Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Help


Active Member
Found a few posts from Wayne and others on dimming etc...

1) I'm interested in finding a transformer w/o a timer (assuming it would be cheaper / less to go wrong) and putting a relays/contactor in the box (or on the 120 feed to it) that hook up to elk low voltage control outputs. Am i dreaming? Seems like most of what i find in 300W or higher is fancier than what i need...

2) Dimming would be nice, but not a deal breaker for me (currently using ViziaRF for my indoor stuff). I could mount the transformers in the garage plug them into outlets hooked to the electronic dimmers hooked to a single 20 amp dedicated circuit.

The downside is that i think i'd be running at least one if not two 120V lines outside with the transformers located there on posts in order to avoid the voltage drop issues over long distances (i have some trees/beds that would be quite a distance form the garage). Running 120 would also give me flexibility for christmas lights too (i.e. i run 20 amps to each, use 300W transformers and stil have power to spare for christmas)... Of course dimming would no longer be seperate if i used the same line...

anyone have strong opinions?

I think i'm leaning towards the vista which i seem to be able to get on ebay for an ok price... i may wait on lighting the more remote areas for now....

Basically, mount indoors, wire it up to inductive dimmer which Vista says is supported. and run the low voltage connections outside (8AWG). My distant locations may require planning later on - i just use the leviton 15A switch in line with GFCIs and give up the 20A and dimming...

In my situation people have asked for though never use a dimming feature with landscape lighting. If absolutly necessary it can be done though I must warn you to try and use magnetic dimming switches. There is a difference and an electronic dimmer might fail much quicker.

I personaly would use UPB to acheive this. EdenLights has a post on here explaining how he dimmed zones to get the right look. If modules are used they are 300w limited or a switch has 600w limitation on normal UPB switches.

There are transformers you can use that are multi-tapped or you could go 24v with a buck boost for those long runs. You are right in your thinking that pulling 120v would give you more flexibility. I am a Landscape installer so if you have further questions I'll share what I can.
Thx for the response...

Ya, everything i've read gives a voltage range to keep the bulbs in the some specific range and that dimming too low would kill their life just as too much voltage would. I'm recanting and realizing i'm better off just picking the best wattage bulb to start with... I got a neighbor who's house is lit up like a football stadium - way too bright!!!!

For the 120V / Christmas lights, i think i've decided on my solution... I will add in several 120V 20 amp circuits and wire to a box just next to my main panel. Inside, i will mount 120V coil contactors (my dad-in-law is in A/C). I will trigger the coil using one or more zwave/viziarf relay switches... All will obviously be GFI.

Relay Switch #1
Front Bed L
Front Bed R
Soffit outlets lower/upper stories
Side Bed (where we plug in all the blow up stuff)

Relay Switch #2
Front Landscape lighting transformer

Relay Switch #3
Rear Landscape lighting transformer

I really don't see a need to break up the 4 circuits in the first group as almost always they will be used for Christmas lighting, etc. If i did ever use for landscape lighing, i don't think i'd need to seperate anyway? Any objections? Anyone have recommendations on what type of box to use to mount the contactors in? Can i use any standard plastic or metal box (would prefer recessed into wall)?