Lighting FAQ - Deck Lighting FAQs

 

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FAQs about Deck Lighting & Installation

Got a question about choosing deck lights or installation? We've assembled our customers' most common questions below. If you don't find what you're looking for, just call DecksDirect.com at 1-888-824-5316, 7a.m. to 5:30p.m. Monday through Friday, CST. 

What size post cap light do I need?
Can I use both incandescent and LED lights on the same transformer?
How many lights can I install on one transformer?
How do I get the wire from under the deck to the top of a wood post?
Some of my lights appear dimmer than others, what can I do?
What type of bulb is used in this light and how do I replace it?
My solar lights will not light up, what’s wrong?
My low-voltage lights will not light up, what’s wrong?
How many low voltage lights can I install on a transformer?
Can I use a dimmer switch with my deck lighting?
Can the light output be reduced on the low voltage light?
I already have low voltage landscape lighting – can I add deck lighting to this?
Can I put the lights on an inside switch?
What is a multi-tap transformer?

What Size Post Cap Light Do I Need?

Lights on DecksDirect.com are listed by the exact size of the opening at the base of the light. Check the measurement of your posts and select the size that most closely matches your post. Note: sizes may vary and most “4x4” wood posts are not actually 4" x 4", but measure 3-1/2" x 3-1/2"!
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Can I Use Both Incandescent & LED Lights On The Same Transformer?

Yes, but it may decrease the overall life of your LED lights and void the manufacturer's warranty. It can still be done, but you need a standard AC transformer, and the first and last lights in your series need to use incandescent bulbs.
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How Many Lights Can I Install On One Transformer?

Up to 50
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How do I get the wire from under the deck to the top of a wood post?

There are quite a few great options for doing this. Below are 4 options to consider.

 

Option 1 - Run the wire outside the post and use a trim piece to hide the wire.

Drill a 1/2" hole from under the deck out through the face of the post. Drill a core in the top of the post, following the instructions found in this lighting guide for Post Cap Installation.

From below the bottom of the post pocket depth, drill a 1/2" hole at an angle up to the pocket. Thread the wire through the hole and out the face of the post. Run the wire along the face of the post and thread back into post pocket. Remove any twists in the wire and staple to the face of the post with stainless steel staples. Cover wire with matching trim.

Wire Option 1Wire Option 2Wire Option 3

 

 

 

Option 2 –  Use hollow engineered posts.

soulutions railpost optionsMany manufacturers offer Post Covers or Post Sleeves. These are used in conjunction with a structural post, usually a wood 4x4 or a Post Mount. There's usually enough room to run low voltage wire in-between the post sleeve and the structural post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Option 3 - Route a channel for the wire.

chanel route for wiringCut or route a channel into the post. Once the wire is installed, cover with a batten strip or cut a filler piece to match the slot size and material. Secure with marine grade adhesive and sand smooth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Option 4 - Drill a hole the height of the post.

option 4Drill a 1/2" hole continuously through the post from the top to bottom. This is fairly difficult to do and typically requires expensive drill bits or bit extensions. Be careful to say in the center, and don’t let the drill bit bend off and out the side of the post.

 

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Some Of My Lights Appear Dimmer Than Others, What Can I Do?

This is generally a wiring issue, often caused by using 200 feet or more wiring for one run of lights. A loop method of installation may solve the problem. Please refer to the “instillation” section of this guide on page 4.You can also use a voltage meter to check the fixtures at the end of each lighting row; the voltage should be between 10.5 – 11.5 volts.
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What Type Of Bulb Is Used In This Light & How Do I Replace It?

Bulb types vary from light to light. Generally the bulb type can be found on the light bulb itself, on the packaging or online under the product description at DecksDirect.com. Most replacement bulbs can be purchased at a local hardware or auto parts store. LED light bulbs last between 30,000 – 100,000 hours and not all are replaceable. For options, call DecksDirect.com at 1-888-824-5316.
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My Solar Lights Will Not Light Up, What’s Wrong?

solar panelsolar panel

 

In most situations, this is a battery issue. It can take up to three weeks for a new solar unit to cycle to full capacity. It may also be time to replace your rechargeable batteries. NiCad rechargeable batteries can run for approximately 1,000 cycles or roughly 3 years, but the batteries supplied by the manufacturer may only last 6-24 months.

 

To test solar LED bulbs, replace the NiCad batteries with AA alkaline batteries. Cover the entire solar collector to test the unit. If it lights up, replace the NiCad batteries. NiCad rechargeable batteries can be found at battery specialty stores or at DecksDirect.com. Never use alkaline batteries permanently in a NiCad rechargeable unit, this will void any warranties and could damage the light.

 

 

 

If your solar panel is not receiving enough sun light, this will also affect its performance. Ensure that the solar panel is in an optimum position to receive sunlight, and remember that cloudy days and time of year may periodically affect and alter performance.


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My Low-Voltage Lights Will Not Light Up, What's Wrong?

Make sure your transformer is plugged in and turned on. If you have a photocell on your transformer, you will need to cover the eye of the photocell with a small piece of electrical tape and wait a few minutes for the transformer to warm up. If they still do not turn on, double check your connections and make sure that you have been consistent with your positive and negative leads. If one light does not work, this could be the issue.
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How Many Low Voltage Lights Can I Install On A Transformer?

The number of lights per transformer is directly related to the wattage used: total light watts x 1.1 = transformer size needed.
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Can I use a dimmer switch with my deck lighting?

ac dimmerFor incandescent bulbs on AC transformers


A standard dimmer switch can be installed on the 110v side of the transformer, enabling it to control the outlet the transformer plugs into. Contact a certified electrician for this and all other changes or updates to 110v wiring.

 

 

 

dc dimmerFor LED bulbs on DC transformers


An in-line dimmer can be installed along the 12 volt wire and typically includes a remote control for ease of use.

 

 

 

For LED bulbs on AC power


LED bulbs that require AC power cannot be dimmed, even with a DC power transformer.
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Can The Light Output Be Reduced On The Low Voltage Light?

With incandescent lights, you can replace the bulb with a lower wattage one, or install a dimmer switch. For LED lights, you need to add a dimmer switch to reduce the light output.
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I Already Have Low Voltage Landscape Lighting - Can I Add Deck Lighting To This?

Sometimes. Your existing transformer is handling a specific wattage, and you will be adding more wattage with the deck lighting. If there is excess capacity from the transformer, a new line of lighting can be added. We do not recommend tapping into existing landscape lighting lines.

Most landscape lights use incandescent bulbs with an AC transformer. We don't recommend adding LED lighting to an AC transformer.
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Can I Put The Lights On An Inside Switch?

Yes, the transformer must plug into an outlet that is wired to the inside switch. Set the transformer to manual mode and use the light switch to operate it. If your lights use a photocell, you may want to remove or cover it.
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What Is A Multi-Tap Transformer?

A multi-tap transformer is designed to handle more than one lighting system at a time. By installing your deck lighting with a multi-tap transformer, you can easily add more lighting systems in the future without having to buy and install another transformer. One major benefit is a reduction in light dimming and premature bulb burnout. To determine the size needed, add the combined wattages of the lighting that will be attached to the transformer, then divide the number by .08. For example: 220 total wattage / .08 = 275 Multi-tap transformer size: 300 watts
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