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not sure if have a single tap or multi tap transformer for my landscape lights

not sure if have a single tap or multi tap transformer for my landscape lights

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  #1  
Old 03-17-13, 12:55 PM
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Question not sure if have a single tap or multi tap transformer for my landscape lights

My landscape lights burn out way too fast so i had a landscape co. that does lighting look at some pictures of my transformer and they said it is a single tap transformer and i most likely need a multi-tap transformer. I have 6 wells lights (20 watts each halogen PAR 36 light bulb), 7 spot lights (20 watts each M16 light bulb) and 2 flood lights (25 watts each with those bi-pin bulbs)....there are 4 lines (runs?) leading into the transformer in the picture....2 lines say 10/2, i assume 10 gauge, the 2 smaller ones may be 12 gauge i assume.. Is he right that i need a multi-tap transformer? He said he would charge me $1,750 for a 600 Watt transformer and new light bulbs to start out with. Sounds alittle steep to me. I'd like to buy my own multi-tap transformer if thats what i need and wire it myself. Any suggestions on a decent cheaper 600 watt multi-tap transformer? or if thats my problem?
 
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  #2  
Old 03-17-13, 01:09 PM
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Did he say why you need a different transformer? Is your voltage too high, low, or does your transformer not have enough wattage output?
 
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Old 03-17-13, 01:11 PM
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1 more pic

i have attached 1 more pic of my current transformer
 
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Old 03-17-13, 01:14 PM
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First, you can buy a 600 watt multi tap for under $300, but we can't guess if you really need one.

Second,we need to know the specs on your tranformer. It should list the output voltage and total watts.

Third, are all your low voltage bulbs of the same voltage, which should be the same as the output voltage listed on the transformer.
 
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Old 03-17-13, 01:16 PM
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To be honest, i am not sure what he meant when he said i need a new one...the current one i believe is 1100 watts, which i thought would be able to do the job. I didnt install it, it came with the house i bought. None of the lights are dimmer at the ends of the runs (when i had all lights burning at once) if that helps. Maybe i will need to call back and ask him tomorrow and report back to this forum? Also, last spring i dug up all lines and didnt find any splices/breaks.
 
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Old 03-17-13, 01:23 PM
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i dont know here to find the specs on it...i dont have a manual and dont know where to look
 
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Old 03-17-13, 01:30 PM
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adding spec sheet

not sure if this shows some specs..its all i could take off the transformer
 
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Old 03-17-13, 01:40 PM
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Your transformer is more than likely too big for your application.

Your transformer is rated for 12 volts and up to 1100 watts. As you load a transformer the voltage goes down. So with a 300 watt load on that transformer the actual voltage could be upwards of around 14-15 volts.

Now....as lights burn out the voltage rises and the bulbs burn out even faster.

You would be better served with two smaller units or maybe even that 600 watt model.
 
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Old 03-17-13, 01:42 PM
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Awesome......you have a multitap unit already.

Check and see what color you are currently connected to.
It looks like black is the lowest tap.

You should pick up a voltmeter to help in fine tuning.
 
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Old 03-17-13, 01:47 PM
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which one do you recommend

thanks to for your input on this...been scratching my head for 5 yrs and had enough of running to store to buy bulbs...cant take it anymore

PJmax, do you recommend a 600 watt multi-tap one (i'd rather buy one than 2 separate), im willing to risk the few hundred dollars to see if it works. I have researched that not enough bulbs or watts running at once could effect the transformer...so i hear what you are saying, not that i understand it...lol

Do you have a recommendation, make and model? i'd like top keep it under $400..doesnt need to be fancy.

Thanks again!
Brett
 
  #11  
Old 03-17-13, 01:50 PM
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i replied too soon

PJ...i guess i replied too soon. so i do currently have a multi-tap then?

i do have a voltmeter, but i dont know what im doing. I think my father-in-law and i tried to use one last year and we got 12 volts reading at all the lamps (lights)

how do i check what color i am connected to?
 
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Old 03-17-13, 02:14 PM
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Brett.....you have a very expensive custom lighting transformer there.
If you had shown us the cover in the first pic I would have recognized the unit immediately.

