Cost effective wiring for a switch on a long run.


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Old 03-20-15, 02:54 PM
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Cost effective wiring for a switch on a long run.

I've been trying to figure out how to wire a switch to operate the lights at my front gate. I have constant power at the gate, which comes in on 260' of 12-2 copper from a sub panel. (I haven't laid the wire yet, so could possibly go up to 10-2 if you guys think it's needed.) My house is another 600' from the front gate. I simply cannot spend the kind of money that would be required to buy 880' feet of 2- or 4- or maybe 6-gauge for the entire circuit. It seems ridiculous for a single switch anyhow.

What about a low voltage relay? If I wire the 120v at the gate into a transformer, I imagine that I could run 600' of 18 ga low voltage sprinkler wire from a relay at the gate to a switch in the house. What do you think?

The 260' circuit of 12-2 from the panel to the gate powers an automatic gate opener, which requires very little amperage, I believe. The switch circuit will power eight 40-watt bulbs, so there is very little amperage required here, too.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 03:01 PM
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I wouldn't use a low voltage relay because the distance is far too large for that, but there would be no problem using a 120V relay on 14-2 UF cable.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 03:05 PM
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How about me time clock or a photocell?
 
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Old 03-20-15, 04:13 PM
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Maybe?
Belkin WeMo Light Switch White F7C030FC - Best Buy

I have no experience using or installing such a device, but if you can use your iphone to adjust your thermostat from China, then there has to be a solution for you to control your front gate lights wirelessly 800' away.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 05:31 PM
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Running a 14 gauge switch loop from the gate to your house, the overall light circuit which encompasses the existing 260' feed, will lose about 14 votls given the eight 40 watt bulbs which will draw about 2.7 amps altogether.

For lighting you can probably get away with that loss.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 06:12 PM
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The bulbs will last longer, but will not be as bright.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 08:27 PM
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The 260' circuit of 12-2 from the panel to the gate powers an automatic gate opener, which requires very little amperage,
I suspect that if the gate opener works at all with the voltage drop that the motor will be short lived.

I simply cannot spend the kind of money that would be required to buy 880' feet of 2- or 4- or maybe 6-gauge for the entire circuit
It sounds as if you may want to omit the gate from your plan and just have lights.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 08:45 PM
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Long Run to Driveway Gate

Figuring the cost of trenching, conduit and wire I would consider a Solar Powered Gate operator. They are common and you could probably get some solar lighting that may tie into the same system.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 09:25 PM
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Thanks for the 120v relay suggestion. I'm liking this idea. A 1000' reel of 14 ga UF copper is affordable. Any suggestions for what kind of relay to use?

I'm going up to 10 ga across the 265' to the gate. That works out to 8.4 volts lost--not ideal, but workable I think. If there is additional voltage drop in the light switch relay circuit, this will not additionally affect the voltage lost at the gate opener, right? The light circuit will run in parallel from the box that supplies constant power to the gate opener.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 10:26 PM
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Solution

Okay, I just found a wireless device that operates 12 receivers at a distance of 500 meters for a lesser cost than wiring. I think that's my solution.

12CH AC220V High Power Radio Remote Controller - 1 Transmitter & 12 Receiver [0020366 (12S1PUB-AC220 & CV-12)] - US $250.00 : RF Control System, RF Remote Control Switch Online shop

Thanks for the input. By the way, I already dug the trenches with my backhoe, and it's not a total loss because I'm laying sprinkler wire and a vehicle sensor, too.
 
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Old 03-20-15, 10:47 PM
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If you go with the system you linked to..... get the external antenna for the receiver.
 
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Old 03-21-15, 01:20 AM
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Back when I was gainfully employed I had several relay-controlled circuits that operated over 26 gauge telephone wiring at a distance of at least a full mile. They were completely reliable. I used alarm circuit powered relays and they operated on 24 volts DC with mere milliamps of current.

As for the voltage drop to the gate operator, you can use a buck-boost transformer at the gate to raise the voltage back to 120. Might cost about $100.
 
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Old 03-21-15, 06:45 PM
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If both the lights and the gate opener will be powered by the same 10 gauge feed cable then you have to add the amps drawn by the lights (I came up with 2.7A) to the amps drawn by the gate opener to figure out the worst case voltage drop in the 260 foot run.

If the switch loop to the house controls only a relay that in turn controls the lights then you will not have the full 14 volt voltage drop in the light circuit. Rather you would have the ca. 8.4 volt drop if the gate opener kicked on, less of a drop when the gate opener was not actually moving the gate.

You do not want a buck boost transformer in the light circuit. When the gate opener is not running, the total voltage drop will be less, the transformer boost will put the voltage higher than the lights want, and the lights will have a shortened lifetime.
 
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Old 03-21-15, 07:24 PM
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I would look into using an Insteon switch. I was trying to see if there was a distance limitation, but I could not find one. The switch would need to be on the same phase as the lights to operate. Should run you about $100 for the two devices.
 
 

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