How to Wire a Transformer for Low Voltage Lighting

handrails to the night illuminated swimming pool . image by Sergey Mostovoy from

Low voltage lighting operates lamps at 12 volts in homes and gardens, for both efficiency and safety. Low voltage bulbs give plenty of light without the worry of electric shock around pools, spas or play areas. The transformer connects to standard household electricity through a wall socket, and some models even mount outdoors. The transformer can have a single output or more for distribution to your lighting system. You must have basic electrical skills to select and install the appropriate wiring and hardware for your system.

Install your low voltage lighting transformer near a wall socket. Some models are rainproof and you can mount them outdoors, but do not mount an indoor transformer outdoors.

Install your lighting fixtures in the locations you desire.

Select the proper size wire for your system. Select either 10 gauge (the largest), or 12, 14 or 16 gauge. The wire size will depend on the total wattage of your lighting system and the distance of the lights from the transformer (see Resources below).

Connect the output wiring. Wire your low voltage lighting system so that each bulb socket has two leads coming from the transformer. All lights must be wired in parallel, meaning that the two leads from the transformer can connect to several sockets, but the wiring must have direct connections from the transformer to the socket. You cannot run a wire from the transformer to one side of a bulb, and from the other side of the bulb to another bulb. Connect two wires from the transformer to the first socket, and then extend the two wires on to the next socket.

Connect the low voltage transformer to your AC house wiring. Most low voltage lighting transformers come with the AC cord already attached. If not, install a standard or outdoor three-prong plug to the transformer, with the exact details depending on the particular transformer.

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