Hello again and for today’s blog we are looking at another question I get asked a lot. 12volt transformer or a LED driver, which is the best when using outdoor lighting? To be fair both have positives and both have their drawbacks.
I still use 12volt iprated toloroid transformers on installations where I have to run a large number of MR16 spike spots and path lights. Due to the ampage in the transformers output, the schemes rarely suffer from a voltage drop. It is always good practice to try and ensure that this type of transformer use’s over 70% of its capacity but not more than 90%. The downside to these transformers is that as soon as you go above 100 watts output the old problem of surge comes into play, which often requires upgrading the fuse board to a C type breaker.
With LED drivers the major problem is the voltage drop does get very pronounced when the runs have a fairly high load. This can often be overcome in the planning stage but as all installers will tell you all it takes is a customer wanting to add five more outdoor lights and you will have an issue. I would always recommend using a good LED driver and from my experience, Meanwell and Ecopac drivers are some of the best in the business.
The only other caveat to this discussion is if there is enough room in the garden, then the following has been recommended by several top electrical engineers. The biggest threat to most iprated transformers or drivers is heat. This is always increased as soon as the waterproofing element is added to any driver/ transformer. To negate this problem you can use none iprated led drivers placed in a metal waterproof cabinet which keeps the drivers dry and at the perfect temperature. This is the best solution when possible but as we all know no two gardens are the same. Until next time keep the lights shining…..