Low voltage lightning control with zones
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12 posts in this topic

My house has limited outdoor lighting and between a few break ins and now that my little guy is more likely to be out at dark I really want to add some lighting. But I would like to have zones, be smart and preferably integrate with Iris and be platform agnostic. Due to my recent instability I really want to make sure anything I do can move to ST without a total gut job.

I have found transformers with app control But I don't think any of these integrate with Iris. 

So one option I thought of was to have a transformer for each zone and have it plugged into a smart plug for iris to control. Seems like that would work but having several transformers might be bulky but on the flip side I could spread them around and potentially shorten wire runs and make network stronger by spreading repeaters.

The other option was to have one large transformer then each zone would be wired to a relay with 120v input from a smart plug. My main concern with this setup is potential for fire. While it is exceptionally low and I would mount all this in an enclosure, if a fire happens I could be left without coverage.

So has anyone done something similar? Am I missing any other options?

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I did this several years ago. First I would suggest using all LED bulbs.  This will greatly reduce the size of the transformer and will also eliminate the concern of the length of each run to the fixture.  There's a post with some pics buried somewhere on this forum but I do not have time to search them out.

I only have three zones. I found a weather proof box at Lowe's that holds four single gang outlets. I initially used four V1 smart plugs but later swapped them over to V2 smart plugs. This would solve your need to move over to ST later if necessary. I have the transformer on one of the plugs and a SPST relay breaking the common to each of the three zones.  The box is mounted on the side of my house a fair distance from my hub and I have never had any connection problems whatsoever.  Each of the plugs have consistently reported 100% signal strength.  I use the sunset offset rule to have them turn on 15 minutes past sunset and off at 11 PM.

This a great company for fixtures, transformers and related accessories.  They have great products, great customer service and very reasonably priced.

https://www.voltlighting.com/

20160727_185400.jpg

Edited by scunny
Found an image of the install

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Txs...was already planning on LED. I did do a search and may have seen that thread, will have to go back and find it. But thought a repost might bring up newly available parts or ideas.

Out of curiosity, did you set up any motion sensors? I have seen motion sensing low voltage lights but I hate when the lights shutoff if you sit still a little. So I was thinking of getting std lights then setting up motion sensors that are only active after say 11pm that would be liked to the smart plugs to turn on a zone if someone approached the house.

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I couldn't find low voltage lights that were bright enough for what I was trying to accomplish so I went with outdoor rated led bulbs and fixtures.  I have six zones that are controlled with a variety of GE switches, smart outlets and V2 plugs.  Like Scunny I have these on a schedule with various start and stop times.  I leave my porch and garage lights on all night because it provides enough light that I don't have to use infrared lighting for three of my cameras and I get full color video 24/7.  I use motion detection from my backyard cameras to turn specific zones on in the back yard and I also have contact sensors on two gates that turn the side yard zones on if the gates are open between 10:00 pm and sunrise.  The gate contact sensors also participate in both the partial and on alarm settings.

The picture below is an example of the three front yard zones turned on.  The backyard zones provide a similar lighting effect.

Outdoor Lighting.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, Wlepse said:

Txs...was already planning on LED. I did do a search and may have seen that thread, will have to go back and find it. But thought a repost might bring up newly available parts or ideas.

Out of curiosity, did you set up any motion sensors? I have seen motion sensing low voltage lights but I hate when the lights shutoff if you sit still a little. So I was thinking of getting std lights then setting up motion sensors that are only active after say 11pm that would be liked to the smart plugs to turn on a zone if someone approached the house.

I only have one motion sensor. It's mounted on the ceiling of the outside entry foyer with a rule to turn on all front outside lighting for 5 minutes scheduled for sunset related times.

Nice job Vett!

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That looks nice Vett and thanks for pics of your setup Scunny.

I was planning on low voltage only due to budget. We don't have any lights or power run to the areas we need it and I think our panel would then need an upgrade too. My thought was I could do all the work with low voltage and with parts it would be 300-500 bucks. I think A.C. would be more like 2k which seems like a lot for a couple of lights we will barely use.

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Please define "a couple of lights". If that's the true meaning "a couple of lights" I think your cost estimate is certainly doable unless you're wiring a huge distance.

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Stupid autocorrect on this phone...AC as in 110v.

Couple of lights as in 4-5. I am not looking to do stadium lighting, just enough to dissuade an intruder or not be completely be in the dark when playing with my little guy in the backyard.

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It's been awhile but I think I spent less than $300 for all of the outdoor fixtures, LED bulbs and wiring.  I used outdoor rated extension cords to get the power to where I needed it.  The $300 does not include the Iris switches (6), outlets (2), smart plugs (2) and contact sensors (2) I use to control everything.

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@scunny...you mention you have a smart plug on the input of the transformer then three plugs to relays. So your transformer doesn't have built in controls? Reason I ask was my initial plan was to get a few smaller transformers, one for each zone and have those plugged into a smart plug for control through Iris. But what I am finding is most transformers have built in controls that don't seem to allow control in this way. Searching around I find several posts on various forums saying they needed old school transformers that had the mechanical dials and pulled the switches so it was always on. A few manuals I have downloaded don't seem to allow this. I can do the relays on the output but I was hoping to keep it as simple as possible.

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