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View Full Version : Cast-NOOX wire-tin coating what do you think?


Lite4
05-12-2007, 11:15 PM
Any body out there use this wire. I could only see using this wire if your connections were lousy and you did not seal them well to keep moisture out. I can't imagine the conductivity is any better than raw copper. I just can't see justifying the higher cost. any thoughts?

NightScenes
05-13-2007, 01:19 AM
This has been gone over many times. My thoughts are simply this: more money, more resistance. Why? Unless you can't make a good connection and you have to solder it, why would you use marine grade wire?

Lite4
05-13-2007, 01:29 AM
Sorry I missed the earlier forums. Kinda what I was thinkin, Thanks Paul.

Pro-Scapes
05-13-2007, 11:40 AM
"and you have to solder it"?????

Whats wrong with soldering paul ? We have used both copper and the cast wire. The cast wire is nice and very flexible and easy to work with. Strips easy and solders great. It does have a bit more resistance tho like paul stated. With all that said it does cost about 30-40% more than UL listed copper wire of the same gauge.

The copper wire solders well too if you flux well and get your solder pot nice and hot. There is NOTHING wrong with soldering and it does not mean you cant make a good connection. You can join copper and tin coated wire with zero probs and we have done so several times. We do use other methods in areas we cant get our solder kit in easy. We have zero splice failures in our short term as lighting installers and we dont expect any.

Dont get me wrong there is other ways to make a good connection. But there is no disadvantage to soldering besides it takes about an extra 10 seconds per splice.

Paul if you see a draw back to making a connection that I have hung 100 pounds from without failure I would love to hear it. I may be overlooking something and im always looking to learn more. This is just my opinion and my methods.

ChampionLS
05-13-2007, 12:14 PM
The only difference between coated and un-coated is the tinning. The tin coated wire should solder easier too. We have tested both types with our Evening Star lighting system, and prefer the standard copper wire.

NightScenes
05-13-2007, 12:21 PM
Billy, there is nothing wrong with soldering if you like that method. I find it too expensive and time consuming. I have gone to using the copper Buchanan crimps and sealing them with DBRs. This is by far the best connection that can be made. It take seconds and it's very cost effective. I still use the resin packs on some connections but the Buchanan has taken over 90% of my connections.

Landscape Illuminating
05-13-2007, 02:31 PM
Paul,

What are these (DBRs) you are using on your crimps? I've been using the silicone and caps myself and I'm just wondering if you're using a better way.

Thanks,
LI

NightScenes
05-13-2007, 02:58 PM
I'll have to get the part # at the office. It's a plastic tube filled with grease and it has a strain relief cap. Just make the Buchanan connection, shove it into the tube and close the cap.

steveparrott
05-13-2007, 05:17 PM
Ok guys we've been through this before but I can't be silent on some of these points.

1. Billy, I don't know where you get a 40% - 50% difference in cost between tin-coated and all-copper! Checking one of CAST's distribitor's catalogs, I see a 5% difference for 12/2 and a 9% difference for 10/2. That's an additional cost per 500' roll of about $7 and $22 respectively.

2. Regardless of your splicing method, you will get wicking under the insulation resulting in considerable oxidation for several feet into the wire run from both ends. This wicking has long been recognized in marine wiring thus tin-coated (marine-grade) wire was developed to protect the conductivity and integrity of the wire as wicking proceeds.

3. Copper wire that oxidizes from wicking loses conductivity (resitance and voltage drop increases). Tin, on the other hand, maintains good conductivity as it oxidizes.

4. Copper wire that has undergone significant oxidation cannot be cleaned and re-spliced and will not accept solder. Oxidized tin-coated wire, on the other hand can be dipped in flux and used again for splices.

5. Copper wire eventually oxidizes to the center of each strand until all strands are blackened to the core and are extremely brittle. Tin is sacrificial to the copper; tin will completely oxidize before the copper core begins to oxidize - sustaining the flexibility and conductivity of the wire.

6. Tin-coated wire is specified in various UL listings where wire is exposed to heat and humidity, such as in boat wiring, household appliances, pumps, and so on. I wouldn't be surprised if UL eventually cited landscape lighting as another application for tin-coated wire.

7. Why not tell homeowners that you (unlike many of your competitors) only use marine-grade wiring because you want to ensure the lifetime integrity of their system? Don't you think they'd be willing to pay a few extra dollars for that assurance?

NightScenes
05-13-2007, 09:00 PM
Steve, all due respect and I have nothing against CAST, you don't have to worry about wicking if you have a waterproof connection which you should have to begin with. Your whole post is based on the copper wire having a wicking problem. To say that you will have wicking regardless of the connection is not true. It is not hard to seal a connection that is waterproof. The only time that tin coated wire would be better than regular copper is if there is exposed wire. As long as the connections are made properly and there is no exposed wire, copper out performs tin coated wire at a lower cost. Now, if you can show me evidence that copper wire will wick no matter what, I would like to see it and I would have to consider the use of tin coated wire. I have been an electrician for many years and can go back to every underground project that I have ever done and I would be willing to bet that I would not find wicking in any of it.

Lite4
05-13-2007, 09:41 PM
I agree it's all about the connections. I use the 1525 and 1538 DB ace connectors for my hubs and I use a crimp connector used in the well drilling industry with a shrink sleeve that they use for submerged applications. I use these latter to connect my 12/2 to the 16/2 at the fixture. I also silicone each end of the shrink sleeve on the hubs as well as put them in a valve box elevated 5-6 inches above the ground. I pulled one apart to check voltage on a system I did 5 years ago and no oxidation. Seems to be working.

Chris J
05-13-2007, 09:50 PM
I've been biting my tounge on this subject, but I'm going to put my 2 cents in anyway. For years now, I have been using Ace connectors and King (silicone filled) connectors. I have never (not even once) had a problem with a connection with the gel filled wire nuts. Although I will not condemn any contractor for using the absolute best products available to him or her, I sometimes have to stop and ask myself is it worth the extra cost. In my case, we will probably make upwards of 10,000 connections per year. We always talk about what the "absolute best" connection is, but what we fail to consider is that these connections are going to outlast the fixture! (or, at least, the socket) Therefore, I prefer not to use the more expensive and elaborate connectors for this very reason. If I am going to have to replace the fixture or the socket long before the connector thinks about failing then I am just pissing in the wind.
Just something to consider......

