Summary: Learn how to install a VOLT® low voltage landscape lighting toroidal transformer. All VOLT® transformers are made of heavy duty stainless steel and are intended to drive professional-grade low voltage landscape lighting systems.
We’ll need a few tools for this installation: a box of masonry anchors and screws, needle-nose pliers, a large flat head screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver, a marking pencil, a tape measure and a hammer drill. Check the box size on your masonry anchors and ensure you have the proper size drill bit.
After you unbox the transformer, the first step is to open the transformer door and remove it from its hinges. Now on the bottom of the transformer, we need to remove one of the half-inch knockouts so that we can place our wire up inside the transformer. To do this, I like to use an old screwdriver – one that’s been beat up. Place the edge of the screwdriver on the outer edge of the half-inch ring and give it a good solid blow. Repeat this step until the plug is removed. The VOLT® transformer comes with three different sizes of knockouts – a half-inch, a three-quarter and a one and a half inch. With the half-inch knockout removed, we now want to install a terminal adapter in the bottom of the transformer. With the half-inch terminal ring clamp screwed down, it makes the terminal adapter fit very tight.
Set the transformer in the approximate location where it’s going to be hung. We need to have at least 12 inches of clearance below the bottom of the transformer to the ground. Then take your pencil and mark the top hole. In the top hole that you mark, take your hammer drill and let’s drill our hole about one inch deep. Then you can take your masonry anchors and screw, insert them in the hole and set them in place. Thread in your anchor screw now and leave about an eighth of an inch gap so we can hang our transformer right on the screw.
With the transformer hanging vertically, mark the bottom hole. Slide the transformer aside and now drill the hole for the bottom anchor sleeve. Put your masonry anchor and screw together, put them in the hole and secure it down with the screwdriver. With the bottom screw in place, you can now secure down the top screw for the transformer. With our transformer in place, we now need to roughly measure how much wire we’re going to need to go up inside the transformer.
Once you have that, go ahead and cut off the excess. Take your tape measure and measure the length of the conduit needed. On some half-inch PVC conduit, measure out the length needed and cut it. You can use a pipe saw or even use PVC pipe cutters; either one will work. Take the pipe you just cut and slide it over the end of your wire. Now thread the wire up through the bottom of the terminal adapter that we installed earlier and twist the pipe up into the socket. With the cable and conduit in place, we can now go ahead and backfill the hole at the bottom of the transformer.
Let’s review a few of the tools you’ll need to wire this transformer. A pair of offset cutters is a great idea for cutting wire. You’ll need an offset flat-head screwdriver; the small bit size fits the screw terminals on the transformer very, very well. Some wire strippers – these particular ones are automatic strippers with wire size gauges that make it easy to identify the correct knife size. Finally, if running multiple cables, identify each one with a different colored tape; this is a good way to organize your system layout. On the back of the transformer, label the inside of your cover with the color run, description and wattage used.
Now take your wire cutters and separate the two ends of the wire; pull them apart. You want to take your wire strippers now and expose about one inch of the cable. Most VOLT® transformers are multi-tap units, which means they offer voltage outputs that vary in power from 12 volts to 15 volts. The higher voltage taps are used to overcome voltage loss from high-wattage loads and long cable runs. Begin by loosening the screw clamps on the voltage lugs and twist the wire ends. One of the conductors will always be placed on the common side. Insert it and tighten it down. Take the other conductor now and place it in the other appropriate voltage tap and tighten it down.
It’s now time to install the control device for your transformer. We’re using an Intermatic Astrotimer for this installation. Simply remove the terminal plug from the transformer and plug it into the receptacle on the timer. Now you just have to plug the timer unit into the receptacle on the transformer and your transformer’s control device is installed. To reinstall the transformer’s door, simply line up the pins onto the barrel sockets and slide it down into place. It should slip in pretty easily. Close and latch the door, and plug the transformer into a GFI receptacle with a weather-tight box.
If you have any further questions about the installation of this transformer or any VOLT® products, please give us a call at (813) 978-3700.