Transformer for landscaping lights

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  #1  
Old 08-29-16, 11:11 PM
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Transformer for landscaping lights

Had electrical work done on house when I purchased it.

I told the electrician, give me a wire and switch for lamppost at the front door.

So... I have a three gang switch there (living room light, porch light, and wire to landscaping). This is all as you come in the front door.

Anyway, at the front of my house there is now a junction box there with a capped wire, which goes back to that 3 gang switch.

I am ready to landscape the front yard, and want to install 4-6 landscape lights (decided against a lamppost).

I realized there would be a transformer involved, but everything I look at on YouTube has transformers that plug into a 110 outlet.

Do I need to replace that junction box with an outdoor 110 outlet... then mount the transformer next to it? Can I hardwire the transformer straight from the wire that comes from the light switch at the living room?

I feel a bit over my head here, and I am just at the start of my research for this project.

Suggestions or links would be appreciated.
 

Last edited by Inindo; 08-29-16 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 08-30-16, 12:42 AM
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I'd imagine you have a blanked off junction box now. Remove the cover and add a GCI receptacle.

If you're not sure what you have.... shoot and post a picture of it. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html

Just about all the low voltage lighting transformers are of the plug-in type.
 
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Old 08-30-16, 09:06 AM
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Here is the situation. So you suggest replacing the junction box with GFCI receptacle? I was thinking I could then mount the transformer on the steps to the right. The junction box pops through the wood siding there, close to the corner where the concrete steps are.

Is it safe to put a transformer on the side of the steps there? They look huge, size of a shoe box. Do they need certain clearance from the ground. I imagine I will have to check my local codes, but what's the general rule of thumb?

It's a tight space, lots happening there. Gas line comes in, gas meter, emergency shut off valve, then that junction box, and now the possibility of adding a transformer next to the steps.

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Last edited by PJmax; 08-30-16 at 11:37 AM. Reason: reoriented picture
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Old 08-30-16, 11:40 AM
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It would be beneficial to keep the transformer slightly off the ground.
It could be mounted to the steps .

How about behind what looks like a picket fence door under the porch ?
 
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Old 08-30-16, 02:21 PM
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So you suggest replacing the junction box with GFCI receptacle?
To be clear the GFCI receptacle is installed in the existing box and an in use cover is added. Most LV lighting transformers have a two foot or more cord so can be mounted anywhere within that range.

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Old 08-30-16, 02:58 PM
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It's not a fence, it's a wood skirt that covers the framing. Atop that is the front porch, which the concrete stairs march up to.

Behind the skirt is a crawl space, about 24" of clearance, I've belly crawled the entire length of the house. House is in Los Angeles, we get all of 15 inches of rain a year. Pretty simple foundation compared to other parts of the nation.

Those transformers get hot right? Is it really okay to have a transformer attached to a light switch like that? Turning it off/on suddenly doesn't damage the transformer? I guess that's what people have in their homes though.

Second question would be... how do I run wire through the yard. Do I place it inside tubing about 18" down? That's the code out here for the direct bury romex stuff.
 
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Old 08-30-16, 03:03 PM
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I know it's not a fence.

You could mount the transformer inside there. They do not get hot enough to burn or damage anything.

The low voltage wiring can be buried at any depth or just run across the top of the dirt.
It should be run/located where it won't get damaged.
 
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Old 08-30-16, 08:33 PM
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So I guess I'll replace that junction box with a GFCI outlet and mount the transformer on the steps.

For ease of access or maintenance, I like having it outside.

Just to verify, it's okay to have the gfci outlet connected to that light switch in my living room?

Chain of events in my mind is: flip light switch, gfci outlet receives power, transformer receives power, 4-6 landscape lights turn on.

I imagine it happens in industrial settings, but I'm not accustomed to seeing an electrical outlet with a light switch controlling electricity to it.
 
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Old 08-30-16, 10:01 PM
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So I guess I'll replace that junction box with a GFCI outlet
No, you will install a GFCI receptacle in the existing box.
flip light switch, gfci outlet receives power, transformer receives power, 4-6 landscape lights turn on.
Yes, but remember if the transformer has a timer power must remain on or you loose the timer setting.
I'm not accustomed to seeing an electrical outlet with a light switch controlling electricity
Actually that is very common. Many contractors install switch controlled receptacles instead of ceiling lights in order to save a couple of bucks.
For ease of access or maintenance, I like having it outside.
Most of the LV lighting transformers are not rated for inside use so they have to be installed outside. You could place a 4x4 post against the outside steps.

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Last edited by ray2047; 08-30-16 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 08-31-16, 09:02 AM
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Thank you, this has been helpful feedback!

Last question:

These transformers, you said when you turn them off it messes with the timer settings. Down the road I may want to use that, but in the immediate future, I want to flick the switch and have the landscape lights turn on/off. This will be possible with the transformer, correct? The timer isn't really appealing to me right now.
 
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Old 08-31-16, 10:40 AM
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When you shop for a transformer.... get one that operates the way you want.
You'd want to run it in a time clock mode or standard on/off mode.

The transformers I install are transformers only. Any time clock or photocell operation gets connected separately.
 
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