Pro-Scapes
05-13-2007, 10:47 PM
to steve. Cast wire costs me about 74 bucks a roll more for 10/2 than a quality UL listed copper. I really do like the cast wire but when I need to be extremly competitve on price I do choose the copper wire. If they are unconcerned about price and want nothing but the best they get tin coated wire from Cast and the job is priced accordingly. If it was that close of a price I would probably use all cast wire. It is good stuff by all means and the extra resistance isnt really all that much if planned accodingly.

Paul are you talking about the plastic snap on grease tubes ? I more often use the grease tubes after I solder. It also provides an excellent place to attach identification in the hub as well. I color code my hubs and transformer runs. I do still use the drycons sometimes but I feel the grease tubes provide a deeper protection. Wicking can occure when not all of the insulation is covered by the wirenuts. The grease tubes ( I insert my soldered connection and move it around a bit before closing it to ensure its all covered) seems to cover the ends better. Unfortunatly they dont fit into casts spider splices and must be installed in small irrigation vaults.

think the bottom line here is if you make really good connections and be 100% sure they are covered you shouldnt have problems. I have taken apart alot of systems that have wicking probs because all they used was greased wire nuts (dryconn type or ideal).

pcrispy
05-14-2007, 09:22 PM
While reading this thread I decided to snap a few pics of a piece of 12/2 Cast No-Ox cable. I have been preparing my house for a major redo but I haven't got to the point of running the cable, soldering, etc. So, I can't speak on how flexible or easy to solder it might be. I can only show you what it looks like REALLY close up.

steveparrott
05-15-2007, 07:31 AM
Nice pics!

pcrispy
05-15-2007, 08:36 AM
I have a Canon Powershot A640 with a reversed 50mm prime lens that lets me do some sweet macros. I am always looking for interesting things that might require that extra close examination. These pics are all scaled down about 25% but you can still get a really good look at the coating of each strand as well as the thickness of the insulation, etc.

steveparrott
05-15-2007, 10:43 AM
It would be cool to see extreme cu's of illuminated plant material. The shots could reveal how light is reflected and absorbed with various plants. Also, how the internal structure of leaves are revealed.

pcrispy
05-15-2007, 11:25 AM
I have taken some cool pics of flowers and stuff with various flash positions, flashing behind the leaves really exposes the veins and microscopic water texture of the leaves. It turns everyday objects into works of art. I am sure that with your 5D you could get way better stuff than my 10MP A640 with the tiny built-in lens can get. I don't know that you can get a reversing ring up in the 77mm range, but you may have some smaller lenses sitting around that would do the trick.

Anyhow, sorry for hi-jacking this thread with photo talk. The Cast products are beautiful and obviously top notch quality. I look forward to seeing some extreme macro glamour shots of the Cast fixtures on the website in the near future. ?

ChampionLS
05-16-2007, 01:12 PM
Ahh...while we're on the subject...

Sony Cybershot DSCF-828
8 Megapixel, macro mode, on a tripod.

steveparrott
05-16-2007, 02:20 PM
Niii--ice!

ZX12R
05-16-2007, 09:50 PM
What are we looking at? Ice?

Chris J
05-16-2007, 10:47 PM
No dude! Those are frosted balls on a billy goat.

ChampionLS
05-16-2007, 10:50 PM
hahaha :laugh:

Go Halogen
05-31-2007, 11:13 PM
Some manufacturers will have you believe that tin coated wire is the only way to go. Not true at all. It has a greater electrical resistance and will corrode if buried (just like galvanized piping). It does have a use when installed around marine environments. It costs more, is less flexible and really needs to be solder connected to insure the best connection.....but who in their right mind is going to run around a job site with molten metal? Ouch!

Stick with multistrand copper and gel filled wire nut connectors.
:waving:

Chris J
06-01-2007, 08:25 AM
Stick with multistrand copper and gel filled wire nut connectors.
:waving:[/QUOTE]

Oh boy! Now your in for it!
I like you though.

Pro-Scapes
06-01-2007, 08:59 AM
Some manufacturers will have you believe that tin coated wire is the only way to go. Not true at all. It has a greater electrical resistance and will corrode if buried (just like galvanized piping). It does have a use when installed around marine environments. It costs more, is less flexible and really needs to be solder connected to insure the best connection.....but who in their right mind is going to run around a job site with molten metal? Ouch!

Stick with multistrand copper and gel filled wire nut connectors.
:waving:

even when I use copper wire I still solder it. So I guess im in my left mind not my right mind.... As for the tin wire being less flexible your absoluty WRONG its noticably more plyable and easy to work with. Im not trying to start a fight but I gotta stick my opinion in here.

I will never use just wirenuts alone to make connections to be buried. Diff people have diff methods. I would think in a freeze area like you that you might be better off with grease tubes as it allows some room for expansion and contraction with the seasons. My soldered joints will never come apart tho thats for sure. They may corrode if they lost protection but so far all is well

I still dont get how you guys think its that much more work. If you get a solder tray like the watson one from cast the soldering is SOOO easy.... dip in flux dip in solder dip in water(I usually just let it cool so I dont introduce the moisture). If your using hub methods you shouldnt have that many splices to make on an average job anyways.

Go Halogen
06-01-2007, 10:09 AM
You have valid points. However, I do believe that tin coated wire and soldering is quite unnecessary. It drives up material costs as well as labor costs. It does create a terrific connection, but using good connectors, such as king wire nuts, zip tying stress areas, and using sod staples to keep line secure does the job. I have been at this for 11 years and have had very minimal issues. Usually the trouble comes from home owners digging around to plant annuals or mulch guys forking up the beds. When individuals are taught the soldering method from the beginning they tend to stick with it.
Nothing wrong with that........But it really is over kill. I say stick with whatever makes you feel good and secure. Consistancy and attention to detail is what counts. But never be afraid to try new things and advance your techniques. Every lighting manufacturer has key fixtures and technique suggestions that are worth looking into. But product quality and customer service rule. My manufacturer has never let me down. They have created fixtures and modified existing materials just to suit me over the years.
Take Care :waving:

Pro-Scapes
06-01-2007, 10:48 AM
You have valid points. However, I do believe that tin coated wire and soldering is quite unnecessary. It drives up material costs as well as labor costs. It does create a terrific connection, but using good connectors, such as king wire nuts, zip tying stress areas, and using sod staples to keep line secure does the job. I have been at this for 11 years and have had very minimal issues. Usually the trouble comes from home owners digging around to plant annuals or mulch guys forking up the beds. When individuals are taught the soldering method from the beginning they tend to stick with it.
Nothing wrong with that........But it really is over kill. I say stick with whatever makes you feel good and secure. Consistancy and attention to detail is what counts. But never be afraid to try new things and advance your techniques. Every lighting manufacturer has key fixtures and technique suggestions that are worth looking into. But product quality and customer service rule. My manufacturer has never let me down. They have created fixtures and modified existing materials just to suit me over the years.
Take Care :waving:

Your company name and website sir ?

