Quick and dirty cable plan
Have you made your beautiful lighting plan? Then of course you want to immediately go shopping for your lights and get started. Whoa, hold on! That is not a good idea. Chances are that you will run into unwanted surprises during or after the installation. It is much better to first make a cable plan. Ok, it's not the most exciting job, but it definitely pays off. Believe me. This is how to make a good quick and dirty cable plan.
Creating a cable plan is basically drawing the cables into your landscaping design with the lighting plan and creating a shopping list. That's it, no more and no less. What do you need?
- your landscaping design with the lighting plan in 2d, including dimensions
- a pencil or pen
- the in-lite product catalog (or the website)
- a shopping list (tip: use the wish list on our website)
If you follow these steps, you will create a professional cable plan that you can continue to enjoy later. Because if you keep this plan and later decide to make changes to your landscape, you will know exactly where all the cables and connectors are laid. Handy, right? Here it comes.
1. Calculate the total wattage of your light plan
Put simply, add up the output of all the lights in your lighting plan. You can find the power of the product on the website or in the manual. And voila! The first step is done.
2. Determine which transformer you need
It is important that your transformer has enough capacity to power your outdoor lighting. Therefore, choose a transformer based on the total power of the lights in your lighting plan. Assume a maximum transformer load of 90% and also take into account any potential expansion of your lighting in the future. You would therefore load a 56 watt transformer with a maximum of 50 watts of outdoor lighting. But if you think you might add additional lighting later - and I always say do ;-) - then go for a 108 watt transformer now.
3. Draw in the transformer
Choose a place to hang the transformer. Of course an electrical outlet must be nearby. I usually hang the transformer in a barn or on a wall or pole in the yard. The in-lite transformers are waterproof so they can be mounted outside as long as they are hung above ground (preferably around 50 cm). Draw the transformer at the desired location and add it to the shopping list.
4. Draw the cable and any cable branches
Draw the cable leaving the transformer. Then draw it passing through all the fixtures. You can end it anywhere (including just under a layer of soil since this is completely safe). We call this a linear cable plan. Make a note of the length of the cable (from the transformer to the end of the cable). You can then later choose which cable you need based on this. Not happy with your cable layout? Then you can also create cable branches (a split cable plan). This is done using CC-2 cable connectors. Draw the cable connectors on your lighting plan as well and make a note of the cable length for each branch. A cable connector can be loaded up to 50 watts. In other words, after the cable connector, you can connect up to 50 watts of lighting. Want to connect more lights? Then install a second cable connector. Now you can install up to 100 watts of lighting. However you will not reach that level very quickly with LED.
5. Make a note of the required cable and cable connectors
Add up all the cables and write down how many meters you need. in-lite offers two types of cables. The choice depends on the distance the cable needs to travel. Our standard 14/2 cable can be laid 40 meters linearly and the heavier 10/2 cable can be laid 80 meters linearly. Do you have branches in your plan? Then the total length of the cable from the transformer to the end of your branch should not exceed the recommended maximum cable lengths. Finally, write down how many cable connectors you need.
And then your quick and dirty cable plan is ready! Simple, right?
A few extra tips from Thijs, especially for you
- Load the transformer to a maximum of 90% of the total power
- Ensure you have enough extra power in the transformer to be able to add additional outdoor lights later
- Draw the cable in easy to reach areas such as along paving and borders
- Incorporate your small ground lights into a path or deck (22mm diameter) and make sure to draw in the extension cables. This way, in case of any adjustments later on, you will always be able to locate the Easy-Lock(s)
- Always draw all the elements of the in-lite system in easily accessible places
- The previous loop systems are outdated and no longer required for low power LEDs
- If you have a large yard, you can also work with 2 transformers (and 2 cable plans)
- If you work with 2 transformers, use a splitter for the light sensor to ensure both lighting plans turn on at the same time.