Garden Lights - Lightpro Ultimate Guide

Unless you are a qualified electrician, installing your own garden lights can seem like an incredibly daunting task, one that is beyond the skill set of most of us. Once upon a time this might have indeed been true, especially when all outdoor lighting was 240V. Which let’s be honest, is more than a little scary.

When looking through catalogues and the web you see thousands of outdoors lights, but do the lights you like work together? Will they all need separate transformers? Will you need ducting run all round your garden? Who knows? Who cares? It’s all just too difficult. I have a theory this is why solar garden lighting is so popular. Mainly because I can’t think of any other reason you would use it (personal rant over).

But what if there was an easy, completely safe, low voltage, professional 12volt outdoor lighting system where everything worked together and anybody could install it themselves? Well there is….

Lightpro outdoor post lights

Lightpro Plug & Play Outdoor Lighting

The Lightpro outdoor lighting system is a complete garden lighting solution designed to be installed by anyone without any electrical knowledge. Literally zero…honest.

The Lightpro system consists of three mains factors:

  • Well made, modern 12V LED garden/outdoor lights.
  • Transformers with a built in light sensor, timer and circuit breakers (60W & 100W). Transformers plug in to a standard 3 pin plug socket.
  • High quality cables and award winning connectors

All items in the Lightpro range are 100% compatible with each other. This means you can select any outdoor light from the range and not have to worry about about if it’s compatible or not, which is great.

Plug & Play Garden Lighting

So what is plug and play lighting? Plug and play simply means there is no wiring. The cable plugs into the transformer and the lights simply connect to the cable using Lightpro’s award winning cable connector. The completed project simply plugs into a standard 240v three pin household socket.

When plug & play garden lighting first hit the scene eight or so years ago, not many people had heard of it as a concept and there was very little choice. The fact that back then all garden lighting was still halogen, meant it was difficult to put together any outdoor lighting system that consisted of more than a handful of lights. This is because the wattage involved meant you couldn’t fit them all on one transformer. Although it was a great innovation, it was still in its teething stages.

The advancement of LED technology has meant that this is no longer the case. Not only do LED outdoor lights have the edge when it comes to maintenance. They can also be used in greater numbers on one transformer due to their low wattage. They are also much cheaper to run due to very energy efficient transformers and LED light sources. Real running costs are a few pennies per month.

Lightpro garden lighting system

Award Winning Lightpro Connector

Lightpro's Award Winning Connector

The system is based on the award winning Lightpro connector. This award winning connector is what makes the Lightpro system, in our view, better than any other plug & and play system presently available.

Other plug & play systems generally have cabling with fixed socket positions along the length of their cables. This means that when designing the lighting for your garden you have to spend time measuring your garden to make sure your lights can reach one of these connectors. But let’s be honest, life’s too short.

The Lightpro system allows you to simply run your cabling around the garden and then put the connector exactly where you need it. No measuring, no ordering or waiting for extra cable you had to order because you made a mistake. Just simply get the job done. It also means you need less cable, making the overall job much neater.

How to connect a Lightpro outdoor lighting connector

So why should you use Lightpro outdoor lighting over other conventional outdoor lighting systems?

5 Year Warranty

All of the lights in the Lightpro system come with a 5 year warranty as standard. Which is great as other plug & play lighting systems generally offer 3 years or less.

Ease of Use

Installing your outdoor lights really doesn’t get any easier than Lightpro. A whole lighting system that can be installed in minutes. Obviously if you are installing decking lights it will take a little longer preparing the holes.

Don’t like where a light is? Move it

If you go for a fixed wired in lighting solution, once your lights are installed that’s it, that’s where they are going to stay. But that isn’t really flexible. If you’re anything like me and love spending time outdoors you will know that functionality can change from season to season as well as year to year. For example, in the summer I have my barbeque out and bench next to it. So in summer months I would like this area lit more than I would in the winter when these items are back in the garage.

Also as gardens matures plants get bigger. So that beautiful post light that was once in front of your conifer will one day probably be buried within it.

While with normal garden lights, you would either have to live with it or call the electrician to come back and move it for you (at more expense). With the Lightpro system you can just unplug it and move it. All you would need is another connector and a cap for the existing one.

Want More Lights?

