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#1 Buddy

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:16 PM

Hi everybody,

I recently installed an M1 gold kit with an ISY99 that controls various lights inside and outside my home. I plan to add landscape lights but I am wondering if I should use the M1 outputs or simply connect a switch to the landscape transformer and use the ISY to turn on and off the lights. Is their one way that is recommended or does it simply come down to preference?

#2 Kevin L

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:59 PM

Welcome, Buddy.

I use z-wave lamp modules inside my landscape transformers, then use HomeSeer to control them. I do have an Elk M1G, but leave that for more of the security duties and HomeSeer for lighting and other automation.

Kevin

#3 wuench

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:13 PM

I use the Insteon Outdoor module... M1 outputs will work but you have to be careful you don't go over the amp rating.

Edited by wuench, 27 December 2012 - 11:16 PM.


#4 Buddy

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:47 PM

I do have the insteon outdoor module but not sure i can operate the transformer with that. Im planning to use the transformer intermatic px600. Are you referring to something like Malibu Low Voltage Outdoor 300-Watt Digital Transformer?

#5 Buddy

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:47 PM

Thanks for the welcome

#6 Work2Play

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 01:12 AM

The insteon module would work just fine - it comes down to how you wire the A/C power for the transformer; you can wire it to a cord with a plug and that would plug into the insteon module listed, then plug that into a receptacle. It would't work for a totally hardwired transformer (for that you'd want an inline appliance module that's hardwired in).

Many lighting transformers look like this one:
Attached File  15pl100azt.jpg   8.68K   53 downloads

That pigtail power plug is provided specifically so you can put a timer inside the box plugged into that outlet and that little pigtail power plug goes into the timer... with a transformer like that, you can do what I (and probably Kevin L) did which is use that for a UPB or other lighting module instead. However, I looked up the transformer you mentioned, and it does *not* have that option.

#7 wuench

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:03 AM

Yeah, I got the cheapo Malibu's. Two transformers plugged into two Insteon controllers. You could wire them using inline appliance modules as well. Those are the easiest solutions. A relay based solution on the Elk would be more reliable, transformers are usually a good source of line noise so that may interfere with Insteon. For a relay solution it can be broken out on the AC or DC side of the transformer. Just make sure you do the math, if the Elk outputs aren't rated high enough you may need an additional relay that is.

Edited by wuench, 28 December 2012 - 09:06 AM.


#8 Kevin L

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:20 AM

That pigtail power plug is provided specifically so you can put a timer inside the box plugged into that outlet and that little pigtail power plug goes into the timer... with a transformer like that, you can do what I (and probably Kevin L) did which is use that for a UPB or other lighting module instead. However, I looked up the transformer you mentioned, and it does *not* have that option.


That's exactly what I did. I use HomeManageables HM-LM001 lamp modules.

Kevin

#9 Buddy

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 10:44 AM

I wouldn't want to use the transformers timer, would rather use the isy. Not sure how the inline module works but ill do some reading to understand it. Thanks for the help I will repost if I have questions and how all goes. :)

#10 Work2Play

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:16 AM

Not sure what you mean by "I wouldn't want to use the transformers timer" - that wasn't suggested anywhere in the thread. The spot I talked about was a little loop that they made so you could put a timer in the box protected, but what I mentioned was using an appropriate appliance module in there, and NOT a timer. My landscape lights are controlled as part of my UPB system, so by the Elk and Elve; and I can double-tap my patio light switch to trigger the link that turns them on/off.

I'm getting the feeling that you're still totally confused about this whole thing - so why do you feel that the insteon outdoor appliance module wouldn't work? Do you plan to hardwire your transformer straight to mains power, or will it plug into an outlet somewhere? Honestly, the answer to that question is up to you... so if you wanted to make it automation friendly, you'd make it so it plugs into a receptacle...

If you really feel like you won't be able to include the very simple appliance module already recommended because you plan to hardwire the mains power completely, then you'll need to wire this inline with the AC power: http://www.smarthome...ual-Band/p.aspx

#11 gatchel

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:17 AM

I have both and there are a few differences.

