Use a 12V line to power 125V LED light

Thread Starter

ZIOJOE

Joined May 14, 2021
3
Let me start with the fact that I have very little knowledge of electricity and wiring.

We bought a house with a ton of lights in the landscaping. In the last 2 years almost all have been going out and shorting, long story short we ripping them all out except for the main line coming from the house and buried in the ground.

The past owner has informed me that it's all 12V line, but I would like to buy some lights and attach them. I found some at Costco, but they say 125V. Is there any way to make this work? It appears that the controller/timer under the deck takes care of the voltage since it plugs into the regular outlet and the buried wire is coming out if it, but am I right in assuming that there's different wire for carrying different voltages, so ripping out the controller end and connecting a plug wouldn't be a good idea.

I'm willing to cut off the plug and splice the existing wire with the new lights if that will work, but I don't want to find out the hard way and not be able to return the lights. Thanks so much for your help, and I apologize for my lack of knowledge in this area, I'm probably wasting most of your time.

Here's the lights I'm considering

https://www.costco.ca/.product.100400023.html?&EMID=CA_EN_2021_0514_MacBookAir
 
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DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
7,426
Generally (weasel word, I know) outdoor 12 volt circuits can be in plastic conduits but 120 volt circuits need to be in metal conduits. If you don't have metal conduits, be prepared to change them or go find some 12 volt luminaires.

I know where I lived when I installed outdoor lighting they wanted me to obtain an construction permit (I know because a building inspector turned up to inspect other work on the property and mentioned it), so you might check with city hall, or better yet, hire a licensed electrician who won't have to learn as he goes.
 

Thread Starter

ZIOJOE

Joined May 14, 2021
3
Generally (weasel word, I know) outdoor 12 volt circuits can be in plastic conduits but 120 volt circuits need to be in metal conduits. If you don't have metal conduits, be prepared to change them or go find some 12 volt luminaires.

I know where I lived when I installed outdoor lighting they wanted me to obtain an construction permit (I know because a building inspector turned up to inspect other work on the property and mentioned it), so you might check with city hall, or better yet, hire a licensed electrician who won't have to learn as he goes.
Yeah I would prolly go that route, or run an extension from another outlet in the meantime. Thanks.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
23,516
It would be too difficult to mix 12V lights with 120V lights.
I would rip out the 12V lights and install new 120V lights that are specifically designed and sold for outdoor use (aka Xmas lights).

Don't bury the wiring in the ground.
 

Thread Starter

ZIOJOE

Joined May 14, 2021
3
But if the 12VAC cannot supply the 10X current required for the 120VAC, it ain’t gonna work!
I assume AC, it's just a box that plugs in to a regular 120V outlet under my deck. Then the wire to the lights is run in to this box.
I don't understand the 1/10 10x part of the convo, sorry.
The wire is already buried along the patio and runs to the tree that I want to string light on, which is why I'm hoping for a solution.
On a separate note, would it be possible to attack a female outlet on my wiring and see if 12V is enough to power the LED lights?
Would the wire be rated for 12V( if that's a thing?)? I think someone said it needs to be in conduit to run 120V so I assume I shouldn't do that anyways.

If all else fails, can anyone tell me what exactly I need to look for to use the existing wiring? Is it just 12V lighting or is there some other term.I should be searching for before buying some lights?
Thanks again for all the responses.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
23,516
If you want to leave the existing 12V wiring in the ground then get a voltmeter (DMM) and measure the voltage at the connector at the end of the existing string (assuming there is one). You need to know the voltage and if it is DC or AC.

At this point we don't know how much current it can supply.
When we have enough information we may be able to suggest some 12V lights. You just can't use the Costco 125VAC lights you have selected.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,689
If you want to leave the existing 12V wiring in the ground then get a voltmeter (DMM) and measure the voltage at the connector at the end of the existing string (assuming there is one). You need to know the voltage and if it is DC or AC.

At this point we don't know how much current it can supply.
When we have enough information we may be able to suggest some 12V lights. You just can't use the Costco 125VAC lights you have selected.
And the current required! That’s harder to find but is critical.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
8,745
Certainly you will need to know the voltage that the "BOX" is providing before you can replace the lights. You will also need to know if that BOX is even functioning. It may or may not be, I have seen them fail because of a short circuit in the buried wires.
Trying to power such lights with the 120 volts mains power takes you to a while different realm, because mains power, 120 or 240 volts can deliver a lethal shock, and the rules are totally different. If you choose to install a whole new system with new buried wires, do it with the 12 volt package because it is much safer. and it will probably not require either a permit or an inspector, which will be a HUGE benefit. Generally , those who are working for the city as inspectors are those who could not make it in business. At least that is what I have seen.
 
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