ChampionLS
06-01-2007, 12:41 PM
Some manufacturers will have you believe that tin coated wire is the only way to go. Not true at all. It has a greater electrical resistance and will corrode if buried (just like galvanized piping). It does have a use when installed around marine environments. It costs more, is less flexible and really needs to be solder connected to insure the best connection.....but who in their right mind is going to run around a job site with molten metal? Ouch!

Stick with multistrand copper and gel filled wire nut connectors.
:waving:

Greater electrical resistance??? :laugh: IF your ADDING metal to copper strands (that are already equal diameter to the standard wire) Then the resistance would be LESS. (Bigger conductor diameter) How did you come up with that excuse??

and will corrode if buried (just like galvanized piping).
So... Galvanized pipe corrodes?? wow! I better call our local water company and have them replace our service line to the house. :cry:
Sigh.......

NightScenes
06-01-2007, 01:07 PM
Greater electrical resistance??? :laugh: IF your ADDING metal to copper strands (that are already equal diameter to the standard wire) Then the resistance would be LESS. (Bigger conductor diameter) How did you come up with that excuse??



So... Galvanized pipe corrodes?? wow! I better call our local water company and have them replace our service line to the house. :cry:
Sigh.......

Tin is a very poor electrical conductor, thus more resistance. I believe that Steve will even confirm this.

Galvanized pipe will indeed corrode. That is why most water utilities are going to a very heavy PVC type of piping.

Go Halogen
06-01-2007, 01:16 PM
DC current flows along the outside of multi-strand. Copper is more conductive when compared to tin (not by too much). And yes, compounds within most soil types will begin to corrode galvanized pipe after a while. It is only a thin layer of "corrosion resistance". It will break down over time. The galvanization of older H2O conduit was meant to prolong its life. Copper is effected less by these corrosive elements. There is no argument here. It is plain science. However, we are talking about low voltage lighting. The point is that both wire types work well. Copper is less expensive. Tin coated wire is not necessary for successful installs. Most people use 12/2 or 10/2 copper multi-strand. We all achieve success.......Big difference is that some of us can still charge a great price, do excellent work, and walk away with a little more in our pockets.

General Info: Please to all that see this blog.....make sure that your material selections are all UL listed and approved. It is great insurance.

steveparrott
06-01-2007, 04:20 PM
Go Halogen, I concur with most of your statements. A few points:

1. CAST introduced No-Ox wire because of the common experience of lighting installers that copper undergoes severe oxidation in a few years (especially in regions near splices due to wicking). I've seen many old installs pulled out of the ground where the wire is jet black to the core of each strand - and this wire is brittle to the point that bending it results in strands breaking.

2. While it's true that the tin coating increases initial resistance compared to all-copper (about 8%), after a couple years in the ground we should find the tin-coated wire to have less resistance. This would be due to tin oxides having less resistance than copper oxides. Also due to the fact that the tin will act as a sacrificial metal to the copper - all the tin would need to oxidize before the copper oxidizes.

3. I've heard the ststement that tin-coated is good for boat wiring and bad for buried wiring, but this doesn't make sense. UL specifies tin-coating for boat wiring because dissolved salts wick under the insulation and corrode the wire. While salts from the soil are different, in effect they do the same thing. Tin protects the wire under both conditions.

4. Again, there's a complaint about the price. First of all, the difference isn't that great (in fact I know one distributor that is currently pricing No-Ox less than copper). Billy's posting earlier in this thread about the big difference was based on a great deal he's getting on copper wire from his distributor. If you use tin-coating as a value-added feature of your installations, that perceived value is worth a lot.

Pro-Scapes
06-01-2007, 07:11 PM
I do preffer the Cast wire dont get me wrong. At times it can be cost prohibative tho for some clients or push a system just over the "ok" amount.

I wouldnt dream of using copper in a coastal enviorment. Just like I wouldnt install the AZT kichlers.

Chris J
06-01-2007, 10:02 PM
I do preffer the Cast wire dont get me wrong. At times it can be cost prohibative tho for some clients or push a system just over the "ok" amount.

I wouldnt dream of using copper in a coastal enviorment. Just like I wouldnt install the AZT kichlers.

Billy, now you're going to get me wound up and I was having such a pleasant evening. There is nothing wrong with using copper wire in a coastal environment so just stop it.:nono: As long as the integrity of the wire is not compromised, there will not be any more corrosion than there is with tin coated wire.

NightScenes
06-02-2007, 07:42 AM
Billy, now you're going to get me wound up and I was having such a pleasant evening. There is nothing wrong with using copper wire in a coastal environment so just stop it.:nono: As long as the integrity of the wire is not compromised, there will not be any more corrosion than there is with tin coated wire.

abosulutely corectomundo!!!

Pro-Scapes
06-02-2007, 08:59 AM
Billy, now you're going to get me wound up and I was having such a pleasant evening. There is nothing wrong with using copper wire in a coastal environment so just stop it.:nono: As long as the integrity of the wire is not compromised, there will not be any more corrosion than there is with tin coated wire.

:drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: Your right... im sorry. Its when guys who dont know how to splice leave the smallest bit of wire exposed out of thier off brand grease filled wire nuts and the connection is doomed from the start. I just preffer the tin wire in most cases.

Relax and have a brew on me... the BBQ will be starting soon and ribs and crawfish should be ready by 5 come on up.

