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View Full Version : ~Landscape splices BURNING ? (pics) need help.


clubkidcarlos
06-15-2007, 06:29 PM
Hello all,

hmmmmmmm... this one has me going.
Here is the situation.

I have a outdoor transformer with photocell.
It is a 600watt, with 2 legs of 300 watt.

The lights total 10 that are submersibles for the pond, and are 12volt, purchased from same Co.

I have the transformer about 9 feet from a central "hub" where each leg running from the transformer fractions out to 5 lights.

I'm fairly sure I'm not surpassing the 600watt max on all these lights.
What makes me a little uncertain is I think the wifey might have changed out a 35w and replaced with a 50watt, and maybe now am surpassing ?

For a year ( before wifey )... things were fine. Then, I noticed the lights starting going down. It's not every single one... just certain ones. When I lookat the splice areas what is nutty is one light spliced into another on a leg... there might be one down from that leg but not the rest ? weird..............

I have also noticed BAD burning and corrosion on the splice areas.

What could be causing all this ?

Let's say I'm not over the 600w limit....
is it bad wing nuts over the metal splice points ?
to small on the 12/2 that runs from the trans to the splice point "hub"

In the pic of the splice... that's not even half of the char that I normally see. The lights will work for a couple days,.... charge the splice.. and then back to certain lights off.

What could I amend or change to get away from such a problem ?

http://www.aquaticescapes.net/burnt.jpg

http://www.aquaticescapes.net/LIGHTSISSUE.jpg

Mike M
06-15-2007, 08:13 PM
50 watts X 5 = 250 watts on your 12/2. 12/2 is recommended for 100w/8.3 amps, with a maximum of 192 watts/16 amps.

Too hot.

Another problem... you should not exceed 80% of your transformers wattage rating, since wire loss can be as high as 20%. 600 watt transformers should not be used for over 480 watts, you are at 500 for that as well.

Another problem to consider is your fixture may also not be rated for 50 watts either.

That's a possibility of three separate hazards.

Another problem, I calculated a significant voltage drop, and unless you have a multitap transformer going over 20 volts, you will have lamp failure. The ideal voltage range for halogen lights is between 10.8 and 11.3 volts. Have you taken a voltage reading at the fixtures?

Get those lamps back to 20 watts, which may be all they are rated for. You may need new wires. You may want to use a multitap transformer, and take a voltage reading with your meter at each fixture to make sure they are in the range. If not, bump up the tap to compensate. If you don't have a multi-tap transformer, call an LV lighting specialist to look at your set-up. You need to have this done right, starting with a knowledgeable installer and reliable, professional grade equipment and materials.

Mike

Mike M
06-15-2007, 08:28 PM
Even if you only use 35 w each you are still over at 175. One lamp at 50 w puts you at 190 watts.

clubkidcarlos
06-15-2007, 08:30 PM
Thanks for the reply mike ! I'm such a newb in this area and it shows !!
I figured--- well it's 600 watt,.. just don't exceed that with the watt draw from the lights and all should be well (minus- extensive length of wire run for voltage drop)


This is a trans that does not have the taps on it. Just the legs out to the 2 300 watt legs. Hmmmmmmmmmmm..... what if I reduced the number of lights ? let's say I take them down to 7 ---->4 of those 35watters. Could I still stick with the 12/2 or have to up it to the 10/2 ?

I went back to the site I purchased the trans from and sure enough... don't carry it anymore and now have the better ones with taps on it. I'll have to take a look at the specs on the trans and see where I'm at with that.

clubkidcarlos
06-15-2007, 08:33 PM
Almost forgot... .those lights are made with tough brass housing, and thick protective outer rubber casing. They are made to hold bulbs up to 75watt as proclaimed by the company I purchased them from. Are you familiar with ccl-lighting ? They come with the cord already attached to the brass housing for the underwater light,.. just ready to spice up on the other end.

Pro-Scapes
06-16-2007, 12:14 AM
wow thats a fire hazzard waiting to happen there. Overloading 12 ga :nono: :nono: poor splices.

