How to Repair Low Voltage Landscape Lighting – Project Overview
In this article I will demonstrate how to remove a damaged light and replace it with a new upgraded one. The project is simple and relatively inexpensive.
Step 0: Pre-Project. You will need to make sure you have purchased a landscape light that is both compatible and a suitable replacement for the old one. Each light should take you between 15 and 45 minutes to replace depending on your experience level.
Step 1: TURN THE POWER OFF. Great habit to get into on any electrical project. Even though its low voltage it’s an important safety measure to either unplug the transformer or turn the power off to the circuit at the fuse box.
Step 2: Removal. Do the best you can to remove the light carefully. Even though you plan to recycle or discard the old light, you don’t want to damage the power cable that runs into the bottom or side of the stake. Carefully remove landscape rock and dirt to make this process go smoother. Try to pull straight up on the stake rather than sideways to avoid cracking the stake . If it’s stubborn you can dig down to the top of the stake and place a pry bar or screwdriver under the lip to lift it.
Step 3: Cut the Cord. If you plan on reusing the light make sure you cut the cord leaving enough length so that you can splice it back in. If you’re 100% sure you are going to toss the old light cut the cord giving you the most length possible to wire the new light.
Step 4: Drive the new Stake. Drive the new stake in so that the top of the stake will be about 1”-2” below the final soil or surface level. When you replace the topsoil the top of the stake will not show. Use a rubber mallet if you have one. These stakes are pretty tough but I have broken a few by whacking them too hard.
Step 5: Prepare the Wires. Set the new light next to the stake you just drove and cut the cord on the new light leaving a few extra inches of slack. Don’t cut it too close as you may need more length to work with or you may choose to adjust the placement of the light. Strip both of the wires on the light end as well as the feeder end that runs back to the transformer. I like to have about 1” of copper showing on each of the cables. Cut two pieces of 3/16” Black Heat Shrink tubing about 3” long and one piece of 3/8″ about 4” long (I like to have 3/16” and 3/8″ Black Heat Shrink Tubing with a 2:1 Shrink Ratio). Slide both 3/16” on one of the connects all the way down to the base.
That said, they will likely work but I prefer this method.
Step 6: Place the Light. Screw the light into the base being careful not to pinch or cut the power cord. You might need to adjust the light so that it is perfectly vertical. Lastly, replace the topsoil or landscape rocks.
Step 7: Test & Clean. Once everything is back in place you can turn the power back on to test your new lights. That’s it! Pretty easy and fairly inexpensive. Repeat the process for all you new lights. Have fun, be safe and enjoy your new landscape lighting.