If you’re anything like me, you have probably sat in the garden with a cup of tea picking holes in your garden. You know the usual things of wishing your planting was different, the deck was bigger / smaller, you get the idea. Well with Lightpro wishing you had ordered another light will never be one of them! Just order it, put the connector on the cable where you need it (did I mention it was award winning) and plug your light in. Job done. No getting an electrician, pulling more cable through conduit or any of that hassle. Just sit back and admire your handy work.

Other Garden Plug & Play Lighting Systems

Hopefully you can now see the benefits of plug & play garden lighting over other forms of more permanent outdoor lighting but not all plug and play lighting systems are equal.

Other garden plug & play systems generally have the same issues. Either they don’t offer you a complete solution, and by that I mean they don’t offer deck lights, wall lighting, spiked spotlights, post lights and submersible pond lights. Their system isn’t extendable without another transformer or (and this is the most common) their cables have pre-formed connectors, limiting or at least making it more difficult, to position your lights where you want them.

Issues you won’t have with Lightpro.

Lightpro Outdoor Lights

There are currently at time of writing 29 lights available in the Lightpro range with new lights in production for 2018. Every light in the Lightpro collection comes with a connector.

The range consists of:

Spotlights

Lightpro spotlight

The Lightpro outdoor spot light range consists of IP44 and IP68 (submersible) designs. All of the Lightpro spot lights come with both spikes for easy installation in borders and planters and mounting brackets for harder surfaces such as decking and walls.

Spotlights are extremely versatile and can be used either as ground lights or wall lights. Not only are they perfect for lighting gardens but also terraces and balconies.

The versatility continues with a great choice of sizes and wattages within the spotlight range. For example the tiny Emerald 2W LED is perfect for areas of your garden or roof terrace where you would like to completely conceal the spotlight so it can’t be seen. As well as pots and planters. The larger Emerald at 5W is perfect at lighting much larger objects such as pagodas and statues.

The spotlight section also includes flood lights which are available in 15 and 30W. Floodlights were once only thought of as a security light but are increasingly being used by landscapers and garden designers to innovatively light large trees and items of interest.

All Lightpro floodlights and spot lights come with a connector. Spot lights and flood lights come with a spike and a mounting plate.

Post Lights

Lightpro post light

Post lights and bollards are incredibly useful additions to your garden or outdoor space.

Whether lighting borders, pathways, the edge of out buildings and sheds this modern collection of stylish lighting should have something to suit most lighting needs.

The Lightpro post light range is extremely varied when it comes to height. The largest post light in the collection is the Nodin at 1020mm (no that isn’t a typo) while the smallest is the Barrite 40 at just 405mm. Which while still not amazingly short is dwarfed by the Nodin. Some lights in the range like the previously mentioned Barrite, also come in other sizes which is great for producing a balanced look and feel to your garden lighting.

The Lightpro post light range is very contemporary which for some wanting a more traditional light might be an issue. The fact though that some lights are black may still give you a reasonable compromise of aesthetics and function.

All Lightpro post lights come with a connector, spike and mounting plate.

Wall Lights

Lightpro wall light

While you can use any light from the spot light range, there are also specific wall lights in the range. There are also several new wall lights in production for 2018.

Wall lights really finish off a lighting design. Without them your garden can look one dimensional as all the illumination is coming from floor level. Obviously this can also be achieved in other ways like using tall planters for instance.

They are also great for lighting passage ways at the side of houses which generally don’t lend themselves well to other forms of outdoor lighting such as spotlights or post lighting.

Lightpro wall lights come with 3m of cable which means you can position them where you need them without having an unsightly connector hanging half way up your fence panel or wall.

All Lightpro wall lights come with a connector.

Deck Lights

lightpro-12v-onyx-60-r1-ip67-decking-ligLightpro deck lighting

Lightpro deck lights are simple to install. All the lights in the range are IP67, making them dust tight and protected against whatever the weather can throw at them.

The deck lights themselves have a short connector which is perfect for when you are indeed using them as a decking light and a 1 metre extension for when you are planning on using them in border edged railway sleepers for example. One metre of cable is a reasonable length to get across most borders but if it isn’t you can obviously loop your main cable in at that point or use an extension cable.

