Here are a few helpful tips to take in consideration when servicing your landscape lighting system.
Changing The Bulbs
When changing the bulbs in your landscape lighting system there are 2 things that are very important to remember.
1.Do not touch halogen bulbs with your fingers. The oil on your skin will cause the bulbs to burn out faster. Usually the bulbs come in some plastic or foam that you should use to install them. If there isn’t anything that comes with the bulb use either a rag, or gloves to install them.
2. Remember is to replace the bulb with the same wattage bulb that you have taken out. Changing the wattage can have a big effect on that whole lighting zone. If you want to increase or decrease the wattage you must use a volt meter to test the lights in that whole zone to make sure you are not over or under zoning that zone.
Your lighting zone
I refer to a zone as one of the commons inside the lighting transformer. You can have multiple runs going into each common. Each transformer is broken up into 300 watt zones. The transformer size will tell you how many commons that transformer has. Most common are the 600 and 900 watt transformer. The 600 watt transformer is actually two 300 watt circuits inside of it while the 900 is three. The best way to identify what zones are which is to go inside the transformer and for each common there is a switch you can flip on or off to identify which zone is which. Each zone needs to be kept under 280 watts to keep the circuit from tripping. The biggest issue when changing the wattage is changing the voltage to the lights.
Low voltage lights need to be ran between 10.5 and 12 volts to maximize their life expectancy. Unless the voltage is very low, you can’t tell by looking at the lights whether they are running at a voltage that is too high or too low. Running them higher than 12 volts or lower than 10.5 volts will cause the lights to burn out faster. This is very common, and if you are constantly changing your bulbs this could be what is happening to you.
When installing a system there are formulas used to get the right voltage drop to each light to keep it at the right voltage. The formula is wattage x length of the wire run x 2 divided by the cable constant. The length of the wire run and cable constant are not changing when you swap bulbs but the wattage might be. Avoid changing the wattage to avoid issues with your lighting system.