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View Full Version : Questions from a prospective member for the AOLP


irrig8r
10-21-2007, 09:32 PM
I'm not looking to stir up any arguments. Please help me understand. Your website says that one of the AOLP's goals and objectives is:

"To provide a Standard for Installation of Low Voltage Architectural & Landscape Lighting Systems that meets all of the requirements of the National Electrical Code and the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) "Standard for Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Systems".

Unique Lighting Systems is a major AOLP sponsor and as far as I know still takes a stand contrary to UL 1838. At least one other manufacturer/ sponsor also offers (last I checked) some equipment that doesn't comply with the UL 1838 standard.

So my questions are:
1. How do you reconcile the two positions?
2. Which standard is reflected in the current CLVLT study guide and test?

JoeyD
10-21-2007, 11:37 PM
I'm not looking to stir up any arguments. Please help me understand. Your website says that one of the AOLP's goals and objectives is:

"To provide a Standard for Installation of Low Voltage Architectural & Landscape Lighting Systems that meets all of the requirements of the National Electrical Code and the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) "Standard for Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Systems".

Unique Lighting Systems is a major AOLP sponsor and as far as I know still takes a stand contrary to UL 1838. At least one other manufacturer/ sponsor also offers (last I checked) some equipment that doesn't comply with the UL 1838 standard.

So my questions are:
1. How do you reconcile the two positions?
2. Which standard is reflected in the current CLVLT study guide and test?

WOW........the first thing that comes to mind here is that this UL1838 argument is so 1999. When are we going to understand that UL1838 is not the LAW and is not the only SAFTEY STANDARD.

Greg, do you or do you not put lights on structures such as eaves, columns, posts, overhead structures?????? Well if you do technically your UL1838 unit is not in compliance.

I think the AOLP came around that UL1838 is not the only standard for outdoor lighting. It is one that was written for it but it isnt the only one available for outdoor lighting. Our units are perfectly safe and allowed to do what they do, power up lights in a landscape and power up lights on a structure. Our units can go in a garage, 1838 cant. Our units can go in a crawl space or attic, 1838 cant. Our units can power up lights on a structure such as a home or gazeebo, 1838 cant. Now I understand that a UL1838 tf is safe to power up a light in an eave but if you are so UL approval specific then you should practice what you preach all the time. (I dont know that you do this, but it is safe to assume.) We have more UL compliant TF's then any of our competiton so you should not try and pin us into this dangerous catagory any more. These are the scare tactics our competitors used for ever and they tried to get us ripped off shelves. AGAIN I ASK< IF WE ARE SO DANGEROUS THEN WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO DO BUISNESS ALL OVER THIS CONTINENT AND BEYOND???????? We are selling 100's of thousands of units every year and only a fraction are 1838. Oh yeah we have 1838 too. Our ompany has more field experience then any of our competitors and I will say that loudly and proudly. There are plenty of reasons why the AOLP would allow us to join, UL1838 is just not going to hold them back anymore!

(I am not speaking for the whole AOLP, I am sure some loayalists still feel the same way as you Gregg but I can assure you a HUGE chunck of them do not feel this way anymore, they too have found the benefits of our memebership!)

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-22-2007, 01:01 AM
I think the AOLP came around that UL1838 is not the only standard for outdoor lighting. It is one that was written for it but it isnt the only one available for outdoor lighting. Our units are perfectly safe and allowed to do what they do, power up lights in a landscape and power up lights on a structure. Our units can go in a garage, 1838 cant. Our units can go in a crawl space or attic, 1838 cant. Our units can power up lights on a structure such as a home or gazeebo, 1838 cant. Now I understand that a UL1838 tf is safe to power up a light in an eave but if you are so UL approval specific then you should practice what you preach all the time. (I dont know that you do this, but it is safe to assume.) We have more UL compliant TF's then any of our competiton so you should not try and pin us into this dangerous catagory any more. These are the scare tactics our competitors used for ever and they tried to get us ripped off shelves. AGAIN I ASK< IF WE ARE SO DANGEROUS THEN WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO DO BUISNESS ALL OVER THIS CONTINENT AND BEYOND???????? We are selling 100's of thousands of units every year and only a fraction are 1838. Oh yeah we have 1838 too. Our ompany has more field experience then any of our competitors and I will say that loudly and proudly. There are plenty of reasons why the AOLP would allow us to join, UL1838 is just not going to hold them back anymore!


It really isnt so much an argument over the safety of the transformer in the hands of a trained professional so much as it is an argument over the potential danger of that same transformer when hooked up and used improperly.

I think if you really examine most safety standards and codes, it is that potential for danger that they are trying to limit and eliminate. Its the "what if" that the standards try to eliminate.

