Transformers and Low Voltage Systems

Transformers are primarily used to transform an input voltage of 240v down to an output voltage of 12v which is required for Low Voltage systems like 12v Downlights and Low Voltage exterior lights.

Transformers are available two types, Electronic and Magnetic Transformers:

Magnetic Transformers, also known as ‘Iron Core’ transformers and are made using copper wire wrapped around and iron core. The Traditional Iron Core transformers have been around for many years and are very reliable as they have the ability to last forever. The problem with ‘Iron Core’ transformers is that they are larger, relatively expensive and slightly inefficient compared to newer Electronic Transformers. Iron Core Transformers produce more heat compared to the newer Electrical Transformers and as a result are slightly more inefficient causing additional power loses of up to 10% per light compared to Electrical Transformers.

Magnetic Transformers are suitable for dimming applications when used with ‘Leading Edge’ Dimming control systems.

Electronic Transformers are relatively new but over the last few years have been predominantly used due to their smaller size, cheaper price and better efficiency Transformerthen traditional Iron Core Transformers. Electronic Transformers may lack the Solid Quality feel that tradition transformers gave but as technology improves so does size and quality.  An Electronic Transformer can cost half as much as a traditional Iron Core Transformer and be a fraction of the weight making them easier to use. Electrical Transformers also produce much less heat compared to Iron Core Transformers making them more efficient and better suited for today’s households. 

Electronic Transformers are suitable for dimming applications when used with ‘Trailing Edge’ dimming control systems but in some cases can be used on certain ‘Leading Edge’  dimming control systems.

Advantages of using (12v) Low Voltage Systems:

Low Voltage systems are much safer then straight 240v systems making them ideal for outdoor settings. 


Choosing the Correct Transformer:

It is recommended to use more durable and reliable Magnetic Transformer for any outdoor lighting fixture. 


Choosing the Correct Wattage:

The Wattage rating of the Transformer must always be greater than the total wattage of the Low Voltage system that is being powered.


Converting a 240v product to 12v:

Some exterior products have the ability to be converted from standard 240v down to 12v by simply attaching a suitable transformer from 240v main line, then running the new 12v converted line to the product and attaching a suitable 12v globe to the product.