Chris J
06-02-2007, 10:09 AM
:drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: Your right... im sorry. Its when guys who dont know how to splice leave the smallest bit of wire exposed out of thier off brand grease filled wire nuts and the connection is doomed from the start. I just preffer the tin wire in most cases.

Relax and have a brew on me... the BBQ will be starting soon and ribs and crawfish should be ready by 5 come on up.

Man, that sounds good. I wish you lived closer, I'd be on the way pronto.

Frog Lights, LLC
06-02-2007, 10:10 AM
I completely agree with Paul. Good quality copper 10/2 is fine for this application and the extra expense is not justified.

Lite4
06-02-2007, 04:34 PM
hey, it's all about the connections staying waterproof. Here is what I use. Obviously the ace connectors in the 2 sizes (brass on top) and for my connections at the fixtures, a crimp heat shrink connection. (silver with clear shrink tubes). They work fantastic.

ChampionLS
06-03-2007, 04:12 AM
Tin is a very poor electrical conductor, thus more resistance. I believe that Steve will even confirm this.

Galvanized pipe will indeed corrode. That is why most water utilities are going to a very heavy PVC type of piping.

Tin is a very good electrical conductor. It is primarily used as a protectant on electrical circuits, plugs, sockets and more. The wire it's self is not tin, it is only a plating to prevent corrosion.

Here's some info for you:
(http://www.hmwire.com/plating.html)
Plating for Copper and Copper Alloys:

Silver - Silver is quite soft and malleable (easily shaped).. With the exception of gold, it is the most malleable and ductile (able to be drawn into very thin wire) of all metals. Silver is harder than gold but softer than copper. It is quite resistant to corrosion and does not oxidize easily. Of all the metals, it is the best conductor of electricity. When silver is plated over copper there can be an accelerated corrosion of the copper at pinholes or breaks in the silver plating. It is then susceptible to the formation of cuprous oxide when stored or used in a moist or high humidity environment. The corrosion is known as "red plague" and is identifiable by the presence of a brown-red powder deposit on the exposed copper. Due to this possible corrosion, it may be wise to consider an insulation over the silver-plated copper wire, such as Teflon. Silver plated copper has applications in the medical field. Silver plating over oxygen-free copper reduces the resistance of the copper, thus enhancing audio and video cables and wires.

Gold - Gold is soft and wears easily, so it is often mixed with harder metals. Gold is un-reactive, which means it is resistant to corrosion and tarnishing, at high or low temperatures. Gold is also malleable and ductile. Gold is a very good conductor of electricity and, since it can be drawn into very thin wires, has many applications in electronics. Gold plating on contacts for switches, relays and connectors accounts for most of the gold required each year by the electronics industry. Gold is used in satellites as part of their electronic circuits and as a heat shield. Copper with gold or silver plating can be used in the ultra flexible and ultra miniature wire needed in instrumentation used in the medical industry.

Tin - The properties of tin make it ideal for use as a coating. Tin has a low melting point and readily alloys with most other metals, so tin coatings can be easily produced by immersing a suitable prepared metal object in a bath of molten tin. Hot-dipped tin coatings present a good appearance and are tightly adherent. When coated sheets are severely drawn and worked, the coating actually acts as a lubricant. Tin coatings may also be produced by electroplating the metal from an aqueous solution of its salts. Copper tin alloys or tin bronzes are known for their corrosion resistance. Tin bronzes are stronger and more ductile than red and semi-red brasses. They have high wear resistance and low friction coefficient against steel. Tin-nickel is highly resistant to corrosion and tarnish, and is therefore used in electrical equipment and scientific instruments. Copper and nickel may both be used as plating over other metals.

A galvanized pipe will only corrode if the galvanizing is chipped off or the pipe has been cut. There are millions and millions of galvanized boat trailers in the world that don't rust. Same goes for galvanized hardware that's used in every boat dock, marine application. Utility companies are going to PVC for ease of installation to lessen their parts inventory. Imagine using screw pipe fittings for an irrigation system VS. Poly Pipe.

Go Halogen
06-03-2007, 01:39 PM
Nice to have your added incite. Hearing the answer from more than one is always good.
:waving:

High Performance Lighting
06-03-2007, 02:11 PM
Nice to have your added incite. Hearing the answer from more than one is always good.
:waving:

Take the information given in here from hence it comes. There are those determined to perpetuate their "propaganda" as fact whether there is any factual backing or not in order to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace (I'm not neccesarily referring to this thread). There are also those that are flat out promoting and selling their products without disguising it. There are also those here who dispense information from potential biased sources that they've picked up at trade shows or association meetings or other message bds. Information they have not verified yet state it as fact to bolster their own ego. There are also those who will question and challenge posts sometimes in a sneaky and serepticious manner to again try and upstage and grandstand for their own promotion or ego boost. Others are here seeking validation because they are unhappy with their current state of affairs and find comfort in knowing there are others who are experiencing the same.

If you take offense to this post then it's pretty clear that it's hit a sore spot and you know it pertains to you. If you do not take offense then great you're here to learn and are not one of those I speak of and are professional enough to put your ego aside. There is and old saying that goes like this:


Those that tell don't know.
Those that know don't tell.

Just keep that in mind before you try bringing any info garnered here to the bank and that includes info from yours truly.

Be skeptical of advice given from those who tell you how to make love 267 different ways yet cannot get a date on a friday or saturday night.

ChampionLS
06-03-2007, 05:13 PM
Ooooh very well versed

Chris J
06-03-2007, 06:13 PM
Go Halogen,
The tone of your comments leads me to suspect that you either represent a manufacturer or supplier of fixtures and/or components of same. Not that this is in any way negative, but could we please know what company you are with so we can have some frame of reference to base the credibility of your statements? You were asked this question in an earlier post, but I did not catch the response.

Thank you in advance,

Go Halogen
06-03-2007, 09:56 PM
No even close Columbo. I am a teacher of Hort Management and I have been working with landscape lighting since 1996. I have been designing systems for even longer. Not that I have seen it all, but I have tried a lot.

I would rather not disclose the Institution that I teach at. My opinions are simply based on experience and many years of research.

I do agree that certain manufacturers do grab a lot of the unexperienced contractors and......well, sort of do the whole brainwash thing.......
It is very simple to see........Grab someone new, teach them some very particular techniques, offer a meager choice in materials, get them on some jobs, and hey........close-mindedness....... It can happen to the best of us.

