Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Smart Zone Control

I have seen this asked and searched myself for a way to control multiple zones of landscape lighting with a signal transformer. Hoping this post might help or inspire someone else to take advantage of this setup. It's certainly much cheaper than 1 transformers per zone.

The Zooz ZEN16 can be powered by the 12VAC side of a low voltage transformer, and control 3 zones per device. I plan to have 9 small zones of lighting running off one 300watt transformer.

ZEN16 shows up in Hubitat as 1 main switch and 3 child switches. Each "child switch" is controlled independently or with the "main switch"

Still need to connect remaining zones. Wago clips make it super easy to connect/disconnect zones and controllers.


Interesting device. Especially the supply voltage. Is there a driver for all 3 relays in HE?

@Navat604, Yes.

Then each Relay....


Just so I am clear, you're powering the Zen16 off 12V only from the transformer, and it passes 12V to each relay? So the Zen16 is not on the Zwave network while the transformer is not outputting 12V? or do you have it set to always on?

do you have a wiring diagram by chance, i'm getting ready to setup LV lighting in our new place. I want the driveway lights on during certain hours (eg. dusk + 4 hours), but light up if someone drives in during the middle of the night. The other 2 zones are front sidewalk and rear sidewalk, and I'd like those motion based so I plan to have Zwave motion sensors at both ends of each sidewalk to trigger them.

Correct. At one point I powered them off the USB connector for troubleshooting (Zooz suggestions), but it made no difference, and was too many wires, so I went back to my OP setup.

They are always on (they repeat ZWP). The transformer stays on 24/7 powering the Zen16s. You can see the optical sensor at the top with electrical tape covering it.

No sorry, but here's some newer shots that might help.

Connection close up

Wiring details-

White is the common connecting all Zen16s and going directly out to a light zone (using the clips helps make zones easily removed). The black wire 12vDC and that is feeds into the Zen16s for power and to each relay. When the relay is "closed" the circuit is complete and the light zones turn on. (Yes I could have used Black for common and White for 12vDC lead, oh well)

The Red wire is a 14vDC lead which was required by one set of lights I'm using. For "wiring diagram" purposes black and red are the same, positive DC power.

Best of luck with your project, sound similar to ours, so happy to help if I can.

FYI - we use sun rise/set, Hue outdoor motion, Zooz outdoor multi, as well as ST arrival sensors, and a driveway sensor (dry relay wired to a z-wave contact sensor) as triggers. Been working well for over two years, minus some Z-wave sluggishness issue from time to time.

I'd like to pile on this somewhat old thread to ask about doing something similar, but I have to house all the parts/connections out in the front corner of my yard, where the outside power source is located.

The stuff I have/am planning to get and use:

  • Zen16 (already have)
  • Low-voltage wired pathway light set (exact set TBD)
  • 120v power that runs underground from the house to the front corner of the yard (already have)
  • Amazingly complete lack of understanding of electricity, and terms like "dry contact," and volts, etc. (Most definitely already have)

So my complication is that since this is getting all connected in the front-corner of the yard, I would need to house everything either underground in a water-proof box of somekind, or above ground in a fake rock container or similar.

  1. 120v line is connected to transformer to step down to 12v, to provide power to Zen16
  2. Transformer connected to Zen16
  3. Zen16 connected to pathway light set - likely just one zone to control initially, others to follow

Q's (at least the Q's I think I should ask):

  • I'm thinking that the above ground disguised container approach is the way I should go to keep things safe/out of water/moisture. Correct? Or are there good boxes I can bury that can fit the gear and keep it dry?
  • The line in the yard is connected to a switch in the entryway. It used to serve a post light at the front of the yard that we took out years ago and we tied off and buried the end of the line, and disabled that switch. AFAIK there is no GFCI on the circuit, which I want to fix now that we're going to use it again. Can I install an outdoor plug at the corner of the yard and put a GFCI outlet into it, and use that to power the voltage converter that will feed the Zen16?
  • I am planning on using Wago wire connectors to connect things - reasonable, or is there a better alternative for wiring that is outdoor?
  • If anyone has a suggestion for a good/not terribly expensive set of wired low-voltate path lights (modern style) I'm all ears. Just started looking at options...

What else should I be worried about. I do already have some Z-Wave repeaters in place/ready to deploy to keep the Zen16 connected.

Thanks for any help.

