Re-Doing my backyard lighting (currently nonexistent)

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Old 03-08-11, 04:41 PM
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Re-Doing my backyard lighting (currently nonexistent)

Hi,
I am trying to run as much wiring before I put down my pavers. Initially planned to run everything inside the ch40 conduit, but I just ran out of space with all the wires I need to pull through so low voltage will have to stay out of it. I have already ran low voltage behind my 120ft retaining wall. To hook it up to a transformer (that I have not yet purchased) I'd need to run a minimum of 60ft wire from my transformer to the wall. I am not sure what size wire I used for my wiring behind the wall, I think I just bought whatever was available for low voltage from Home Depot at the time. My concern is that if I run that 60ft by the time it gets to the end of the wire (no pun intended) there is no juice left in it. I think I could run a conduit from my washer/dryer outlet to the outside wall about 6-7ft and install a small transformer just for that wall.
Questions:
a. I assume it would not be by the code
b. Will it buy me anything?
c. If in fact I can steal some power from the washer outlet, how much is safe to put on that circuit? I.e. how many light bulbs can i safely hook up to the transformer?
Or am i forced to use LED lighting for the reason of low wattage consumption.
btw, I don't need that thing to be lit like a Christmas tree, just some light on it.


Thanks!
 
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Old 03-08-11, 07:28 PM
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I just ran out of space with all the wires I need to pull through so low voltage will have to stay out of it.
Generally low voltage wiring shouldn't be run in the same conduit.

I could run a conduit from my washer/dryer outlet to the outside wall about 6-7ft
Depends on the code cycle your on. By current code the laundry branch circuit for the washer dryer should have only the laundry on it. If you have a separate lighting or other branch circuit not supplying the washer and dryer in the laundry you could use that.
 
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Old 03-09-11, 08:16 AM
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Thanks

Thanks a lot Ray!

I figured separate conduit will not cost that much anyway and leaves me more space in the "main" run.
And you just reminded me about an "extra" circuit that i sealed a long time ago, now it becomes useful again.
Thanks,
 
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Old 03-09-11, 10:34 AM
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Any more questions just come back and ask.

Just to expand a bit you could run the wiring for the low voltage in the same conduit if you did not use low voltage wiring. The code says the insulation value of all wires must equal or exceed that required for the highest voltage. (And if I misstated that correct me pros.)
 
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Old 03-09-11, 05:21 PM
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With a wall that long you should think about putting the transformer in the middle to minimize voltage drop. I hope the wiring is oversized too.

I would not tap the laundry circuit.
 
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Old 03-09-11, 11:39 PM
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Thanks again,
& yea, that transformer will end up been somewhere closer to the middle of the run. Interesting point about running low voltage in the "non low voltage" wiring. It should probably improve i.e. reduce my voltage drop as well.
 
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Old 03-10-11, 11:54 PM
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One more question:

If i have a 200wt low voltage transformer on a 15am circuit (not even sure if I can in fact do it) and not using full 200wt but a 100 or so. Can I safely use the 15 amp breaker or that would not be by the code.
 
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Old 03-11-11, 06:26 AM
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The 200w tranformer fully loaded would add about 2 amps to the circuit.
 
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Old 03-11-11, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Newbie View Post
Interesting point about running low voltage in the "non low voltage" wiring. It should probably improve i.e. reduce my voltage drop as well.
It is really the insulation you are talking about not it's current carrying capacity. If you really plan to do that lets wait for the opinions of the pros on using 300-600v rated wire for low voltage in the same conduit.
 
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Old 03-11-11, 10:25 AM
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thanks again,

So I am actually "saving" a lot amperage by using the low voltage transformers. I most likely will use two; one smaller 50-80wt for just that long wall and the bigger one for the rest of the lighting around the yard. Are you guys aware of any remote switches I can use to control low-voltage circuits? I realize there are remote switches (like these Wireless Indoor Outdoor RF Remote Control Switch Qty-2 - eBay (item 140428246175 end time Mar-12-11 16:24:47 PST) ) but I would like to be able to control separate lighting circuits instead of controlling the whole transformer.
Any ideas/suggestions how I can accomplish that?

Also where would you purchase LED lights for the yard? I see some fairly expensive options on the fleabay, but quality there is a hit or miss.
Thanks,
 
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Old 03-14-11, 11:53 PM
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Any takers on this?

