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12v transformer

What exactly is low voltage lighting?

Low Voltage Lighting is a way of illuminating your home, garden, office, etc, by means of lower voltages than mains voltage. It offers the advantages of smaller, more compact light sources (halogen bulbs and LED’s come to mind) as well as smaller electrical bills. What is not to like about that? Halogen has been around for a while as a serious and powerful light source, and many of us know both the powerful floodlights of several hundred watts and the small bulbs for use in domestic and office lighting. LED technology is not really new – it has been used for decades for indication lights in electronic equipment – but in the role of serious light sources for use in our homes and elsewhere, it is quite new – and still under development.

What can you use low voltage lighting for then? Basically everything. Anyplace where you use large, mains powered bulbs, you could replace it with smaller bulbs running off lower voltages. But why would you – if you are already using energy saving bulbs? The answer is that there are places where smaller – and sometimes less powerful – lights make sense. Also, especially with LED, the power requirements can be even less than that of energy savers. What you have to realize, is that light can be many things. How about low voltage landscape lighting? Have you ever wanted to spice up the way your property looks at night, but were reluctant to put up the power hungry bulbs of yore? Take something as simple as string lights, like the ones you put up around Christmas, Halloween, or the whole year round just for fun. Since LED started to take off as a real alternative to other technologies, LED string lights have exploded in popularity. Why not create an original low voltage garden lighting system of a more permanent kind – using LED’s as the light source? Remember, it doesn’t need to give so much light that you could read by it – it is not light to see by, but merely to be seen. Low voltage LED lighting also has the advantage of having extremely long life – 50.000 hours if designed properly – making it less important that it is easy to access and replace. Since it also uses electricity much more efficiently than other light sources, it emits less heat relative to the amount of light it produces – and, more importantly to most people – uses less electricity.

The compact nature of both halogen and LED means you have a new freedom in lighting design. Now even the smallest objects can become lamps. If you always wanted a desk lamp built into a bread stick, well, in theory you could do that with LED (but would you?). And the fact that the power consumption is less, means that you can now consider putting light in places where it would once have seemed excessive. Outdoor low voltage lighting is really taking off right now, and feasibility is definitely one of the reasons for it.

If you dream of more light or more creative lighting, but you don’t want to spend big bucks on your electrical bill, you owe it to yourself to look into low voltage lighting.

Low Voltage Lighting

How To Buy A Low Voltage Transformer

Here is a short guide on what to look for when you are shopping for a low voltage transformer. No matter if you need a low voltage lighting transformer or a transformer for some other purpose, there are some things you need to know a bit about. You don’t need to be a trained engineer to purchase or use a transformer – a little knowledge goes a long way.

Transformers explained
First we should get clear on what a transformer is. An electronic transformer is part of the family of what is known as passive electronic devices. Basically, it consists of two windings of copper wire around a core of ferrous material. These two windings are not in direct physical contact, but are separated by electrical insulation. They affect each others magnetic fields though, which is what makes the transformer work. The two coils (sometimes there are actually more than two) are called the primary and the secondary. The voltage that you wish to transform goes in on the primary, and out of the secondary comes a new – transformed – voltage. A transformer is sometimes referred to as a power supply, but this is not entirely correct; a power supply often contains a transformer – but also several other electronic components that perform various tasks. On the other hand, a transformer on its own can only process (and output) AC voltages, so if you see advertisements for a DC transformer, what it really is, is actually a power supply! Confusing? Yes, a little, but I will try to alleviate some of that with this article, so read on.

Low voltage transformers and their applications
The term “low voltage” happens to somewhat fuzzy – covering voltages up to 1000 volts in some cases! In our case though, we will say that anything under 50 VAC (volts of alternating current) qualifies as low voltage. A transformer for low voltage then, is one that outputs a voltage equal to, or below, 50 VAC. A lot of people looking for transformers these days need them to power a low voltage lighting system of some kind, usually with halogen bulbs or LED’s. Low voltage lighting transformers are often either 12v or 24v, with the majority possibly being 12v transformers. Other uses include practically every kind of electronic device bigger than portable consumer electronics like mp3 players, cell phones, etc – these use something called switching power supplies instead which we won’t cover here. But things like CD-players, hifi-amplifiers and such – use transformers.

How do you decide what to buy for your specific project? It depends on a number of factors, but let us say, for the sake of simplicity, that you want to make a low voltage lighting system consisting of 4 halogen bulbs. First things you do is decide on the voltage and power rating of those bulbs. If you want 12v bulbs at 35 watts each, it follows that your power requirements total are 140 watts at 12VAC. Halogen bulbs use AC voltage to run. This now means that you must find a transformer that will convert your local mains voltage (120, 220 or 240V, depending on where in the world you live) to 12 VAC. It must also be able to deliver at least 140 watts of power to the light bulbs. It is always a good idea to plan for a bit of surplus capacity when designing with electricity, as you can never be 100% sure that a power rating is correct, or that someone won’t by mistake replace your 35 watt bulbs with 50 watt ones, effectively overloading the transformer. I would probably double the capacity to 280 watts – just to be on the safe side.

