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'.
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
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
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
#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 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
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:
4' 4' 8'
600W Xformer -----------> 20W -------------> 20W ------------> 20W
------------> 7W -----------------> 20W ----------> 20W -------->7W
| (*) #12 #12 #12
#16 | 6'
4'| #16 2' | #16
| | |
(*) #10 gauge wire on the main trunk up to this point.
Here is the 2nd run:
2' 8' 3'
600W Xformer -------------> --------------> 20W -------------> 20W
--------------> 50W ------------> 20W -------- 20W --------->20W
#10 #12 after this
| 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 .
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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