What brand of lights are they ? Is that trans rated for use with submersible fixtures ?

to start you need to rewire this. If your budget permits I would call Nightscapes in kingland and have pauls team come check you out and see about getting you hooked up right.

some issues I see.

Over lamped... no multi tap on the trans... poor splices... over loaded wire runs. I have amazed clients by swapping out thier 50w bulbs for quality 20w bulbs and actually getting more output out of them. If your dead set on doing this yourself take the time to educate yourself more on it and learn to perform a good splice and learn how to use a multi meter.

You said you got tough brass lights... no clue what brand you got but doesnt sound like you got a tough transformer either.

Im willing to bet if you had 20w bulbs with proper voltage (probably not possible with your trans) you would have a much brighter lighting system.

ChampionLS
06-16-2007, 02:12 AM
Those splices look ratty. There's not enough insulation stripped from either the conductor or the cable. Why are there cobb webs on the conductors? Wheres the wire nuts?

Also keep in mind, Wattage isn't a measurement of light output, it's a measurement of current draw.

NightScenes
06-16-2007, 09:53 AM
Those splices look ratty. There's not enough insulation stripped from either the conductor or the cable. Why are there cobb webs on the conductors? Wheres the wire nuts?

Also keep in mind, Wattage isn't a measurement of light output, it's a measurement of current draw.

Oops, wattage is a measurement of energy used. Amps is a measurment of current and volts is a measurement of potential energy.

This system is a complete re-do. I'm sure that the 12/2 is wasted now that it has been overloaded for over a year. We re-did a system at Callahan and Vance Jackson is San Antonio that was alot like this.

NightScenes
06-16-2007, 09:54 AM
50 watts X 5 = 250 watts on your 12/2. 12/2 is recommended for 100w/8.3 amps, with a maximum of 192 watts/16 amps.

Too hot.

Another problem... you should not exceed 80% of your transformers wattage rating, since wire loss can be as high as 20%. 600 watt transformers should not be used for over 480 watts, you are at 500 for that as well.

Another problem to consider is your fixture may also not be rated for 50 watts either.

That's a possibility of three separate hazards.

Another problem, I calculated a significant voltage drop, and unless you have a multitap transformer going over 20 volts, you will have lamp failure. The ideal voltage range for halogen lights is between 10.8 and 11.3 volts. Have you taken a voltage reading at the fixtures?

Get those lamps back to 20 watts, which may be all they are rated for. You may need new wires. You may want to use a multitap transformer, and take a voltage reading with your meter at each fixture to make sure they are in the range. If not, bump up the tap to compensate. If you don't have a multi-tap transformer, call an LV lighting specialist to look at your set-up. You need to have this done right, starting with a knowledgeable installer and reliable, professional grade equipment and materials.

Mike

Yeah Mike!!

Pro-Scapes
06-16-2007, 12:08 PM
I just noticed you metioned the brand. ccl lighting. I replaced 16 of these for a doctor who had them installed by a reputable landscaper in our area. They were daisy chained and first lamp was getting 13.5 v and last was getting about 8. Talk about over loaded.

Note these lights failed within 2 years. Im not sure I would invest alot of money into your system but rather replace with good materials. Perhaps yours will last longer than his did but who knows. Your still hooked up in a hazzardous situation and need to at least replace the trans and wiring at a minimum

clubkidcarlos
06-16-2007, 06:02 PM
Thanks all for your time and advice to get back to me on this situation.

I have to admit, being the "lighting newb"
I thought.... "hmmmmmmm... how much harder could this be to upgrade a little better from the typical Home depot kit to something of more substance and quality that that plastic junk ? "

WOwwwwwwwwwwwww ! now I know !
Wealth of knowledge here,.. but are there sites on the net that have viable electrical landscape info that I could research on ?

Any books you would recommend I could get my hands on ?
I've taken a page of notes from this thread,.. and see this as a prelude to some hard core research on my part, so I feel confident in at least knowing what you guys face as professional landscape lighters.

Many thanks all ! Greatly appreciated !
Wonderful members in this forum ;)

Pro-Scapes
06-16-2007, 07:30 PM
since your only looking to light your house its probably not worth all the studying about it.

