LED Lighting--Number and Placement Help Please

PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
31
Southern California
Hi there--I'm new to the forum and think it's great. This is my first post. Plan to post a full-on build thread for the new pool, but right now I need to tell the electrician where we want lights and I'm at a loss.

Landscape architect made suggestions on the attached, but based on what I've been reading here it's way too many lights (See yellow dots on the attached). The pool will be 5' deep at the middle and 3.5' at the ends (depths in the attached drawing are wrong).

They will be the Jandy multi-color LEDs.

Thoughts please? Hopefully the drawing shows up....Pool Diagram.jpg
 
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PoolGate

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TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,951
Damascus, MD
Wow nice pool! That is way too many lights! My 42x22 has 2 lights, one on the side and one on the end under the diving board and it is plenty. For your pool 2 on the side that you normally will be sitting, usually the same side the house is on, should be fine. You could put one in a hot tub, if you have it. List the model lights you are getting though as it would make a different.

Maybe one on the shelf too but i don't think you need it.
 

Robtown

Bronze Supporter
Jul 16, 2020
78
The Woodlands, TX
I’m not sure about the jandy lights. Are they the smaller nicheless lights that fit in 1.5” PVC? I’m putting that type in my pool, Pentair MicroBrites.

Since they are smaller with less output, and because we want better control options (multiple lighting “zones”), we are putting 8 in our pool but could probably get away with 5 (1 in spa, 1 on tanning shelf, and 3 in the pool). But we decided you can’t add more later, so just go for it.
 

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PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
31
Southern California
Thanks all.

Waiting to hear back but I think they are the Jandy nicheless. Will update when I hear back.

That design guide IS helpful! Looking at that it seems like we may be better off with the larger number and lower wattage. Maybe the landscape arch had it right? Thinking about using the medium range wattage in the main pool and the lower wattage in the spa and shelf? Want the steps lit up also and it seems like the plan posted above would accomplish that.

Per the design guide I also need to determine what color the finish will be before picking wattage, but for now I just need to know how many lights and where since they are close to the shotcrete stage.
 

Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
Several factors to consider, not just number of lights. Lumens are just as important, if not more so.

You'll get a better, more evenly lit pool with more smaller lights than with fewer larger ones. Plus you can have a whole lot more options (see below).

From where you'll most often be sitting near your pool at night, you should not be able to see the light fixtures. You don't want any light shining directly into your eyes. That goes from inside your house through windows, too. You want to see the effects of the lights, not the lights themselves.

Color LEDs bring another set of considerations. They'll be less bright than white-only LEDs. The white-ish they do produce will be the brightest. Blue will be considerably less bright. Then green. Then red a very distant fourth. So if you want your pool to look very red, or very blue, you'll need more light (lumens), and more fixtures, than you would if you were just lighting it up white.

For those reasons, I think the number and placement you've got now seems about right.

And I'd go one step further. I'd ask the electrician to run a separate wire for every one of those lights back to the pad. Depending on how he's planning to layout the conduit and junction boxes, that may not be as bad as it sounds. Some of the wires needed can be common. Wire is cheap(ish). With that wiring scheme, you could do all sorts of cool things:

- You could wire them altogether, on one switch, so that option remains. But...

- You could organize the lights in banks: one end vs the other, or side vs side.

- Because the lights face in every direction, if wired together, there will be virtually nowhere to sit without at least one or two light bulbs shining in your eyes. With individual control, you could turn on just one side of the pool, the side your sitting on, and just enjoy the color without the glare.

- Or you could darken the spa and light the pool. Or vice versa.

- You could have just one end lit, for a private late night swim.

- Or just a few lights for some nice ambiance while just sitting out there.

- Or the ends purple and the middle blue, etc.

- Or light it up real bright for a kids party (to be able to count every head).

You name it, complete control and a huge array of lighting choices: rich and varied colors, the amount of light, the direction it shines.

Or maybe you'll be bored with that, of find it too complicated, and just go back to one switch to rule them all.

Point being, now is the time to ask your electrician for this option. Use it or not, you'll never get another chance to wire this way.


Edit: I just opened Robtown's lighting plan. Just what I was talking about, except I'd go all the way... Leave yourself all the options of running them individually, or grouping them any way you want. I'd be very curious to know if Robtown is happy with the banks as they are, or if he now wishes it was done a different way. If you home-run every fixture, you'll always be able to change your mind later.
 

PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
31
Southern California
Thanks Dirk.

We are using the Jandy nicheless lights, and I believe they each come with their own wire so doesn't that mean each is wired separately to a box? (Sorry for the dumb q).

It's hard to mount the lights in a way where you won't see the bulb since the pool is perpendicular to the house and there are parts of the house that can see each side (lengthwise).

Even in terms of where we'd be sitting the most, there's the spa on one side and opposite the spa is a 4-post open cabana (covers the shelf but is much larger), and people would be sitting in both places at night. Really puts a premium on the individual control point you mention.
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,350
Northern NJ
12V pool LED lights are wired into a 120v to 12V transformer that connects to 120V switched power. When you turn on power to a transformer you turn on all lights connected to it.

Transformers can supply up to 300W of 12V power. How many lights each transformer can power depends on the lights connected. Typically a maximum of 6 lights per transformer.

To do what @Dirk suggested requires having a transformer for each light to individually control them. Otherwise you need to plan your light zones and connect the groups of lights to transformers. If you stack all your transformers in one place you may want to leave enough slack in the light wire connections to move lights between transformers so you can adjust the light zones in the future.

