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A little help please.

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by hoskm01, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,690

    Hey guys,
    I am not in to lighting and dont plant to be. Im usually over in the irrigation forum but have a project at home that needs some help.

    Ive put in some lights in the yard, all 10w spots on trees and a couple on walls. Ive got a 300w supply and 12 guage wire. Now none of the equipment is expensive or a decent make, all Malibu from Lowes, I have no desire to blow 1000 bucks on decent material, though I know it would be better. At any rate, I have 2 12 guage strands of 100' each tied together with silicone wire nuts. 3 lights on the first strand and 4 on the second. Every light on the second strand is significantly dimmed whereas the first three are nice and bright. Ive redone the connetion numerous times between the two strands to no avail. Im only pulling 70 watts on a 300 watt supply and 12 gauge wire is pretty hefty, no? I know this is not the system of the year, but it would be nice if it would at least work correctly for a while. Figure its either bad wire or connection. Thanks for your input on possible solutions.
  2. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Your wire is fine. You are experiencing voltage drop along your wire. You need a multi-tap transformer and a voltage tester to ensure you receive the proper voltage at your lights. Everybody has to deal with this in low volt lighting. Unfortunately with Malibu, you get what you pay for and there is no remedy. Sorry
  3. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    The first thing is that my recollection is that Malibu kits come with #14 and #16 wire, not #12.

    Is the dimmed run longer? Did you happen to loose a few stands when you stripped the end, thus reducing it's carrying capacity?

    try some irrigation analogies:

    Think of amperage as flow (current) and voltage as pressure, and voltage drop as friction loss.

    Even with sufficient voltage at the transformer, any splice along the way is like adding a branch line, and any time you lose strands when making a splice is like forcing water through a reduced size coupling.

    Using a heavier gauge wire might effectively increase your available "flow".
  4. TXNSLighting

    TXNSLighting LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 6,463

    you get what you pay for...
  5. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    There is no hope. Scrap the TF and buy a Unique 360 and you will be able to atleast get 12v to your first connection. Everything there after has to do with your wiring design.
  6. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Hey guys. Matt's a good guy (with good taste in beer.) He doesn't need a lecture about his crappy lights.

    He's looking for a little hand with his problem.

    If you have a helpful suggestion, then pass it on, but if you just want to chime in and give him a hard time... well, I guess it reflects more on you than on him, eh?

    And BTW, Matt, if you shop at Ewing and you ever want to upgrade your lights you should probably check out FX's stuff. Reasonably priced, simple and reliable.
  7. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Not sure anyone was bashing here Gregg, more so telling it like it is. He needs a new TF for sure and he also needs to review hiw wiring design along with a volt meter to ensure proper voltage.

    And yes Matt an FX TF would work just fine!
  8. klkanders

    klkanders LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 849

    Gregg is correct! Use all the helpful stuff already stated and perhaps if you have time read as much as you can handle in the lighting forum.
    By the way I have been to the New Belgium Brewery in Ft. Collins CO. Man do I love the free samples! Fat Tire Amber Ale mmm
  9. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Funny you mention that, I have been there as well!! That was the first place I ever had Fat Tire. now I can buy it my local liquor store. I love that brew!!
  10. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,690

    And a multi-tap transformer would have more than one terminal to connect to? It does have 3 terminals on the bottom. Why would it be fine in the first 3 lights and not on the next 4? The first 3 are on the first strand of 100', then the next 4 on the next strand, after the connection. the four are all equally dim. So the transformer is putting out seemingly good juice at least to the splice.

    I redid the connection numerous times, they were all clean and consistent. Is there a better way to connect the two strands than nuts?

    Can you go bigger than #12?

    Im hoping I have a connection problem, hoping for help with that, thanks though.
    So, lets say I go buy a new transformer. Now whats the best way to splice my wires?

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