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View Full Version : NIGHTSCAPING what do you think?


Venturewest
02-25-2006, 10:03 PM
I just attended a one day training/ sales seminar put on by Nightscaping. They are supposedly the biggest low voltage lighting company in the world, but I never hear much about them on this forum. If anything the sales rep said was true, it seems like their transformers and fixtures must be awesome. Does anyone have experience with their products or customer service? What do you all think?

Az Gardener
02-25-2006, 10:31 PM
They may be the biggest but I believe that is a function of being one of the oldest. In my opinion their products are more a reflection of being the oldest. Their fixtures corrode and chip quickly. They have a built in timer so when it goes bad you have to disassemble or take in the whole transformer to repair. I believe they are still using fuses rather than internal breakers. On top of everything they are a ***** to get into, why can't they just make a simple door like everyone else. The only feature I do like is the on/off switch for checking lights. I like F/X

Venturewest
02-25-2006, 10:40 PM
I believe they are still using fuses rather than internal breakers.

That is interesting and actually reminds me of another question I have. Paul if you read this, I would love an answer. Nightscaping claims that the old fashioned fusestats are much safer that the ambient breakers, because the breakers detect heat in the wire. In a cold climate, the insulation can actually be burning off the wire before they trip. The fusestats supposedly trip the instant a dangerous dead short occurs. Are any other manufactureres still using fuses?

Also, the transformers don't come with built in timers anymore. Just options like everyone else.

NightScenes
02-25-2006, 10:59 PM
That is interesting and actually reminds me of another question I have. Paul if you read this, I would love an answer. Nightscaping claims that the old fashioned fusestats are much safer that the ambient breakers, because the breakers detect heat in the wire. In a cold climate, the insulation can actually be burning off the wire before they trip. The fusestats supposedly trip the instant a dangerous dead short occurs. Are any other manufactureres still using fuses?

Also, the transformers don't come with built in timers anymore. Just options like everyone else.

Just think, if that were true, would you want your home to have fuses or circuit breakers? A circuit breaker will trip instantly with a short. They will not trip instantly if it is an overload. It might take a couple of minutes, just like a fuse. You just dont have to replace it every time it trips.

I am not a big Nightscaping fan, but I have never used their products. I have replaced some of the stuff but that could easily be do to poor maintenance.

I know several quality professionals out there like Nightlighters, who swear by Nightscaping.

Venturewest
02-25-2006, 11:28 PM
Good point. I guess if breakers weren't better, our homes wouldn't all have them.

NightScenes
02-25-2006, 11:42 PM
Sorry Chris, I wrote Nightlighters instead of Niteliter. My bad.
Chris, will you ever forgive me????

How's that bride of yours?

niteliters
02-27-2006, 04:40 PM
That bride of mine is fine, I however had to pick up z-pak today for a virus I have. wonderful life of marriage, children and passing disease. Nightscaping...yes I do like their fixtures..I have sworn by them as well as at them. their copper fixtures are hard to beat. their painted fixtures are prone to chip. We've put in I don't know how many thousands and had to replace 30-40 over the years. Nightscaping did cover them and the customer was just happy we came through. I look at it like this. You tell people there's a life time warranty on power center and 10 yr warranty on fixture finish. They are pretty impressed when we have had to follow thru on that.

niteliters
02-27-2006, 04:47 PM
I have never had a power center go bad. My limited experience has shown me that there are 5 key areas of lv lighting. the power source, the fixtures, lamp selection, connections, design. you are in control of all except the power center. I have never worked with a better power source than nightscapings. the fuses are a minor point...comsee, comsaa. I went to nightscaping and watched that powercenter being made from the ground up. piece by piece. not in china...right here in america. I watched them wind the wire on both the 120 volt and 12 volt, they would wind a little bit then pack it tight...wind a little bit and pack it. therefore no humming in unit. I don't care what fixtures or cable or connectors you would use but I have never seen a better made power center than nightscapings.
chris

NightScenes
02-27-2006, 06:00 PM
Now Chris, all transformers are hand wound. They haven't found a way yet (beats me why not) to do it by machine. Thats why every transformer is a little different, even if it's only .001.

Didn't you tell me that the Nightscaping transformer was the only one that you have used? Once again, I believe that it all comes down to what you start out with and what you are comfortable with.

There really are very few bad transformers. What can go wrong with a spool of wire, really. That's basically what a transformer is.

