how to wire this one and voltage drop at a switch

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by GreenI.A., Nov 14, 2011.

  1. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    Ok guys so I'm lost on the most efficient way to wire this design and some math on voltage drop.

    1. the client wants the front yard, walk and driveway lit from sunset to midnight everynight. But they want the ability to flip a switch and keep the lights on longer as they often entertain late on weekends in the summer. How can I wire this so that way the timer will shut off at midnight but the client can turn flip a swith to leave it on longer?

    I am thinking to just try to get them to go all LED and leave the lights on from sunset to sunrise. This will solve the issue of needing to turn it on later. But is their another method any of you guys can think of?

    2. The client does not want the lights in the back yard on all of the time as they have a large back yard and we will be installing a lot of lights. Again due to the amount of lights I will be leaning towards LED. They want to have a lot of lights for when they entertain on the patio but also want to be able to shut them down for a more intimate and private backyard when they are not entertaining. One thing I am thinking is to run this off of a seperate transformer and have a switched outlet installed. The lights that would be on every night will be powered by the same transformer as the front yard, and the second "switched" transformer would power these other lights.

    The client also asked about being able to control seperate zones of lights depending on what they would like to light. For example a switch for patio retaining wall lights, switch for the tree mounted down lights, switch for the lights around the hot tub, switch for the rest of the plantings, etc... For this I am thinking to install a switch along each run. What should I consider for voltage drop at the switch? Is the switch even a factor? Can the switch be mounted on the common instead of the powered line, would this not effect voltage drop?

    Any ideas you guys may have would be great.
  2. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    Do they have an automation system already? I would use UPB for this and would prefer separate transformers for each zone. You could use an ABT Zone Control ( for some of this but I wouldn't because as you turn zones on/off, the voltage on the taps will change with the load making it difficult to keep your lamp voltage where you want it. If you use LED, this isn't as much of a concern.

    Still, the more elegant solution from a user standpoint would be separate transformers per zone with UPB outlets and central control/home integration to turn scenes and/or zones on and off.
  3. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    Thanks for that link, I'll definitely look into that further. More than likely he lights will be all LED. Just from the original consult I am figuring we are looking at easily 90-100 fixtures. Which from their budget would be fine with incandescents, LED will push them beyond their budget but if I show them the savings in electricity and bulbs/maintenance I should be able to ge them to put in the extra funds.
  4. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    When you figure in the wire, labor (from burying less wire) and transformer savings, LED installs are often very competitive with halogen.
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I concur with BCG. UPB controls would provide you with all the flexibility you would need.
  6. Steve Atkinson

    Steve Atkinson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    For UPB controls, Simply Automated has a master timer (UCS) that affords the owner a variety of timed run options, including on at or xx minutes after sunset and off at a specific time. Much like the old photocell/timer combination. As for manual control, there are a variety of switching options, however, using them as you described in your initial post gets a bit complex.

    In order to extend the lighting operation past the timed run, one would need to unplug the timer during the run so the off comand would be bypassed. The other possibility would be to use only an on command in the timer with no associated off command, and the homeowner would then be able to manually turn off as needed. And the timed run can also be ended ahead of the off command by using a manual switch.

    Best explained to the client in advance to see if they can live with these choices of control. Let me know if you need any advice on this.

    Good luck with your project.
  7. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    I thought I replied to this the other day but I must have closed the window without hitting submit.

    But here is the update. We will be going with all LED for the most part. I was able to get them to invest the extra since this will be there weekend/summer home, and they should reallly keep it well lit for security reasons when they are not there. Also this is a 40k install between patio, wall, outdoor kitchen, plantings, and lighting so the extra investment for LED is a real small percentage of there project cost. So now that it will be mostly LED, the lights will be run off of a photo cell so the house is illuminated all night. There are three distinct areas in the back yard, the patio, hottub, and kids play area. Each of these zones are going to be wired seperately with a switch in the garage at the transformer. I am going to install the switch on the commons, so it will ideally work like the switches in the transformers themselves.

    This way the client can only light the patio area when entertaining, light the play area when the kids want to play after dark. Or switch those two areas off and only light the hot tub area when they want a more intimate lighting scene.
  8. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Why would your HO want to walk into a garage to turn this on/off.

    Spend a couple bucks and install an ABT wireless system.

    1.Base rx system
    2.White key pad

    If you want a black remote for yourself then get that as well. Call your local rep. Or call andy at abt.

    This is the perfect setup for abt and your client will love you
  9. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    I'll talk to my supply house on monday they are listed as a dealer, what is the pricing around for the ABT zone control?
  10. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    LIST price. Pm me for your pricing give or take a few dollars

    Zone rx no remote. 260

    White wall plate. 120
    Sunset-wireless photocell. 120ish
    Posted via Mobile Device

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