Voltage Taps??

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by jbailey52, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    The kichler transformer I am looking at says it has taps from 12-17Volts. Can someone tell me about this? Is there something I need to set up so it is 12 volts? (assuming thats what I want to use for low voltage lighting?)
     
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,180

    When you add lights and wire you create a load. When you load it then you will have voltage drop due to the resistence.

    For instance (these are mythical numbers im not calculating right now). You have a run that has 4 lights at 20w each. You will not actually have 12v at the lights even tho your on the 12v tap. You may only have 9.5 volts (again mythical numbers im sure paul will explain this better). Since your 2 volts out of target range you would move up 2 volts to the 14v tap to supply 11.5 volts to your lights. This is where the hub method of wiring really shines. You can check voltage at your hub and adjust at the tap and be ready to rock and roll. I calculate mine Really fast and can usually connect to the right tap the first time then check all hubs under load.

    Hope this made sence. Been a long day with a broken boat trailer axle and the boat still at the lake.
     
  3. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    Not getting into voltage calculations this late at night. This is just to answer your question. I don't know of a Kichler transformer that has 12-17 taps and I use a lot of Kichler. They have 12-15 and 12-18 volt transformers. Unless you really know what you are doing, you should not use a transformer with more than a 15 volt tap. What these professional transformers have are multiple voltage taps ranging from 12 to 15 volts. The reason for this is to compensate for voltage drop.
     
  4. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    Answered my question great. I am using the Hub method with one line going about 50 feet around one side of a pool (Not near the pool or water) and the other line going around the other side.. each line wont be over 75 feet. Im thinking if I Use a Kichler transformer.. I dont need one with multiple taps... What do you guys think? I havent bought the transformer yet either.. Do either of you guys have pictures of how the wires actually connect to the transformers? Im sure its self explanitory when I see it, and with directions tho, just trying to figure it out in my head. Thanks again!
     
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,180

    im starting to think you should contact Kirk at dreams to designs and let him install or at least design your system :dizzy: you still need a multi tap trans even with hub. Most common tap with my hubs runs 13 or 14v. I havnet used a single tap trans since i was 10 years old and was enlisted to install my parents malibu floods
     
  6. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    Billy, now I know why my ears are burning!

    Most if not all high end or professional low voltage lighting transformers will be multi-tap. That way the voltage is even to all the runs depending on wire lengths and load. Your best bet is to visit an Aquarius Irrigation supply and they can enlighten you to multi-tap transformers and the proper installation of a low voltage landscape lighting system. If this is to be for your own enjoyment, you can learn from your mistakes and experiment, if this system is for hire, you had better do it right the first time. Proper lighting design will make a huge difference in the perceived quality of your work as well as the quality of the material for your installation.

    If I can be of any assistance, don't hesitate to contact me.

    Kirk
     
  7. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    You will still need a multi tap transformer. I don't know how many watts you will have on each run but at 40 watts and 50' on #12 wire you will lose .5 volts. At 100 watts you will lose about 1.4 volts at 50'. At 75' and 100 watts you will lose 2 volts. Another thing that you must consider is that if you want to add a fixture in the future, all you will have to do is bump up the voltage tap on the transformer. With a single tap transformer you might have to run a whole new line.
     

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