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    from what i understand they have addressed alot of the issues with interferance. The alarm clock style timers can be confusing and i do take the clients technical level into consideration before offering this. I also tape the book to the bottom of the timer.

    For someone on the bubble of deciding yes or no to do it I have found offering them control over thier system seals the deal. Only issue I have run into so far is poor reception on the keychains. Near a window or on the 2nd story near a window usually helps this problem if you can place the tranciver there. I would never consider offering this set up if someone didnt have the technical knowledge to set an alarm clock.

    I do offer free email and phone support to my clients but if I need to come out to adjust at thier request or reprogram a non faulty unit at thier request a VERY modest service charge does apply.
     

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