low voltage "fairy lights" by way of existing 12V landscape transformer...?

Thread Starter

ThirtyWest

Joined Jul 15, 2017
140
Happy Turkey Time all.

I'm working on making some fairy lights for a garden project my daughter wants to do. I have a nice tree with low boughs and wanted to hang fixtures down (about 16 in total) around the lowest ones.

Details:

  1. I have a 12V (200-220W max) landscape transformer on the porch already--no lights connected as I removed them a while back. These would be the only lights.
  2. I want low watt bulbs since I'm not calling Batman to the tree. Standard bulbs are around 10W so I'm thinking around 4W?
  3. I'd like to do a single line from the porch over to the tree and split it from there; the total wattage is well below max.
  4. The parts of the line that "hang" downward will be tucked inside rope for a "yardy" look. (that's not really important here, but if anyone has done that, I'm listening)
  5. The distance from the porch over to the tree and up is about 30 linear feet.

The points I'm considering are:

  1. pre-made outdoor LEDs? Most of the LEDs that keep popping up are for line voltages.
  2. we're only talking 16 or so. Making a little circuit inside the jar wouldn't be too tasking.
  3. line AWG? I know the 10W bulb kits all us 12/2. Could I get away with something thinner since I am going lower wattage? This is for an easier tuck in the rope--though 12/2 might be sturdier.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,153
pre-made outdoor LEDs? Most of the LEDs that keep popping up are for line voltages.
LEDs for sure, but it may take some hunting around.
we're only talking 16 or so. Making a little circuit inside the jar wouldn't be too tasking.
Sixteen jars, with multiple LEDs in each jar?
line AWG? I know the 10W bulb kits all us 12/2. Could I get away with something thinner since I am going lower wattage? This is for an easier tuck in the rope--though 12/2 might be sturdier.
The answer will depend on the wattage and length, plus the mechanical issues. I suspect you could use much thinner wire, maybe even phone wire, but that decision has to wait until the lights are defined.
 

Thread Starter

ThirtyWest

Joined Jul 15, 2017
140
LEDs for sure, but it may take some hunting around.
Sixteen jars, with multiple LEDs in each jar?
The answer will depend on the wattage and length, plus the mechanical issues. I suspect you could use much thinner wire, maybe even phone wire, but that decision has to wait until the lights are defined.
Yeah.

I was going for one light per jar. The right glass can retract enough. Besides I’m not in favor of overcrowding fairy prisons. They need their space.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,153
Yeah.

I was going for one light per jar. The right glass can retract enough. Besides I’m not in favor of overcrowding fairy prisons. They need their space.
OK, so you need to choose an LED for each jar. Something designed to run off 12V would be ideal. Many generic LEDs you see would work, but they're usually focused into a narrow beam. You want the opposite, I think, a broad dispersion. Do you care about having an LED that looks like a filament instead of just a point of light? I'm seeing a lot of those in stores lately. How about color?
 

Thread Starter

ThirtyWest

Joined Jul 15, 2017
140
OK, so you need to choose an LED for each jar. Something designed to run off 12V would be ideal. Many generic LEDs you see would work, but they're usually focused into a narrow beam. You want the opposite, I think, a broad dispersion. Do you care about having an LED that looks like a filament instead of just a point of light? I'm seeing a lot of those in stores lately. How about color?
Colors would be nice. Diffusion too.
 
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