When it comes to the drill hole size of your deck lights you have the usual options of Ø30mm and Ø60mm holes sizes which is pretty standard. Important knowledge to know if you are replacing existing deck lights as we all know that changing those hole sizes is difficult to say the least.

For convenience, the hole size has been included in the naming of each product. So for example an Onyx 30 R1 deck light is Ø30mm and a Onyx 60 R1 deck light is Ø60mm.

Each deck light is supplied with three diffusers (or lens if that’s a better description for you). These consist of clear which is self-explanatory, opal which is soft diffused and I am guessing the most popular, it’s certainly my favourite, and star which is kind of a rippled effect (see images).

Deck lights are not only aesthetically pleasing, they play an important part as a safety aspect as well. Clearly marking the edge of your deck as well as any steps is a great way of preventing twisted ankles or people tripping in the darker months.

All Lightpro decking lights come with a connector.

Uplights & Ground Lights

Lightpro ground lights

Whether you call them ground lights or up lights, this form of lighting is brilliant for using in areas where you also need to walk.

For example if you ran post lights either side of your garden path or drive way, you would have to walk around them.

You have no such issues with ground lights, simply walk over them.

Ground lights are also brilliant for lighting conifers and plants that are in large planters. The fact that they are flat means you don’t see them like you would a spot light. Just the light that they produce.

Ground lights such as the 5W Amber are even adjustable, allowing you to angle the light perfectly to where you need it.

All Lightpro up lights / ground lights come with a connector.

Decorative Lights

Lightpro decorative outdoor lighting

Decorative garden lights are designed to be more aesthetic then functional.

The Lightpro decorative light range includes round ball lights, ovals and stones.

These lights are all RGB and short range remote control. This is brilliant as adding colour can make a real difference to the ambience of your garden.

They are also a great design solution to corners in the garden and decking. Simply turning them into a feature rather than a dead area. They are also great for covering manhole covers if you are unlucky enough to have one.

All Lightpro decorative lights come with a connector, spike and stand.

The Lightpro Transformer

The IP44 Lightpro transformers are available in 60W and 100W. More than just a quality 12V transformer, they also include a built in photo cell and timer. Something that other lighting systems often have as separate units. This means that the Lightpro system only has one unit to install so is compact and neat, leaving less unsightly boxes to hide. The transformers also have a built in circuit breaker, protecting your transformer from overload or short circuit.

Lightpro transformer

Selecting Your Transformer

Selecting the correct transformer for your project is as simple as adding the total wattage of the lights you are using and selecting a transformer that has a higher capacity.

For example, if the lights chosen were:

4 x Barite Post Lights 3W Total 12W
2 x Emerald 2 Spotlights 2W Total 4W
6 x Emerald 5 Spotlights 5W Total 30W
1 x Azar 30 Floodlight 30W Total 30W
8 x Onyx 60 Decking Lights 1W Total 8W
1 x Deco 2 Ball Light 3W Total 3W

You would have a total wattage of 87W which means you would select the 100W transformer as the 60W transformer wouldn’t have enough capacity and therefore be too small.

When choosing a transformer it is also a good idea to leave extra capacity as if the transformer is running close too or too full capacity it really will reduce the life of your transformer. Leaving extra capacity also leaves the door open to adding more lighting at a later date.

Installing Your Transformer

Installing a Lightpro outdoor lighting transformer is extremely simple. Position the transformer approximately 0.5m from the floor on any wall or fence in daylight. This is important because any shadows that fall on the photocell may result in the lighting being switched on prematurely. Connecting your cabling to the transformer can be done by either using 143A transformer connector or by simply crimping cable lugs (included) onto the cable and connecting directly. This in my view, though less convenient because you will need a crimping tool, is a cosmetically neater option as well as a slightly cheaper one.

Photo Cell & Rotary Timer

The Transformers have built in photo cells and rotary timers. These not only control when your lighting comes on, but also how long your lights stay on for.

Timer Options Include:

Off Overrides the photocell, manually turning off your lighting.

On Overrides the photocell, manually turning on your lighting.

These two options are obviously very useful when installing and testing your lights. As otherwise you would have to wait until it was dark.

Auto Turns your lights on at dusk and off at dawn.

4H Turns your lights on at dusk and off after 4 hours.

