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DC lighting in the home?

We are a custom builder in Austin, TX and wanted to ping the community to see if anyone has any experience with dedicated DC lighting distribution in a residential application? Our feeling is that it is where we will inevitably be going in the near future as the benefits are endless ranging from improved efficiency to better dimming -ability in lights. Right now we are only doing this in recessed cans, running all 12V LEDs from a centralized transformer, or directly from a battery+PV application.

Any range of discussion would be great!!

Asked by Michael Alwan
Posted Thu, 02/06/2014 - 00:07


1 Answer

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I have lived in a house that is wired for 12-volt DC lighting for 34 years. Although every room in my house is wired for both 12 volts DC and 120 volts AC, I find that the lights that I use most are AC, not DC.

My house is off-grid, so my batteries provide DC. Using DC directly avoids the inefficiency of processing my power through an inverter.

Note that low-voltage DC wiring experiences more voltage drop than high-voltage AC wiring (watts = amps x volts), so you will need heavier wires to get the same watts from low-voltage DC than you would from high-voltage AC.

If you've located a type of LED lamp that you like, it's certainly more efficient to have one central transformer than to depend on individual transformers for each lamp.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Thu, 02/06/2014 - 07:00

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