What's that saying??? "Pulling the wool of one's eyes"...or something like that.
Every manufacturer has something different to offer. The best installers will discover these over time. Try new things, find key items that you can rely on, build your portfolio like a puzzle. I will say one more thing about this all (for I feel like this is now entering into the beating a dead horse scenario).

If there are manufacturers out there that bad mouth the others (to contractors) and claim that they are the only way to go....well then what does that tell you. Question that. :nono:

Go Halogen
06-03-2007, 10:12 PM
2SCREWED.........By the way...You have an excellent web-site. Excellent images, terrific question and answer section and great portfolio. Cheers to your company.

David Gretzmier
06-04-2007, 10:47 AM
A horticulture management instructor? man , this site is going to the dogs! just kidding- welcome aboard - dave g

Chris J
06-04-2007, 08:00 PM
2SCREWED.........By the way...You have an excellent web-site. Excellent images, terrific question and answer section and great portfolio. Cheers to your company.

Thanks,
you didn't have to go into great detail, however. I was just curious. Glad to have you on board.

LandArts
06-04-2007, 10:19 PM
Last year we ripped out a system that had been professionally installed five years before. Upgraded to CAST. Out of curiosity I stripped some of the old wire a few back from a fixture. It was black. Ten feet back-black. Kept cutting and stripping and found ALL the wire in the old system was corroded.

High Performance Lighting
06-04-2007, 10:26 PM
Last year we ripped out a system that had been professionally installed five years before. Upgraded to CAST. Out of curiosity I stripped some of the old wire a few back from a fixture. It was black. Ten feet back-black. Kept cutting and stripping and found ALL the wire in the old system was corroded.


Was it the tinned copper cable or no?

High Performance Lighting
06-04-2007, 10:30 PM
Last year we ripped out a system that had been professionally installed five years before. Upgraded to CAST. Out of curiosity I stripped some of the old wire a few back from a fixture. It was black. Ten feet back-black. Kept cutting and stripping and found ALL the wire in the old system was corroded.


Black cable is an indication of shorting, overloads, loose connections, moisture in the cable, any one or all of those combined will result in black "burned" strands.

LandArts
06-04-2007, 10:52 PM
It was plain copper.

High Performance Lighting
06-04-2007, 11:06 PM
Yes I've seen it many times. Some have argued that if your connections are sound you don't have to worry about water getting inside the jacket and wicking through the cable. What happens if and when your wire gets nicked or partially severed with a garden tool under ground? I'm not arguing for or against tinning but if that's what you like to use then I don't see why so many get so riled up over it. If you don't see the value then don't buy it.

Chris J
06-05-2007, 12:28 PM
Last year we ripped out a system that had been professionally installed five years before. Upgraded to CAST. Out of curiosity I stripped some of the old wire a few back from a fixture. It was black. Ten feet back-black. Kept cutting and stripping and found ALL the wire in the old system was corroded.

What type of connectors were used at the splices and fixture connections?

LandArts
06-05-2007, 04:26 PM
The connectors were the usual direct-burial wire nuts.

Chris J
06-05-2007, 05:22 PM
Well, that rules out the connections unless they were all very loose. Must have been some serious damage to the wire, or overloading like Mike G mentioned. If all of the wire was this way, I would think something very serious was to blame; possibly a direct lightning strike?

BPC
06-05-2007, 06:46 PM
Last year we ripped out a system that had been professionally installed five years before. Upgraded to CAST. Out of curiosity I stripped some of the old wire a few back from a fixture. It was black. Ten feet back-black. Kept cutting and stripping and found ALL the wire in the old system was corroded.

I have seen the same thing in systems we have pulled out of the ground to replace with Cast lights and wire. I have pulled kitchler and vista systems out of the ground that the wire was like that. The kitchler system used the standard disk connectors and the vista system had king wire nuts.

Chris J
06-05-2007, 07:12 PM
I have seen the same thing in systems we have pulled out of the ground to replace with Cast lights and wire. I have pulled kitchler and vista systems out of the ground that the wire was like that. The kitchler system used the standard disk connectors and the vista system had king wire nuts.

:dizzy: Well, there you go! If everyone would just "upgrade" to Cast, there would not be any trouble. The problem is obviously the manufacturer. :hammerhead:

Pro-Scapes
06-05-2007, 07:24 PM
just because they use direct burial wire nuts doesnt mean they used em properly. We have pulled up many systems in the past year with the same problem. Same installer and he was stripping too much wire or something and you could see where the insulation was stripped beyond the wire nut coverage. Even on the wires that wernt overloaded and had no visable nicks it was solid black. Im guessing with moisture entering the wire at the bad splices.

Does anyone else solder or crimp then grease tube ? (sometimes we solder and use drycons) Works well if you do hub method. I can see how it would become a time eater if your splicing at every single fixture.

High Performance Lighting
06-05-2007, 08:14 PM
The connectors were the usual direct-burial wire nuts.


I don't like wire nuts as a connection in the ground whether they are gel filled or not. I can't tell you how many I've come across that were installed by others that were loose and or disconnected. Digging, Root growth and ground movement (wet and drying of the soil) are the culpits. Also if your technique is not correct they can be loose from the start. Loose connections create problems with LVL systems. Loose connections get extremely hot, damage cable and can trip secondary breakers in transformers.

BPC
06-05-2007, 08:15 PM
I use the LV9500
http://blazingproducts.com/products/connectors/LV9/index.html

Lite4
06-05-2007, 08:33 PM
Ace connectors for hubs, heat shrink after voltage test. The larger brass ace connectors will accomodate up to 5 -12/2 wires. Perfect for hubs. Crimp connectors with heat shrink tube at the fixtures. See photo from page 4 or 5. Picture of small ace connector and crimps.

High Performance Lighting
06-05-2007, 08:40 PM
Ace connectors

I've used them since the day they came on the market and on every connection since at least for the past 10 yrs and have never experienced a failed connection. This is not a place to skimp.

Eden Lights
06-05-2007, 08:50 PM
I have used Crimped connections for about seven years with two failures, both were due to rodent damage. I have played with just about everything and I am open to something better. The following pictures are from a connection that was seven years old and was buried in a very harsh enviroment. What do you think?

