Asked on Nov 16, 2011

Especially for the DIY'ers

Skyfuel Enterprises Inc.LandlightSAmazing Improvements and Garages
+12

Answered

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting is an excellent method of adding to the security of your home as well highlighting the beauty of your home and surrounding landscaping.
99% of the Low voltage systems operate on 12 volts, however the kits available at the big box stores and hardware chains do not explain the problems of bright lights at the beginning of the run and dimmer lights the further you go from the transformer.....also known as Voltage Drop.
Voltage Drop is a combination of several factors: total wattage(number of fixtures, wire size(gauge) and the length of the run. To help guide you in laying out your lighting system, here is a link that will explain Voltage Drop, and charts (with explanations) for wire guage, length of the run, and total wattage on that run.
You will find 2 charts...one for single volt transformers (12 volts) and for Multi-Tap transformers (12-13-14-15 volts) . The multi-tap transformers allow for greater flexibilty,but you will not find them at your local big box stores.
One tip, not included in this information is to keep the first fixture on each run a minimum of 10 feet from the transformer to allow for the average lamp-life of the bulb.
Study this link, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16748615/Voltage-Drop-Information
15 answers
  • 3po3
    on Nov 16, 2011

    Very interesting. As a specialist in this area, what is your opinion on solar landscape lighting. Seems like such a simple, inexpensive and green option, but I know a lot of people think it is next to worthless.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Nov 16, 2011

    Very valuable information. Thanks for sharing. (And Steve, I have a couple of solar lights that are exercises in frustration. And I wonder how many tens of thousands of cheap, plastic solar lights are ending up in landfills after working for a month.) I definitely want to put in some lighting and I'm thinking LED is the way to go.

  • The promise of solar is simply not there yet. It all falls apart at the mfg. stage. As Doug says, they are exercises in frustration. My first company in GA was an outdoor lighting firm. It is currently being run by a management team. The big push these days is in professional LED lighting. They are ready for prime time, use a fraction of power and dont experience the "drop" issues mentioned in the post. What a real lighting pro brings to the table are all of the little details which make for a "safe" installation. 3 days after pointing out "wiring issues" at an entertainers home in Atlanta, they had a huge fire which did over $400K in damage. They had me back to help determine the cause. Once they realized how simple a fix it was, they were kicking themselves.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Nov 16, 2011

    Amazing, when the time comes, can I get you to come down to the beach?!

  • Sure Douglas! December or Jan may be a good time for this. Is there something in particular you are looking for suppport with?

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Nov 16, 2011

    I need a whole outdoor lighting scheme. I don't think it will be in the budget by January, but sometime in the next year.

  • LandlightS
    on Nov 17, 2011

    Solar Lighting.....there is an old adage..."you get what you pay for..." I just ran across an on line add for a 12 volt, 1.5 watt solar panel for $ 30.95...good enough to charge a battery. So ask yourself...how good a value is a solar light of 3/4 watt output for under $10.00. Next up, LED low voltage lighting.....have a great day

  • 3po3
    on Nov 17, 2011

    Well said, Landlight. That's about what I had heard - the expensive solar lights work OK, but the cheap alternatives aren't really worth it.

  • Skyfuel Enterprises Inc.
    on Mar 15, 2012

    You do get what you pay for. I invite all of you to investigate our solar landscape lighting. Skyfuel has the answer to quality solar landscape lighting. Have a look at our solar landscape lighting (www.skyfuel.ca). They are construction grade solar LED landscape lights. These lights are not available at the big box store. We market our lights through professional firms in the landscape supply and paving stone manufacturing business.They carry a three year replacement warranty. The failure rate of our lights is less than 1%. They don't use batteries to store the energy. They use capacitors that never need replacing. Each unit is self contained (no exterior wires leading to a stake in the ground with a solar collector). These lights are 100% waterproof rated IP68 (meaning they can can safely and reliably be installed in ponds or fountains). They have an operating temperature range of -40F to 158F allowing them to be installed in the harshest of climates. Each light is UV protected with anti slip surfaces on most models. Have a look at one of our 19 YouTube videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/g30rg3t0wn?feature=mhee.

  • Mary S
    on Mar 16, 2012

    Price?

  • Hmmm... Something is missing from that wonderful sales pitch for solar lights. Lumens. How much light is actually generated by these units when placed against traditional low voltage lamps. Most professional low voltage systems operate with 20 to 50 watt halogen lamps. The solar systems I've seen put out weak equivalents. They are improving, but before you buy compare apples to apples. You expect bright results for your lighting. Pro solutions are not cheap. These may be a good spot solution in areas where cable can't be run.

