Extending power source from transformer

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by GreenLight, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    to GFCI outlet?

    I have a job where the GFCI Outlet is about 8-9 feet further away than my cord length from the transformer. The GFCI outlet is flush mounted into the brick and I don't really have any alternative methods for pulling power. I can't really move the Trans closer to the outlet because there is an espaliated wall plant that sits between the two.

    I don't want to run an extension cord if possible. I am not really one to mess with line voltage, but since I am dealing with a pluggable device, I was wondering if I could remove the present 3 foot trans plug and build my own or splice the trans power source into a longer wire run. My question is really, what is the safest avenue here and what kind of wire do you recommend. I was hoping to avoid the grey direct burial romex and be able to stick with something similar to the original cord style.
  2. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    You are not able to make a nm cable a cord. Legally, I should say. Do you have an electrician that can install a bell box extension ring and use a pvc conduit to move closer to the transformer? If you don't currently have an electrician that you can buddy up with, it would be a good idea to find one. Especially one savvy enough to be able to help you out with lighting controls and change switches to dimmers to bring existing glare bombs (I mean coach lights) into the lighting scene you are designing.
  3. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    I do, but he is the one who said "save your money and just make a romex run to a junction box and splice your transformer cord with the romex". Which I didn't really feel comfortable with.
  4. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,321

    Can the client afford to put another GFCI next to the transformer location? Separate run to its own breaker?
    Cost maybe $200 by an electrician.
  5. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    Greenlight, no offense but it might be time to find another electrician. You cannot use SJO cord as a permanent wiring method, nor can you leave romex or a uf cable unprotected. Go online and look for local electricians that have lighting controls in their SEO's. That is the guy you want to talk to.
  6. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    No offense taken. You do bring me to a question. What kind of cord would the original trans cord be classified as? Is this not some type of sjo cord?
  7. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    It may very well be the same cord that is on the original transformer, however the minute that you cut, remove, or alter the transformer or its power cord in any way you have nullified its electrical listings. (UL, CSA, ETL)

    Some transformers, by their classification, are limited to using only 3' of 12Ga wire for their receptacle cords. Change that and you have eliminated their listing.
  8. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 380

    I can see your electrician likes to follow code.
    Run a new dedicated line from within the residence. Stub out with a pvc surface mount box and install the GFCI. Place a bubble in use cover on and your done. Less than an hour. Do it right or don''t do it all.
    I am an electricain and its shameful to hear suggestions like your electricain provided you. I am with Bob, its time to look for an established electrical company not a trunk slammer.
    Just my 2 cents.

  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    ok guys-little rant here,

    a proper rated cord for the length, properly installed should work period. the problem today is "who" can do this and what are the proper connections.

    It is so funny how back in the day, over the past 2 decades plus FX and Nightscaping and other trans manus offered longer cords and instructions on how to easily turn a few screws to get a longer cord length. these pigtails were 12 guage wire and had plenty of UV resistance and amp capacity to go 25 plus feet away if you wished. although I have not bought a new Nightscaping trans in quite some time, the FX trans I installed a few weeks ago still had the same easy ability, and the longer cords are still available.

    we also used to wire up our own photocells on the high voltage side ( FX still does) of the trans before there was plug and play. One could argue that us non electricians, mounting a photocell in a remote location, even when it is totally pluggable, is a code violation.

    But alas, as electricians have unions and lobby's and political power, and we have...not that, codes change and legal issues change what you can and should do. Lets face it, if they were really honest, electricians would do away with us in all 50 states.

    for now, get an electrican to do what needs to be done.
  10. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 380


    In my opinion it has nothing to do with what someone can or can't do but specifically has everything to do with insurance companies and liability. As soon as you begin to modify a manufacturers product that has gone through the process of being listed you are taking a huge risk if something goes wrong.
    A simple squirrel or chipmunk can naw at that extended wire and possibly cause a fire or create an unsafe condition for children. Is it really worth losing sleep over 2 or 300 hundered dollars? Something to think about before you proceed to modify products that have already been engineered, designed and passed by UL or CSA etc.


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