Low voltage line question - rope/tape lights

Old 10-30-19, 09:11 AM
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Low voltage line question - rope/tape lights

Hi there. I want to know can I run 12v “rope light” or tape light from an existing landscape transformer? Our home has a Kichler 200 watt 12volt multitap box on the exterior deck wall and has 12 gauge wire run to some old garden lights. The 12v tape lights/rope lights my wife want have an AC plug on them. Can I just cut that and wire them in? or does it not work that way? Do I have to get some connector to allow for that? Or is just not possible to use the 12v landscape wire that is already there and I have to replace with something that doesn’t have a plug but hard wires in?? or is there some “converter?”

This is for about 108 feet of lighting along a deck so really was hoping to use existing wires

Any info on selecting an appropriate product is appreciated. Thanks

Brendan Kelly

Last edited by PJmax; 10-30-19 at 09:40 AM. Reason: removed autolink
Old 10-30-19, 09:42 AM
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There is no problem connecting items like that but that rope light may require DC while your outdoor transformer outputs AC. You could try it and see what happens.
Old 10-30-19, 10:03 AM
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Yes, make sure of your AC and DC. Like PJmax mentioned most LED rope and tape lights need DC while most outdoor landscape transformers output low voltage AC. If your tape/rope light plugs into a regular wall outlet then it probably has a power supply built in somewhere.

You may have dimming of your rope/tape light over the 100'+ distance. Low voltage DC does not travel long distances well. Resistance along the rope light could cause the far end to be noticeably dimmer. I break long runs into sections. I run a heavy gauge wire to multiple points along the run. Basically break the 100' run into a series of 25' long runs that are each hooked up independently.
Old 10-30-19, 02:47 PM
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Thanks guys. Sorry I am not very versed in electrical. But sounds like I have to either find AC exterior rope (or tape) lights for along the deck cap. Or swap the line out and not use the transformer. Most tape and rope lights have a plug and a little power pack and I didn’t want that just exposed to the elements or sitting in dirt and water. So really want to find an option to just wire up to the 12 gauge 12v cable. Will keep looking

Old 11-17-19, 06:41 AM
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Are you sure those are twelve volt rope/tape lights as opposed to already being one hundred twenty volt rope/tape light sets?

Individual LED diodes (bulbs; capsules) are low voltage, sometimes as low as two volts each. The rope light set may have been divided into internal low voltage subsections but you do not know whether the subsections are twelve volts each. You would need to have a lot of electrical knowledge to revamp a 120 volt plug in rope light set to operate on a 12 volt power source.

More electrical knowledge is needed to select the wire size for "feeder cables" running from a transformer at the house partway out the 108 foot run where the furthest out rope light sets are wired in, if you are stepping the voltage down to 12 volts first.

Last edited by AllanJ; 11-17-19 at 07:00 AM.

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