If you choose only UL1838 transformers for your landscape lighting systems, you should not be posed with the situation of someone following you, over lamping all the fixtures on a 900w transformer that has NO secondary side load protection built in and melting down the wires in the ground. ( I have seen it done) ACME and Marcus and 'other' transformers that are used in landscape lighting systems may meet some safety ratings (there are many to choose from) but do pose inherent risks if altered and used incorectly.

On another note.... I recently heard from a reliable source that there is a risk of skin piercing electrocution at voltages over 15v with the amperages we are using. Perhaps another reason that CSA and UL1838 do not permit LV Landscape Lighting transformers to be rated higher then 15V. I will look into this further and see what I can find.

The great debate continues!

steveparrott
10-22-2007, 11:03 AM
UL has been trying to change 1838 for years to increase the voltage limit but has been blocked by one manufacturer (I won't name them so don't ask) - and it has nothing to do with the safety.

According to the NEC, voltages under 30V are safe from harmful electric shock. This has been confirmed by the IEC in a recent comprehensive study (IEC TS 60479-1) that has become the defacto authoritive report. The relevent finding from that study is that there is negligable risk of electrocution with any current below 30 mA (for a 10 second exposure).

[from the IEC report] A typical worst-case scenario of contact from hand to hand with both hands covered in sweat (salt water) yields a bodily resistance (for 25 volts) that varies from 960 ohms (5% of the population) to 1,755 ohms (95% of the population). This resistance (in combination with voltage) determines the amperage of the current.

If we use 1,000 ohms as a reasonable worst-case bodily resistance then it will take a 30 volt current to deliver 30 mA (the minimum current to deliver a lethal shock).

As to the comment about "skin-piercing electrocution" for low voltage circuits, my research finds that it has never happened. An OSHA study over a period of 12 years finds no deaths for any current below 120 volts. And a worldwide search of OSHA, NIOSH and several engineering database fails to find a single death for contact with any voltage under 47 volts going back 20 to 30 years.

steveparrott
10-22-2007, 11:23 AM
One more quick comment from Jame's post. There is a misunderstanding that a lighting circuit's amperage has an influence on risk of electric shock. It doesn't. The only applicable values are voltage and bodily impedence.

System amperage is only important in discussions of fire risk. I'm currently working on looking more closely at fire risk.

If anyone has any info on how to assess fire risk in electrical currents, please pass them on. I wrote a letter to the NFPA but they haven't responded. So far, I've heard a couple anecdotal reports of fires caused by running wires through walls, but need to find sources of reliable reports.

irrig8r
10-22-2007, 11:48 AM
Thanks, Steve, for some info that's new to me.
Is there in fact another "official" standard that applies to voltage above 15V but less than 30V?

Does anyone have a link to the complete text of either the UL 1838 (what I've read up until now are summaries) or the "competing" standard(s)?

And again, what (if anything) does the CLVLT test/ study guide have to say about it? In opther words, does the test have a bias either for or against? And further, what formula for voltage drop is used?

JoeyD
10-22-2007, 05:12 PM
UL has been trying to change 1838 for years to increase the voltage limit but has been blocked by one manufacturer (I won't name them so don't ask) - and it has nothing to do with the safety.

According to the NEC, voltages under 30V are safe from harmful electric shock. This has been confirmed by the IEC in a recent comprehensive study (IEC TS 60479-1) that has become the defacto authoritive report. The relevent finding from that study is that there is negligable risk of electrocution with any current below 30 mA (for a 10 second exposure).

[from the IEC report] A typical worst-case scenario of contact from hand to hand with both hands covered in sweat (salt water) yields a bodily resistance (for 25 volts) that varies from 960 ohms (5% of the population) to 1,755 ohms (95% of the population). This resistance (in combination with voltage) determines the amperage of the current.

If we use 1,000 ohms as a reasonable worst-case bodily resistance then it will take a 30 volt current to deliver 30 mA (the minimum current to deliver a lethal shock).

As to the comment about "skin-piercing electrocution" for low voltage circuits, my research finds that it has never happened. An OSHA study over a period of 12 years finds no deaths for any current below 120 volts. And a worldwide search of OSHA, NIOSH and several engineering database fails to find a single death for contact with any voltage under 47 volts going back 20 to 30 years.


.....YEAH....What Steve Said!!

