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Installing Low Voltage Lighting

There are several different methods you can use for installing low voltage lighting.

One of the methods that is commonly used in wiring low voltage lighting, but should never be used is the straight run or the daisy chain method.

The problem with this method is that the first fixture gets most of the voltage, while the remaining fixtures progressively get less and less voltage as you go down the line.
Halogen lamps used in low voltage landscape lighting need to get 10.8 to 12 volts for it's best performance. Lamps that get less than this amount of volts will have a reduced lamp life, will be dim and turn yellow on you.

"T" Wiring Method

Probably the most used landscape lighting wiring method is the center fed, commomly known as the "T" method. This method does a much better job of providing voltage to all the fixtures.

The illustration below shows a the "T" method.

landscape lighting wiring t-method

You see that the home run wire coming out of the transformer goes directly in the middle of the cable run and connecting to a fixture in the run. Make sure that the cable run from the center does not go over 25 feet, either way.

This is commonly called the 50 foot rule where you do not want more than 50 foot of wire from the first fixture to the last or never have a cable run over 50 feet including all fixtures on that run.

Five fixtures on a "T" method is maximum, with 3 fixtures being the best. The number of fixtures you will be able to put on a run will depend on your lamps wattage with each fixture.

You want to make sure that you are getting 12 volts at the "T" connection. This can be achieved by using the proper tap on your transformer and by using the correct landscape wire for your home run.

Spoke or Hub Wiring Method

The "Hub" method is an excellent way to prevent wicking or corrosion commonly found when using in-ground connections. Wicking is when moisture is drawn up under the wire insulation and into the copper wire, which over a period of time will tarnish the copper wire and reduces the conductivity. In other words you will soon have a bad connections that could cause you many problems in your system.

Another benefit with the "Hub" method is you know exactly where your connections are for maintenance or for addiontional landscape lighting in the future.

Your home run wire from the transformer goes to a junction box or j-box and from there you split off to each individual light fixture. By doing this you are ensuring that all of the lights are getting the same voltage.

The illustration below shows the "Hub" method. landscape lighting wiring hub method

In some cases you may have to use both the "T" and "Hub" method in your landscape lighting project.

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