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

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by ThirtyWest, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. ThirtyWest

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 15, 2017
    114
    5
    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.
     
  2. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    16,099
    6,212
    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.
     
  3. ThirtyWest

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 15, 2017
    114
    5
    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.
     
  4. whitehaired novice

    Member

    Jul 15, 2017
    281
    35
    It seems to me that 16 4 watt bulbs will produce a lot of light. Are you hoping to illuminate the yard or just have some giimmer? If it is glimmer, scale way back.
     
  5. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    16,099
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    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?
     
  6. ThirtyWest

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 15, 2017
    114
    5

    Way back. Glimmer.

    They’re scatter around the tree and not concentrated.

    I haven’t looked st how low LEDs go.
     
  7. ThirtyWest

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 15, 2017
    114
    5
    Colors would be nice. Diffusion too.
     
  8. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    16,099
    6,212
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
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