12 volt lighting question
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    12 volt lighting question

    I was wondering if someone could please me.

    I am looking at a project where I would like to have 12 volt lights installed about 250 ft away from my garage. I was wondering if I could plug a transformer into my outside garage recepticle and run 16 AWG low voltage wire to a battery charger to charge a 12 volt battery which would then power the lights.

    I'm having a tough time finding a battery charger that accepts low voltage AC input (do they even exist?).

    A solar panel is not an option unfortunately due to too many trees.

    Basically all I want to do is charge a 12 volt battery that is 250 ft away from my house without running 120 V wire (and not use solar as just mentioned).

    Any ideas?

    Thanks

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    I'm curious why you'd want to run wires to charge a battery and then run lights off of the battery. Why not just run a low voltage line and run the lights directly off of it?

    How big (in watts) and how many lights are you planning on installing?
    mjncad likes this.
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    Good, question. Basically I just used lights as an example. I will run various 12 v electronics off it it a different times (lights, gate opener, inverter for radio, etc)

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    Mmmmkay.... You aren't going to do what you describe with 16 gauge wire.

    You could put your battery charger in your garage and connect the 12v output leads to an 8-2 low voltage cable and at 250 ft you you trickle charge your battery at no more than 5 amps. You'd have to figure out if that would be enough to keep the battery charged for whatever you intend to use it for.

    Or you could just run the 120v line using 12-2 UF (direct burial) cable and you'd have a single 120v/15A outlet that you could then use to power 12v lighting, your gate opener, radio, etc...

    250 ft of 8-2 low voltage cable or 250 ft of 12-2 UF are both going to cost you right about $200 each so that cost is kind of a wash between them.
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    Thanks very much Jim!

    The only reason I can't do 120v is that I am going through a ton of trees and there is no way I can get it buried to the required depth. I figured low voltage wire would be safer since I will be digging the trench all by hand and the depth won't be as deep as I would need with 120v.

    I have been looking online and came across this https://www.powerstream.com/24vac-battery-backup.htm and this https://www.altronix.com/products/SMP3 would either of these work with 16 gauge 2c undergroud low energy circuit cable low voltage landscape lighting cable 30V FT-1 (is what is written on the cable)

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    The problem is voltage drop at 250 feet.

    I calculated a 120v circuit to get 15 amps at 250' with a 3% Vd would require a #4 Cu wire. A #6 would get you close with maybe a 5-7% Vd (I didn't do the math). Dropping it to 12 or 24 volts would certainly be safer, but voltage drop is still a factor in the size of wire needed to get the amps out there at that distance.

    16 gauge copper wire @ 12v @ 250' will get you about 0.144 amps. Twice that at 24 volts.

    What is your expected load in amps or watts?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssjfyr View Post
    Thanks very much Jim!

    The only reason I can't do 120v is that I am going through a ton of trees and there is no way I can get it buried to the required depth. I figured low voltage wire would be safer since I will be digging the trench all by hand and the depth won't be as deep as I would need with 120v.

    I have been looking online and came across this https://www.powerstream.com/24vac-battery-backup.htm and this https://www.altronix.com/products/SMP3 would either of these work with 16 gauge 2c undergroud low energy circuit cable low voltage landscape lighting cable 30V FT-1 (is what is written on the cable)
    Disregard the powerstream, I don't think its a battery charger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssjfyr View Post
    I have been looking online and came across this https://www.powerstream.com/24vac-battery-backup.htm and this https://www.altronix.com/products/SMP3 would either of these work with 16 gauge 2c undergroud low energy circuit cable low voltage landscape lighting cable 30V FT-1 (is what is written on the cable)
    The first one isn't what you want at all. The 2nd would work to produce 12v DC but where are you going to get 24V AC to feed it? It'd be a whole lot easier (and cheaper!) to just use something like this: https://www.amazon.com/VETOMILE-Main..._&dpSrc=detail

    And 16 gauge is way to small not matter what. At 12VDC and 2.5 amps, the max length for 16 gauge wire is ~24 feet before you start dropping voltage. A 250' run of 16 gauge wire will drop your voltage to 9.5v and that isn't going to work to charge your battery. You'd need 8 gauge at a minimum (ideally 6 gauge or larger) to avoid voltage drop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kylew View Post
    The problem is voltage drop at 250 feet.

    I calculated a 120v circuit to get 15 amps at 250' with a 3% Vd would require a #4 Cu wire. A #6 would get you close with maybe a 5-7% Vd (I didn't do the math). Dropping it to 12 or 24 volts would certainly be safer, but voltage drop is still a factor in the size of wire needed to get the amps out there at that distance.

    16 gauge copper wire @ 12v @ 250' will get you about 0.144 amps. Twice that at 24 volts.

    What is your expected load in amps or watts?
    Honestly I have no idea. All I know is that a 12 volt deep cycle marine battery currently does everything I want it to do, I just would like a way to charge it in place instead of carrying it back and forth all the time. (Sorry, total noob). If the Altronix charger would work then I guess whatever its load is? My understanding is that using the Altronix I can supply it with 24VAC and it would trickle charge a 12Volt battery?

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    The powerstream isn't a battery charger per-sae. It's a UPS for small, low volt equipment. The Altronix will require 4.6-4.8 amps minimum, so basically 5 amps.
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