I hope I have managed to raise the information level on this subject a little bit, and enable you to make a confident purchase of a low voltage transformers.

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Need to find a 12v transformer for low voltage lighting or other? Here is some basic info, which will help you on your quest.

Picking a 12v transformer is no easy task – at least not without some knowledge of transformers or what you need exactly. Most anything related to electrical installations or parts replacements requires the user to be alert and informed when making a purchase. The purpose of this site is to do exactly that – inform you on how to buy the 12v transformer you need. 12 volt transformer is a standard voltage for many so-called low voltage electronic circuits, whether it is in your hifi, your shaver or your car.

12v Lighting Transformers:

One of the most popular uses for 12v transformers is for low voltage lighting such as halogen bulbs or LED lights. Halogen bulbs are famous for delivering as much light as incandescent bulbs, but at smaller voltages and so using fewer watts of power doing their job. If you are looking for a transformer for this purpose, you should look for something that transforms whatever your local mains voltage is, to 12 volts. The number of bulbs you can run off a particular transformer depends on its power rating (watts or “w” for short). This requires you to know the power or current consumption of the bulbs you are going to use. If you have 2 bulbs rated at 35w each, you should get a transformer rated to output at least 70w – preferably more. It should be a 12v ac transformer, meaning that alternating current from the wall outlet goes in and 12 volt alternating current comes out. This means the voltage is not rectified in an additional circuit, but simply passed through the transformer. It is advisable to get a product that has one or more thermal fuses or breakers, which will switch out the transformer in case it is overheating from too much current being drawn through it. These thermal breakers are normally resettable, so if you ever happen to overload your transformer, simply let it cool down, have an electrician find the fault and then switch the transformer back on again.

12v transformer

12v dc Transformer Applications:

Not all situations call for a simple ac transformer. In fact most consumer and professional electronics that call for an external 12v transformer, require it to output a dc voltage. Dc, or direct current, is when the sinewave shaped ac voltage has been smoothed out to a straight line. This line represents a constant, non-fluctuating voltage that is either positive or negative, instead of swinging between plus and minus as ac voltages do. The change from ac to dc is called rectification and requires some extra circuitry built in next to the 12v transformer. In most external dc transformers, also known as plug packs or wall warts, the electronic rectifier is simply encased in the plastic enclosure together with the transformer. To make sure you have your hands on an ac to dc transformer, look for two symbols – the symbol for ac being a sinewave shape, and the symbol for dc being a horizontal line over a number of horizontal dashes or dots. Mostly it says something like this: “Primary 120/240V (ac symbol here), secondary 12V (dc symbol here)”. Primary refers to the input of the transformer, while secondary refers to the output.

It is no secret that my favorite kind of low voltage lighting is the transformer-powered kind, but there are situations where a certain alternative makes more sense. I am talking about solar lights of course, and I have to say that LED solar outdoor tree lights can sometimes be preferable to hooking up a 12v transformer.

The cool thing about solar, in my humble opinion, is that it can be placed in virtually any location, regardless of how far away from your house that might be. This is of course a tremendous advantage, since it means you do not have to install any kind of wiring to power your lights – something which could potentially mean having to run a few dozen yards of power cord across your property. That is of course not always practical, seeing as you might have to find a way around garden ponds, pools and driveways – you may even have to resort to hanging cables from other trees in your garden – possibly detracting a lot from the visual advantages your outdoor tree lights were intended to bring to your garden.

So if you want to put lights on a tree, say, thirty yards from the nearest mains outlet, and you don’t want to look at either mains wiring feeding a low voltage lighting transformer or to run extension cables from a remotely mounted transformer, then you could certainly take your chances on solar outdoor tree lights. Of course, it is still true that getting maximum light output from solar power bought on a moderate budget is not very likely, but the technology is constantly improving and is especially suited to drive LED’s, since these are the lowest voltage light sources on the market today. Once you really grasp the potential of self-contained solar garden lights, you understand that you really can put them anywhere you like. Installation is reduced to just dropping a light net over an object or a bush, attaching the solar panel well enough that it won’t fall off at the first light breeze, and then simply enjoy the light. Seasonal applications such as Christmas lights are made so much easier and hassle-free, since all you can now set up the lighting in a matter of seconds (if it is not a huge display), and get right back to gift-shopping or egg-nogg gulping – or whatever you like to do around Christmas. Sometimes the work you don’t have to do is reason enough to do something – and solar outdoor tree lights are the proof.

