Low Voltage Yard Lighting

Low voltage yard lighting is safe, provides security, and isn’t too expensive to install. Purchased a 24-volt bulb. A regular household bulb will not work, and it could even damage the yard lighting transformer. If it glowed at all, it would be very dim at best.

The heart of the low-voltage system is the transformer. A small rectangular component, about four-inches long, that plugs into a household outlet. They are usually installed on a wall facing the outside light.

It converts (transforms) household electricity from 115-volts to 24-volts. The beauty of low voltage is it cannot electrocute a person. Trenching the wire 24-inches deep, as with 115-volts, was not required. Some low-voltage wires are buried only inches below the ground.

Here lies the problem; a wire that is only three-inches below the ground can be easily cut with a shovel working in the flowerbeds. When this happens a small internal fuse in the transformer will blow. The problem is a new transformer.

To determine if the problem is the transformer, get an inexpensive voltmeter to test the output. You will need a tester that goes down to 24 volts to check the transformer. First, unplug the transformer and remove the two wires screwed to the base of the unit. Then with the meter set for greater than 24 volts (A/C) touch the probes to the plugged-in transformer. Hopefully you will get a reading close to 24 volts.

If the transformer is good, the next most common failure is the photocell. It is a small eye mounted in the post just below the light. It senses daylight and turns the fixture on and off. Covering it with a piece of electrical tape to test during the day should work fine. If it still does not light and the transformer is all right, remove and bring it to an electronic store or us and get it tested.

When in doubt, remove everything and bring it to us and we will check everything at no charge.