You sure you want to tackle line and low voltage without an understanding of electricity? Might want to consult an electrician, or lots of YouTube :rofl:

The only thing you need to put inside the box is the Zen16. The outlet, and transformer can be installed outside on a post. The transformer will put off heat, so make sure it can breath, or you do conceal it. Also you could trace the feed wire back, pull some up to relocate its run, or put the connection closer to the house and cut/terminate the remaining feed wire.

I use this outdoor/in-ground box for my pond filter/lights. Been about 6 months, no issues. It's only semi buried right now since I'm still building the waterfalls. It gets soaked on the outside from rain, and my testing, but never had issues with anything inside it getting wet.

Yes, put the GFCI outlet on a 4x4 post and use bubble cover. Use an outdoor extension cord to go from the outlet to the in-ground box (don't forget your drip loops). Not an electrician, consult one or check your local code.

FYI - I power my ZEN16's off the transformers 12v side. Not Zooz recommended, but I've seen no negatives, and it lets me place the ZEN's 'anywhere' on the LV lines.

Wago's are fine if they will not be exposed to weather (in the box). Our lights aren't inexpensive, it's what the wife picked, so no help there. Just be sure the quality is good. LV lighting should last for years, it'd be a shame to do all the work over just to replace cheep lights.

The "quick connectors" on most DIY low-voltage lights are not great. They work for a while, and then quit. I've dug up half a dozen that stopped working, just to cut off the stupid connector, and install wire nuts. Now I cut them off as soon as I open the box. I'd recommend getting a box of wire nuts and doing the same.

Good luck, this is the time of year LV lights come in VERY handy, and look great too!!

Thanks for the details. :slight_smile:

My brother is a general contractor so he pays me back for all the tech stuff I help him with by advising me on anything related to construction/electrical. :slight_smile: I'm actually familiar/comfy w/plugs and wiring, I installed all of the exterior outlets on an addition we recently completed, and have replaced all of the plugs/switches in the house over the years. This will the first time I do anything w/LV so I will read up and watch 100 YT videos. :wink:

That makes this much simpler, good to know. I'll need to figure out how to satisfy both electrical and WAF requirements. She may not like looking at the transformer...

I've been thinking about this as well, would make things simpler.

That seems to be what Zooz recommends (powering off 12v) in their wiring diagram here. Am I misunderstanding what you mean?

Nope that's what I do too. It steams from some convo I had with Zooz. I cannot recall exactly what the issue was (my guess is it was Z-wave mesh related), but one of the things they had me do was plug it in via USB for troubleshooting. Something about more constant voltage. I remember it did not change the issue, so it got moved back fairly quickly.

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This setup has been working great for me for 3+ years. Tonight though one of my two relays stopped working. Upon inspection there appears to have been some failure at the relay, and it concerns me. One of the wires appears charred or something. I’ve emailed zooz about it but curious if anyone has input in the meantime. Any idea what might have happened and how to prevent in the future?

Is that solid or stranded wire? Ask because if stranded maybe one of the strands didn’t get inserted and touched the wire in the terminal beside it?

I’ll have to check tomorrow. Good idea as something to check.

I’ve seen this happen with stranded so super careful with looking for strands and either clip them and also sometimes use electrical tape to also to ensure separation.

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How about tinning them?

Relays can fail.

BTW: I'd maybe reconsider using wago connectors for low voltage. I'd use wire nuts or binding posts with forks or ring terminals.

Ferrules for stranded wire into a screw terminal. The crimpers are cheap, as are 100 packs of ferrules.

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If the Wagos are used within their ratings and applied properly, then I am curious about the concern. Full disclosure, I have grown to despise wire nuts from cleaning up other people's wiring.

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I use wago for AC wiring. I'm a fan. While I know they are rated up to 600v I really haven't seen much about how they perform in the field with low voltage DC.

What I noticed in this thread is that 12v AC and 12v DC are used interchangeably. I also noticed in several pictures folks are using some solid conductors with low voltage.

If it were me I would only use stranded wire for low voltage landscape wire that runs greater wattage. It does in fact work better for low voltage due to the surface area of the strands. But the biggest difference is where you have connections and screw terminals. Those are designed for stranded. If you have a solid core wire and you screw it down there is substantially less contact than what you were get with stranded. I think I also see a double tap on the transformer.


Do I think that the wires or connectors caused the relay failure? Don't know. I just noticed and I thought I would share my opinion.

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How many of those Zen 17's have you had to replace?

While almost all other ZooZ products have been great I literally have a pile of Zen17's all having something different broken on them. I keep thinking user error so I buy a couple more only to be let down again.

The $15 MhCozy ZigBee relays from Amazon have been far more reliable.

Be careful with those too:

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Download the Hubitat app