The differences between mains & low voltage products

Some lighting products are made to work on 12V (low voltage) instead of 240V (mains voltage).

In order to connect a 12V light, it must first be connected to a transformer, which turns the 240V mains voltage to the required 12V. Transformers come in various sizes depending on how many low voltage lights you want to operate. Some low voltage bulbs can be dimmed like main voltage bulbs, but the transformer must be capable of dimming. Check before purchasing that is can do this or you could damage the transformer.

Just because the bulb is low-voltage doesn’t mean it doesn’t get hot. As with mains voltage, the larger the wattage the hotter the bulb gets.

Another pitfall of 12V lighting is the distances the cables can be run. Over long distances the voltage can drop and your lights will not be as bright. It is possible to use thicker cable to reduce voltage drop. Check with a qualified electrician about this when you know where you want to position your lights.