PDA

View Full Version : The best electrical connectors for landscape lighting


Venturewest
12-13-2005, 11:20 PM
I am new to low voltage lighting and wondered what you all use to connect the wiring. Do you use low voltage gel filled wire nuts or special connectors specifically made for landscape lighting? Any particular brands? Thanks

Dreams To Designs
12-14-2005, 07:01 AM
The best way is to solder the joints and use a gel filled connector like these.
http://www.kinginnovation.com/pro-dryconn.html
You can use just the connectors, but soldering makes a permanent mechanical connection that will very rarely create a problem. Cast lighting has excellent introduction to low voltage lighting and is worth the time to read the how-to on their site. Try this article about soldering.
http://www.cast-lighting.com/art-solder.html

Kirk

NightScenes
12-14-2005, 08:20 AM
If I am using wire nuts, I insert them into a resin filled packet manufactured by 3M. This resin pack makes a solid seal and I have never had ANY problems with these connections.

DMAN
12-14-2005, 08:43 AM
Paul,

Do you first make your splice, put it in the resin pack then put a standard wire nut on? Or do you use something else?

DMAN

Dreams To Designs
12-14-2005, 09:08 AM
Paul, are you using the 3M, DBY kits. 3Mô DBR Direct Bury Splice Kit. These will also work well, but can be a bit expensive.
http://products3.3m.com/catalog/us/en001/utilities_telecom/electrical_contractors/node_GST5QZL16Vbe/root_GST1T4S9TCgv/vroot_GSBCDFDZ1Zge/gvel_WWDVC6JJPQgl/theme_us_electricalcontractors_3_0/command_AbcPageHandler/output_html
Do you get any freezing weather or snow in your region? The frost heave plays havoc with the cables and wire splices here where the weather can change drastically from day to day.

Kirk

NightScenes
12-14-2005, 10:38 AM
I use the 3M Scotchcast 3570G resin packs. First I make the splice and insert the wire nut into the packet. Then I use a small zip tie to seal it off. Within a short time it is hard as a rock. I have never had a failure. Make sure that you have a secure connection to begin with!! Kirk, we are pretty stable here as far as weather. We have some freezing. but it usually doesn't last very long. These resin packs are expensive but if you never have a failure, it's pretty cheap insurance.

Venturewest
12-14-2005, 12:24 PM
Thanks for the information. I will check out those products and rescources.
So even where you branch off the main cable to a fixture, you do not use any kind of clamp type connector to just pierce the cable, you actually cut the main wire and splice in that way? Also, I saw a tube of splicing sealant sold by FX luminaire today. Anyone used that?

One more question.... Is all the direct burial low voltage wiring about the same, or are there specific brands you have found to be better? (I realize you chose the correct gauge for the application)

Dreams To Designs
12-14-2005, 01:02 PM
I see you are a student of the green industry. Do you want to know how to get a lighting job done or to learn how to design & install landscaping lighting professionally? Either way, ask any questions and I'm sure you will get some good information.

A tube of splicing sealant will eventually make a mess of your hands and your work, better to buy filled wire nuts, or immerse in the one of 3M products above. I always use a hub system now, and find it to be much more reliable, cleaner and easier to setup and maintain, so I don't suggest branching from the main wire or piercing the wire to install the fixtures.

Direct burial wire is available in different grades. I prefer the marine grade, which is called No-Ox, it is tin coated copper wire that will actually prevent corrosion. If the wire is nicked during installation or after, better wire will resist corrosion better. Don't know your climate there in Oklahoma, but around here with the ocean on one side and the Delaware river on the other and sweltering hot summers, corrosion becomes the unnecessary call back.


Paul, I have never seen that splice. I checked 3M, no pics but did read the data sheet with a drawing. That looks very clean, tight and permanent. What do they cost and do you need more than 1 size?

Kirk

NightScenes
12-14-2005, 01:32 PM
I usually use pierce point connectors on my runs. Where I splice, at a T or a loop, I use the resin packs. I'm sorry I didn't specify that to begin with. I like using the Kichler Quick Disks for my usual connections.

NightScenes
12-14-2005, 01:36 PM
Kirk,
My cost on those connectors is about $1.75 each. They only come in one size, but it will handle a red wire nut just fine. It is very clean and like I said, I have had zero problems with them. You can usually get them from electrical supply houses.

Dreams To Designs
12-14-2005, 01:47 PM
Paul, I will have to check them out. It looks to be very permanent, so I guess you just cut it off to use resplice if needed? Do you use a hub style system?

Kirk

NightScenes
12-14-2005, 02:42 PM
No I don't use the hub method. I either use a T, a lollipop or a loop. The only time I use a daisy chain is with very low wattage deck lights and even then, if there are a lot of them, I will loop it. The hub method is mostly used by "cast lighting" installers. It is a simple method, but if you understand voltage drop and how to use it to your advantage, you can deversify your installations.

Venturewest
12-14-2005, 10:39 PM
Thanks again gentlemen, I will take some time to digest this information and research these products. I plan on trying to focus on lighting as it is one product that seems to be in demand in the winter due to short days. Our climate in Oklahoma is pretty mild in the winter, so it is feasible for people to be out enjoying their landscapes in the evening many nights.

Does your business slow down much this time of year?

Dreams To Designs
12-15-2005, 07:15 AM
Read all you can and make the best decision for you. Check out your local suppliers for product and training, they may be your best recourse. Lighting is an excellent opportunity to expand your services if done well and maintained properly. For a third of the year, most of your clients are coming home from work after dark and would not get to enjoy the beautiful landscapes you have created or maintain without landscape lighting. You may want to experiment at home with the many different types of techniques of lighting, backlighting, moonlighting, area, path, etc. Use quality equipment from reputable dealers and learn all you can about design and installation.

Slow down, you could say that. With snow on the ground, daytime temps in the 30's and overnight in the teens, not much work to be outside. On the other hand, there is always lots of business matters to catch up on and education to pursue. I also use this time of year to recharge and plan next seasons strategy and expand my networking contacts. I might not have much work coming in this time of year, but I stay very busy!

Kirk

Frog Lights, LLC
12-18-2005, 12:30 AM
We will soon be introducing our new connectors. The design is much different than what is now on the market. The first to arrive will be for 10-12AWG. I cannot give an exact date as we have a way to go yet. It will make an excellent mechanical connection with more than adequate sealer. We are going to market it at a more than reasonable price. When we have stock I will supply samples for all to test. The new brand is: "Frog Nuts"

Venturewest
12-19-2005, 10:24 PM
I will definitely have to check those out. I can forsee some "Frog Nut" clothing merchandising going on in the near future for your company.

NightScenes
12-19-2005, 10:35 PM
I sure hope those nuts won't be too small or slippery.

Frog Lights, LLC
12-20-2005, 08:16 AM
They are unsalted nuts as they come from a fresh water pond !

NightLightingFX
08-07-2007, 01:15 PM
I ran across this old thread. What ever happened to "Frog Nuts"? Did Frog Lights ever develope them?
~Ned
www.nightlightingfx.com:walking: