The size and features of your low voltage landscape lighting transformer will be determined by your lighting layout. Many different features are available in the transformers. We will look at the options that are available for your landscaping needs.
Planning your layout
When planning your layout make sure that you have a place in mind for the transformer. If not in a central location you will have to make long wire runs and connections to make sure that each light does get the proper voltage. Use this link to get more information on proper wire size. Use this link to get more information on connectors to use for your project.
The location of your transformer must be close to a 110 Volt grounded outlet, most will have a 6 foot power cord. Most transformers are weather proof, but will not be able to stand in water.
Check the location of your lights to any standing water feature, Pond, Spa or Pool. Most require that you have a minimum of 10 feet of distance from these types of features. Do not hook up a pond light to a regular transformer, this will get someone hurt. Pond lights require a special transformer with a special shut off for any extra load.
Total wattage for your needs
The total wattage of your transformer will need to be at least 10% more than the total wattage of all of your wire runs. You will have to make your drawing of your layout to determine the best wire run and the total wattage of lights. This will let you decide what would be the best transformer for your layout.
Number and output of wire taps
The number of leads that you need to run out of your transformer will be determined by your layout. Most will have at least two. Some will have up to 5 outputs.
Wire taps have different voltage. They range from 12-15 volts. This is because that wire will loose a certain amount of voltage during its journey to your lights. This will be reffered as Voltage Drop. Several things go into this such as-number of lights-size of wire-length of wire-type of connectors used.
Voltage drop will happen on the longest runs, so these should be put on the higher output to have the same light output on each run. On very long runs, you should have the power tap in the middle of the run in the shape of a T. This will allow the most lights to get the same voltage. You may have to adjust the output voltage after viewing the lights after sunset.
Single output transformers will have a clock built in to turn the lights on and off. These types will allow you to set two times a day to turn the lights on and two times to turn them off.
Dusk to Dawn Photocell
Most of the premium transformers will have an outlet for a remote photocell to turn the lights on at dusk. This will allow you to mount the transformer in a location that does not get a lot of light. Some will have a timer to turn the lights off after a set time limit.
Not many remote control devices are available directly for your landscape transformer. Several companies have some kind of an App for your portable device to monitor your home and when lights go on and off. These types of devices can be wired into most electrical systems with proper knowledge. This would give you some control of your lighting while away from home.
There is a lot to consider before you go out and buy a Low Voltage landscape lighting Transformer. If you follow the steps outlined here your will get the correct transformer the first time and will have many years of Comfortable landscape lighting. Any questions or suggestions to this information please contact me below.