Your best bet and best value is to bring in a certified pro who knows what he is doing. Doesnt sound like a really expensive project.

NightScenes
06-16-2007, 11:56 PM
In San Antonio, you could call Jim Boyd at Boyd Lighting Design. He is local and one of the best. http://www.boydlightingdesigns.com/

Good luck,

David Gretzmier
06-17-2007, 01:37 AM
ok, 2 things I see that I'll mention- #1, in that picture of the splice, I see a green wire that has been cut out of the left wire, and this cable is round. all the low voltage cable I have played with is flat, and I ain't been around awhile, but I'll go out on a limb here-

I'm Guessing that is 12-3 extension cord wire since it has black, white and green insulation. If that is what is running to each fixture as your drawing shows, that is not rated for burial or permanant wiring, low or high voltage. If I'm right, that needs to be replaced. period.

#2 according to your drawing, you go 2 runs of 9 feet of wire, #12 wire from the trans , spider splice and then 10 separate runs to each fixture. If That is right, and you have #12 running from spider splice to fixture, I'm not seeing the overload except for the 9 foot run from the splice to the trans.

I've read different watt loads on #12 from different sources on low voltage, but this I know for a fact- a #12 wire at 120 volts in 9 feet can carry over 1800 watts ( check out your hairdryer cord- 6-8ft, #16 wire and probably 1800 watts) , and if math is linear, then 180 watts ( which is what FX and others publish) at 12 volts is your maximum on that 9 foot run.
you need #10 for your short hop and #12 to each fixture on separate runs as drawn may carry you loadwise on your fixtures depending on distance.

ChampionLS
06-17-2007, 04:44 AM
Those are Submersible lights he's talking about. They always come with Outdoor SJT cord, which is round. The wire was probably bought from stock by the manufacturer (meant for some line voltage product) but adapted to a low voltage fixture. The ground isn't needed (probably not even attached in the fixture either)

Judging by the shiny appearance, im almost positive its outdoor rated, especially if it came stock with the fixtures. Regular SJT cord is a dull, soft insulation.

I have several Pond lights from various suppliers, and the supplied cord is 14 Gage. (sticker in the lamp housing says not to exceed 35 Watts)

clubkidcarlos
06-17-2007, 10:37 AM
Model PUDX77 - the triton
12v Only - 75w Max.

http://ccl-light.com/imgs/outdoor/underwater/pudx77/hires.jpg

There is a pic of the light above,..
and here is the page of info on the light :

http://ccl-light.com/docs/outdoor/underwater/pudx77/index.html

notice in the reading :BULBS / VOLTAGE SPECIFICATIONS
12v Only use 20, 35, 50 or 75W Max MR16 Halogen



***** It was the hooded floods I believe that came with the GREEN ground wire. I simply exluded that wire and snipped that when it came to splicing in the few hoods I had. ***************

I wish I could send all the companies specs on the trans,... but looks like they replaced the line they had from 2 years ago with all new ones with TAPS incorporated in them ;)

clubkidcarlos
06-17-2007, 10:58 AM
Here are some pics of the pond I did and the lighting at different times when it was working ?!?!?! ha...
(all these pics are from last year.... it looks SUPER LUSH now that everything is grown in. ) It's been a inky, black darkeness with no allure as the lights have been taken out while I try and understand this lighting situation.

http://www.aquaticescapes.net/m1.jpg

http://www.aquaticescapes.net/m4.jpg

http://www.aquaticescapes.net/m2.jpg

http://www.aquaticescapes.net/m3.jpg

http://www.aquaticescapes.net/m5.jpg

clubkidcarlos
06-17-2007, 11:08 AM
ANOTHER POND I DID, SEPERATE FROM THE ABOVE ONE IN QUESTION.

Here is a section of a pond I helped a friend build. What kills me, is since we were on a budget with his pond and lighting,... he opted to choose these el-plastico-cheapo 20 watt underwater lights from H.F.
I simply made sure again that we did not exceed the HomeDepot transformer ( as there were 8 other landscape walkway lights on that trans ) and that's been going strong for 2 years ?!?!?!?!?

http://www.aquaticescapes.net/bvv.jpg

http://www.aquaticescapes.net/n1.jpg

Mike M
06-17-2007, 12:41 PM
Nice ponds. Could you make me a trout stream for my back yard?