Eden Lights
06-05-2007, 08:56 PM
Ace connectors

I've used them since the day they came on the market and on every connection since at least for the past 10 yrs and have never experienced a failed connection. This is not a place to skimp.

Which one do you use for going from your 12/2 wire down to your fixture wire lead? Do you use anything else after you heat shrink it? I am wondering because of tree work, where you want the neatness of this type of inline connection.

High Performance Lighting
06-05-2007, 09:04 PM
Which one do you use for going from your 12/2 wire down to your fixture wire lead? Do you use anything else after you heat shrink it? I am wondering because of tree work, where you want the neatness of this type of inline connection.


Eden, there is only one size that I use, it's the medium sized one or original ace connector for a lack of a better term. The one that was pictured in this thread. The brass lugs and marine grade heat shrink with silicone impregnated. They now have 3 sizes- Jumbo and a smaller guy for 18 gauge.
When I insert the 18 gauge alone in this medium lug I strip back about 1 1/2" of sheathing and then fold the cable over till it overlaps the sheathing I then insert and tighten down this way it holds real tight and will not break and makes a tight connection. Hope this helps.

David Gretzmier
06-05-2007, 11:25 PM
This thread keeps going and going...the interesting thing is this thread has turned into a discussion about connections rather than tin coated wire- very good info for doing better connections.

High Performance Lighting
06-05-2007, 11:49 PM
Ace connector in a tree mount application

Pro-Scapes
06-06-2007, 10:22 AM
I think I gotta get me some of thoes for in trees. I been hand soldering with a soldering gun and then shrink booting to make an inline connection for up in trees.

Usually assemble on the ground then take it up with me. If several fixtures I been crimping with copper rings then using black tubes and hiding em

Mike M
06-06-2007, 10:24 PM
Regarding the DBR's/grease tubes with crimps or wire nuts, are the tubes made to be compatible with specific nuts/crimps? The 3M DBR's state that they are locked into place after their specific wire nut is pushed past the plastic lock in the bottom of the tube. That sounds like a great idea.

The reason I bring this up is that when I pushed my wire nuts into the grease tubes I was using, I noticed they slid back out when pulled, so I wondered how reliable those splices were if they got pulled from human or natural causes. Either I was using non-compatible connectors or sizes or the tubes didn't have the locking feature.

I like the wire info I got from this thread, and it all does seem to go back to the issue of solid connections made correctly.

I like how the ace connectors look for splices above ground (trees, buildings) and I'll buy them/try them.

Mike

Lite4
06-06-2007, 11:41 PM
Don't just use them above ground. Use them for all your connections. They won't pull apart like wire nuts. They are ideal for using as Hubs.

High Performance Lighting
06-06-2007, 11:52 PM
Don't just use them above ground. Use them for all your connections. They won't pull apart like wire nuts. They are ideal for using as Hubs.


I concur. Too bad we don't get a commission huh firefly?

Mike M
06-07-2007, 06:20 AM
I concur. Too bad we don't get a commission huh firefly?

You guys are mentors, that's for sure. Swing by Hilton Head, I'm buying... :drinkup:

I have a box of Ideal connectors with the set screws. These have the black cap that goes on the threaded brass connector. However, I was using the silcone-filled twist-ons combined with the grease tubes, just to get extra protection.

For strength, I should use the ideal connectors which are similar to the ace, and either inject them with silcone or just put them in the tubes.

I was wondering how the ace connector with heat shrink does with more than one wire coming out the tube--wouldn't that leave some space for exposure to the elements? Or does the heat shrink tube seal off completely when using multiple wires?

Mike M

David Gretzmier
06-07-2007, 09:53 AM
Yeah, I had that question too- mike g- any pictures of an ace with an inline or multiple wire setup?

Lite4
06-08-2007, 12:52 AM
It seals good on multiple wires. It melts when you shink it with the heat gun and a hot silicone encases all the wires making a watertight seal. I'm doing a job this weekend, so I will get some photos up of these connections in action for you in the next couple of days.

Lite4
06-08-2007, 12:54 AM
I also just found a new connector for connections at the fixtures. I am going to give em a try this weekend. I'll let you know if they are any good. Initial testing looks really promising though.

Mike M
06-08-2007, 08:54 AM
Awesome, Tim, thanks in advance from both me and David.

What brand & specific tools do you recommend for the process? I'd like to try that on my next install, maybe early next week.

Thanks again, Mike G & Tim for the method info.

Mike M

Chris J
06-08-2007, 05:17 PM
Mike G. I'm sure you have found a good torch by now. Could you share this info? I just asked FOLD to send me three, but didn't bother to ask the price before hand figuring it would be about $15-$20 bucks each. They were $65 bucks a piece, and they didn't even come with butane! To pour salt on my wound, when I went to the Home Depot to get some butane, I saw the exact torch on their shelves, different name, for $25. What a rip.....Lesson learned here for sure.

High Performance Lighting
06-08-2007, 09:40 PM
Mike G. I'm sure you have found a good torch by now. Could you share this info? I just asked FOLD to send me three, but didn't bother to ask the price before hand figuring it would be about $15-$20 bucks each. They were $65 bucks a piece, and they didn't even come with butane! To pour salt on my wound, when I went to the Home Depot to get some butane, I saw the exact torch on their shelves, different name, for $25. What a rip.....Lesson learned here for sure.


Chris I use a plumbers mapp gas torch. About $40 at the Depot for your first time. Replacement bottles about $8 a can and they last for a long time. Mapp gas burns real hot so make sure the flame is a sufficient distance from what you're shrinking down or you'll incinerate it. Send your rip off torches back to FOLD and tell them they are not staying SOLD.

Chris J
06-08-2007, 10:16 PM
Chris I use a plumbers mapp gas torch. About $40 at the Depot for your first time. Replacement bottles about $8 a can and they last for a long time. Mapp gas burns real hot so make sure the flame is a sufficient distance from what you're shrinking down or you'll incinerate it. Send your rip off torches back to FOLD and tell them they are not staying SOLD.

Thanks for the info Mike. Just so I understand, is Mapp gas different than butane? And is it a hand held deal, or is it one of those bigger devices?
It's real interesting how people work though. FOLD has been after me forever trying to get my business. But whenever I try to give them a shot, they do something bizarre like this. If I were in their shoes, I would have told me to just go somewhere else for this item because this item is just way too expensive. Instead, they just wanted to make a sale no matter how little.... In their defense, he did tell me to send them back if I didn't like them. But that's not the issue. I like them enough, I just don't like the mark-up.
I'm gonna hold on to them just so I can remember where they came from.

