Lighting Setup Challenge

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by JimLewis, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    So I am working on the finishing touches on a very large landscape / hardscape / irrigation / lighting project. Will be the biggest job we've done in about 2 years. No other bidders (gotta love that :)). Anyway, the customer really wants the lighting to be done a specific way. She wants me to install a photocell/timer PLUS a switch or remote that will override the photocell/timer.

    I take that to mean she wants it to come on automatically each night from dark until a certain time (e.g. midnight)....which is no problem....but she wants to be able to turn the lights on or off on command as well. That's where I start to get confused. Because the only way I can think of turning everything on or off would definitely mess up the timer.

    Does anyone even understand what I am trying to say here? And can anyone think of a way to make this happen? How can I have an on/off mechanism while also maintaining accurate time on a timer?

    I thought I almost had it figured out. I figured I'd skip the photocell and plug the main power cord from the transformer right into install one of those cool new digital timers that adjust up or down every day based on the daylight in the area you're at (what are those damn things called, someone?). Then I'd install a switch (I typically use these neat little remote control switches) inside the transformer. That way the timer would power on the transformer every day at dark and off at a scheduled time but you'd still have the opportunity to switch it off, if you wanted to.

    Problem with that method is; what if she wants to switch it ON outside that time frame? Like, say she hears a noise out in her back yard at 2:30 a.m. in the middle of the night and wants to hit the switch and turn all the outdoor lighting on at that time. It wouldn't work because the timer would now be preventing power to the transformer all together.

    Arghh! How do I do this? It's too late and I can't think straight. There must be some way I am not thinking of.....
  2. worx

    worx LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 252

    Jim I believe ABT wireless zone control can help in this situation. I'm sure someone with more experience will chime in.
  3. Terradek

    Terradek LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    Steve is right...The ABT wireless zone control system is the answer. Easy to install and program. It allows you to control up to three separate zones independently of each other. It will turn off a system when it is on and turn on a system when it is off. All with wireless remotes. They even have a wireless motion sensor and photocell as options. Check it out at
  4. Tim R.

    Tim R. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. Tim R.

    Tim R. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    Yep, ABT Jim. I have used many times to allow the homeowner the kind of control you are looking for.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

  7. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Figure out what remote she wants. The black 4 button is the furthest range remote. I usually install a white one as well for the home. In the kitchen or somewhere leading out to the backyard. Your also going to want the sunset. That is your wireless photocell.

    That will take care of your issues. Now just remember this because some clients are picky..... This is not an on/off switch. Will it is if you are running 1 zone up to 300 watts. But from 301-900 you will have to enable all 3 zones by themselfs.

    Led is the answer to that problem.

    So to sum up you need.



    And some type of remote.
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    The ABT will definatly work here. Also an AUBE timer could work if you can place it in a location she can reach easily. I did a project this spring with 7 transformers all ran off a single AUBE. The aube was placed in the Garage. I ran relays in 6 of the transformers with the Aube controlling trans 1 and the relays controlling the remaining units.

    Same prioject at the entrance gate a couple hundred yards out we installed a Photocell in trans 1 to bring on a subtle lighting scene each night and then an ABT in trans 2 to bring on a secondary system he can activate via remote when approaching in his car or from the house when he will be expecting guests. We relocated the antena on the ABT with BNC connectors and coaxial cable to about 35 ft up in a nearby pine tree and the range is about a quarter mile now using the large remotes and less than half of that with Key fobs.

    Just a tip I carry a ABT keyfob on my keyring that is linked to my clients system so I can easily turn systems on for service.

    With the ABT you will also have the option of adding a motion control as well. If its multi transformers and you need any insight on the wiring pop me an email. If you stop and think a bit you can accomplish some pretty neat things with multiple transformers....abt and a couple of 12v relays.
  9. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Depending on the size and scale of the lighting project you may find that the ABT system is not able to do it all, and the use of an Aube timer with relays in the slave transformers does not provide enough zone control. If this is the case, a UPB control system is the answer. It does cost a bit more than a timer with some relays, and possibly more than an ABT system to install, but the level of control and features cannot be beat.
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I don't think we'd be in a multi-transformer situation. It's a big back yard for this area. But not that big. I think I can get all the lighting I need with one 900w transformer.

    I'm curious about the AUBE timer. How would I hook that up so that the lights were still automatic every day via astronomical timer and yet still able to be overridden by an on-off switch? And is the AUBE timer wireless or wired? I assume those are wired? Which is something I hadn't considered. But that's an option, I suppose.

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