You have a Unique 1120SS multi tap transformer. I have a customer that uses these.
Below is the tap list. One conductor of all your two wire cables goes to white. The other wire will go to the voltage choice that will yield the proper voltage. These colored wires appear in the bottom of the transformer.

You could have a long run on red and white for 14volts
or a short run on black and white for 12 volts.
If you put all the lights on the white and black (12v) tap.....you'll get maximum lamp life.

You can double up runs on a color. You cannot exceed 600 watts per color tap. Shouldn't be a problem in your application.

Black................................12v
Brown...............................13v
Red..................................14v
Purple...............................15v
Blue.................................16v
Orange ............................18v
Yellow..............................20v
Pink.................................22v
White..............................Common

Here is a link to their FAQ's and tech help.
Technical Support from Unique Lighting Systems
 
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Old 03-17-13, 02:50 PM
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PJ....thanks...another pic and description

PJ...i thought it was an expensive one...and i thought that was the model you list as well...so i guess the landscape light guy was trying to screw me...he said it was a single tap and also wanted to sell me an expensive one around $700 which is probably worth less than my current one!!

I was just outside looking at all the color wires in the transformer and from what i could tell was that there are 9 colors coming down (3 white and one of each of the following red,yellow, brown, black, purple, orange, pink, blue).....the following colors are wirenutted by themselves (2 of the 3 white and then the following yellow/orange/black/blue/purple/pink are also also connected to nothing but a nut. I think my 2 thicker lines coming in (again 4 lines in all) ...one goes to red and the other brown

does that help?

i attached anothe pic if you can see anything
 
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Old 03-17-13, 02:57 PM
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So that tells us that the cable using the red wire is running at 14 volts and
the other cable connected to the brown is running at 13 volts.

You could take the wire connected to the red and the one connected to the brown and connect them both to the black. All lights would then be running under 12 volts. Be sure to cap off the un-needed red and brown wires.
 
  #15  
Old 03-17-13, 03:03 PM
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awesome

PJMax...i will try changing this tomorrow...im running out of daylight today...thanks so much and i'll be sure to post back in a day or 2...it may rain tomorrow!

brett
 
  #16  
Old 03-18-13, 07:31 AM
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Any recommendation for the PAR36 bulbs?

PJMax

Any manufacturer recommendation for the 6 well light bulbs i need to replace. I know i need halogen PAR36 and either the 20 or 35 watt. Are the ones i see on Amazon from Halco ok? They say 5000 hrs is the life. They are $6.50 each or am i better off going with a GE bulb for twice as much?

PAR36 Halogen Xenon Reflector | 1000Bulbs.com

Thanks
 
  #17  
Old 03-18-13, 07:36 AM
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My landscape lights burn out way too fast ... halogen PAR36
I'm sure you know already but just to check: You aren't handling the bulbs bare handed are you? Any skin oils on them can reduce their lifespan.
 
  #18  
Old 03-18-13, 08:04 AM
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i try to wear gloves

Ray

i do try to remember to put on those thin surgical gloves to handle and change halogen bulbs...but not all the time...i'll make sure this time when i change out all my bulbs...thanks

did you have a bulb recommendation for long life and reasonable price for the PAR 36 lights?

Thanks
 
  #19  
Old 03-18-13, 09:49 AM
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Those PAR 36 lamps are sealed beams. You don't have to wear gloves with them. The halogen part of the lamp is a little bulb sealed inside the main lamp.

As to which one lasts longer......it's really anyone's guess. Try both and pick a winner based on how long they last.
 
  #20  
Old 04-14-13, 05:27 AM
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PJ Max....i changed the wiring around (putting all 4 runs (15 lights) on the 12V wire from my multi-tap transformer), then i put in all new bulbs yesterday. All 15 are working for now and i hope they last longer than in past months and years. Thanks again for all your help on this!

Brett
 
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Old 04-14-13, 11:46 AM
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Your welcome

sure to stop back in the future to let us know how the bulb life issue went.
 
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