LANDSCAPE LIGHTING WORLD® FORUMS

I think my transformer is too small...help please

Discussion in 'Ask the Landscape Lighting Experts' started by Stuart Turner, Apr 13, 2019.

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  1. Stuart Turner

    Stuart Turner New Member

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    Not real handy but successfully installed the following last year in the backyard.

    4 x VOLT® Twinnovator Mini Path & Area Light...each has 2 lightbulbs.
    8 x Single Source 2W LED MR11 38º 2700K (20W Halogen Replacement)
    Used 16x2 cable
    and my transformer is: VOLT® 100-Watt Slim Line LED Transformer

    Looks so nice wife asked me to put some front lights this year...and that is my project today.

    Using the same transformer running a 2nd lead I installed:

    2 x VOLT® Innovator Top Dog Mini Brass Path & Area Light and the bulbs were:
    2 x Single Source 2W LED MR11 38º 2700K (20W Halogen Replacement)

    also installed on the same 2nd lead:
    4 x VOLT® Infiniti™ 30 G3 Brass LED Spotlight

    used the same 16x2 cable and the distance from the transformer to the last light in the 2nd lead is about 115 feet......but I haven't trimmed the cable yet and the power is going through all 250ft. I haven't cut it yet so I could have some slack to reposition if necessary.

    I used VOLT® Pro Nano-Junction Direct Burial Connector 3-Way for all the connections.

    When I connected the new 2nd lead to the transformer...and turned ON...the lights went on for 1/2 second then the red ON/OFF switched to OFF like a circuit breaker had tripped.

    I removed the 1st lead to try just the new 2nd lead..same thing....but when I took out the new 2nd lead...the 1st lead backyard lights work just fine.

    I've looked at all the connections and everything looks ok still.

    Any ideas? I think my transformer is big enough......

    Thinking I screwed up with the cable size of 16/2.





    Thanks for any help.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  2. Evan K

    Evan K Community Admin Staff Member

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    Hey Stuart,

    After crunching the numbers, you are certainly within the operating range wattage wise for your transformer; you have only consumed about 48W of the recommended 80%. As you mentioned that you've already checked your wire connections, and did troubleshoot the individual runs directly at the transformer to determine that the issue is the newly added run, I would agree that it is related to the cable or fixtures. For starters, we generally recommend 16-gauge cable for uses up to 50ft. Of course, the insufficient voltage would typically only result in the fixtures either looking dim or not illuminating rather than tripping the transformer. With that being said, the cable may be damaged or a fixture may need to be tested directly at the transformer as well.
     
  3. Stuart Turner

    Stuart Turner New Member

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    Thanks Evan. To test the individual fixtures do I just connect them directly to the transformer?
     
  4. Evan K

    Evan K Community Admin Staff Member

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    Correct! Use the fixture's lead wire to test it directly on the 12V tap and just be sure that the bulb within the fixture is a verified working one for certainty.
     
  5. Stuart Turner

    Stuart Turner New Member

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    Thanks Evan. I disconnected all 6 lights and tested one by one. They all work when connected to the transformer. I reconnected the closest 1...maybe the power travels 100 feet. Still flips the circuit. So..based on that what do you think it could be now? The only thing that is left is the 16/2 cable itself being defective. I visually inspected all 250 ft of it and ran my hand over the entire length. Should I start from scratch with 14/2? Thanks.
     
  6. Evan K

    Evan K Community Admin Staff Member

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    From what it sounds like, you have now tested the fixtures, the bulbs, and verified wire connections and the integrity of the run. You are within the proper operating range of the transformer and have not overloaded any runs with too many fixtures. So, I would have to agree with you that the long length of the run is the culprit with regards to the gauge of the cable. 14 gauge cable is generally recommended for uses up to 75ft; depending on how you planned to rewire it may be easier and the safer bet to use 12-gauge (rated up to 150ft).