Many LED lighting systems are 12V. These low voltage systems often include LED Strip and ‘Plug and Play’ lighting structures.
There are many aspects to consider when choosing your low voltage lighting that can affect the safety and functionality of the installed products.
The first thing we must consider is the input voltage for our system. Cars and vans already run at 12V, due to their batteries, so the desired low voltage lights can be run off these directly. When using higher voltages, such as UK mains (230V), we need a way of bringing the voltage down.
When installing LEDs we use a driver to bring the voltage down to our desired level. While choosing a driver, we must ensure that the wattage of the driver is greater than the wattage of the lighting you intend to power by it. If the wattage of your lights is too high, they will flash or just not work at all.
These drivers can be hardwired into your existing wiring (though this must only be done by a qualified electrician). Some drivers, like in the Green Lighting Plug & Play Garden Range, have a UK mains plug already attached. These are designed to be installed by anyone and can easily be plugged into a waterproof outside socket.
Low-voltage lighting is great for outside use, due to its higher level of safety. 12V garden lights have the benefit of being able to bury our cables with less worry when it comes to damaging them. This is because there is no risk of electric shock as a result of gardening, animals or children.
Low voltage lighting is also, if damaged, far easier to repair or replace individual components of the lighting system. We, therefore, have a very adaptable system that can be moved, changed and upgraded depending on the owner’s particular needs.
Benefits and limitations of Low Voltage Lighting
Safer than mains voltage
Easy to install
Easy to mend and modify
Potential voltage drop in cables
Can be more expensive