Landscape Lighting, Switching to 120v

rustenApril 23, 2012

When I installed all of our landscape lighting, I had it done in full conduit, setup much like 120v would be run. The only difference being that it used a heavier 12-gauge wire.

I ran the normal 12 VAC landscape lighting transformer, and that was fine for incandescent lighting.

Now that LED Christmas lighting can be done without wasting much power, I'm planning on lighting a dozen of our trees with white Christmas light strings.

The problem is that it's almost impossible to find 12v LED christmas lights in a large enough volume to do what I'd like. Sure they make them, but they're normally 5' sections tightly spaced, etc. One could re-wire them, but that would be a nightmare for a large number of lights.

Because I've already wired my system to meet 120v code, I am considering switching to 120v. I would be replacing the transformer with a GFCI breaker.

Because I only need to draw a couple amps, I wondered if there was some way to buy LOW-AMPERAGE breakers. In addition to the GFCI protection, this would be one more step to creating a safer system.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any low-amperage breakers, or anything that would fit this purpose.

Does anyone have any idea about what options might exist, to implement a low-amperage breaker in conjunction with the GFCI? I realize that with GFCI, theoretically there is no need for a low-amperage breaker; however, if there is such a thing, it would give me a little extra piece-of-mind, whether it be for arc protection, or otherwise.

Thank you in advance,


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"LOW-AMPERAGE breakers"

Not from the typical distributin houses for regular power wiring.

You will need to look at electronic distributors and make your own equipment.

There are both toggle and push button panel mount low current breakers available, with push button being more common and available (it is used in more applications than toggles).

There is also a market for lighting control that may have what you are looking for, even if you are not intending for a light show type application.

Here is a link that might be useful: DigiKey Circuit Protection

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 12:02PM
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@brickeyee -
Thank you for the suggestion, that's an excellent point.

I started searching for components I could assemble together, and I came up with the 5-Amp push-button breaker:

Is this the sort of thing you were referring to? If so, the only problem is that I cannot find a panel-mounted GFCI to mount alongside it. It seems it's always something!

After I did all of this searching, I came back to reply and noticed you had posted a link! The problem with the items there, they are all "panel mount" or "din rail", and I'm not sure where I can get a small breaker box (or single disconnect box) to mount those. I did a search on that same site, but I came up empty handed.

On the light-show controller, I could not find anything that seemed outdoor friendly, or that seemed to do the trick in general. But I may be misunderstanding / have the wrong search terms.

Thank you again for the suggestions or any other ideas you may have!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 9:22AM
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