Custom electronics pros will typically locate the processors that automate your home’s lights and other electronics gear in a basement or closet in your house.
That’s a great plan, as it keeps the sensitive circuitry in one convenient spot where it’s well protected from moisture, heat and other unsavory conditions. Unfortunately, it’s not the most convenient area for hooking up outdoor electronics like lights, fountains, motorized gates.
If you’re fortunate enough to own a swimming pool—particularly, one that can be operated from a dedicated pool/spa control system (like those from Jandy and Pentair), the process of connecting your outdoor gear to the automation system inside could be a heck of a lot easier.
Instead of running the wiring from the exterior lights all the way to the automation system inside, for example, your CE pro can connect the cabling to the extra relay inputs/outputs of the swimming pool controller, which is typically located much closer in a protected location outside. The pool controller, then, is the only piece that gets connected directly to the automation system.
“After the pool system is installed, there will usually be a few extra relays left over,” says Nick Jensen of Ideabox Media Group, Las Vegas. “We might use those to tie in a gas firepit, a misting system or lights on a boat dock.”
The automation system is now able to operate these devices just as it would any device connected directly to it. Per instructions programmed into the automation system by the CE pro, the fire pit and dock light could turn whenever a party button whenever a button on the automation system’s keypad or touchpanel is pressed, for example. Or, the misting system could be programmed to turn on automatically when the outdoor temperature reaches a certain threshold.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.