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Yard Lights with LEDs



Once upon a time, I fell victim to the hype about low-voltage yard lights. After drilling through the brick, burying cables, poking mushroom fixtures into the ground and installing transformers, the lights looked OK at first.

Little did I know that the bulb sockets corrode, the bulbs burn out and the plastic fixtures become brittle and break.

The entire installation was eventually replaced with line-voltage fixtures, using ordinary Halogen light bulbs, connected to a timer and dimmer.

There were a couple of disadvantages to the second method too. The light bulbs were visible and and not comfortable to the eye. The power consumption of about one Kilowatt was also noticable on the electric bill.


A portion of the deck is is bound by three massive pillars with flower boxes on top and lights built into two sides. Originally, quartz flood lights were mounted behind the openings. The considerable heat caused the wood to crack and only tropical flowers thrived in the box.

The latest incarnation of all yard lights makes uses LEDs only. The existing buried cables were perfectly suited for the low-voltage power feed to all lights. See the following chapters for the design of the light modules.

A side issue worth mentioning is the paint used for the light fixtures and the pillars shown here. The paint is called a ‘float’ paint. Who said water and oil don’t mix? This paint is both an oil primer and water-based latex. The primer soaks into the wood and the latex floats to the surface during the curing, hence the term float paint.





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