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Context

I'm looking to install some low voltage (12v) landscape lighting in front of my house. I had helped a friend in the past install some in their front yard using the straight method. However, I was reading through the manual that accompanied my transformer. It mentions two wiring methods: Straight and Looping. The manual isn't descriptive (with poorly drawn pictures). It seems that the difference between the two is that the looping method prevents voltage drop, but requires more wire.

Before stumbling upon the looping method, I was thinking that I would do the straight method in two directions from the transformer (denoted by T). I would take one cable to the left and one to the right to avoid daisy chaining them all together wasting additional cable. After reading the manual, I'm thinking of doing the looping method with 2 loops for each side respectively. I'm having my landscaping re-done professionally which gives me an optimal time to put the wiring in - so I would rather get this right while everything's tore up.

Question

Are there any other advantages, disadvantages, or gotchas between the running the wire as a loop vs straight? Should I be running two wires to the left and right respectively? Any recommendation on what I should be doing?

Reference

I'm using a 12v 120W Transformer all with 11 - 7W LED lights and 2 - 9W lights. I'm planning to use 12g wire landscaping wire. The image isn't drawn to scale, but I did put some labels of the approximate distances. The grey lines are my edgers. The yellow stars are the lights.

L Shaped landscaping of my front yard indicating where the landscape lighting goes

transformer manual for reference

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technogeek1995 is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
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    i would loop back the left branch, since the lights will be close together and any intensity differences will be easy to spot. On the right, you don't have as much voltage-dropping current, and the dimmest one, being around the corner, would be furthest away and not directly visually comparable to the ones right next to the transformer. – dandavis Aug 14 at 16:25
  • I ended up looping both sections. I had the wire and it made sense to me to prevent the voltage drop. It's ended up working out quite well. After seeing it at night, in my opinion, it's better to make it a parallel circuit (like your home reciprocals) than a series circuit (which is disallowed by code). While I know code lets you do whatever you want for low voltage, if you wanna do it right, I think looping is the much better option. – technogeek1995 2 days ago
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I installed my system and looped it as I did to many other systems I installed. The advantage is no voltage drop but also give you the option to add additional lights just about everywhere in the areas long as you don't use the same path for the cable.

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    Note there's still a voltage drop unless you have superconducting cables. It may be half of otherwise at a given point, but it's still something. – dandavis Aug 14 at 16:19
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Don't loop if you don't have to

The only advantage of the looping method is that it reduces voltage drop - this is not a problem for you. You have 95W of lights and with 12 gauge wire you can go 150 feet - your longest run is 59 feet.

Run one pair left and another right and go from light to light until you get to the end.

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Dale M is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • this sounds like you saying to wire them in series, which while it would give equal current to all lamps, it won't work with OP's regulated-voltage supply. Depending on the LEDs (total forward voltage) and resistors used on each parallel connection, a small voltage drop could produce a noticeable intensity drop, even with thick wiring. – dandavis Aug 14 at 16:22
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I am going to say that looping would mean wiring everything the "straight way" THEN where the lights are attached at the furthest point away you would connect to them with a new conductors and run that set back to the either the relay or the transformer where your low voltage circuit originates.

Obviously, if your transformer is controlled by some other device prior to it, you'd hook it ( "it" meaning the end of the furthest circuit ) up to the low voltage side of your transformer .

If your transformer low voltage side feeds ( hooks up to ) a relay, then you'd take the farthest lights away from that relay and hook them up BACK to that same relay where the circuit takes off to feed the first lights.

Hope that makes sense.🙂

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