Pro-Scapes
06-17-2007, 01:13 PM
Baffles me how someone could take that much time and money into a project then cut corners and not make it safe.

Bottom line Carlos you need to replace that trans and wiring at a minimum.

It does look alot better than most homeowner projects I have seen. Kudos to you for design and building of the pond. Looks good to me.

clubkidcarlos
06-17-2007, 03:07 PM
~~~~~Billy,

Your right, I think it might be time to call in the pros.

-c

ChampionLS
06-17-2007, 11:38 PM
Pond looks great. Just get them lights fixed up

Chris J
06-17-2007, 11:48 PM
The pond does look nice but then again, any light "looks pretty." These chaps are proud of themselves and they think they have created the pond of all ponds. Could you just imagine what this well built water feature would look like if the likes of Gambino Lighting, Eden Lights or Johnson Lighting would have done the job? To top it off, you could then have Steve Parrott come in to take some incredible nighttime photos! Imagine the possibilities!
Clubkid, you are missing out on an incredible adventure! Hook up with a professional lighting contractor to highlight your work...The benefits could be huge for you!

Chris J
06-18-2007, 10:40 PM
The pond does look nice but then again, any light "looks pretty." These chaps are proud of themselves and they think they have created the pond of all ponds. Could you just imagine what this well built water feature would look like if the likes of Gambino Lighting, Eden Lights or Johnson Lighting would have done the job? To top it off, you could then have Steve Parrott come in to take some incredible nighttime photos! Imagine the possibilities!
Clubkid, you are missing out on an incredible adventure! Hook up with a professional lighting contractor to highlight your work...The benefits could be huge for you!

:jester: I just read this post again....sometimes I just kill myself :laugh:

ZX12R
06-20-2007, 11:46 PM
"50 watts X 5 = 250 watts on your 12/2. 12/2 is recommended for 100w/8.3 amps, with a maximum of 192 watts/16 amps.

Too hot.

Another problem... you should not exceed 80% of your transformers wattage rating, since wire loss can be as high as 20%. 600 watt transformers should not be used for over 480 watts, you are at 500 for that as well.

Another problem to consider is your fixture may also not be rated for 50 watts either.

That's a possibility of three separate hazards.

Another problem, I calculated a significant voltage drop, and unless you have a multitap transformer going over 20 volts, you will have lamp failure. The ideal voltage range for halogen lights is between 10.8 and 11.3 volts. Have you taken a voltage reading at the fixtures?

Get those lamps back to 20 watts, which may be all they are rated for. You may need new wires. You may want to use a multitap transformer, and take a voltage reading with your meter at each fixture to make sure they are in the range. If not, bump up the tap to compensate. If you don't have a multi-tap transformer, call an LV lighting specialist to look at your set-up. You need to have this done right, starting with a knowledgeable installer and reliable, professional grade equipment and materials.

Mike
"


Looks like you use Cast products. :-)

Chris J
06-20-2007, 11:57 PM
Mike, You got a ZX12? I sold an R1 yamaha when my 1st son was born. Fun bike. Wish I kept it. Not to get the thread off topic, PM me from here. I'll show you some cool pics.
Speaking of Pictures, why don't we start a pictures thread? Everyone can post their funny or cool or stupid pictures for all to share. Sounds like fun? Somebody get it started, and we will all just keep adding to it.

Pro-Scapes
06-21-2007, 11:37 AM
Mike, You got a ZX12? I sold an R1 yamaha when my 1st son was born. Fun bike. Wish I kept it. Not to get the thread off topic, PM me from here. I'll show you some cool pics.
Speaking of Pictures, why don't we start a pictures thread? Everyone can post their funny or cool or stupid pictures for all to share. Sounds like fun? Somebody get it started, and we will all just keep adding to it.

there is a pictures thread... prolly buried 1 or 2 pages back