Best automated control

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by mowtime, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. mowtime

    mowtime LawnSite Member
    Posts: 79

    Trying to synchronize 2 different zones with 2 different transformers at separate locations so that the systems will start at the same time. I came across the X-10 pro and saw that you can plug in the controllers inside the transformers and synchronize both transformers from a single control source in the house. Any opinions or advice will be greatly appreciated.

  2. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,830

    The X10 system is great, but you might run into a bunch of problems if you don't install the phase coupler. You could get away with it for a long time without the coupler, but I did this and it cost me a great deal of time and wasted labor hours correcting the problem down the road. There is another system that is controled by UPB, but it is a bit more costly. It will cost your customer at least another $500 for a basic set up. If this is not an option, you may consider a sequencer which will require you to link the transformers together by a wire. Let us know which option sounds more interesting to you, and we will elaborate on the specific topic as they are all pretty lengthy. You can also do a search on each of these topics as they have all been discussed here in great detail.
  3. Go Halogen

    Go Halogen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 102

    I have not used this yet, but I just received an e-mail update for the RM-150.
    It is a relay that when used in slave transformers will follow the command of a master transformer. I will attach the picture sent to me below. If anyone has used this yet please elaborate.


    p.s. X-10 is noy very reliable presently. I had to remove a few systems, due to interference with Plasma screens with in the house.

    Attached Files:

  4. Landscape Illuminating

    Landscape Illuminating LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 84

    Same as the Unique sequencer??

  5. Go Halogen

    Go Halogen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 102

    ??? I am not familiar with the Unique sequencer.
    Joey.....Any comments??
  6. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 805

    UPB, UPB, and UPB! Relays are only as good as what is signaling them. Junk in Junk out. I have tried not to comment much on this subject, but you guys that can, should be looking at UPB very hard.
  7. bmwsmity

    bmwsmity LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Ohio
    Posts: 276

    I have very limited experience with X-10, but the experience I do have is that X-10 will only cause headaches. I just had to go to a previous customer's house to reset their X-10 timer because it got unplugged somehow.

    The thing about X-10 timers is that they aren't exactly intuitive. You have to be very electronically inclined to be able to set them up without a manual IMO. For customers who don't mind spending the money to have you come out just to reset their timer, this is great for us, but for customers who don't want to be charged for such things it's not so great.

    I'm not too familiar with many other sequencing type controls. I have used digital timers in the past, which will automatically compensate for days getting longer or shorter so there is no need to reset them. I've heard from my supplier that they have a high fail rate, but I've yet to see this come to fruition. I put some in as early as April this year and they still work fine.

    Of course, a digital timer is probably the cheapest way for the transformers to be exactly sequenced within a few seconds at about $20 each.
  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    The simplest and most reliable set up to control multiple zones (transformers) from a central switch/timer or master control would be to use on board relays on the slave transformers.

    I see that Vista has just released it's version of control relay. The RM-150. This is a plug in unit that would work well on Vista, Hadco or Kichler Transformers. Nightscaping was the first to develop this relay module, called the Islander Module ( T-SS-12V) for their Powercenter line.

    I have been using hardwired relays between zones for years now with great sucess. They are simple, robust, and not very expensive to do when installed with the rest of the system. As a retrofit, you might have some control wire to dig into the ground.

    Have a great day.
  9. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    The Sequencer is esentially a relay to help sechronize your lighting system.

    How it works is lets say you have 3 TF's you want to turn on and off at the same time. You would designate one Unit as your MASTER housing it with a timing option such as a timer, UPB or X-10 module. You then run a wire from the 12v tap on that master unit to the first SLAVE unit. That wire connects directly to the Sequencer in the SLAVE. You then can run a wire from that frist Slave unit off of it's 12v tap to the next Slave's Sequencer. You can continue to do this with as many units as you want.

    Hope this helps!!

    Joey D.
  10. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 805

    UPB, UPB, & UPB! The only cost effective way to control our systems and sub-systems. If your serious about creating unique lighting compositions it is a huge tool to control all lighting in your scene environment. Neighbors, street lights, and the moon you can't control, everything else you can and should.

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