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Ten Steps to Install Low Voltage Outdoor Path Lighting in Just a Few Hours Without Breaking the Bank

by Jeramy Tabor (2018-11-15)


If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you will be able to save lots of money installing your own Low Voltage Cabling (www.unitedcabling.com) voltage outside lighting.

1. Ensure you have a GFCI receptacle outside. If not, install one yourself or get one installed.This step is mandatory.

2. Make a plan - walk your property with a long tape measure, a drawing pad and pencil and your imagination! This is where you may decide what kinds of fixtures you would like to install and where. A plan will insure that you buy the correct amount of materials and fixtures, so don't avoid this one (unless you are only going to be installing one post light and even then you want to know how much wire to buy).

3. You'll need to purchase a transformer, ideally with a timer, wire, the light fittings themselves and metal ground stakes.

To size your transformer, add up the watts for each fixture, and then figure in additional wattage for future projects. So, if your fixtures are each eighteen watts and you have ten of them, that is 180 watts for your transformer and 25% more for the wire. Add some additional voltage for future expansion and you are looking at potentially a three hundred watt transformer.

From your scheme, establish the length of each run between fixtures and then the length from your last fixture to the transformer. Then add about 6-7" per fixture for the links. Recommended 12 gauge cable for a 300 watt transformer.

4. Now that you have got your materials, you're ready to start the installation. The very first thing to do is to lay out wire & fixtures. Place your fixtures on the ground where you need to install them. Then lay the wire round the complete area you are installing your fixtures. Lay a small additional wire (like a fist-sized loop) at every fixture.

5. Dig 2 - 3 inch trench where you will actually lay the cable. Some people recommend more or less. I've seen as much as 5 inches recommended and as little as 1 foot. I wouldn't go any less than 18 inches, but to be sure you don't pull up your cable doing yard work, it's better to go a little deeper, but no more than 3 inches.

6. After you gently bury the cable, at each fixture location, loop the wire up out of the ground for connection to your fixtures.

7. Now you'll Install the transformer and plug it into a receptacle. Essentially all you want to do is attach it to your home or a post next to your GFCI switch. Be certain to follow all the directions that come with it to be certain it's grounded correctly. Once it's installed and grounded, connect your wire to it by cutting the end of the wire with wire cutters and stripping off one-half inch of the insulation. Then place each one of the two wires under the terminal screws and tighten the screws down on them. This is similar to hooking up to stereo speakers.

8. Employing a little sledge hammer, strike your stakes into the ground holding every one as straight up and down as you can.

9. Fasten the light fixtures to the stakes and snap each fixture's wire piercing fitting into wire. To accomplish this, you will place the tab of the wire snap onto each side of the wire and fit them together through the wire.

10. For your last step just bury the wire where you made your connections, fill in the dirt fully and tamp it all down.

Bonus step 11. Invite your friends over for a barbecue and enjoy your new low voltage outdoor lights!

For a complete parts list go to Low voltage path lighting.