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Rich
Rich, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience:  Over 35 years residential, commercial, industrial wiring, install, troubleshoot, service, maintain
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Fairy Garden Lighting

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I'm building a fairy garden. I have a 15 foot "river" that I carved out of the dirt and lined with heavy aluminum foil. It is about 5 inches deep and has holes for the water to escape if it rains, but we have clay soil and it drains slowly.  I have the river filled with tumbled colored glass to simulate water, and I need to light the glass at night. I don't know what would be the best lighting for this application. I'm fairly ignorant of lighting and electrical issues.  Also, I have 2 smaller similar areas to light that hold different colors of the tumbled glass.  I do have a low voltage cable running across the garden. I thought of rope and/or strip lighting. The glass manufacturer suggested rope lighting.  However, I don't know what to order on-line (i.e. do I ask for low voltage?  linkable?  waterproof?  etc.)  Solar lights are not possible, as the garden is completely shaded under 2 large trees.  I do have a man helping me with the electrical in the garden, but he told me to buy my own lights and I'm confused about what to order.  I have to have this completed by 7/20 because I'm having a huge party so everyone can see the garden, which has taken 3 full summers to build.  I'm so frustrated at this point.  Help!


Rich :

Hello .Rich here lets chat about this a bit this morning

Customer:

That would be great.

Customer:

Rich, are you available to chat now?

Rich :

Yes I was thinking that the rope would be the best idea .. like others have told you .. it is readily available at hardware stores. weather proof and easy to install

Rich :

I was thinking that if it were mine I would consider putting a rope under the glass .. the foil would reflect the light thru the glass .. maybe set the rope up on a layer of glass so it would not be sitting in water if it rained

Rich :

the only part of the rope that would be subject to trouble if submerged would be the connections ,, so get it long enough to do a good portion of the "river"

Rich :

I think you might be able to find rope in RGB . colored LED 's that can change color ... that would give you infinite possibilities for effects

Customer:

So, if I got the rope lighting, I would most likely get the white color, so the color of the glass would give the color to the visual effect. I like your suggestion of putting it between a layer of glass and not flat against the foil, as I had originally anticipated.

Rich :

you can find the rope light online very easily .. try searching on ebay there are a lot of possibilities .. I see it up to 300 feet in length

Rich :

check to see if any of them is dimmable .. might want just a little light at different times

Customer:

Now, the question I have is what rope lighting to order. I'm confused by the low voltage cable line that is running through my garden. If so, do I get low voltage rope lighting, so that it could attach to the cable? Then, do I have to get a connectors for the low voltage cable? What kind of connectors? Do I get waterproof rope lighting to guard against problems if it rained? Do I get the rope lighting that is on a reel and have the guy installing it cut the desired length? If so, do I have to get more than 1 connector? As you can see, I'm confused about what exactly to order.

Rich :

if you want to have light above ... consider some LED in a reflector so all the light would be directed down on the glass .. maybe it could be set an ground level on the edge of the bank

Customer:

I was told by the glass guy that lighting from underneath the glass is the best bet. That's why I thought rope lighting would be the best idea.

Rich :

I would not assume that the low voltage supply you have will be compatable with the new rope lights .. probably was set up for more traditional garden lighting

Customer:

Do I have to have another power line/cable installed for this type of rope lighting?

Rich :

most of the ropes available have a power connector that plugs into a regular outlet .. this lighting is something that you could actually install yourself and hire someone to supply the electric for the power plug in

Rich :

I would have an electrician install a 110 volt power outlet for this lighting

Customer:

The guy helping me already has installed a regular plug-in power outlet for the lighting, but it only has 3 inputs and I'm already using 2 inputs for external lighting. Do you think I could use the 1 input left to plug in 3 different rope lighting locations?

Rich :

this is very low power use ,, 80 watts for the 150 foot run .. so all your rope lights could be plugged into one single receptacle

Rich :

that is like having one 100 watt incandescent light bulb on the outlet ,, very little usage

Customer:

In that case, which rope lighting would I need to order that could be suitable for that application. Would the one you suggested on E-bay be appropriate?

Rich :

Yes that one seems to be pretty much what you were asking for .. not the brightest like those labeled for "party " lights would be ... the poster does use " fairy lights" in his description .. the power connections and all other parts are included .. it is cutable every 3 feet waterproof .. good rqange of working temperature seems the best choice ... BUT please look a bit at others to see if there is a better length or softer light available for your specific application

Rich :

also might ask the seller if the rope is dimmable ..

Customer:

OK, tell me what to look for in the description: waterproof, cutable, power connectors for 3 different cuts, maybe dimmable, right?

Customer:

Also, what specific voltage should I look for?

Rich :

almost all will be waterproof, cuttable have power connections for 110 volts power .. just look for a kit that includes all the connections

Rich :

dimmable seems to add a huge amount to the cost .. still looking though

Customer:

I've been looking on-line for a while. I'm really getting tired and think I need to get some sleep. Need to get up in a few hours. Is it OK if I sent you another message if I have any further questions about this, or got your opinion if I found another rope light set to order? Thanks a bunch! I feel much better.

Customer:

If you happen to find another rope light set for me, I'd appreciate it if you'd send any suggestions my way. Have a great day!

Rich :

Yes .. I will be busy for about the next 8 hours .. but will check in when I can ..

Customer:

Greetings Rich: Thanks for your assistance. As per your suggestion, I looked on-line in several places, but decided to go with the original item you suggested. Take Care!

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