Garden lighting with smart control powered from outdoor socket

freddyq

Active Member
Hi all,

I'm landscaping the garden and would like to incorporate some lighting while I have the opportunity.

I'm thinking around 5 or 6 spike spotlights - 2 will uplight a couple of tall trees which are on the side and back boundary of the garden and the rest I will space out equally along the fences. Though not essential, would be good if I can also incorporate a rope light along a pathway.

I have two weatherproof outdoor sockets fitted already so would like to use one of those sockets to power all the lights.

I would like smart control of the lights and already have a number of smart devices inside my house with a Smartthings hub bringing them all together.

What is my best option? I won't be able to use a smart plug socket because the weatherproof enclosure will not close with a bulky smart plug attached. I can think of two options:
  1. Buy normal LED spike spotlights which take GU10 bulbs and then install smart GU10 bulbs in each one. I'm not sure if I might have connectivity issues with the bulbs which will be farthest from my house and this could get expensive even with 5 or 6 bulbs but seems an obvious option. For the rope light, see if I can find a smart weatherproof strip to connect to my Smarttings.
  2. Buy normal LED spike spotlights with "dumb" bulbs or built-in LED chips and a "dumb" rope light and wire all of these to a module like Fibaro which gives me the smart control. I'm not sure how I would wire the Fibaro module and whether that many lights can be wired up to one module.
Would appreciate thoughts from those more knowledgeable than me, particularly on the wiring and power side of things. I have no idea if there would be a power wire from each of the spike lights and the rope light coming back to my outdoor socket and then somehow being plugged in to one socket or I've seen people mention a "daisy chain" approach but not sure what that is or how it works.

Finally, if anyone has experience or knowledge of how bright the spotlight bulbs should be at a minimum for decent ambient uplighting of fences and trees I'd appreciate the insight!

TIA.
 

Puntoboy

Well-known Member
Depends what you want. Smart bulbs would also allow you to control brightness, colour and white colour temp too.

I've just installed a Hue Lily set out the front of our house and it looks great. I can do all the above with them and I really like it.

If you just want simple on/off then option 2 would be my preferred. A Shelly 1 I would use.
 

freddyq

Active Member
Depends what you want. Smart bulbs would also allow you to control brightness, colour and white colour temp too.

I've just installed a Hue Lily set out the front of our house and it looks great. I can do all the above with them and I really like it.

If you just want simple on/off then option 2 would be my preferred. A Shelly 1 I would use.
Thanks. Good point about flexibility of smart bulbs. Can I use any smart bulb given it will be in a sealed housing? I.e. It doesn't need to be weatherproof or rated for outdoors?
 

freddyq

Active Member
Any info on how the lights would all be wired to be powered by a single plug socket?

And also any idea of minimum lumens or wattage for uplighting purposes...
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
Any info on how the lights would all be wired to be powered by a single plug socket?

And also any idea of minimum lumens or wattage for uplighting purposes...

I’m in a similar position. Despite having a house full of hue kit (most rooms), I’m really stuggling with the price of the Hue Lily. I’m not fussed about changing colours once they are in and will probably just opt for warm white up lighters. Those GU10 stake lights you talk about run back to a transformer. Then get a sparky to come off your weatherproof socket and fit an IP rated enclosure next to it or over it, allowing space to fit a WiFismart socket. (Alternatively I think they make these as weather proof options now as well.

Plug WiFi plug in to standard socket then GU10 transformer in to that, daisy chained to each light. You’ll then have control via app, Alexa, Siri or run on timers. Cost will be a fraction of Hue Lilys.
 

Puntoboy

Well-known Member
Ypu if you don't need the colour/temp changing options, IP rated light enclosures with standard bulbs are much cheaper.
 

freddyq

Active Member
I’m in a similar position. Despite having a house full of hue kit (most rooms), I’m really stuggling with the price of the Hue Lily. I’m not fussed about changing colours once they are in and will probably just opt for warm white up lighters. Those GU10 stake lights you talk about run back to a transformer. Then get a sparky to come off your weatherproof socket and fit an IP rated enclosure next to it or over it, allowing space to fit a WiFismart socket. (Alternatively I think they make these as weather proof options now as well.

