Mastering Cable Wiring Methods for Outdoor Landscape Lighting

        Installing low-voltage outdoor landscape lighting systems does not come without challenges. One such challenge is voltage drops.

         A previous blog detailed what voltage drops are, how they affect low-voltage outdoor landscape lighting, and tips to minimize voltage drops. That blog also mentioned taking into consideration the cable wiring method used to connect the outdoor light fixtures to the low-voltage transformer. 

        Popular cable wiring methods include daisy chain, hub, T method, loop, and combination. This blog will delve into these cable wiring methods and their advantages when installing low-voltage outdoor landscape lighting systems.

Importance of Cable Wiring Methods

        Cable wiring methods in outdoor landscape lighting are important because they can impact both the outdoor landscape system’s performance by helping to minimize voltage drops.

        Choose the cable wiring method that is best suited for a particular outdoor space and its needs. Think about how easy it will be to maintain or modify in the future, if necessary. 

        Keep in mind these other tips for selecting a cable wiring method:


  • Proper cable wiring techniques and cable placement routes are critical, so plan and prepare before installing 
  • Low-voltage wires can be buried around 6 inches underground for safety and code compliance
  • Refer to local and national wiring codes to keep everything and everyone safe
  • Choose the appropriate wire run and wire gauge for a particular installation as they can impact voltage drop


Types of Cable Wiring Methods for Outdoor Landscape Lighting

        There are 5 different cable wiring methods to choose from for connecting outdoor landscape lighting systems:


  • Daisy Chain
    • The daisy chain method is commonly used. The first light in the low-voltage outdoor landscape lighting system is connected to the transformer. Then the next light fixture is connected to the first then thethird light fixture is connected. And down the line it goes.  A major drawback for the daisy chain method is the higher chance of voltage drops, which result in dimmer lights toward the end of the line. Other disadvantages include: having to make numerous connections, and a time-consuming installation process. It is best used for shorter runs, above ground installations, and harder to reach areas. 

  • T Method
    • The T method is best for medium sized installations. A main wire is used to connect the first light fixture to the transformer. Then additional light fixtures are connected to the first light fixture, spreading out on both sides. This cable wiring method keeps wire runs short, reduces voltage drop, uses less wire, and can be easily adjusted. Disadvantages to the T method include a high number of connections and careful planning is needed.

  • Loop
    • This cable wiring method starts out like a daisy chain, but the last light fixture is connected back to the transformer or the first light fixture. A loop cable wiring method can help reduce voltage drop and give a more uniform brightness to the outdoor light fixtures. However, it is crucial to maintain cable polarity while using this method or bodily damage or damage to the system could occur. Other disadvantages of the loop method include: use of more cable, a more time consuming installation process, and other troubleshooting challenges.

  • Hub
    • In the hub method, the transformer is connected to a hub or hubs and then lights are connected to the hub(s). Most experts would agree that the hub method is one of the better cable wiring methods, because it helps to reduce voltage drop and deliver equal power and voltage to each light in the outdoor landscape lighting system. Thus the brightness of the lights appear more uniform. It is also easy to modify or add lights to the system if necessary. A drawback to the hub method is the fact it may require more cable than other methods.

  • Combination
    • A combination cable wiring method combines two or more other cable wiring methods, such as daisy chaining with hubs. Use of combination cable wiring method is ideal for complicated or large-scale outdoor landscape lighting installations. It can also be specifically designed for a particular outdoor space. Conservation of wire, reduction of splices, and easier and faster installations are other advantages of the combination method. A drawback to this method is that careful planning is needed to be successful.


Find the All the Cables at LightCh8in

        A cable wiring method is crucial to not only help minimize voltage drops, but to also save time, costs, and labor. The most popular cable wiring methods are the daisy chain, T method, loop, hub, and combination. Choose the cable wiring method that is best suited to a particular low-voltage outdoor space and its needs. 

        Once a cable wiring method is chosen, cables are needed to make the connections. Get direct burial cable for any outdoor landscape lighting project at LightCh8in! Login or register for a LightCh8in account now to explore our extensive inventory of direct burial cables, outdoor light fixtures, LED bulbs, and more.