6H Turns your lights on at dusk and off after 6 hours.

8H Turns your lights on at dusk and off after 8 hours.

While some systems use a set and forget style of control. The ease of use of this rotary system makes it simple to change timing settings as nights get longer in winter and shorter in summer.

Circuit Breaker

It should be noted. That if you have indeed tripped the circuit breaker to reset it (after correcting the issue whether it be overload or short circuit) you will need to wait a minimum of 4 minutes before being able to reset the circuit breaker by pressing the reset button.

Lightpro Cable and Connectors

We have already talked about the award winning Lightpro connector, but what about the Lightpro cable itself.

Lightpro cable is extremely simple to use. Most plug & play lighting systems have pre-formed (fixed) sockets within the cable itself at set lengths. While making it simple to use, having the position of your lights dictated to you can be really annoying and time consuming. Especially when it comes to working out how to get the cable to where you want your lights. It also means that generally you have to over compensate, leaving you with extra cabling that needs hiding. Not ideal.

However, with the Lightpro system you won’t have any such problems. Simply measure the perimeter of your garden, add on any extra cable you might need for lights to reach the perimeter (remembering that all the post and spot lights comes with a 1 metre lead and wall lights a 3 metre lead) and you’re done. If you have under measured, then simply add another connector and some more cable. It really is that quick and simple.

If you are trade customer, you don’t even have to measure. As long as your total length isn’t over 80 metres (the recommended total length of each run to protect from voltage drop) you can just purchase one of the larger drums and keep any left over for your next job.

Lightpro cabling is available in 25, 50, 100 and 200 meter drums or alternatively we have a per metre service where you can just order the cable you need.

Extension Cables

While not entirely needed, extension cables are extremely useful. Available in 3m and 1m these cables simply have a male Lightpro connector on each end. Mainly used for a quick solution to a light being further then the length of its own cable away from the main perimeter cable you laid.

Accessories

The Lightpro System also includes a few accessories to make life simpler. These include the aforementioned transformer connector (Ref 143A) and Male Connector (Ref 138A). The male connector allows you to create a tee piece type connection, allowing you to branch your cable off in a completely new direction.

Trouble Shooting

Even though the system quality means it’s pretty full proof. We wanted to add to this Lightpro guide this small section of how basically to trouble shoot what’s not working when things go wrong.

It very rarely happens, but let’s be honest, your goods have travelled from where they were manufactured to Lightpro in Holland. Then from Lightpro to us at Lightpro Trade in the UK. Then from us to you. That’s quite a window of opportunity for damage from a dropped box to occur.

So let’s quickly go through how we would trouble shoot any problems with the Lightpro garden lighting system.

One Light Not Working

  • Check the bulb hasn’t come loose during transit.
  • If you have another light with the same lamp (bulb), switch lamps to see if it is simply the lamp that has blown.
  • Plug another light that is known to be working into the connector of the light that isn’t working. This will check the connector has attached to the cable correctly. From these simple checks you should be able to ascertain whether it is the light, the lamp or the connector. Still no luck? Call our team so we can arrange for the part to be replaced.

All Lights Not Working

  • Check the Transformer is plugged in and the rotary switch is set to on. Remember if it’s set to auto or a time, your lights won’t come on until its dark.
  • Check the system to make sure you haven’t overloaded the transformer i.e. the total wattage of lights plugged into the system is less than the capacity of the transformer. Also check for any possible shorts. This could be breaks in cables, cable not fitted to the transformer correctly or incorrectly fitted connectors.
  • Check your outdoor socket by simply plugging something in that you know works.
  • Turn off your lights / unplug at the 3 pin socket, wait for a minimum of 4 minutes, press reset on the transformer

Having the rotary timer set to Auto is generally what catches people out. If no lights come on your issue is going to be either with the transformer or your outdoor socket. Perhaps the cable hasn’t been connected properly. If you have a problem with your transformer, call our team and we will arrange to have it replaced.

So there you have it. Whether you are wanting to add garden installation to your business model or if you are wishing to install your own garden lighting, Lightpro could be the answer. I am not a professional copywriter (oh you could tell) but I hope this guide is helpful to you deciding whether Lightpro is the garden lighting solution for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via the website or give me or the team call on 020 8326 0145

Nigel Weir