  • LandlightS
    on Mar 17, 2012

    I think they are missing the point of what homeowners are looking for in "Landscape Lighting": I just visited their site and the majority (if not all) product is used as in ground paver and guide lights. I did not see a single product that could produce a dramatic effect of lighting a Japanese Maple or a path light to show off low growth and ground cover in a walkway or garden.......so I really don't see the need of Lumens......IMHO Gary

  • Skyfuel Enterprises Inc.
    on Mar 17, 2012

    I agree with Amazing Improvements, LLC. Yes, by all means please compare apples with apples. The light output of Skyfuel's solar lights is not as high as typical low voltage lighting. Therefore they are not designed to compete with low voltage landscape lighting. A large California based low voltage landscape lighting manufacturer (SPJ Lighting, http://www.spjlighting.com/servlet/StoreFront) has recently decided to Distribute Skyfuel solar landscape lighting. If Skyfuel has missed the mark on what solar landscape lighting is suppose to be, why would SPJ and other large landscape supply firms stock and distribute our lights? Skyfuel has one model of solar LED light designed and engineered to be installed in highways to help delineate traffic lanes, off-ramps and the such. It is engineered to withstand the rigors of continual highway traffic. There are tens of thousands of these solar highway lights installed all over the world; many of them in residential driveways. Skyfuel is not trying to compare low voltage lighting against this product. Try driving over a low voltage landscape spot light with a semi tractor and trailer. That too is not a fair comparison. Each have their strengths and weaknesses. Skyfuel has chosen to capitalize on the strengths of solar, LED and capacitor technology (as an energy storage medium) to create a lighting product that can add beauty, safety and longevity to a residential or commercial landscape by offering solar lights that do not require the regular maintenance of bulb or battery replacement, can be installed underwater without risk of damage to the light and that operate in very low and extremely high temperature environments. These lights are designed for specific purposes, just as spot lights are designed for a specific purpose. Our lights are not designed to compete or be replacements for landscape spot lights. Nor did we claim that they were. Where these lights would be installed high wattage output is not needed or desired. We have thousands of very satisfied homeowner clients in the US. As mentioned by LandlightS these lights are used to be a guide, add visual effect and safety.

  • LandlightS
    on Mar 17, 2012

    As Amazing stated..."how much light is actually generated by these units,etc" because as I stated that until I looked carefully at your product....there ARE NO DIRECTIONAL SPOT/FLOODS or AREA/PATH lights that are traditionally used for "LANDSCAPE LIGHTING" Yes, there may be millions on in ground "GROUND" lights, both line voltage and low voltage........BUT, they are not considered "LANDSCAPE LIGHTING" Sorry to be so loud with the capitalization........but I don't care what Landscape Lighting Distributors are carrying your product, including SPJ Lightin, they still cannot be compared as "apples with apples" because the are really "apples to oranges". They are not the same product. And there are rare occasions that I am called on for installations of in ground lighting....and I will consider your products. Definitely a great advantage of not having to run conduit and wire to a transformer. Gary

  • Skyfuel Enterprises Inc.
    on Mar 18, 2012

    Gary there is a link to a PDF file on the "Products" page of the Skyfuel website that details the LUX output of each model of light in each of the respective colors they are available in. Skyfuel in ground flush mounted lights are considered landscape lighting. They share a similar function to low voltage Well lighting which are typically installed horizontally flush with the surface and cast their light vertically. The purpose of my in initial post was to enlighten the readers to the existence of a solar landscape lighting option that is engineered with a proven history of being maintenance free and long lasting. My post was not a comparison of low voltage to solar but to point put that a solar option is available with features and benefits well beyond those that the general public has experienced with the solar landscape lights typically found in the big box store. I am a victim of these cheaply constructed solar lights as well. You can't and shouldn't compare the light output of solar landscape lighting to low voltage. Low voltage will win that comparison each time. The statement was made early in the string of this discussion that solar landscape lighting is considered "...next to worthless" and "...I have a couple of solar lights that are exercises in frustration. And I wonder how many tens of thousands of cheap, plastic solar lights are ending up in landfills after working for a month.) This is the type of solar landscape lighting stereotype that I wanted to address. Gary, I would welcome the opportunity for you to incorporate some of our lights into the next project that you have that warrants them. Please contact me when the time comes. I would love to show you the build quality that proper engineering can bring to self contained solar landscape lighting.

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