Recommendations/Suggestions for Remote Control of Barn Light.

ginnys_2010September 25, 2011

My barn is located approx 250-300' behind the house, and I would like to be able to turn on the barn's halogen spotlight from the house. Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations on if this can be done and what/where I should be looking for the equipment to do this? Oh, there is a clear line of sight to the barn, no obstacles to contend with.

Thanks in advance for your help!!

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That's pretty far for any wireless device to support. I'd suspect that you want to run a pair of "control" wires out to the barn. These wires would carry a low voltage signal that could simply run a relay that turns the spot "on and off". How difficult this would be would depend on whether or not there's already conduit running to the barn or not. The challenge is installing the control wires; the relay would be inexpensive and easy to install.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 9:18AM
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Thanks for the response Kurto! Here's a little more info....
Yes, there is conduit running to the barn, but it makes 2 90 degree turns. When I originally bought the property the barn was used as a shop and was connected to commercial power. Commercial power is cheaper than residential, but not running a shop I didn't need the added expense of the commercial which was expensive because of the monthly minimum charge for a building that (post my purchase) elec was seldom used. So for many $k I trenched and had the barn connected to the house (residential) power. As the years have gone by I installed a well with a 5hp pump that irrigates the outside of the home and perimeter of the property. When the pump is running it is kicking my elec bills to the top of the tier rates we pay - so hundreds of dollars a month. Now I'm planning on putting in an orchard/grove, and if I continue to have the barn (which supplies power to the pump) run on residential power I'll be looking at a $1K+/mo electric bill. So I'm planning on disconnecting the house power to the barn and install an Ag meter/line to power the barn - which will cease my ability to turn on the barn light from the house. I found one site that offers a remote that might cover the distance, but not being an electrician I don't know if it's hype or not. Maybe you (or some one else) can give me an opinion on what you think of them? Their site is -

This site (GardenWeb) has been fantastic at pulling 'rabbits out of the hat' on my various weird questions over time, so I'm hoping someone has some ideas that I can use in solving this problem.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed (smile)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 11:27PM
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If you put the barn on separate service, the conductors in the present buried conduit could be used for the control relay. The operating coil of the relay at the barn would be powered from the house. Just be sure there is no actual interconnection between the two metered systems.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 9:11AM
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"If you put the barn on separate service, the conductors in the present buried conduit could be used for the control relay. The operating coil of the relay at the barn would be powered from the house."

Simple and reliable.

make sure4 you get an actual mechanical relay, not a 'solid state' relay.

A 120 V AC coil would reliably operate over the distance you have.
The present lines will not have enough voltage drop at the rely coil current to have any effect.

A lower voltage coil (or even a DC coil and a small DC source) might operate also but you would need to check things carefully.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 9:43AM
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Like I said the folks on this site always 'pull a rabbit out of the hat' for me (chuckle). Thanks Brickeyee and Bus_driver for your ideas/solutions - my light now sounds do-able. Like I said before I'm not an electrician so 'coils' are a bit over my head, but I'm gonna hand your solution over to my electrician and see what he says. I'll keep ya posted if he poo-poo's the idea or loves it. So this post isn't 'dead' yet, I'm still open to ideas and will let ya'll know if Brickeyee and Bus_driver nailed the solution.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 1:24AM
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I said I would report back, and KUDOS to Brickeyee and Bus_driver!

They did have the solution, but.....
I printed out Brickeyee and Bus_driver suggestions and gave it to my first electrician. He read them, asked if he could keep a copy of them, but wasn't sure if the County would allow it. Then he went MIA on me.

Enter the second elecrician - this one I didn't have to print out the suggestions for - he knew exactly what they were talking about from my description of it. Again he wasn't sure the County would allow it, but would check. The hiccup is safety and trust reasons. County is safety - if there was an emergency and the power was turned off to the barn someone could get shocked not knowing there was a second power feed from the house still going to the barn. Power company is trust - they could object that I might use the line from the barn to the house to provide 'cheap' power from the Ag meter to supply the house.

The second electrician said since both the house and barn power are being supplied from the same pole that some sort of a switch could be installed on the pole that could take the signal from the house to toggle the barn flood (which would be running off the Ag meter). What he was talking about was not a remote switch, but something that could be installed on the line itself - sorry this is over my head, but you electricians probably know what he is talking about.

Any-who - this project is still on-going since it involves installing an Ag meter which means permits from the County, starting a development plan with the Power company planners, and the various inspections my poor electrician has to go through as the project progresses.

So Brickeyee and Bus_driver you were right on the money with your responses - now it's just trying to figure out how to do it while keeping the County and Power company happy.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 5:31PM
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You don't have to add any additional wiring!!!!

All you need is a desktop mini-controller @ $15, and a Levitron 15Amp Fixture relay @ $50 and you can control your lights from your house!!

Go to smarthome for additional information!!

Link for remote fixture relay:


    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 5:51PM
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