# 8-gauge low voltage wire

Hi, I am thinking of buying a spool of 8 gauge low voltage wires to use with my Malibu 600W transformer for my yard. Will the 8 gauge wires be too hard to deploy since they are so thick? Also will the cable connectors that come with the Malibu light fixtures be able to clamp around the wire and penetrate the sheathing?
I am using 12 gauge at this time, but the lights are pretty dimmer since the total length is about 70'.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Hi, How about moving the x-former to the middle of string instead of feeding it from one end? Even stranded 8 Ga. is pretty heavy.
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Actually the new location of the transformer would be roughly in the middle of the string. My plan is to run 8 gauge wires to the where the middle of the string is, and connect it up to the existing 12 gauge string.
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If lights are "pretty dim now" are they 'all' dim or are the ones nearest the transformer brighter?
Does the transformer get quite hot? If so it may be incapable of putting out enough power; so can you reduce the number of lights by say 10 or 20 per cent?
If feeding from one end now feeding instead from middle might make a difference; because there should be approx. half the voltage drop in the wires.
New 8 gauge wires from transformer to the middle should 'help' but without detailed info hard to calculate.
#12 AWG will drop voltage by volts, per 10 feet for each amp of current flowing. #8 AWG will drop by volts, per 10 feet, for each amp of current.
If, for example the lamps themselves are 12 volts; take the total wattage of all the lamps and divide it by 12; the answer will be the number of amps flowing from the transformer.
For example suppose there are ten lamps each of 20 watts; 10 x 20 = 200 watts. 200 watts divided by 12 = 17 amps.
Each ten feet of #8 wire (2 conductors) will, at 17 amps drop voltage by approx. one quarter of a volt. (0.228v) With #12, about six tenths of a volt. (0.56v)
Doesn't sound like very significant?
Just how many lights of what total wattage are on that low voltage system?
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Hello everyone, thanks for all your input and thoughts.
Here is my layout under the new relocated arrangement. I have a 600W Malibu transformer and I will run 2 cables from it. Below is the layout for each run.
Here is the 1st run:
15' 4' 4' 4' 8' 26' 8' 600W Xformer -----------> 20W -------------> 20W ------------> 20W ------------> 7W -----------------> 20W ----------> 20W -------->7W | | | (*) #12 #12 #12 #16 | 6' 4'| #16 2' | #16 | | | 7W 50W 7W
(*) #10 gauge wire on the main trunk up to this point.
Here is the 2nd run:
30' 10' 2' 8' 3' 4' 3' 600W Xformer -------------> --------------> 20W -------------> 20W --------------> 50W ------------> 20W -------- 20W --------->20W #10 #12 after this point | | | 8' 4' ------------------> 11W --------------------> 20W
Please advise if I need to go with #8 gauge wire, or will a normal #12 gauge work just fine. Someone said that I could not even get the Malibu wire connectors to work with the #8 gauge wires since the sheathing may be too thick and the wire just too big. So I am hoping I can either work with the #12 or the #10.
Thanks again
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Urrgh... my drawing came out really strange in the previous posting. So I have drawn it on a text document and you guys can see it at http://www.sopmedia.com/sopguest/lights.txt .
Thanks
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Might get kind of pricey.
--
Christopher A. Young
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I have 110 ft of 12 ga malibue and notice no dimming at the end, I think your issue is corroded connections at the lamp and wire, or bulb base and bulb, old bulbs, and dirty lenses. Unless the 12 ga multi wire has a many strands cut somewhere along the line. Malibue sells it to work with 12 ga. Have you removed and gone over any lamps yet and reconnected them in clean copper, that would be the first thing to do, and measure voltage along the line.
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Can you use smaller wattage bulbs. Seem to be several different wattages when I last bought some.

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What about running 2 transformers in parallel. Might be less labor than digging up 70ft of wire. If you happen to have access to a second transformer it wouldn't hurt to try.
I gave up on those low voltage garden lights a long time ago. It seems like the ones sold in kits (Toro, Malibu) from HD, Lowes and etc are so cheaply made it's impossible to keep them going very long. RM~
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YOu can not parallel 2 transformers to help in this case. The problem with low voltage wiring is there is too much voltage drop along the wires unless very large wire is used.
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Ralph Mowery wrote:

While you shouldn't parallel two transformers if replacing wire is a Herculean task it would be possible to place a rectifier on each transformer secondary, and build a fairly simple active device that will sum the currents from each source to accomplish a the same thing as paralleling the transformers, The only difference is that the lamps would be supplied with dc instead of ac.
Small voltage variations (as are caused by the voltage drop in the wire) will cause quite noticeable changes in perceived brightness. Around its normal operating point a 0.25 volt difference for a 12 v lamp will result in an 8% change in brightness. If the voltage drop increases to 0.5 volts, the brightness change is 16%. Further, as the voltage drops the temperature also drops and the color will shift further to the longer (more yellow) wavelengths.
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On 5/4/2008 2:01 PM Boden spake thus:

You can actually "parallel" (god, that use of a noun as a verb just grates on my ears; I must really be old school; should read "run in parallel") two transformers without any of that stuff you mentioned, assuming they're nearly identical in size. You just need to make sure they're in phase, which is pretty easy to determine with an ordinary voltmeter.
But it isn't a recommended practice, and there are other, better solutions.
--
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute
conversation with the average voter.
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Yes, two transformers can be put in parallel. That will not help the origional problem. Without going to some exotic circuits, there is nothing that can be done without installing very large wire or rearanging the way the bulbs are wired.
If another similar transformer is put at the far end of the run of lights it may help out on the problem. This will put the transformers in parallel with a long run of wire between them. The lights on each end will be about full brightness and the ones toward the middle will be the dimmest.
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On Sun, 4 May 2008 22:29:30 -0500, "Ralph Mowery"
[snip]

And you have to be sure you get the phase correct or you get a short circuit.

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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Yes, the Malibu lights corrode pretty quickly and the glass lens cloud up because I think the water here is pretty hard.
My neighbor uses lights from Vista Pro and his lights shine really bright at night. Dont know if its because the lights are better or because his installation is better. Haven't talked to him yet about how his system is wired up. But given that the Vista Pro lights are about \$50-\$100 each, I am not surprised his look better.
Vista Pro is found at http://www.vistapro.com/default.aspx .
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Lime away or CLR will clean lenses from hard water, fogged or dirty lenses inside can be cleaned by pouring in alcohol. Corrosion will lower voltage.
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Shouldn't be required for a 70 ft run.

able to

No chance. 'Been there' and mine, designed for # 16 wouldn't even work with outdoor #12.
I had to **carefully* whittle down the #12 wire sheathing in each spot where I wanted to connect, until the wire looked almost like (and the size of) the #16 the crimps were designed for.
What is the wattage and number of the bulbs you're using ? I can't recall exactly how many lamps my set was rated for..something like 14 IIRC. The original # 16 wire was about 60 ft long. The # 12 was 100 ft long so I only used about 11 lamps and it worked fine. That put them just over 8 ft apart and that was fine in my application YMMV but note that if they re the replaceable bulb type, there are compatible (bayonet T5) bulbs out there (and in my garage) in most wattages from 4W thru 9W/11W. You might consider replacing all the bulbs, dropping down a few watts (Say from 11 to 9 or 4W) for the whole string

Mine has been working fine @ 100 ft # 12 for the last 8 years or so. I blow/replaced about 2 bulbs a year
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