Lighting a long shady path

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  #1  
Old 04-19-14, 04:41 PM
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Lighting a long shady path

I want to illuminate a path which starts 42 feet from an outdoor outlet on my house. The beginning of the path is about 42 feet of steps down a hill, then a 240 foot path under a thick tree cover (so solar lights are out). So all told, the farthest light would be 324 feet from my house. And that is assuming I don't zigzag under the path to get lights on each side, which I probably should.

Can anyone suggest a way to do this without having intolerable voltage drop? I'm willing to use LED's to keep the wattage down. Would also appreciate any other suggestions anyone might have (such as how many lights of what type...)

Thanks.
 
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Old 04-20-14, 06:02 AM
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It sounds like an application for high voltage (120 VAC) wiring. There are just some things that DC is not good at and going long distances is one of DC's big weaknesses.
 
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Old 04-20-14, 06:55 AM
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Thanks Pilot Dane,
The path is to a lake, where I guess I wouldn't mind having power anyway (although of course would like to not spend too much to get it). I talked to an electrician once about line voltage path lighting, and he said it would be very expensive because each light fixture would have to have a pipe coming up from the underground line.

What do you think of the following: Have an electrician bury a line voltage line from my house to the lake along the path, and have him simply put an outlet box at the end and another one, say, about halfway down the path. Then I buy two transformers and plug them in at these outlets and run two DC low voltage LED systems from these.

Thanks again.
 

Last edited by chrismn1; 04-20-14 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 04-20-14, 10:10 AM
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Putting two transformers in the middle wouldn't be real effective. You could put one at the house to pick up the first 150' and then a transformer at the midpoint to pick up the second 150'.

You need to look at fixtures to see what you like and how much power they need. LED would be a good choice for here.
 
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Old 04-20-14, 03:47 PM
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I like the hybrid approach. A 120 volt line down to the water with a stand in the middle or two along the way spaced about a hundred feet apart and one at the water end. Then you can decide if you want to do low voltage in two or three or four sections.

Best would be if you can split your low voltage off in two directions from each transformer. Instead of having the transformer at the beginning of a run of 100ft of wire put the transformer in the center and have 50ft of wire going in either direction.

LED's are great. They don't use much energy but most are pretty poor quality so I'd embrace the cheapness. Buy extra fixtures or emitters/bulbs up front so you can easily replace ones that die. Life's too short to waste a lot of energy complaining that their claim of "up to 10'000 hour life" is bogus.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 01:21 AM
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Thanks All. I found an acceptable, affordable solution (I think). 120 VAC to the lake was too expensive. Got a $1800 quote from an electrician just to bring power to the end of the path and that doesn't actually include lighting. Could probably get a better price, but not orders of magnitude better. So I'm doing the following: Lowes has shepherd hooks for, say, hanging plants for about $8 each. Then sporting goods stores have battery operated LED camping lanterns also for about $8 each which can hang from the hooks. Can't turn them on remotely, but I can turn then on when I walk down the path and off as I come up, or turn them on before guests arrive. Buy 10 of each and all done for $160. Not perfect, but works.
 
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