See how easy it is to upgrade your garden lighting to LED
I bet you're thinking of changing your garden lighting to LED like you're doing with every other light in your house.
Before you do that and go buy all new fixtures that have LED bulbs stop, just replace the LED bulbs inside them.
That may seem a little arcane, but it's actually easy and you're going to save a ton of money and get great results.
Before you do that there are three things you need to know about the bulbs you need to buy.
First of all, you got to know the bulb type.
That's the shape but also what does it plug into.
Secondly, you want to know how to gas or estimate the bulbs brightness, and I'll tell you why I say it's a guest.
The third thing is you want to understand bulb color.
Not all white light is the same and you want to get a nice tone in your garden.
Let's get started.
As we get started, you got four things to look forward to as the outcomes from this easy project.
First of all, it's an easy project.
This is a snap compared to pulling your lights up and rewiring them.
Secondly it's cheap.
These little LED bulbs are not very expensive, even though you may need to do a little trial and error.
Third thing is efficiency.
These use a lot less power than the filament bulbs you're taking out.
You're going to have more head room in your system to add more lights.
And the third thing is durability.
As you know, LED bulbs basically never go out.
It's pretty rare.
You don't have filaments to break.
This will be the last time you gotta hunker down like this for a long time.
Okay, first off the bulb tight.
This is kind of a mountain where the thing goes and how it goes into the fixture you've got one of the most common is this guy.
This is called a g4.
It's four millimeters between the pins.
I'm not expecting you to know that on sight.
The pins are kind of long and they're very narrow, almost like sewing pins.
These are really common one, a lot like it but will not interchange is a G 5.3.
If you'll notice the pins here are a little thicker, a little shorter and they're farther apart, 5.3 millimeters.
I put those side by side you can see where if you don't have them in the same place, you'll think they're the same.
But when they're next to each other, they're quite different.
These are both real common bi pins you'll find in lamps.
Less common bi pins you may also find are the G6.3 or the G8.
Also referring to their pin spacing.
It's easy to just measure the distance between the pins of the bulbs you're replacing.
Now the really common one, this is old school.
This goes back to the early Malibu lights, is the wedge base.
You can see the leads from the filament actually come through the glass at the bottom and are just wrapped over it.
And they jam down into this wedge fitting.
These are real common in a whole lot of fixtures, kind of an older design, easily replaced with LED also.
Bayonet and even candelabra bulbs may be in your low voltage system, though these are usually used in building-mounted fixtures, not so much in the garden.
And the last one you're going to run into very commonly is the reflector ball.
These typically have a G 5.3 base like we already saw, but it's called reflector because this reflector cup is integral to the lightning bolt in the center they don't come apart.
So this is both a combination of the base as well as the overall shape.
You've got to be aware of Now that you know the fit of the bulb that you're replacing, the next one's a little more nuanced and that is ball brightness.
We're all trained to buy bulbs by what we think is the brightness expressed as watts.
That's not really ball brightness.
That's how much power the bulb uses.
These little guys have very different wattage and yet they put out the same brightness cuz one is a filament and one is an LED.
How do you measure brightness?
With lumens, lumens is usually in the fine print of a bulb and you won't probably know it for the bulb you're taking out.
So that's where you gonna have to rely on manufacture data listing to say look, I need an LED that is equivalent of the watts I'm taking out.
It's crude approximation but it's a good way to start.
This guy for example, I'm not sure you can see that, it's watts.
I had a lot of this around my yard.
I replaced it with this one, it's equivalent light, only draws about one and a half watt maybe two.
So we're looking at big game in efficiency.
And by replacing all of those old filament bulbs in my system with these LEDs, I got a ton of headroom on my transformer.
I can have a lot more lights and have them at relatively long cable length.
Which filament bulbs do not like?
Okay, TMI already, right?
We're almost there ready to completely convert our system.
The last thing I want you to know is bold color.
This is a really big deal and Quite simple.
Look at these two bulbs, they're virtually identical in terms of their power, their base, their shape and size.
But one of these calls itself a cool white, one calls itself a warm white.
Big difference in how you perceive it.
A warm white is either 3,000 or lower Kelvin.
You'll find it in the fine print somewhere.
Kelvin's how they measure the color temperature, the warmth of any bulb, LED or otherwise.
This one here says it's 4000 Kelvin, four or five approaching 6000.
Those are all considered cool or very blue colored lights.
Interestingly, that's the color the sun puts out.
What I want you to do is think about what you're going to be illuminating with these bulbs.
If you're illuminating plants or wood or something of those tones, I find a warm white ball looks a lot better.
Some people have a lot of blue and pure neutral tones in their garden and they don't want them to get yellow and they'll go with a cool white bulb for cement, for certain colors of tile, around a pool perhaps.
It's up to you.
It's a matter of taste but a lot of people prefer a warm white bulb unless they've got a very clear reason to use a cool white.
One last thing you may see on these packages,is here it is, the CRI the color rendering index.
You see this on LED bulbs a lot, because what it tells you is how well, the light faithfully illuminates all the spectrum of human vision.
Some crummy LED bulbs.
Have a lot of sort of notches or holes in the spectrum of light that they put out, which is not what your eye wants to see.
So a CRI that is higher means it has fewer holes and puts out a more faithful or accurate light, a lower CRI number Generally not a good thing.
I don't think it's real critical in garden lighting, but now you know what it is.
Interestingly, one reason I like converting my garden to LED bulbs is to make more room For incandescent bulbs, there are some places where I still want to use those, and I've taken so much load off my power pack by going LED.
I have a tone headroom now, to do more incandescence.
Let me show you one here.
This is what you call an A19 bulb.
It's your classic household shape and base.
But this is not running on 120.
This guy runs on 12 volts, powered by my power pack.
But I use this in places where LED is not appropriate.
For example here in the studio, dogs and cats are very sensitive to flicker which led have a lot more of.
I don't want to use LED bulbs for constant illumination, but I got a ton of headroom to use that incandescent but it's all part of my 12 volt system.
Thank you led All that wattage math matters because of this guy.
This is your transformer, your Power Package, you might call it this one.
I think it's 300 watts.
This guy runs all my garden lights through a couple of long cables that come off it But it's not really 300 watts.
There's native inefficiency in these things, as there is with almost every transformer, and all that wiring soaks up some power as well.
So you need to be conservative with how much you attach to these.
I used to be running this thing at full tilt, And my incandescent bulbs were kind of dim they were getting starved.
Now with LEDs.
Everything's at full brightness and this guy's cruising.
Okay, last thing this isn't really natively part of LED but while you're out doing this project, make your garden light system smart which really means connected to an app Instead of buying a whole new smart lighting system that connects to smart things or Siri or whatever, just get one of these guys which are about 30 bucks.
And these are an outdoor A/C switch that is wirelessly controlled by your home control app.
Then, go to your power pack, remove all those little pins or any programming you've got, so it's always on Except this thing now turns it on and off, not the switching in here.
Then just run it with your app.
So get your garden lights converted over to LED bulbs the right way that I've showed you, it's like getting a whole new lighting system while keeping your current system.
And you may never have to fuss with a filament ball out here again.
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