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  • Landscape Lighting LED Conversion

    This endeavor started two years ago or so. This fall doing a few more zones. The prices of the LED lamps have come down. So far I've had good luck with what I have found. Every fall I look at the big box stores to see what landscaping lights are on sale. I didn't see any this year. I have noticed though that the "rock" style landscaping lighting doesn't last more than 1-2 years. For whatever reason it seems that they get water in them and eventually break. I did though test some malibu floods which I could utilize for LED's; cree style 3 watt floods; very bright; I use these for the trees and will be replacing the "rock" lights with these.

    The size of the MR-16's cree style with heatsink make them a bit bigger than the regular MR-16's that are halogen.

    I'm kind of playing around with different styles in different older landscaping lights. The small single 5mm bi-pins I am trying in these little coach style glass walk lights. While not as bright as the 10 watt Halogen lamps they look good and they only using up about .5 watts instead of 10 watts. In the same lamps trying the 15 SMD G4 bi-pin LEDs; these are much brighter though.
    Attached Files
    - Pete

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  • #2
    More "testing" LEDs. First zone that I tested is now 2 years old. I haven't replaced any of the lamps and these are mostly using the 12SMD cool MR11 style LEDs in little mushroom looking Malibu lights and 3 of the 3 watt cree style LED lights. This time around purchased anywhere from 6 to 10 of each of the styles. They arrived well packaged within 2 weeks of initial order via USPS. One package was shipped via FEDEX and requried a signature and for some odd reason was sent back to China; so it took 3 weeks.

    This fall converting 4 zones to LED. Each of these though has a variety of maybe 5 different style Halogen lamps.

    This year though I brought the LEDs with me to the Hardware stores and started to take apart the newer Malibu low voltage halogen lighting to see the "fit".

    The pictured Malibu flood lamp is well contructed and sells for between $15-22 at the big box stores. I found them on-line in bulk packs of 6-12. 6 for $40 shipped free.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Pete; November 4th, 2011, 06:27 AM.
    - Pete

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    • #3
      I've been preparing to install LED landscape lights as well. Probably looking at the spring. Been checking HD for them but selection seems limited.

      Where did you snag them that cheap for the bulk purchase?

      What transformer are you running them with?

      How are you controlling them via Homeseer (if you are)?

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      • #4
        I purchased them all from China. They are all AC/DC 12VAC and multivoltage DC. Purchased all bulk with free shipping. I didn't pay more than $4 for the most expensive 3 watt cree style MR11's and maybe something like $.50 for the smaller G4 LEDs. Very miniature circuits on these; never seen anything like it. Will post a picture today of these.

        I have something like 10 zones run with 12 guage wire going to 3-4 Toroidal multivoltage landscaping transformers (overkill at 600-1200 watts). I will be changing this. So far though one zone has worked fine with its connection to one of these toroidal transformers with something like 20 LED (similiar 12VAC LED lights on it for almost 2 years now.) This one zone has the multi 12 LED cool white MR11's and a few of the single cree style 1 watt and 3 watt lamps on it from a couple of years back.

        Each of the LED lights has its own little voltage regulator (very tiny on the smallest LEDs).

        Originally (years ago) went to controlling the Toroidal transformers with X10 Appliance switches.

        Over the last two years testing with UPB, Z-Wave and Insteon switches. Today testing the zones I noticed that the Z-Wave switches in place didn't work as fast as the X10 so removed three Z-Wave appliance switches and went back to X10. I left one at UPB though. The Z-Wave appliance modules though would always trip the circuit breakers with the 1000 watt toroidal transformer.

        Will be consolidating PS's to one switch in the near future.

        Funny cuz the folks at Menards / Home Depot didn't bug me as I opened up boxes of Malibu landscaping lighting to check for LED lighting for maybe 20 minutes or so at each store.

