Malibu 600w Low voltage transformer photocell question

savaxJuly 6, 2009

Hi, This is probably a dumb question but after doing a search I didn't find the answer.

I have recently purchased a 600 watt Malibu/Intermatic low voltage transformer so I can add more landscape lights. I have a photocell which I previously used with a Malibu 300 watt transformer to turn the power on at dusk. I want to use the photocell with the new transformer. The 300 watt unit had 3 connectors on the bottom labeled (A) (B) (C) with the (C) connector used for the photocell connection. The 600 watt unit is apparently two 300 watt units together and has the (A) (B) and (C) connectors on each side for a total of six. OK, so that's probably about as clear as mud.

Anyway my question is can I use this one photocell to controll the 600 watt transformer like I could with the 300 watt unit or will I have to have 2 photocells?

Thanks very much for any help.

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the photo cell should have a rating on it say something like
1800 watts tungsten. the photocell needs to go on the power side (line) not the load of the transformer

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 3:56AM
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yes you can use the 1 photocell for your 600w transformer. The bigger issue is about using a malibu transformer in general. Low voltage landscape lighting has voltage drop (the longer the run, the more lights, the less voltage at the fixture). Malibu transformers do not enable you to properly compensate for voltage drop, as a results lights are often dim/uneven. If you get the chance in the future, try a multitap transformer--it has voltage ports from 12-15 volts so you can output at higher voltages to compensate for voltage drop. That way if your lights are dim, you can connect to a higher voltage tap on the transformer.

All professional installers will use a multi tap transformer and they are a key factor to getting pro results.

If you don't have a multitap (like a Malibu), then be sure to pay great attention to your layout to minimize voltage drop. We have info on layouts in our landscape lighting learning area.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Low Voltage Transformers for Landscape Lighting

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 8:02AM
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Yes, the pro results thing is VERY important.
For great quality landscape lighting, it's important to have a good power source. You can make a MALIBU work, you just have to concentrate on wiring it in zones. You should then test the voltage at each fixture (it should be between 10.5 & 11.5 volts for optimal brightness & bulb life) If you can achieve that, it doesn't matter about the transformer. Professionals use better transformers FXL, Vista, Unique, etc... because it's easier to adjust that voltage in the field without having to do work/labor.


Here is a link that might be useful: Phoenix Outdoor Lighting Info

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 10:28AM
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