Low voltage lights for a shed

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Old 01-07-19, 04:47 PM
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Low voltage lights for a shed

I'm building a new lumber-framed shed that's roughly 125 feet from my house.

I'd like to install exterior bullet lights on the soffits and interior work lights to illuminate the inside.

I really REALLY do NOT want to go through the hassle of installing a 120v line to the shed given the length of cable run needed (and the fact I would need to install the cable on top of my leeching fields).
However, I can't really find any low voltage solutions that fit my needs either (other than your common landscape lighting kits).

Does anyone know if they make low-voltage lights for such a need?
Can anyone point me in the right direction here? Am I going about this the entirely wrong way?
 
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Old 01-07-19, 05:30 PM
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Most solar/battery lights you'll find are motion sensing. With LED technology, there are a LOT of options out there, as long as you don't mind them turning off after a few minutes. For exterior, that's probably fine, for inside, probably not so much.

There are some that will stay on for a few hours at dusk. I haven't tried some of the newer generation ones, but they usually work well for 6-12 months, and then the batteries age, and they are on for only an hour or two, or dim quickly.
Here's an example:
https://www.amazon.com/Solar-Light-S.../dp/B01M6CEMAP

The next option is solar and battery systems that someone would use in a cabin. Like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Foldable-HKYH.../dp/B013BBD70O
(I have no idea about this system, it's just one that popped up)

You'd need to size your solar panels and batteries appropriately, and plan on replacing your batteries every few years.

The last option would be to actually run a cable from your house. For limited power requirements like you have, you could run a 12/3 or 10/3 UF-B cable from a 20A double-pole GFI protected breaker in your house to your shed. Code requires it be buried only 12" deep, so you probably wouldn't even disturb the septic field. Or you could always go around. It's more work, but you'll end up with two 20A circuits, enough for just about anything you might want to do.

Hopefully that gives you some ideas.
 
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Old 01-07-19, 06:09 PM
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12 volt lights are readily available for RV's and off grid living. Even LED strip lights run off 12 VDC. Check out those.

I would agree with Zorfdt, Any type of low voltage lights will require some kind of battery to power the lights for any length of time, and that battery will need to be charged. Solar or wind will be the only methods available.

Running a single circuit out to the shed will likely be less work in the long run.
 
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Old 01-07-19, 07:45 PM
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I'm not vehemently against running a new circuit out to the shed...more irritated that I finally have my lawn in a nice condition and would have to tear it up to run the cable.

If I do run a UF-B cable, does it need to be in a conduit? Or can the cable be buried directly into the ground?

The shed is in a location that doesn't get much sun, so I don't know if solar would be an ideal option.
 
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Old 01-07-19, 08:31 PM
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f I do run a UF-B cable, does it need to be in a conduit? Or can the cable be buried directly into the ground?
It's actually often recommended not to use conduit except as a sleeve where it enters and exits the ground because it is hard to pull through conduit. You will need to bury 24".
 
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Old 01-08-19, 04:57 AM
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You need just as many watts of low voltage, say, 12 volt, lighting as for 120 volt lighting to get the same level of illumination in the shed.

One disadvantage of low voltage is that wires have to be kept short, or be thicker, compared for 120 volt lighting. This disadvantage could show up if you have solar panels mounted some distance from the shed.
 
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Old 01-08-19, 09:23 AM
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I think the question is how often you'll use the lights. If you want exterior motion lights or outside dusk to dawn lights or if you spend many hours in the shed then I'd strongly consider running 120 VAC to the shed. That would also allow the option of having an outlet to power hand tools or a battery charger. If you only need light occasionally then I'd consider a battery system with LED lights.
 
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Old 01-08-19, 05:02 PM
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You can also bury UF as shallow as 12" if it is GFCI protected before in enters the ground and is 120 volts and 20 amps or less.

You might be able to fins somebody that can pull the cable in using a vibratory plow, similar to what they use to install irrigation lines. That would cause minimal damage to the lawn.
 
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Old 01-09-19, 11:21 PM
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buy a generator....small one.
 
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Old 09-09-19, 11:28 AM
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Questions about my next project

I am now thinking about installing the actual 120v lines. I'll create a new thread about it.
 
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