The lights wired through the M1 Relays work flawlessly but have a current limit. You can use the M1 relay to trip another larger relay but that gets cumbersome. Once again they work flawlessly....

I also have outdoor rated appliance modules that work pretty well but they are open to the possibility of powerline communications failures due to things being plugged in. For example: I plugged in a battery charger in my garage that was in a surge strip. This affected the operation of 1/2 of my holiday lighting and took some time to figure out what the cause was. Follow me?
Either way will work.

#12 Buddy

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:16 PM

I was under the impression that connecting the transformer to the main power was a more reliable option to avoid interference. This is why I said not sure i can connect the insteon outdoor module.

Any transformer suggestions? I would be ok to use an outdoor receptacle to connect my outdoor insteon module. If I plan to run wires of about 80 to 100 feet can that be a problem or should I consider installing another outdoor receptacle?

#13 Work2Play

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:54 PM

Whether it's hardwired or not won't make much different; people either 1) place their transformer where there's power or 2) run a power receptacle where the transformer will go. In my case, I did #2 and ran a new dedicated circuit off the breaker panel to the spot in the hard that everything runs back to - I have conduit in-ground from the garage to the back of a seating wall for low voltage, 120, and 240; and that's where I mounted my spa disconnect (for future use) and 120V for some new receptacles in the yard; I mounted the LV transformer next to that.

Voltage drop on LV for your lights is more of a concern than that of mains power - there are simple enough equations that are based on code for what wire you can run what lengths; for LV, if done right, your transformer will likely have a couple terminals with slightly different voltages to account for longer runs and their associated loss.

#14 pete_c

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 01:42 PM

Here initially I went a bit "excessive" with the Landscaping lighting endeavor and automation. I went initially from the malibu transformers to commercial style transformers. I also went from about 5 LV lights to some 10 lighting zones with something like maybe 50-70 LV lamps (or more). I have some zones which are about 250 feet or more from the transformer. They all utilize 12 guage wire.

That said I maybe would have considered some sort of indirect high amperage relay switch maybe to be utilized directly with my panel but never really really did this. I guess similiar to why I would probably never connect my landscaping sprinkler system directly to my panel. My preference went to using my automation switches.

Initially started also with one 1000 watt multivoltage multitape multiple circuit commercial transformer. It was rated for outdoor use; but my preference was to take it indoors. That said adding the 2nd and 3rd and 4th one was too much for the single circuit such that I needed to add new circuits to the lighting/transformer endeavor.

Turning on and off these transformers I used and tried X10, Insteon, UPB and Z-Wave appliance modules. The Insteon and Z-Wave appliance modules just would trip the breakers most of the time. The UPB did a bit better but it would still trip the breaker. The oldest X10 appliance module for whatever reason never tripped the breakers. I ended up with 4 commercial transformers using the old X10 appliance modules on four circuits and they worked fine for a couple of years. I was pushing these old X10 appliance switches though with the 1000 watt commercial landscaping lighting transformers.

Attached is a picture of where I was and where I am at today with the LV lighting. I finished my migration from old fashioned 12 VAC LV lighting to all LED lighting this past summer.

There is though two more DIN AC/DC transformers now and they are all connected to one UPB 15AMP relay and have been working fine. The footprint is greatly reduced using these DIN transformers. The older commercial style transformers are large and very heavy (with their toroidal transformers).

These DIN transformers though will be probably gone by next year after the solar panel configuration is done.

The next project though relating to the landscaping automation is to go to utilizing batteries and solar panels. I have one neighbor that has done that and it is working well for him. Concurrently trying to figure out how to automate this endeavor (maybe wirelessly).

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#15 Buddy

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 03:31 PM

I am looking to buy the below low voltage transformer but I am wondering how many amps I need. Is 15 amp enought?


900 Watt 12 Volt Pro Multi-Tap Transformer






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