Thanks again,

High Performance Lighting
06-08-2007, 10:36 PM
Thanks for the info Mike. Just so I understand, is Mapp gas different than butane? And is it a hand held deal, or is it one of those bigger devices?
It's real interesting how people work though. FOLD has been after me forever trying to get my business. But whenever I try to give them a shot, they do something bizarre like this. If I were in their shoes, I would have told me to just go somewhere else for this item because this item is just way too expensive. Instead, they just wanted to make a sale no matter how little.... In their defense, he did tell me to send them back if I didn't like them. But that's not the issue. I like them enough, I just don't like the mark-up.
I'm gonna hold on to them just so I can remember where they came from.

Thanks again,

Chris a mapp gas torch is hand held but the canister or bottle is about 12" long with another 4-6" of torch length. It's not like one of those palm of the hand butane jobbers. It's a beautiful thing.

Lite4
06-08-2007, 10:50 PM
Hey Chris, I used to use a torch like that but found it was always burning the insulation on the wire. What I have used very sucessfully is a plug in heat gun like you would use for stripping paint. It melts the sleeve just as fast as the torch does, however it does not burn and melt your wire and sleeve at all. The gun costs around 25-30 bucks at home depot. I would highly recomend this method. However both do achieve shrinkage of the sleeve.

Mike M
06-08-2007, 11:10 PM
Chris, who is your distributor? Other than FOLD, I have nobody up here. One lighting distributor wants 10 guage wire for 1.96/foot (even if I got 500'). John Deere landscapes here has no items in stock. Everything is special order and they charge me the shipping.

High Performance Lighting
06-08-2007, 11:13 PM
Hey Chris, I used to use a torch like that but found it was always burning the insulation on the wire. What I have used very sucessfully is a plug in heat gun like you would use for stripping paint. It melts the sleeve just as fast as the torch does, however it does not burn and melt your wire and sleeve at all. The gun costs around 25-30 bucks at home depot. I would highly recomend this method. However both do achieve shrinkage of the sleeve.

Does that mean you must drag an extension cord around the yard? If you handle the mapp gass properly you will not burn the jacket. Point the flame towards the center of the lug and it chases air from the splice , shrinks the tubing and sufficiently flows the impregnated silicone around the circumference of the wires without burning the jacket.

Lite4
06-08-2007, 11:18 PM
Wow Mike. That is wayyyy overpriced. I can't believe JDL is giving you such lousy service. All of ours around here have 14-8 guage readily available and instock. If they do order it, it does not cost me any more. I am around .59/ft. for 10/2

Lite4
06-08-2007, 11:23 PM
Yep I always start in the middle of the lug. With most of the lights its no big deal to drag a cord around. I do use a propane torch for the ones that are out of reach because it does not burn as hot as the Maap gas does. I don't know I guess you could do it either way. I just get nervous when the sleeve and wire insulation start to burn and sizzle. I just never get that with the heat gun. I guess it's really just what you are comfortable using.

High Performance Lighting
06-08-2007, 11:25 PM
Wow Mike. That is wayyyy overpriced. I can't believe JDL is giving you such lousy service. All of ours around here have 14-8 guage readily available and instock. If they do order it, it does not cost me any more. I am around .59/ft. for 10/2

2,000 lbs. of cable qualifies you for free freight. I just ordered $6,500 of cable in order to get free freight. two months ago my $5,900.00 order qualified for free freight. Do the math cable keeps going up and up and up.

Lite4
06-08-2007, 11:26 PM
Mike, I was just looking at the picture you posted of the tree light with the ace connector (page 7). You can see the singeing on the sleeve from the flame of the gas. I just get nervous when I start seeing that on the wire.

Lite4
06-08-2007, 11:29 PM
I know what is the deal with the wire prices. 2 years ago they were half what they are now. I know we have a lot of copper we mine in the US, are we just shipping it to the Chicoms and they are reselling it to us at an inflated price?

High Performance Lighting
06-08-2007, 11:30 PM
I just get nervous when I start seeing that on the wire.
__________________


Why? It never compromises the structural integrity of the jacket. More times than not it's buried . Don't get so nervous. Relax.::waving:

High Performance Lighting
06-08-2007, 11:33 PM
I know what is the deal with the wire prices. 2 years ago they were half what they are now. I know we have a lot of copper we mine in the US, are we just shipping it to the Chicoms and they are reselling it to us at an inflated price?

I can remember a time when I was getting 12-2 for .10 a foot not really so long ago. Those days are long long gone.

Lite4
06-08-2007, 11:34 PM
I know, I know. I am just afraid of burning through the insulation which of course is probably harder to do than I think. Don't get me wrong I do use the torch a lot and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using it. The heat gun just melts it faster and more evenly for me.

Lite4
06-08-2007, 11:36 PM
Hey by the way who did your website. I need to get mine designed and yours is probably got to be one of the best I have seen.

Lite4
06-08-2007, 11:37 PM
By 2009 the average installed fixture price will be around 300.00 with the rising cost of materials. I wish my labor price could do climb at the same rate.

High Performance Lighting
06-08-2007, 11:44 PM
Hey by the way who did your website. I need to get mine designed and yours is probably got to be one of the best I have seen.


Thanks I designed it myself. Attention Instincts is my web guy and he has the site on his server.

Lite4
06-09-2007, 12:03 AM
I looked for his site to get contact info, but no such luck. Any help?

High Performance Lighting
06-09-2007, 12:15 AM
I looked for his site to get contact info, but no such luck. Any help?

Attention instincts is Los Angeles based. I'd recommend going with a local company so you can work face to face when you are first setting up your site. that's what i did and found it very helpful. After that then you can work by e-mail. I hope he doesn't read this but creativity is not my guys strength. I think i adopted one of his ideas the beforeMike/afterMike on/off switch. other than that I don't even want to repeat some of the off the wall ideas that have come from him that I ran far from. Just like anything else a good site is not cheap. You typically will get what you pay for. if you want to pay cheap for a site then you will have a cheap looking site. You'll probably have some guys throw you some low ball numbers here. I'm not doubting them and perhaps the cost of living is much less in other parts of the country. But here in LA everything is top dollar it seems and those numbers here are pie in the sky and unattainable.

