12-15 volt multi-tap transformers

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by High Performance Lighting, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Messages: 326

    What is your criteria for choosing the one you use? In other words what features are important to you?
  2. seolatlanta

    seolatlanta LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    I would say-

    Plenty of room to work and the ability to hardwire. Also room for timer or module.

  3. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Messages: 326

    what about performance?
  4. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    I would say that I want a toroidal type transformer as opposed to an EI type for performance. I want circuit breakers instead of fuses (I still don't see why some companies still use fuses). Give me large lugs. I want to be able to put more than a couple of wires into the lug. Forget hard wire transformers. Room to work, I still think that even the best transformers could use an extra couple of inches. Of course, plug-in photo control and timer. I like the convenience of just by-passing the photo control and pulling the timer if I like.
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    ditto everything paul said plus it must be entirely stainless... must not leak water etc. Some of the MDL knock offs out there rust at the hinges (they have a hinged door with latch) and I dont like the door that they use. Water could still seep in if the bottom of the trans isnt kicked out just a bit more than the top.

    Just had a chance to look at the unique inverted transformers which might be a bit easier to work in.

    It has to perform and it has to perform reliably. If I could change something about the MDL units I use now it would definatly be more room to work and perhaps if possible space the terminals out a bit more. Even with the drop downs it can be aggrivating to get 4 10 ga wires in a common then 3 in the next. The lugs hold it well but trying to get in there :hammerhead:
  6. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 805

    * Large secondary connection lugs for a lot of wires
    *As much room as possible under the lugs and bottom plate.
    *1 1/4" or bigger bottom plate conduit outlet
    *Steady and consistent voltage from small load right up to 100% Capacity. Nobody wants to rewire every tap if you do a little add on. (Tordials)
    *Hinged Door or easy access.
    *Should meet 1838 Water sprinkler requirements.
    *Room for various large control modules. (Timers)
    *Easy place to check amps on the primary side.
    *Secondary lug screws should stand up to the test of time, no seizing, rusting, and or rounding off of a small lug head.
    * No sharp edges
    * Rust proof

    Things that are nice:
    * Angled Secondary Lugs
    * Magnetically held open door
    * Relayed and Non Relayed Control module plug (Timer) Dimmed circuits need non relayed and relayed units are great for control module life.
    * Split Controls with one transformer.
    * Extra common tap for balancing loads.

    Future Wants:
    *Adjustable Automatic secondary voltage regulation
  7. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Messages: 326

    Eden says-Future Wants:
    *Adjustable Automatic secondary voltage regulation

    I have asked for this feature and am yet to get anyone to bite. It goes like this. Imagine a cable run that is carrying a 105 watt load (3-35watt lamps)with 10 gauge cable or even 12 . The first light is 100 feet from the transformer the other 2 are 10 feet apart or so. You have 11.5V at homerun (first fixture)You get one lamp that goes out and you have more than 12 volts at the remaining 2 lamps. You'd better replace that lamp soon. I want a device that will stabilize voltage going to those remaining 2 lamps. I'm not interested in the RSL device built into the fixture stake. I'm talking a feature built into the transformer that will last.

    I hear talk in here about torroidal transformers holding up better under load. Don't talk to me about energy efficiency. I need RAW POWER. I have tested 2 models from different manufacturers so far and I have found the results disappointing. They do run cooler, however the voltage drop is much greater than the super duty coil and core transformer that I am using now on both units I tested. The torroidal one I just tested last week had 119V input voltage 12.2V,13.2V,14.2V,15.2V with no load at the secondary taps. So far so good but When I put a 160 watt load (split over 2 cable runs, 5-20 watt lamps with the home run center fed to the middle fixture 30 ft from transformer 10 feet of cable between the remaining two fixtures on both sides of the homerun fixture, run 2 had 50 feet to homerun fixture and approximately 10 feet between the other two fixtures) so this was not a heavy load by any means I lost 1.1 full volts across all temrinals-11.1V,12.1V,13.1V,14.1V respectively. This to me is not acceptable. Fully loaded this transformer will lose a full 2 volts or more- No Good. It was only a 300 watt transformer. I have a 600 watt transformer from this same manufacturer so far I am yet to put a load on it to check performance. I did check it's output unloaded again with a 119V incoming line voltage. I was shocked to find this unit had even less power registering an anemic 11.6V,12.6V,13.6V,14.6V. The only redeeming value I found was the tight regulation between voltage taps -an exact 1 volt difference. When I pulled the unit apart to examine the torroidal core it appeared to me that it was wound with 14 gauge copper. The manufacturer told me explicity that they use the "heaviest copper windings". I guess he didn't expect me to tear the thing apart and expose the "wizard behind the screen". Anyway talk to me tell me what kind of drop you are experiencing with your transformers. I am very very happy with my current set up but if there is something better out there I need it.
  8. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 805

    I tried to get more information about this technology about a year ago, but the local IRIS rep. was lost.

  9. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 805

    We have been using the Kichler Pro and Contractor series along with FX units on dimmed circuits and we have not had a problem with voltage drop increasing as we reach capacity in a couple of years. I wont try to make a broad statement about MDL made units, but I thought 900W+ units had already gone to Tordials and the rest would soon follow?? I tried to keep up on this but I gave up. I have not lab tested the two so I don't know, but Cast did and the results can be seen on their website.

    We did get smoked on primary voltage increases on two large jobs last year. Both jobs were installed on properties with overloaded and failing cans that were replaced after our install. We had to rewire all the transformers and change a lot of lamps way too early.
  10. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Messages: 326

    What kind of primary voltage do you have in Tennesee? I have come across a number of FX transformers in the field installed by others. Again I found them to be no where near as powerful as what I have. They don't even have a 15 volt tap.

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