12v transformers

Get The Most Prominent Patio Lights That Functions With A 12V Transformer

Patio lights can add that final touch to a good time spent outdoors – a little extra to get the atmosphere just right for a night with your friends or that special someone. Naturally then, it is worth it to spend a little extra time planning your outdoor patio lighting to give you maximum enjoyment of the evening hours.

A really good way of achieving your patio lighting goals, is through low voltage lighting. The term low voltage is actually slightly misused by many lighting stores and manufacturers – the correct electrical term is extra low voltage, and refers to voltages from about 24v and downwards – with 12v being perhaps the most popular choice. But since every body else calls it low voltage, we will too. With all the light-sources that run on 12v, you could certainly do worse than select a 12v transformer for your outdoor patio lights. Both halogen and LED will work with 12v – just make sure the bulbs or LED arrays you want to use are specifically rated for at least 12v.

LED’s are popular as outside lights, perhaps because we often only want something to provide atmosphere and not necessarily strong light. LED’s are getting more powerful everyday, but the larghe majority of what is offered as patio lighting today is not quite on the cutting edge of LED technology in terms of light power. What it offers instead though, is compact size that can be – and often is – built into the most incredibly imaginative fixtures. This is seen most clearly with the huge variety in stringlights and patio umbrella lights – which can have shapes that range from elegant, over scary halloween styles, to plain silly. Some of these run on mains voltage, but they are available to use with 12v transformers too. One advantage of low voltage in this case, is that it enables a lot more advanced control of the light, like complex dimming or changing colors, etc. It also makes it safer for you to work with and customize as you see fit.

Halogen is also very widespread in use with 12v and other low voltages, and would be a good choice if you feel you need a bit more lighting power for you patio, or for outdoor garden lighting. Garden lighting might sometimes require a bit more output, since it is often used to accent things like large trees, buildings and fountains. You won’t get floodlights of several hundred watts with low voltage halogen, but if you plan it right, you could still go far.

In short, if you want patio lights at low voltage, then choose either LED or Halogen. LED, if you don’t need too much power but want dynamic control of colors and levels – halogen, if you need that bit more power. Between the two types I am sure you will find the perfect solution.

Some Basics about 12V Transformer:

Soft current illumination units are constantly fashionable – and significantly so. We have achieved great deal of solar advances to electric illumination options for both outdoor and indoor – and the best part is that it is safe and fairly simple to deal with. Frequently you may do many of the installment yourself, then ask the experts just to link the whole unit to primary voltage. Some individuals pick a method which needs just that a main plug be placed in to a side outlet, making the entire task totally secure for all – if possibly not the most expert looking means to go.

Something that baffles and daunts many people, is the potential customer of needing to select a transformer for the task. I can comprehend that, as transformers are normally portion of the “important aspects” of electronic devices, and the majority of many people are not experienced and are not professionally trained to look into that area. Nevertheless – when it comes to reduced voltage lighting transformers, there isn’t really a lot to be scared of. Exactly what these do, is transform the main voltage to a lower voltage that are admitted by halogen bulbs or various other reduced voltage light. Typically, this voltage is 12 volts which can be achieved by transformer 12v, so let us begin by presuming you require a 12v transformer for your job. Let us think you have actually selected which bulbs to make use of, and they demand 12 volt transformers to operate. Exactly what they get, is the mains voltage changed into 12v, nevertheless still AC like the main. You may need a 120v to 12v transformer or 240v to 12v transformer then, however you should understand even more prior to dedicating to the acquisition.

All voltaic lighting have a power rank – a number advising you the amount of electrical energy in watts that a light bulb needs. It goes without stating then, that if you see that your bulb has a power score of 20 watts, and you require 5 of them for your system, then the transformer ought to have the ability to provide 5 multiplied by 20 watts which is equal to 100 watts at the bare minimum. This will be apparent from the specs for the transformer. You must choose a minimal headroom in that output however, as power usage can occasionally differ and it is never ever a safe idea to run electrical installments near or at their pointed out optimum. Although you do get a 100 watt transformer for providing 80 watts, it is constantly an excellent concept to pick one with a constructed in thermal fuse. This will ensure the power is cut, if something draws excessive current from the transformer, running the risk of getting too hot, breakdown as well as a fire. Numerous such fuses are resettable, suggesting they will permit the power to come back on, when the overloading has actually been stopped and the transformer has actually cooled off some.

These are the essentials of picking 12v transformer. Bear in mind to call a trained electrician if in doubt about exactly what you are doing – or if dealing with mains voltage installments.

 


Reference:

Transformer – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A transformer is an electrical device that transfers energy between two or more circuits through electromagnetic induction. A varying current in the transformer’s …

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