Tech Tip: Countering Voltage Drop

Voltage Drop in Landscape LightingWith regard to electricity, voltage is best described as pressure. Think of a garden hose of .5” diameter that is 50 feet long. Let’s hook it up to a spigot and turn it on full blast, we’ll have pretty good pressure at the nozzle end right? Now let’s add 100 feet of the same size hose, and we get a large reduction in pressure at the nozzle. It works the same with electricity. Longer wire = greater resistance = lower voltage (pressure). Given that we need 150 feet of hose (or wire), we combat this loss of pressure with either a larger diameter hose (wire) say .5” to 1”, or figure out a way to raise the pressure going into the hose at the spigot end.

Real world application of this principle to landscape lighting – Voltage Drop is a naturally occurring phenomenon, you can’t get away from it and it occurs even with LED’s. The key to successful installs and properly functioning systems is to plan ahead using any of the hundreds of voltage drop calculators readily available from fixture and wire manufacturers and on the Internet.  Simply input the wattage, wire size, and incoming voltage, and the calculator will predict the actual voltage at each fixture. By increasing wire size and using multi-tap (multi-voltage output) transformers you can be in complete control of the voltage.

Click here for the voltage drop calculator app at Unique.

That said, at Outdoor Lighting Distributors, we are always here to help you. If you have any questions about voltage drop or any other issues, please call us at 888-673-3653.