Pool light wires should run to a junction box. Then wire from the junction box to a transformer and then the transformer to your 120V light switch or automation relay. Note that you will need a 120V relay in your automation to individually control each transformer.

 

Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
You don't necessarily need a transformer for each light, as you may not ultimately need or want to control every light separately. As I mentioned, you might end up wanting just one switch for everything. What I was encouraging is that you have the electrician run the wires needed so that you can have all the options available. Either every light on its own switch, or banks of lights on several switches, or some combination of the two. If he doesn't do that now, doing so later will either be very difficult, or just not possible.

Then later you can decide how many switches, how many transformers, etc. And after a year's worth of real-world use, you can then decide to switch that up: to be simpler, or more complicated, or just different.
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
Have another look at Robtown's lighting plan. Maybe he loves it like that. Great. But maybe he now wishes all the lights on one side of his pool were on the "C" transformer, and the other side on "B". Or maybe he doesn't like his shelf lit up when he's just using the spa, and he'd prefer that the shelf light came on only when the pool was lit up. He wouldn't need more transformers to achieve either of those changes, but he would need access to the individual wires from each light.
 

PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
31
Southern California
Understood and having severals light on a single bank makes sense, depending on where we're sitting I can use one of the 2 or 3 banks.

To clarify, electrician is saying I need a separate transformer, relay and controller for each bank. Is that right or do they make a single 110 controller that could control several separate transformers via an app?
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,350
Northern NJ
Understood and having severals light on a single bank makes sense, depending on where we're sitting I can use one of the 2 or 3 banks.

To clarify, electrician is saying I need a separate transformer, relay and controller for each bank. Is that right or do they make a single 110 controller that could control several separate transformers via an app?
What "controller" are you getting?

You getting Jandy Aqualink for your automation?
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
Someone maybe got the "wires crossed." Probably just a terminology mixup. You need a transformer for each bank. If you're going to have an automation controller for your pool, one that controls and/or schedules the timer, the SWG, the lights, the spa, etc, then that controller will include relays to which you can connect the things to be controlled. For each light transformer/bank, you'll need one relay. So, 4 banks, four transformers, four relays. But just one controller for everything.

The exception to that is if that particular style of light needs it's own controller to set the colors. My LED light's colors can be set by my pool's automation controller, so I just need the relay. If your lights need a dedicated controller, then yes, you'd need one controller per bank. So that one bank can be red, another purple, a third white, etc.

We'd have to know more about your equipment. Which is why Allen is asking about the Aqualink.

It's great that you're sorting this all out now. Some of us just trusted the PB to set us up. Which is my biggest regret about my current system. Understanding all the capabilities possible before you start putting everything in stone (literally) will net you the best result.

Get the brand and model of each light. And then find out what is needed to control the colors of the lights. Then find out the brand and model of your automation controller. Start building all that info into your TFP signature, and the experts here can better help you with your pre-build questions.
 

Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
Sorry, another wrench in the works. Picture a cone of light emanating from a light fixture. My light's cone can be adjusted, wider or narrower. Can yours? Something to know. See if you can come up with the beam angle, the width of the cone, for your proposed lights. Plot that into your pool drawing to help you determine if the number of lights you've got so far are too many or too few. So along with the lumens, the beam angle is important as well.

Garden lights would be the same (lumens and beam angle). A landscape architect should know about all these aspects of lighting when designing your landscape lighting. Does he know those spec's for your pool lights? I'm just suggesting you don't assume he does. Who said it? "Trust, but verify."
 

PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
31
Southern California
@Dirk still trying to confirm automation system. 90% sure it's going to be the Jandy Aqualink RS since I want to control everything with my phone.

The lights they are talking about are the Jandy WaterColors Nicheless LED Lights with HydroCool Technology
Jandy | WaterColors Nicheless HydroCool Pool and Spa Lights
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,350
Northern NJ
The number of light groups you can independently control will be limited by the available 120V relays in your Aqualink system. It is not expandable the way the Pentair IntelliCenter is.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,167
Central California
OK, looks like your lights are very similar to mine (functionally), except for the transformer (mine is 120V). They don't require a separate controller, the AquaLink will control all your light banks. The colors are selected in the same barbaric fashion as mine. You turn the power on and off some number of times to select the color or "show." Eight times for red, three for blue, 13 times for one of the shows, etc. Stone Age. The AquaLink will do all the on-off switching.

Every light on a transformer will sync, so if you have a bank for the left side, they will all be the same color. But they can be a different color than the bank on the right. Each bank will require a dedicated transformer. Each bank will require one of the AquaLink's open relays. As Allen points out, you will be limited to how many banks you can have by the number of open relays left over after they connect up everything else that needs one of the relays. BUT...

Alternately, you can use HA. I removed my light from my Pentair EasyTouch and now control it with my Home Automation system. I had to play around with it a bit to get it to turn on and off the required times to get all my colors and shows, but it does work. If you went this route, you could have an unlimited number of transformers, because none of them would be wired to the AquaLink's relays. With the right HA setup, you could get your colors, and control and schedule them from remotes, apps, phones/pads, computers, while away from home, whatever. Just not the app that controls your other pool functions. Technically, it's not either/or. You could have some lights controlled by the AquaLink, others controlled by HA. Still others controlled by a wall switch. But, again, only if the electrician "home runs" each light separately back to the controller.

In addition to my pool light, I have a slew of other backyard electrical circuits. Too many for my EasyTouch. Garden lights, citrus tree warmers, bistro lights, bug zapper, a fountain and a small animal zap wire (raccoon defense!!). All on HA. Point being, these are some examples of the other things you might use an AquaLink relay for, or you could do what I did and control all that with HA.