Sorry to hear about your illness, Chris.

steveparrott
02-28-2006, 10:37 AM
Couldn't disagree with you more that "There really are very few bad transformers." If you talk to any distributor, they'll tell you or show you many transformers that have melted down under normal operating conditions. And I'm not refering to just low end brands, I'm talking the big manufacturers. It's not that their transformers are "bad", but rather that they are designed to barely meet specs (mainly to keep cost low). Just meeting specs doesn't make the grade for the challenging outdoor light environments that we face.

A few basics

– there are two core confugurations, EI laminated type and toroidal type. EI-types have efficiencies that range from 70% to 85%, while toroidal types are around 95% efficient. This difference in efficiency translates into significant energy cost savings. A more efficient transformer also regulates current to the secondary tap better. As an example, a 15 volt terminal on an EI-type will drop about 1.5 volts when fully loaded, a toroidal will drop about half that amount. These toroids also have practically no vibration vs. significant vibration for the EI-type. This vibration can loosen tap screws. Toroids also run cooler.

- Another big diferences in quality transformers is the internal wiring. Low cost mfgs. often skimp on this and these wires often overheat and burn.

- Another big difference are fuses vs. magnetic breakers. Fuses are problematic for many reasons

-Other differences are the tap types and sizes. Taps can overheat and burn. And some transformers don't even use taps, just wires that must be wire nutted. Wire nuts are prone to damaging wires (cutting strands) and are a pain to work with.

NightScenes
03-01-2006, 06:55 AM
Steve, I guess I should have been a little more clear. There are only about 4 low voltage transformer manufacturers out there. They make a multitude of transformers for many "lighting manufacturers". I believe that MDL makes most of them, (I don't know this for fact). I'm pretty sure that they make transformers for Kichler, Hadco, Vista, FXL, Escort and even Cast. I'm also sure there are many more that I didn't include.
There all basically the same transformer with little differences here and there, but the guts (windings) are pretty much the same.
I'm with you on fused transformers. Nightscaping has made people think that fuses are the only way to go. If that were true, I would yank out the breaker panel in my house today.
Wire leads? That's worse than fuses. There are some of those out there as well. Unique comes to mind as well as FPL and Acme. When I see these transformers out there, I recommend to the client that they be changed. I will not even work on them and don't suggest anyone else work on them either.
The only problem I have seen with a "professional" transformer, is in the installation. If a transformer is not installed properly, and the system is not installed properly, the transformer can have problems. I have not (in my experience) seen a transformer "melt" when installed and hooked up properly.

niteliters
03-01-2006, 07:38 AM
Paul, you are correct, I have only installed 2 other types of transformers on 2 seperate occasions. What have done a lot of is remove other transformers by other manufacturers that have failed, no longer working, awful loud buzzing, melted etc. Just have never heard of nor have I personally had that trouble with Nightscaping.

What I saw at nightscaping that I was told was unique about there power center is that while winding the coil every 6 to 10 revolutions they had a hard plastic putty knife (like) that they would use to pack the winding. I was told that other manufactures don't bother to do that thus the buzzing and humming noises that can come from a transformer. I didn't know transformer noise was an issue till I went to the LVLIA conference to test. My Nightscaping pc's that we have installed don't humm

chris

niteliters
03-01-2006, 02:28 PM
check into nightscaping ohio. 10 yrs never had one fail due to manufacturer/get em with photo cell, digital clock, power switch (clock set to where you are are on earth, great for shady areas, the latest "dominator", and the best of all, relay modules you can install in multiple power centers. I have one job with 7 power centers all controlled with one power switch. Get on nightscaping's website and give them a call.
chris

klkanders
03-02-2006, 04:27 PM
Here is a fact. Paul has taken the time to answer alot of questions on here all with no negative replies. I ask why does he have to keep defending himself from this? Because he tries to help everyone? Thats a good thing isn't it?

I for one appreciate ya Paul keep doin what your doin!

SamIV
03-02-2006, 11:57 PM
If it looks just like the Hadco, Cast, Garden Light, Kichler, Escort, or Evening Lights transformer, it's probably manufactured by MDL. I know the older Vista transformers looked identical to Hadco's which were MDL made. Not familiar with Vista's new product, but if it resembles any of the above, guess who manufactures it. And by the way Hot Shot, do you know Landscapelight?

Sam IV