How to wire landscape lights in series on a switch

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Old 03-09-18, 02:09 PM
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How to wire landscape lights in series on a switch

I want to install several runs of landscape lights and have them controlled by their own switches. So front yard steps on sw1, backyard sw2, etc.

i understand that you use a transformer for this type of thing and you can directly bury the cable. What I dont understand is the light fixture systems I see online are a big box with a 120v plug. I was expecting something that would allow me to run my own conductors/hardwire it. I dont want to plug this unless I have to as I already have a dedicated landscape circuit on a 20A breaker but I have no outlets and due to space constraints I dont want to run a new line for outlet.

Furthermore, where do I install the switches, after each low voltage cable exits the transformer?

And I suppose you can keep adding new lights to each light as you wish?

I would appreciate if you guys can point me in the right direction. I want to do this “right” as I will be putting quite a lot of lights around my house.

are there any special rules to follow besides burying the cable 6”?
 
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Old 03-09-18, 02:50 PM
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You need to get into a "pro" type transformer/lighting system to get a hardwired transformer. If you want to switch certian parts of the lighting you will either need seperate transformers or you will need to switch the secondary circuits of the lighting. You could use standard snap switches, or small toggle switches as it is low voltage, but there is also wifi options available. (Example: Philips Hadco ZoneScape landscape lighting control system - Philips Lighting )

And I suppose you can keep adding new lights to each light as you wish?
.
You can keep adding lights as long as you do not exceed the output of the transformer.

are there any special rules to follow besides burying the cable 6”?
.
You need to use the proper wire/cable for the location it is installed.
 
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Old 03-09-18, 03:10 PM
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THank you for your response. I read somewhere that these low voltage wires are not allowed inside and such by definition the controller/transformer must be mounted outdoors. Is that true? If so then there is no way to install independent switches inside.
 
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Old 03-09-18, 05:52 PM
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You could use thermostat wire to bring the switches inside. It is rated for indoor use.

Home landscape transformers themselves are not rated for inside use. Some commercial may be rated for inside use.
 
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Old 03-09-18, 08:33 PM
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Standard landscape lighting is not rated to be installed inside a wall. I would recommend using something like UF cable to go from inside to outside. Of course it is low voltage so no protection is required.
 
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Old 03-09-18, 09:14 PM
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Generally it is better to switch the transformer supply circuit (transformer primary circuit). This method requires a separate transformer for each lighting zone.

Switching the low voltage lighting circuit (the low voltage portion can introduce excessive voltage drop because the circuit is lengthened getting from the in-ground wiring over to the switch. Low voltage circuits are much more sensitive to voltage drop problems.
 
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Old 03-10-18, 05:42 AM
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I think best thing to do is to have multiple GFCI outlets outside where the controller plugs in and I can switch the outlet from inside. I will probably need 3 of them, one for front, one for back, and one for around trees as spot lights.

I also suppose thanks to LED technology the number of lights one can connect in series must be fairly big?
 
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Old 03-10-18, 05:55 AM
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the number of lights one can connect in series must be fairly big?
You can not hook the wires in series. They must be connected parallel. I think you mean to say is "daisy chained".
 
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Old 03-10-18, 01:41 PM
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What I mean is a controller must allow for 3-4 different groups, each group will have several lights where you go from light to light connecting them with each other
 
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Old 03-10-18, 02:03 PM
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What I mean .... where you go from light to light connecting them with each other
Yes,but daisy chained in parallel not series.
 
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Old 03-10-18, 04:21 PM
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Oh you mean in each light, i use a pigtail OR have to run separate independent cables to each light from transformer?
 
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Old 03-10-18, 05:17 PM
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Think of a ladder.
You can run a cable from the transformer to the first light, then a cable from the first light to the second light, then from the second light to the third light, etc.
Yes, use pigtails.
At each light connect (I am making up colors but you might find the wires in the cable actually colored as I described) the white wire of the incoming cable to the white wire of the continuing cable to a jumper (pigtail) to one terminal of the light (3 wires bundled in the wire nut). Repeat for the black wires and the other terminal of the light.
 
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Old 03-10-18, 05:24 PM
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Does this help you? First diagram is one way to run yours. It is parallel.
 
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Old 03-10-18, 06:12 PM
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Got it thank you.

it looks like a lot of the newer controllers have built in timers and some even work with phones. In that case a switch is probably an overkill but I still want the ability to hard kill the system without having to turn off the entire circuit.

Assuming LED lights consume 1-2 watts and these transformers are about 200-300 watts, it seems like the length of the wires will necome a problem before wattage does.
 
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