I would really appreciate someone answering the following:

a. Can/should I use remote control for my low voltage circuits? If yes which one is better? There is no smooth way for me to control all the lights with just one indoor switch leading to my patio.
b. Can i install a 120V remote switch like one above and hook up a 300-600 wt transformer to it? Controlling the transformer remotely instead of individual low volt circuits. I am also wondering if this way I am going to slowly or quickly kill the transformer?

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-15-11, 06:49 AM
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Installing a switch ahead of the tranformer will allow you to control all the lights. It should have no affect on the transformer life.
 
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Old 03-15-11, 07:31 AM
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Thank you

Thanks a lot!

That's perfect, this way I don't need all bunch of switches just a couple to "light the way" so to speak. And the rest of it I can control manually from the island.
 
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Old 03-15-11, 09:29 PM
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One more question somewhat related at least the electrical installation related.

I was wrestling with the conduit and I think i snapped one of the glued joints. I don't see a crack but I can turn one of the ends of the run somewhat freely. Is it safe to just leave it the way it is? or do I need to redo the whole thing. I.e how dangerous is water seeping through the bad joint into the conduit.

Thanks,
 
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Old 03-15-11, 09:52 PM
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Do you really need conduit for low voltage wiring after the transformer, prolly not.
You'll find almost all your outdoor LED lights are made in China. (as well as halogen and incand, too.)
So ebay is fine for your application. MR11, MR16, or smaller T5 or T10 wedge base.
You can purchase standard outdoor low volt. fixtures and replace the incand. bulbs with LED.

fred
 
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Old 04-04-11, 08:48 PM
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I am using the conduit in most cases only for the 110v and the coax, low voltage will be surface.
I was more concerned with water getting next to the 110 or 220 if I end up running that. As far as fixtures I already got a first batch, China of course. So now will start looking for new bulbs. As I understands most manufacturers, will make multi-LED bulbs with mr11 mr16 base so it could have a higher light output.
 
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Old 04-04-11, 09:41 PM
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One more, probably not the last, question.
I will have three regular outlets on my bbq, one outlet for fridge and one for freezer plus one for the low voltage. I was going to run one circuit for all regular outlets, separate circuit for the fridge and the freezer and separate for the low voltage.
Does this configuration sounds right? and does the fridge and freezer require nonGFI circuit? where the rest of them suppose to be GFI? Thanks again!
 
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Old 04-05-11, 05:50 AM
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Really no need to have three separate circuits, as even with a mini-fridge it will be lightly loaded. You could do two 20A circuits if you really want to. Consider what you'll be plugging in.. A rotisserie, maybe a blender? Outdoor kitchens don't have the same power demands as indoor ones. However, ALL outdoor receptacles must be GFCI protected. In the kitchen, there is an exemption for 'generally non-accessible' receptacles used for stoves and refrigerators, but this exemption does not exist for garages and outdoors. Fridges do occasionally cause nuisance trips on GFCIs, so I would wire an indicator light to the load side of the GFCI so you will know at a glance if it is tripped.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 08:32 AM
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Thanks for the heads up!
Not exactly what I wanted to her but oh well. I guess the indicator light that is...
 
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Old 04-24-11, 09:00 PM
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continuing low voltage saga

I finally got to the point where I can lay down the low voltage wire in my yard. In some places I would like to have them at least at the hip height. Not sure what fixtures I am going to end up using, but the wire running up my fence and walls looks pretty ugly. Any suggestions on how to hide it?

Thanks,
 
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Old 05-01-11, 10:21 PM
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A lot of LV lighting like tier and lantern lights use a standard 1/2" thread for their posts, so they can be screwed directly onto a conduit fitting. If you will be using other types that are surface mount, there are a few options. You can surface mount the wire and use a wooden cap (looks like half-round molding with a channel cut into the backside), or you can rout a groove into the fence post, lay the wire in, then use a tight fitting slice of wood to fill the groove back in. You can also drill down the center of the post, then drill lateral holes at the bottom and lamp height. However this is usually only done when you will have a post topper light as well, otherwise you'd have to plug the top hole.
 
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Old 05-02-11, 09:26 AM
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Hey thanks again!
This gives me plenty ideas how to approach it. I also have one piece of the metal conduit running all the way from my subpanel to the back of the house where spa used to sit. So I may end up running 110v to have at least a couple of lite fixtures not powered by transformer, in case it clunks.
 
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