        I also have some older Kichler landscaping lighting (these though were something like 80-150 each). I converted one that used a bayonet style 7 watt lamp to a MR11 socket a couple of weeks back for an LED. I just soldered the MR11 porclein base wires to the the bayonet bracket keeping it close and very tight. Works well and the light looks good with LED lighting.
        Last edited by Pete; November 4th, 2011, 08:09 AM.
        - Pete

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        • #5
          Thanks Pete this is all great info. Couple of questons

          1) Looks like you are using standard landscaping lighting wiring? Meaning the existing wires can be converted over to LED's?

          2) One thing I really like about standard low voltage lighting is that it creates a warm glow to the house. LED's seem harsher sometimes depending on the house. Do you know if its possible to get LEDs that approximate the look of traditional?

          3) I have standard 80 and 160 watt outdoor lighting transformers. Is the replacement of the standard low voltage to LED about the same watt for watt?

          Thanks, Paul
          Paul

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pbibm View Post
            1) Looks like you are using standard landscaping lighting wiring? Meaning the existing wires can be converted over to LED's?
            I've been converting to LEDs as well. I just substitute the LED "bulb" for the standard bulb, one fixture at a time as the old bulbs burn out. So far, no problems.

            2) One thing I really like about standard low voltage lighting is that it creates a warm glow to the house. LED's seem harsher sometimes depending on the house. Do you know if its possible to get LEDs that approximate the look of traditional?
            Pay close attention to the color temperature designation on the LED. You certainly can find ones that duplicate a halogen output (2700-300K), but the least expensive ones are "cool white" and look ghastly IMO.

            3) I have standard 80 and 160 watt outdoor lighting transformers. Is the replacement of the standard low voltage to LED about the same watt for watt?
            The LEDs use considerably less power, so I expect to be able to support more of them with my existing transformers, but I haven't gotten that far yet.
            Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
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            • #7
              Here's a site with a great selection and good quality, but fairly high prices.
              http://www.superbrightleds.com/
              Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
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              • #8
                The endeavor of multizoning the outdoor lighting was probably the most difficult piece with the 12 guage wires running everywhere. They are labeled. The multivoltage transformers use separate circuit breakers and separate voltages. I checked the voltages where the lights are before installing the LEDs on the longer runs.

                Yes its been the color choices of the LEDs so far with the oldest ones being that harsh white and now the newer ones with warm colors; much nicer today.

                I will not need 4 toroidal transformers after they are all converted. I might leave one in place. But for the LED lighting you don't need much at all. The smallest ones I bought look nice and they don't even use 1/2 of one watt.

                Funny though if you look at the prices of the Landscaping lighting vendors; doubling or tripling the prices of one landscaping light because it is using LED lighting instead of halogen. BTW 10 watt halogen bulbs now can be found for as little as .25 a bulb these days.

                BTW I didn't overdo the landscaping lighting but do have lights around the entire circumference of the home plus 5 berms. These do all light up with all of the external coach lights (no spotlights or floodlights allowed outside) with any motion detected after hours outside.

                I had the guys doing the sprinkler system run extra tubing out to peripherals of the property. Also using these separate runs for the security cams to look at the house from the edges of the property lines (like 3/4 of an acre or so).
                - Pete

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Uncle Michael View Post
                  I've been converting to LEDs as well. I just substitute the LED "bulb" for the standard bulb, one fixture at a time as the old bulbs burn out. So far, no problems.

                  Pay close attention to the color temperature designation on the LED. You certainly can find ones that duplicate a halogen output (2700-300K), but the least expensive ones are "cool white" and look ghastly IMO.

                  The LEDs use considerably less power, so I expect to be able to support more of them with my existing transformers, but I haven't gotten that far yet.
                  Thanks UM. My units are intermatic and cheap. As I have played with bulb wattages, though the total bulb watts to transformer line up, the heat from the higher watt bulbs have "done in" some fixtures. As I replace them, I might as well do it right.

                  Thanks for the comments on ghastly. Deep down that's how I feel about it. My house is a 40's brick colonial, all earth tones. I will pay extra to keep the "Thomas Kinkade" look to my house. I would pull it all out before going with the blue(r) lights.

