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Squirter
08-24-2007, 11:15 AM
I'm beginning to get quotes from contractors for low-voltage landscape lighting. This is NOT going to be a big project, just a simple/basic design that calls for a dozen (give or take) fixtures. Before I get too far down the road, I was wanting to get some opinions on Kichler fixtures and transformers. I live in central Indiana where we have 4 distinctly different seasons. Summers are hot and humid (this year, we've had about 30 days over 90 degrees), Winters can bring a fair amount of snow, Spring is lots of rain, and Fall....is Fall.

So, if my lighting plan calls for Kichler 15384, 15310, 15065, and a Multi-Tap 300watt transformer w/analog timer....(what about a photo-cell???) is this stuff going to last, and last, and last....or am I better off using different stuff for just a few bucks more??? Any thoughts/suggestions? I really don't want to replace or work on/service this stuff unless ABSOLUTELY necessary.

klkanders
08-24-2007, 11:51 AM
Well I have only been installing around a year or so. I have used alot of the Kichler Stainless Steel Muti-Tap transformers and 15384's and 15310's. I like them alot and think they will last awhile with care. How long is the question that depends on factors which will be different for everyone. Internal components, inspecting and how they age are very important also. Then use a good wire, a tight connection which will not loosen (im now using copper crimps), and a waterproof DBR or similar. Maybe skip the basic timer and photocell and use a digital timer with the same results, similar cost and battery backup.

Some of the others hopefully can tell us how these fixtures have held up and for how long?

varybarry
08-24-2007, 12:04 PM
I've been using Kichler transformers for about a year now and they seem to be pretty durable. I wish I had more advice for you, but I too just got into landscape lighting.

TXNSLighting
08-24-2007, 01:28 PM
i would concider a bigger transformer, atleast 600...

Pro-Scapes
08-24-2007, 01:55 PM
I agree. It should last fine but with the possibility of salt contact especially on walkway lighting I would be sure the fixtures are brass/copper/bronze

Thats if you salt your walks.

Proper care is a must especially with your winters. The system should be checked regulalrly for corrosion or any kind of issues that need attention

I also agree I would go with a little larger trans. Even a dozen lights at 20w is 240 lamp load which in my opinion is pretty close to full.. I wouldnt add more than 1 light to that.

People ALWAYS expand. I have had 1... count it 1 client not wish to add lights yet. leave yourself the room for flexability.

Indiana Outdoor Lighting
08-24-2007, 04:04 PM
I would specify the 600 transformer as well. The Kichler transformer should br fine and may even carry a lifetime warranty. Will the Kichler fixtures last and last? Forget it. There is a very good reason the Kichler fixtures carry only a 5 yr warranty. The paint may even fall off inside of 5 years.

By the way, we are located in central Indiana and would be very pleased to meet you on site to review the project. www.indianaoutdoorlighting.com

JoeyD
08-24-2007, 05:55 PM
You can look at a Warranty as a death certificate!

NightScenes
08-24-2007, 06:35 PM
You know that's bs Joey. Any warranty is only as good as the company that honors it. Anyone can put any length of time they want on a warranty. I have seen plenty of lifetime warranties out there that aren't worth the paper that they are written on. I have been installing Kichler for a long time and have had very few problems, and when I did have an issue it was resolved immediately.

Chris J
08-24-2007, 06:48 PM
Going on 8 years now installing Kichler products and have had no issues. Anytime I need something replaced, it is honored without question. Stainless steel transformers carrry a lifetime warranty.
As far as I'm concerned, any manufacturers powder-coat fixtures will last a reasonable amount of time but none of them will last for ever. Likewise, the same manufacturer's fixtures in brass, bronze or copper will last a lot longer but now we are only talking about the finish (the outside of the fixture). The inside of these fixtures are the same, whether it is brass or aluminum, and requires periodic maintenance to keep it working at 100% efficency and prevent corrosion. You will not find a product on the market that you can simply install in your landscape and forget about it forever.