LOL

:clapping:

eskerlite
10-22-2007, 07:29 PM
We dont have a bias towards 1838 for or against. We want to educate not discriminate.
Our voltage drop formula is lenth of wire x watts divided by constant times 2.
Sean Curran
Past president AOLP
Certification Board liason

Firefly Lighting
10-22-2007, 08:11 PM
I agree with most of what has been said. As the current President of the AOLP I would echo Sean's comments. The AOLP does not take a stance on UL listings. It is not our place to lean one way or the other, that is the option open to every contractor, manufacturer, and distributor. Not to mention the fact that it would be foolish for us to take a stance on such an issue that has divided the landscape lighting community for so many years. And what is to show for it, not much in my opinion. The AOLP is working hard to bring this industry together so that we can insure a great future for us all, no matter what your stance or opinion is on any of these issues. I would not discount the opinion of someone who feels strongly one way or the other, that is your right but I don't think that we should segregate our industry because of opinions, it makes the industry look unprofessional. For myself though I tend to go by what my state license states which is that I am only restricted to voltages of 30 or less. Whether you are for or against the UL listing should have no bearing on joing the AOLP we have members from both sides of this issue and welcome them all.

Thanks,

irrig8r
10-22-2007, 08:24 PM
We dont have a bias towards 1838 for or against. We want to educate not discriminate.
Our voltage drop formula is lenth of wire x watts divided by constant times 2.
Sean Curran
Past president AOLP
Certification Board liason

Thanks Sean!

JoeyD
10-22-2007, 11:48 PM
I agree with most of what has been said. As the current President of the AOLP I would echo Sean's comments. The AOLP does not take a stance on UL listings. It is not our place to lean one way or the other, that is the option open to every contractor, manufacturer, and distributor. Not to mention the fact that it would be foolish for us to take a stance on such an issue that has divided the landscape lighting community for so many years. And what is to show for it, not much in my opinion. The AOLP is working hard to bring this industry together so that we can insure a great future for us all, no matter what your stance or opinion is on any of these issues. I would not discount the opinion of someone who feels strongly one way or the other, that is your right but I don't think that we should segregate our industry because of opinions, it makes the industry look unprofessional. For myself though I tend to go by what my state license states which is that I am only restricted to voltages of 30 or less. Whether you are for or against the UL listing should have no bearing on joing the AOLP we have members from both sides of this issue and welcome them all.

Thanks,

Very well put Mr. President!

sprinkler guy
10-23-2007, 12:44 AM
For myself though I tend to go by what my state license states which is that I am only restricted to voltages of 30 or less.

Just an FYI - California's low voltage licence (a C-7) limits us to voltages of 93 volts or less. Just thought it was interesting the big difference.

irrig8r
10-23-2007, 01:03 AM
Just an FYI - California's low voltage licence (a C-7) limits us to voltages of 93 volts or less. Just thought it was interesting the big difference.

So are you operating under a C-7 (low voltage) or a C-27 (landscape)?

sprinkler guy
10-23-2007, 01:08 AM
So are you operating under a C-7 (low voltage) or a C-27 (landscape)?

I've been operating under a C-27. I'm a little behind on the business plan schedule, but I'm a little ahead on the revenue schedule, so the C-7 keeps getting bumped on the to-do list.

NightScenes
10-23-2007, 08:08 AM
I would just add that the AOLP stands behind the NEC when it comes right down to it. UL, ETL and the like are private testing labs, they do not write regulations.

irrig8r
10-23-2007, 10:57 AM
I've been operating under a C-27. I'm a little behind on the business plan schedule, but I'm a little ahead on the revenue schedule, so the C-7 keeps getting bumped on the to-do list.

So, are you concerned that the CSLB will be limiting C-27s at some point in the future, and not grandfathering us in? Or are you planning to expand into other low voltage specialties?

I'm concerned that the language of the C-7 description specifically covers low voltage lighting, but the C-27 language is very vague, essentially allowing landscape contractors to be exterior general contractors, but no longer citing specifics, as it did when I passed the test in 1988.

JoeyD
10-25-2007, 08:23 PM
I alwasy thought a C-7 was mainly geared for low voltage systems such as home alarms and what not.? I know it allows you to install LV lighting leagally as well.

irrig8r
10-25-2007, 09:56 PM
I always thought a C-7 was mainly geared for low voltage systems such as home alarms and what not.? I know it allows you to install LV lighting legally as well.

Mama Mia.
Joey.
When are you gonna get a spell checker? :)
There I fixed it for you.

Yeah, that was my impression too: home theatre systems, alarms, etc. But the funny thing is it specifically mentions L.V. lighting and the C-27 does not. We can probably blame the CLCA for making it intentionally vague.

JoeyD
10-26-2007, 11:15 AM
Hey it was only one word! Thats pretty good for me!! My fingers are not as fast as my brain is I guess!!

Does the CLCA have any influence on this stuff??

I know they do stuff with the CLCVT or whatever that is but I did not know they influence the contracting liscenses.