Chris J
06-09-2007, 09:57 AM
Chris, who is your distributor? Other than FOLD, I have nobody up here. One lighting distributor wants 10 guage wire for 1.96/foot (even if I got 500'). John Deere landscapes here has no items in stock. Everything is special order and they charge me the shipping.

For wire, I don't have just one distributor anymore. I used to get it out of Cali, paying about .35/ft on my last order, but the quality has gone down over the past couple of orders so I'll be looking for another vendor on the next go round.
My main supplier is Florida Irrigation Supply, but I often buy from other guys like Doug at Nite Tyme 513 242-8963. Doug is my go-to guy when I need something fast at a reasonable cost. I would be giving him all of my business if it were not for the convenience of have the FIS store right here beside me.
Another good supplier is Gerry DeLavega of Terra Dek in Minnesota 763 577-2425. Gerry is extremely knowledgable about the industry, and he can help you with more than just products. Trouble shooting, UL/NEC questions, problems, etc.. Gerry is the Man.

Pro-Scapes
06-09-2007, 04:23 PM
1.96 a foot is more than I pay for 8ga.. alot more. Wire is heavey and costs alot to ship... even if they say free shipping on so much the cost of it is built right in.

I do use a local dist for my wire. Good wire... 3 diff brands to pick from within 30 min of my house. In the year and a half we been doing lighting the cost has jumped dramatically.

I still think we should all band together into a private contractor controlled buying group and negotiate from there. Similar to how Tri Star automotive used to do it. I know some dist give lvlia/aolp discounts but there should be a more organized platform for i perhaps with the distibutors providing private websites for this.

High Performance Lighting
06-09-2007, 10:11 PM
1.96 a foot is more than I pay for 8ga.. alot more. Wire is heavey and costs alot to ship... even if they say free shipping on so much the cost of it is built right in.

I do use a local dist for my wire. Good wire... 3 diff brands to pick from within 30 min of my house. In the year and a half we been doing lighting the cost has jumped dramatically.

I still think we should all band together into a private contractor controlled buying group and negotiate from there. Similar to how Tri Star automotive used to do it. I know some dist give lvlia/aolp discounts but there should be a more organized platform for i perhaps with the distibutors providing private websites for this.

1.96 a foot is more than I pay for 8ga.. alot more. Wire is heavey and costs alot to ship... even if they say free shipping on so much the cost of it is built right in.
Where are you getting the $1.95 a foot from?
As for building in the cost to ship yes just like i said if you buy less than 2,000 lbs of cable the price per foot will be much higher per ft. than I'm paying for the minimum freight allowance order. The greater qty per order you buy the better negotiating position you're in. If you want to buy onesy twosy you will pay much higher prices. You can either keep your money in the bank or invest it in larger purchase orders. Larger purchase orders have worked out very well for me. I'm making much more than the 4% interest offered at the bank. A very good ROI.

Pro-Scapes
06-10-2007, 04:59 PM
1.96 a foot is more than I pay for 8ga.. alot more. Wire is heavey and costs alot to ship... even if they say free shipping on so much the cost of it is built right in.
Where are you getting the $1.95 a foot from?
\.

This is where I got it. I have never paid that much. Im sure I could do better if I bought by the ton altho after discussing with some larger users about thier price Im not that far off buying as needed. If he is paying a grand for a spool of 10ga I will be happy to sell to him at less than half that :cool2:

Chris, who is your distributor? Other than FOLD, I have nobody up here. One lighting distributor wants 10 guage wire for 1.96/foot (even if I got 500'). John Deere landscapes here has no items in stock. Everything is special order and they charge me the shipping.

extlights
06-11-2007, 12:49 AM
Maybe that was a mistype and he meant to say .96/ft. At least I hope he mis-typed it. Even .96 would be rediculous, but hey you never know with some of these retail outlets.

Pro-Scapes
06-11-2007, 07:55 AM
last time I checked even lowes and home depot wasnt that bad.

Mike M
06-11-2007, 08:39 AM
last time I checked even lowes and home depot wasnt that bad.

You're right, but in my town, there is no competion, and Lowe's doesn't sell #10.

I can get the wire cheaper at JDL, but they have nothing in stock for lighting. Everything is irrigation-only in my town. I will use this to my advantage.

The lighting retailer I mentioned with the expensive price per foot will only sell per foot to me, like I'm really that dumb. They have no idea how much wire an outdoor installer uses to price this way, so let them specialize in selling to some guy that just wants 50' (hopefully my competition).

David Gretzmier
06-12-2007, 12:46 AM
home depot sells #10 here for .60 per foot or so, around 300 for a 500ft spool.

FThera
06-25-2007, 05:25 PM
Can ACE Connectors be used on the NOOX wire or does it need to soldered? My cost difference for 500' of Cast, is only $53 more that Paige so I'm tempted to use the Cast wire, but then again $50 will buy a bunch of Ace Connectors.

Frank

Pro-Scapes
06-25-2007, 06:24 PM
I really cant imagine it would create any issues at all since the ace basically crimpes the wires down and holds them together. I know alot of guys crimping the cast wire with no issues.

Mike M
06-25-2007, 07:08 PM
After all the stuff I've been reading, I think I recall that the tin coat is a little harder to use reliably in regards to twist-ons. I would guess Billy is right about the Ace though. I was wondering the same thing, if I went with soldered hubs and ace add-ons and in-line splices.

Mike

Pro-Scapes
06-26-2007, 05:41 PM
Mike if you use dryconns with a soldered joint you will notice the twist on goes on NOTICABLY easier. Im doing an addition tmrw and will be using spider splice for one area more than likley due to the astetics of it and this job was origininally installed back when I used all spiders. Will take some pics of the soldering procedure and note the time to make a hub with both spider splice and irrigation vaults.

Mike M
06-26-2007, 06:00 PM
Mike if you use dryconns with a soldered joint you will notice the twist on goes on NOTICABLY easier

Yes, I was just referring to the twist-on instead of solder, not both like in the cast recommendation. I think his question was can you readily use ace connectors, which I agree with you, they are probably fine.