JoeyD
08-24-2007, 06:50 PM
You are absolutly right, and most companies will warranty products after the warranty has expired. The point I was trying to make though is that when you see a warranty for as little as 5 years it bassicly says in 5 years if the light falls apart dont call and complain. A 5 year warranty to me is not what I want to see when I am installing a product on someones home. On the other end a life time warranty isnt worth a darn if you have to constantly warranty the product. I know int he short period of time I sold Kichler I never had a problem with warranty so i wasnt trying to put them out there as much as I was being general with the idea of a warranty.

JackTorsed
08-24-2007, 09:43 PM
You are absolutly right, and most companies will warranty products after the warranty has expired. The point I was trying to make though is that when you see a warranty for as little as 5 years it bassicly says in 5 years if the light falls apart dont call and complain. A 5 year warranty to me is not what I want to see when I am installing a product on someones home. On the other end a life time warranty isnt worth a darn if you have to constantly warranty the product. I know int he short period of time I sold Kichler I never had a problem with warranty so i wasnt trying to put them out there as much as I was being general with the idea of a warranty.

You'd think the larger the company the better the warranty. Not always true. I can tell you about a major brand that has had many problems over the years and they won't honor any of them. varmints. Just boycott the product that's what i do.

Chris J
08-24-2007, 11:29 PM
You'd think the larger the company the better the warranty. Not always true. I can tell you about a major brand that has had many problems over the years and they won't honor any of them. varmints. Just boycott the product that's what i do.

So, tell us about this major brand!

JackTorsed
08-24-2007, 11:38 PM
So, tell us about this major brand!


That wouldn't be appropriate

Chris J
08-24-2007, 11:43 PM
Would it be appropriate to knowingly allow others to purchase products from these people and subject them to the same fate that you have discovered?

JackTorsed
08-24-2007, 11:46 PM
Would it be appropriate to knowingly allow others to purchase products from these people and subject them to the same fate that you have discovered?


sorry but you are baiting me into a potentially libelous situation and I will not participate.

NightScenes
08-24-2007, 11:46 PM
I would venture to say that their name begins with an F.

Chris J
08-24-2007, 11:47 PM
sorry but you are bating me into a potentially libelous situation and I will not participate.

Libelous! OK, if your going to curse at me I'm not going to talk to you anymore.

Eden Lights
08-25-2007, 12:08 AM
I am trying to stay out of this thread, but I will say that a Lifetime warranty means nothing to me. When a lifetime warranty includes troubleshooting and labor costs to replace I will starting paying more attention.

JackTorsed
08-25-2007, 12:12 AM
I am trying to stay out of this thread, but I will say that a Lifetime warranty means nothing to me. When a lifetime warranty includes troubleshooting and labor costs to replace I will starting paying more attention.

the customer pays for the troubleshooting and labor costs after my 1 year warranty for labor and workmanship expires. Plumbers and other trades don't work free when something fails outside of labor warranty period. then why should a lighting customer expect it covered?

David Gretzmier
08-25-2007, 12:44 AM
I'll mention a name- nightscaping. I did a warranty call on a trans last week. the trans is lifetime warranty, right ? and the timer is...2 years. the photocell is... 2 years. and when do these things break...right around 3 years. this is the 7th ot 8th nightscaping trans I have found that no longer recognizes the photo-cell or the timer. it is just on all the time. yet, nightscaping does not fix this under warranty, as they consider this problem a "surge". apparently some magical electrical force welds the wiring inside these things to bypass the plug ins for the timer and photo eye. the only choice is an external photo-eye/timer or replace the trans.

warranty work frustrates me. I get no labor dollars from any factory, unlike any dealer that does repair work.

