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Step Light Installation Instructions


Before you begin

Place the transformer in its anticipated location without connecting it to the power source.

 Design note - Step lights are often available in styles matching post caps and rail lighting. It’s easy to install all at the same time – all you have to decide is the style you prefer. For help at any time, call the experts at DecksDirect.com at 1-888-824-5316, 7a.m. to 5:30p.m. Monday through Friday, CST. Callbacks can also be provided afterhours and on weekends.



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Determine spacing and placement for lights. Be sure to avoid positioning the step lights into stair joists. For best results, space lights 3-6' apart, horizontally. Measure and mark the desired placement for each light.


Project Note - If steps are not preexisting, postpone placing floor boards on steps until after installation of lights.







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Recessed step lighting comes with a variety of back-box designs. For example: Highpoint Deck Lighting recessed step lights require either a 1" or 3" round hole, while Aurora Deck Lighting recessed step lights require a 2-3/4" x 6" square hole.


If a circular hole is required, most manufacturers carry Forstner or bore bits that match their specific installation design.


Cut or drill the opening for each step light into the stair’s riser board, with size and shape matching the manufacturer's recommendation. Repeat this for all step lights.



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Loosely run the appropriate gauge of wire from the transformer to the location of the furthest light. Then, run the wire from light to light, leaving a loop of wire at each step light location.







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Cut back any excess wire at the step light locations, and leave enough exposed to make connections without creating excess bulk. Separate each wire pair into 2-3" single strands. Using wire strippers, remove approximately 5/8" of sheathing from each wire – including the wires on the light fixture.






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Stay consistent in matching wire types as you continue through the wiring process. Most wires will have a "smooth" black wire combined with another wire that has white lettering – matching polarity is critical for LED lights.


Taking one wire from each light fixture and its counterpart from the wire threaded into the post, hold the two wires together with the ends even. Twist a waterproof wire nut onto them, pushing firmly until hand-tight. DO NOT over torque. Repeat for the second set of wires. Wipe away any excess silicone sealant in and around conductors, and then wrap the connections with electrical tape to prevent accidental dislodging.



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Tuck the wire and wire nuts through the recessed hole and place the step lights in position. DO NOT secure any lights or wiring until you have tested the entire lighting system.


Note: For safety as well as to keep rodents from chewing on wire, it's important that wire is not laying on the ground. Use Cable Ties to attach excess wire to the underside of the deck.




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ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT COME PACKAGED WITH YOUR TRANSFORMER BEFORE INSTALLATION. Locate and remove a perforated knockout circle in the bottom or side of the transformer to run the wires through. Secure the transformer in the desired location using the mounting brackets found on the transformer. If the transformer has a built-in photo eye, make sure it’s exposed to direct or indirect sunlight.





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Separate each wire pair into 2-3 inch single strands. Using wire strippers, remove approximately ¾" of sheathing from each wire. Secure one side to the common connection point and the other side to the 12v connection point on the connection terminal of the transformer. For transformers that do not have connection terminals, waterproof wire nuts will be needed for your connections.


Tip – When connecting the wires in a “loop” configuration, polarity/consistency of the wires must be maintained.




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If the transformer has an on/off switch, verify the switch is in the "OFF" position before plugging the transformer into a timer or directly into a GFCI outlet. After connection to an outlet, turn the transformer switch to the "ON" position


Tip – If the transformer has a photo eye built into the transformer, place a piece of tape over the photo eye for testing a low voltage system during daylight hours. It may take 2-5 minutes for the photo eye to respond after covering.





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Finish the wire installation. Having verified that the light system works, unplug the power on the transformer.


Depending on the step lighting fixtures, attach them with the finishing screws provided, or slide into place. Take care not to hit any wires with screws.


Plug in the transformer and turn its power switch to "ON". Enjoy your illuminating deck experience!





For troubleshooting, see Frequently Asked Questions.

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