Unless you are a knowledgeable about landscape lighting, you may not even be aware of what a landscape lighting transformer is. And if you yourself don’t know, then how on earth can you suggest it to others?
Well, most likely you will just tell them to ask an electrician. That’s fine. But, what if they go ahead without taking your advice and put in the wrong transformer. That could create a whole lot of trouble, correct?
A landscape lighting transformer allows the conversion of current from 120 volts to lower 12-15 volts in order to power things like landscape lighting. The efficiency of the conversion determines the wattage, how much light it makes, and how much energy it consumes.
It also affects the lifespan of the lights as well. This means that when using low voltage landscape lighting fixtures, there would be less heat generated which results in longer life span for the fixture itself. Also, since the amount of electricity used by these fixtures is reduced, so too is the cost of running them.
The following video shows some examples of different types of transformers:
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Do You Need A Landscape Transformer For Your Landscape Lighting?
If you’re looking to install a new system, you might want to consider buying a landscape transformer. It’s basically a step down converter so you won’t need to run long lengths of cable throughout your yard. Also, some people find that having multiple lights all wired together creates too much heat. By installing a landscape transformer, you can eliminate those problems altogether.
How Do Transformer Affect The Landscape?
First of all, they help prevent electrical shock hazards. When working outdoors, people often forget about where their hands are located. Since a lot of outdoor jobs require some sort of manual labor, chances are good that someone might touch something without realizing it. By having a transformer installed, you’re able to keep everyone safe. It doesn’t matter who has access to the area either. Even if you leave the lights turned on while you’re gone, no one else will be harmed.
Transformers also allow you to run more than one set of lights at once. Instead of having to turn multiple switches on and off every time you want to change the color scheme, you simply flip a switch and the entire system changes colors instantly. It’s much easier to control too. Plus, if you’re working outside during inclement weather, you won’t have to worry about getting wet while changing out all those lights.
If you plan on installing outdoor lighting, you might consider purchasing a landscape transformer. Not only will it save you money over buying several sets of fixtures, but it will help keep your home safe. After all, who wants to walk down their driveway after dark without knowing what lies ahead?
Benefits of Landscape Lighting Transformer
Now let’s take a look at why one should use a landscape lighting transformer.
1. Lower Voltage Lights – If you have ever tried installing outdoor LED or HID lamps, you might have noticed that they require higher voltages than regular bulbs do. They need around 15V DC while normal household bulbs only need 6V DC. So, if you want to install those kinds of lights, you’ll first need to convert the voltage down to something more manageable. You can either buy a separate converter or get a landscape lighting transformer. Either way works great!
2. Longer Lifespan Of Fixtures – Since the fixtures themselves consume less electricity, their lifespan increases. In addition, because the fixtures produce less heat, they last longer.
3. Less Heat Generated – Because the fixtures generate less heat, they won’t overheat easily. As such, they’re able to withstand extreme weather conditions better.
4. More Efficient Light Output – When converting the voltage, the output becomes brighter. Thus, the overall brightness of the area lit up improves.
5. Cost Savings – Using a landscape lighting transformer saves money in two ways. First, it reduces the number of watts needed to run the lights. Second, it decreases the price per unit of electricity consumed.
What Are Different Types Of Transformers Used For Landscaping And Garden Lighting?
There are three basic types of landscape lighting transformers available today. All of them will perform similar functions; however, they differ slightly in terms of size, weight, and efficiency. Here are the most common ones:
Single Phase To Ground
Three Phases To Ground
Four Phases To Ground
Single Phase To Ground – These are commonly referred to as single phase transformers. This means there is one wire going from the power supply to the ground. If you were using an outlet for example, the earth connection would be at the bottom of the socket. With these types of transformers, you don’t need any additional wires since everything runs through the same line. However, when connecting different fixtures, make sure to use the correct polarity. Otherwise, you could damage your equipment.
These are also known as 3PtG transformers. What does that stand for? Well, it stands for three phases plus ground. Basically, this just means that there are three lines coming off the transformer instead of just one. You can still only have one device plugged into the transformer though. So, how do you know which way around to plug things in? Just follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. They’ll tell you whether or not you should put the hot side first or last. In general, always start with the hot side first. Then, go clockwise until you reach the neutral point. From here, move counterclockwise until you get to the ground.
The four phases to ground transformer works exactly like the single phase to ground transformer except that now there are four separate lines running between the transformer and the devices being used. Again, this makes sense considering that there are four individual circuits powering the light bulbs.
How Does A Landscape Lighting Transformer Work?
A landscape lighting transformer works by using a magnetic coil to transform the input voltage into an output (low) voltage. The amount of current that flows through the wire is proportional to the strength of this magnetic field. As more current flows, the stronger the magnetic field becomes, thus producing more low-voltage electricity. This process can be regulated with a simple electrical circuit and some additional components such as capacitors and resistors.
There are basically three main components involved with any kind of transformer. These include primary coil, secondary coil and core. Let us discuss each component briefly below.
This is where all the magic happens. It converts high voltage into low voltage. There are many variations of windings but generally speaking, the primary coil has multiple turns wound tightly together. Each turn represents 1 Volt. Therefore, if you had 10 turns, that would mean 10 Volts. Now, if you connect the positive terminal of the source to the center tap of the primary coil, you’d end up getting 5 Volts out of it. That’s what we call “low voltage.”
Secondary Coils / Winding
This winding is connected to the secondary coils on your fixtures. These secondary coils then send the converted voltage back to the main circuit board. The reason this is important is because each fixture needs its own unique wiring setup. Some may not even work with other fixtures unless they share the same type of transformer.
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