Outdoor Walk Lighting - Solar vs. Low Voltage

Old 01-01-08, 05:41 AM
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Outdoor Walk Lighting - Solar vs. Low Voltage

I need to install some lights along a set of outdoor stairs and walkway. I have debated the virtues of solar vs. low voltage, and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations. I am inclinded toward the solar for the ease, and there are many reports that suggest the newer LED versions create enough light. Thanks
Old 01-05-08, 01:15 PM
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The different ideas for lighting are almost endless. Cordless (solar) and low volt systems are getting better and better each year. It all depends on your install skill level and what cosmetic "look & feel" you like the best.

At my seasonal camp side, I installed 12V automotive "orange" clearance lights on its deck. The low cost lights are on the lower side of the deck railings and face towards the trailer side. Or, face the stair's steps - where people would step down. Thus, lighting up the floor of our deck but also showing a cool orange glow on our trailer's side. And with different switches, I can turn them all on, turn on every other light, or only its stairs lighting on. Having each section of lights on its own switches is great during camp fire time. For a few pictures, surf:

My buddy bought some 110/120V LED Christmas light strings and installed many strings on his deck. LED Blue lights look great on his deck. Especially mounted under the horizontal hand rail boards. For a picture of the simular lights he used, surf: http://www.holidayleds.com/catalog/l...led_rope_light

On a TV program, I seen a contractor who installed 12V clear lens low voltage on his 5ft wide walk-way. He installed surface mounted "low volt clear lights" that were spaced approx 16" down each side of the walkway. And the wide beam light shines directly upwards - into the sky. The lights on each walkway are on a different switch. When turned on and you walk down his walkways, it gives the impression that one is landing a jet plane on an runway. Really cool feeling.

Personally, I like 12 Volt lighting the best. To me, 12V is more forgiving on the weather elements (like rain, snow) and when installing, one doesn't have to worry about getting zapped across the yard. 12V either works, blows a fuse or blows a bulb. Much easier to install - then high risk injury of 110/120V lighting. And to me, low volt lighting gives off more light then cordless solar.

Hope these ideas help in your project....

Old 01-12-08, 03:36 PM
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Go solar! The more LED's the more light.

For info: http://www.plant-care.com/solar_lighting_tips.php
Old 01-13-08, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I installed solar on my walkway. After a year I removed them and went to a LV lighting system. The light from the solars just wasn't bright enough and worse their charge was too short lived. A few days of cloudy weather in the winter and they were almost useless. If I lived in the SW or some other mostly sunny clime they may have worked better.

That was 10-12 years ago and I've still got the same LV lights. If I were replacing them, I might look at the new solars, but I would only buy one and test it before commiting to an entire, expensive, system.

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