Plug WiFi plug in to standard socket then GU10 transformer in to that, daisy chained to each light. You’ll then have control via app, Alexa, Siri or run on timers. Cost will be a fraction of Hue Lilys.
I know what you mean about the cost of the Hue kit - it's the reason why I haven't gone for any hue kit in my setup to date and don't plan to. There are now sufficient alternative options out there for a fraction of the cost and plus if I can help it, I'd rather just have one hub, in my case Smartthings controlling everything. I don't really want to start adding multiple hubs.

Anyway, I get your suggested setup although because adding another IP rated enclosure near the existing sockets is not going to get WAF I could do exactly what you say but just get the sparky to wire up a transformer to the outdoor sockets and use smart bulbs right?
 

freddyq

Active Member
Ypu if you don't need the colour/temp changing options, IP rated light enclosures with standard bulbs are much cheaper.
I don't necessarily need colour change options but not sure how I get smart control with dumb bulbs without using a smart outlet.
 

Puntoboy

Well-known Member
Yes they are very easy to wire and very small. You could connect one to the plug you'll just need some sort of small enclosure for it as I doubt it would fit in the plug socket.
 

freddyq

Active Member
One of these could be fitted inline. They are very small. You could fit it nearer the lights rather than on the wall next to the socket. Just needs suitable glands for the ingress/egress of the cables. 32 Amp Wiska 206 Junction Box 85 x 49 x 51mm - Black IP66/IP67
Sorry had a few distractions this past week so couldn't reply. The Shelly 1 looks good and seems to have an integration with Smartthings. I'm just wondering, is this any different to a Fibaro relay/single switch? I've got quite a few Fibaro modules already so am more comfortable wiring them and integrating with Smartthings. They are also pretty small so from what I can see there is no difference in using Fibaro or Shelly 1. Is that right?
 

Puntoboy

Well-known Member
If you already have Fibaro I would stick with that, just check the rating on the relay. Shelly 1 is 16A. Probably far more than you need.
 

freddyq

Active Member
If you already have Fibaro I would stick with that, just check the rating on the relay. Shelly 1 is 16A. Probably far more than you need.
The Fibaro Single Switch 2 is rated for 8A. I don't really know how the load situation works but if that feels low I can go for the Shelly 1. I don't have a Fibaro already, it's just something I've used around the house.
 

Puntoboy

Well-known Member
Most lighting circuits are rated to 6A in domestic deployments which is probably why the Fibaro is rated at 8A. It should be perfectly fine for a few garden lights.
 

RajP

Distinguished Member
As most of my house is Fibaro setup, I went with adding 2 outside double sockets with fibaro double switch which is installed in a IP65 box.. then added the low voltage techmar lights from Garden light shop. This allows me to control them on time basis as well as also integrate it with the outside PIR sensors which are also controlled with Fibaro.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I have Fibaro modules for my outside lights also. If you have already bought into their eco-system its fairly easy to integrate. If you use their RGBW module with at 12v outdoor transformer you can effectively run 4 separate 12v circuits off one controller. This allows different layers of garden lights to turn on and off at different times or to be triggered by different events.
 

freddyq

Active Member
So I'm planning two groups of lights in the garden, first group is 7 LED spike lights around the garden and the second is an LED strip just under 20 metres long to run alongside my path. I'm planning to be able to control each group separately so have run separate armoured cables from the power point for these two groups. An electrician will be doing the wiring work and will setup two separate switches to control the lights + a LUX sensor for the spike lights so they can turn on and off according to daylight. He will also put in a transformer for the strip although I'll need to make sure I get a transformer powerful enough to power that length of strip because I understand that run is a lot longer than what is supported by standard power transformers.

At the moment, I don't know how I'll get Fibaro modules to control these two groups. In a way, because the spike lights will be controlled by the LUX sensor I'm less bothered about smart control of those but the strip I would definitely like to control and presumably I could wire up a Fibaro RGBW module to the strip transformer?
 

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