                  Paul
                  Paul

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                  • #10
                    Pete, do you have these installed in your home in Fl.?
                    Hector
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                    • #11
                      Yesterday I just ended up doing about maybe 6 lights. 3 of the Malibu older style lamps fell apart as I went to replacing the lights. Decided to replace those with new housings. So for the time the endeavor is paused until I get the replacement housings. I also bench tested the 12SMD LED lamps. They worked fine until I decided to flick the switch to power them rapidly on the workbench. 3 of 4 lost (literally) 1-4 LEDs. Odd very bad QA on these and they appear to be equal in QA to a set of spares (that I also tested) and color. I wrote to the company and they offered a refund or replacement.

                      Hector,

                      FL is totally different; anything outside from when the house was built in the early 2000's has been affected by the salt air. The neighbor installed lamps along the sea wall which appear to be 120VAC style. Its been about 5 years and they still look nice. I currently have redone the power (now its been about 6 years) to a tree / dock and its held up. I only have one light with a switch by the dock.

                      On a tangent....

                      My Seawall was original from the first house which was built around 1955. Last year I had to have the seawall rebuilt; which was a major endeavor; with most of the work being done off a barge of sorts in the water. There are cement anchors in the sand which go a few feet down and those too were all replaced. I could have purchased an automobile for the same amount of money it took to make the repairs and rebuild the seawall. So at present I maybe now bring some LV lighting over to the boat dock. I did run extra PVC tubing from the main part of the house over to the dock in preparation of some LV or additional 120VAC lines.
                      - Pete

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                      • #12
                        Found a source for bulk purchase of some newer easier to convert conventional halogen 20 watt to LED lighting modules. I have these little "rock" LV lighting lights all over and will be replacing them with the newer style lights. The "rock" lights usually only last about 2-3 years.
                        - Pete

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                        • #13
                          Yes; today a "faux pas" with the little G4 5mm lamps.

                          Getting ready to install 5 of them. I bench tested them; little things about 1/2 the size of my finger nail. Getting some tools out and moving from here and there I've misplaced them (age thing) or they fell out of my shirt pocket. They were the cheapest out of all of them purchased in lots of 5. Wife laughing cuz I do similiar with my glasses sometimes.
                          - Pete

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                          • #14
                            Ordered the Malibu "shell" for a "few" LV rock style replacements.

                            http://malibulights.com/products/flo...m=8301-9602-01

                            Tested this specific lamp housing with a 3 watt LED "warm white". Perfect fit and well contructed.

                            The Malibu lights came at $6.70 each with free shipping. The 3 Watt "warm white" LED lamps came at $2.65 each with free shipping.

                            This style and the 12 SMD MR11's are the ones I've been using now for about a year. Note I paid much more this lamp and the 12 SMD warm white lamps when I tested the first zone. They are still doing fine today.

                            The .8 watt little lamps (ones I lost) are doing well for the smaller G4 10 watt halogen replacements. I have 14 of these in place. (3 berms today). They are not as bright as the 10 watt halogens; but suffice for their purpose.

                            Still looking for some multi SMD "brighter" style to replace the bulbs in the flat round lamps. I guess these are called "wash flood" lamps.

                            The Kichler lamps utilize 7 watt bayonet style lamps. The construction (and price) of these lamps is much better than the Malibu style. They have held up way better in the last 5-6 years than the Malibu lighting. One of these I've modified with a porcelin MR11 pin base about 4 months ago. The pin spacing is the same as the G4 type LED lamps which gives me more of a choice. They do make multi smd bayonet style LED though. I've purchased the MR11 pin base from All Ellectronics dot com.
                            Attached Files
                            Last edited by Pete; November 8th, 2011, 03:51 PM.
                            - Pete

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Pete View Post
                              Tested this specific lamp housing with a 3 watt LED "warm white". Perfect fit and well contructed.

                              The Malibu lights came at $6.70 each with free shipping. The 3 Watt "warm white" LED lamps came at $2.65 each with free shipping.
                              That is an MR16? where do you find them for $2.65?

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