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Easy Home Automation - Control Outdoor Garden Lights With Smartphone
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Easy home automation for your outside garden lights

A landscaped home garden of flowers, trees, shrubs, walkways and garden art gives great pleasure to millions of people. There's a sense of beauty and tranquility in a garden -- the pleasant scents of plants and flowers, the sounds of birds and breezes, the sensation and feel of the earth as you work with your hands in the soil.

Now it's easier than ever to enjoy your garden in the after the sun goes down -- by creative outdoor lighting. Whether you do the work yourself or hire a professional outdoor lighting designer and installer, you can create outdoor night scenes for you and your guests to enjoy from your patio.

And you can control after-dark scenes with your smartphone. setup. You'll need Internet service with a home network router. Both are already in use in many homes.

Low voltage outside garden lights can be installed by the do-it-yourselfer

Compared to using 120 volts, a 12-volt outdoor lighting system uses less power; 12-volt cables can be placed in shallow trenches and backfilled; and lamps are available in many styles and decors.

Here's what you need: a transformer to produce the required 12 volts, sufficient cable to connect the transformer with the lamps, the lamps, and some way to control the lights.

Packages are available that include most everything you need -- transformer, cable and lamps. However, creative do-it-yourselfers may be more satisfied by custom planning their own lighting system, selecting the components and installing them themselves.

Develop a plan for your lighting. What are the focal points in the your garden that could be lighted by a soft spot or spread light -- casting shadows just where you want them for highlighting key features. This could be a small statue, a small cluster of plants, a fountain. Are there walkways that could be illuminated by a soft downward spread light? You could uplight selected trees, and cast a soft spread light over a particularly attractive row of background plants. Be creative -- you'll enjoy the result.

Once you've planned your outdoor lighting setup, purchased your components, it's time to install. Place the transformer near on or near an outdoor wall outlet that is GFCI-protected, but don't plug it in yet. Connect the cable to the transformer .Place the lamps on the ground where shown on your plan. Then run the cable on the ground so that each lamp can be easily connected. Make the lamp connections following directions. Before you bury the cable, test to make sure everything works as your envisioned. Then bury the cable.

Control your outside garden lights using easy home automation

Here's how it's done. Mount an Insteon inside-on/off-switch module near the 12-volt transformer. Insert the transformer plug into the outlet on the Insteon module, and then plug the module into the wall outlet. Inside your home near your router, find a wall outlet. Connect the controller to your router with an Ethernet cable. Finally, plug the controller into the wall outlet.

You can buy an affordable home automation Insteon starter kit that includes the controller and plug-in lamp switch modules. By Installing additional Insteon dual band lamp modules you will make your system more robust and flexible.

After some synching and linking the components together, you're ready to go.

Grab your smartphone. With a few touchstrokes, call up your easy home automation controller. Instruct the controller to send a signal to the Insteon on/off switch controlling the outside garden lights. Simple!

I'm John Dove and I write about practical technology that can help improve home living. My articles offer useful information on such topics as home automation, HDTV, energy management more.

Outdoor Garden Lighting Magic provides details on planning and installing low voltage lighting controlled with a smartphone.

Remote Lighting Control explains how to control lamps with an iPhone.

Street Talk

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