LV to line inverter? Or LV fountain pump?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by irrig8r, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    A customer asked me whether or no there might be some kind of inverter available to take the LV line back up to line voltage to power a wall fountain pump.

    First, is this possible? And if so, what kind of amperage would it draw and could it run on the same transformer as the lights? (250 W, right now only 60 to 100 of which will be used.)

    A masonry contractor ran the #12/2 cable though concrete and stone (hopefully in conduit) to a free standing masonry wall that screens part of the yard and patio from a parking area.

    I guess my other option, if there is conduit, is to use it for line voltage instead, and mount a small transformer as hidden as possible in the planter bed on the same circuit as the fountain.

    Or, has anyone ever come up with a LV fountain pump? We're just talking about a small wall mounted fountain. I've run in to this situation before... maybe I'll Google it...

  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    for that price would you question quality ? Also there is probably some restrictions about using these. It would have to definatly be a seperate trans anyways so you might as well use a line volt pump and low volt lights. Otherwise your pump would only run at night.

    Im working with a similar situation now... The fountain should be in around july 19th but we ill have to pull up the paver patio laid in 1909 to get the wiring in.
  4. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Jeez... that was kind of an oversight on my part, eh? :dizzy:

    Maybe she only wants the fountain to run at night?

    Well, she did ask if the pump could run with the lights... but the better solution, allowing the pump to run independently would be to use the conduit for line voltage, etc.

    The mason ran the cable. I've done a lot of lighting on this property, but somehow they got rolling on this with the mason assuming he was going to do the lights he ran the cable into the garage nearby, not towards any of the seven different existing transformer locations on the property...

    Sounds like I'm going to have to call in my electrician friend.
  5. High Performance Lighting

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

    I saw something on a jobsite that blew my mind last week. I did a service call for an old retired electrician who is the father of one of my clients. She asked if I would go there and fix his low voltage lights. He comes out with a huge multimeter that was not digital but had a "speedometer dial" on it. I did everything I could to contain myself and politely declined his meter and told him I was more comfortable using my own. That's not the thing that blew my mind though. He had a black 90 watt malibu transformer mounted to the house with a 12 gauge cable coming from it when I went behind the little fountain I realized that he had another transformer there that had the same wire from the other transformer wired to the terminals. The power cord was hard wired to the power cord from the 120v mini fountain pump. And sure enough when the malibu transformer was switched on the pump worked. He said he had this set up for 15 years without a problem. he said it was too expensive to extend the 120v from the house 40' to the back of the fountain. This guy was real old school. I'm not sure if this is kosher and safe or how code legal it is but I'll be damned the pump worked and the water flowed.
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    am I getting this right ? He had the 2nd trans acting as an inverter?

    I dont see why this wouldnt work since its AC and there is nothing to stop the current as there would be in a DC piece of equip. Wow I dont even think this is old school... Sounds like some good ol boy engineering to me. Was there duct tape or WD40 to be found in the area ? Perhaps a moon shine still ?
  7. ChampionLS

    ChampionLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,066

    How about using a boat bilge pump and a rectifying bridge to bring the current back to DC. (get a 25 amp one at Radio Shack) very simple.
  8. ChampionLS

    ChampionLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,066

    Do you mean a Analog Multimeter? They have been around for years and are actually more reliable than digital ones. (this is part of the reason you don't see digital gages in cars anymore. A pointing needle is easier to read than converting numerals in your head to get an acceptable reading)

    Intermatic doesn't make 90 watt transformers, but this idea would only work if the pump used a minuscule amount of power. You can't take 110 volts, convert it to 12 volts ac.. then convert it back to 110 again and get the same usable amperage. It's a loss each time. You'd probably need 300 watts of 12 volts AC to power a step-up transformer, just to run a tiny little motor. You'd have better luck running electronics than a power hungry device.
  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    although it would work in theory, I'd still stick with an electrician and a 120 volt pump. finding an outdoor rated step up inverter would be a fun search, as most inverters are for cars DC voltage, but it is probably out there. good luck and let us know what you ended up doing.
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Man that jamaican stuff must be great. A QUALITY digital meter should have no issues with being reliable as long as its not abused. The main problem with analog meters is the high impedance... they are not true RMS and not nearly acurate enough. Granted its better than using nothing tho.

    If you saw what he said these things were over 15 yrs old...Maybe malibu made one back then. I could see this working if it was a small fountain. I am going to set this up with some malibus we removed from a property and post my findings.

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