Following on from garden lighting systems, part 1, where we looked at the first two parts that make a good lighting system – 1/ mains or extra low voltage 2/ junction boxes.
Part 2 looks at the next two parts of a good garden lighting system – 3/ Cable 4/ AC or DC.
3) Cable: For extra low voltage wiring we would always recommend H07 or H05 as a minimum requirement for cable. This cable is strong and does not deteriorate in the sun or long exposure to water. In addition to the cable we always recommend adding conduit both straight and flexible to ensure rodents cannot chew through the cable. Try and ensure the cables are buried as deep as the ground permits with a minimum of 6 inches.
4) AC or DC: Both systems have pros and cons and some lights can only use DC led drivers such as led tape and some integral led lights. As a personal choice I always tend to via for the ac waterproof transformers. I find that they are more reliable and cope better with voltage drop over longer runs (this is due to the fluctuation of the voltage from anywhere between 12-30v). When choosing led drivers we try and use either Meanwell or Ecopac drivers which we have found to be the most reliable. We also recommend using iprated transformers and drivers over drivers in waterproof enclosures. The one big point to remember for LED drivers and transformers is to never exceed the maximum load as a rule of thumb try to keep 10% under. This again helps towards long term reliability.
These are the four main points to follow when putting in place a good outdoor lighting system. If you follow these guidelines you will have a long lasting outdoor lighting system!