JackTorsed
08-25-2007, 12:50 AM
I'll mention a name- nightscaping. I did a warranty call on a trans last week. the trans is lifetime warranty, right ? and the timer is...2 years. the photocell is... 2 years. and when do these things break...right around 3 years. this is the 7th ot 8th nightscaping trans I have found that no longer recognizes the photo-cell or the timer. it is just on all the time. yet, nightscaping does not fix this under warranty, as they consider this problem a "surge". apparently some magical electrical force welds the wiring inside these things to bypass the plug ins for the timer and photo eye. the only choice is an external photo-eye/timer or replace the trans.

warranty work frustrates me. I get no labor dollars from any factory, unlike any dealer that does repair work.

somebody said in another thread they last forever with no problems. you have replaced 7 of them so far. Go figure. Aren't all of their parts removable and field replaceable? Why replace a trans for a blown photo cell. that's poor design on the part of the manufacturer.

David Gretzmier
08-25-2007, 12:57 AM
oh you can replace the photo-cell and the timer, and the fustats. the thing is , there is something going on with the 250 trans. it no longer recognizes there is a timer or photo. you plug in a new photo-cell or timer and it still does not shut off.

I've found this in a few of my earlier installs and some other landscape installs. I've checked load and I'm just thinking this is how that particular trans reacts to a surge or pulse.

yeah- james-integra- canada guy loves nightscaping. hey, when they work, I like them too.

JackTorsed
08-25-2007, 01:02 AM
oh you can replace the photo-cell and the timer, and the fustats. the thing is , there is something going on with the 250 trans. it no longer recognizes there is a timer or photo. you plug in a new photo-cell or timer and it still does not shut off.

I've found this in a few of my earlier installs and some other landscape installs. I've checked load and I'm just thinking this is how that particular trans reacts to a surge or pulse.

yeah- james-integra- canada guy loves nightscaping. hey, when they work, I like them too.


In my limited experience with this transformer if I recall, doesn't it have a by-pass switch which directs power from the modular compartment to the transformer. toggle switch in on (always on. uncontrolled) position. the off position directs the power to the modules like timers photo etc. Are you sure you don't have the silver toggle switch in the on position? this will render the timer/photo useless. just a thought

JoeyD
08-25-2007, 04:48 PM
I am trying to stay out of this thread, but I will say that a Lifetime warranty means nothing to me. When a lifetime warranty includes troubleshooting and labor costs to replace I will starting paying more attention.

Eden I have been on your side so I want you to first understand that. But in all do respect the majority of the TF's I recieve back on warranty are not the fault of Unique. Of course components can fail and there is the occasional production error so I am not passing blame but the majority of the time the transofmers problem stems from installer error. Overloading of the unit, overloading of the wire, and surprisingly most of the time the transformer comes back to me it's just a simple blown fuse. So until I start seeing more production errors than installer errors I cannot warranty labor time. On top of that something that takes 20 minutes will get billed as an hour.

But I can tell you this much, I NEVER turn down a warranty issue. This causes for a lot of customers to take advantage but I will not tell anyone to not send the unit back. Something I have begun to do this last year is when I get a unit back in for warranty and I find it was installer error I call the customer and explain what happened so that I can try and help them fix the real problem.

As a side note we only recieve back about 1% of all the transformers we make. Pretty low return percentage.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-28-2007, 01:21 AM
oh you can replace the photo-cell and the timer, and the fustats. the thing is , there is something going on with the 250 trans. it no longer recognizes there is a timer or photo. you plug in a new photo-cell or timer and it still does not shut off.

I've found this in a few of my earlier installs and some other landscape installs. I've checked load and I'm just thinking this is how that particular trans reacts to a surge or pulse.

yeah- james-integra- canada guy loves nightscaping. hey, when they work, I like them too.

Hi David. I would suspect that you might have the over-ride switch toggled to the on position. If this is not the case then contact Nightscaping Directly and let them know your situation. I will bet that they will take care of you. I have never had a warranty issue with Nightscaping... never ever. They are very committed to the professional contractor. Speak to Connie Barnes Directly at the factory.