Landscape Lighting How-To – Using Hubs

People install landscape lighting for a reason, right?  The biggest one we can think of is for the system to work consistently and well.  What is the best way we find to do that?  Use a hub system for installation.

What is a hub system you say?  Glad you asked. 

First lets define how most landscape lighting happens.  Low voltage landscape lighting has three major components:

  1. The transformer that transforms 120 volt power (standard power from a plug or wire) to 12 volt power.
  2. The wire that carries the 12 volt power from the transformer to the light fixture – say a path light or uplight on a tree.
  3. Fixture – the light itself that has a low voltage bulb housed inside – often times an MR16 bulb.

Most landscape lights are installed with the wire running from transformer to light to light to light from beginning to end.  The problem with this scenario is that due to the way electricity flows, the available amount of voltage drops as it flows along the line – think of it like water evaporating as it flows across paving.  The problem here is that the first light fixture gets a lot of voltage – say even more than 12 volts – while the last fixture may only get 6 or 7 volts.  Why does this matter?  Because the first higher voltage fixture burns really bright and the last one really dim – that’s not what the designer had in mind.  The first bulb also burns out sooner because it gets too much and the last one burns out…well you see where this is going.  The light levels, ability to maintain it well because everything is linked, and cost are all negatively impacted.

How do we get around that?  We use a “hub system”.  On our projects, the electricity it distributed out from the transformer on one large wire that experiences less voltage drop.  This wire leads to a 6 wire “hub” that then distributes the voltage evenly to six fixtures.  We can guarantee that each fixture gets the same voltage because each wire is 25′ long coming from the hub.  No matter whether the fixture is 5′ or 25′ from the fixture, it gets the same wire.  We just bury the extra.

Why do this?

  1. Great quality of light
  2. Ease of maintenance
  3. Lower long term costs and headaches.

Landscapes are built to enjoy, why not take every step to make sure the enjoyment happens!

Interested in other how-to construction ideas.  Check out these posts:

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