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nate mullen
12-19-2007, 02:23 PM
Made in the USA

This is a challenging subject to attempt to make clear in a few paragraphs, but I will give it a shot. You should all know that you can contact me personally if you want to discuss this further, or to discuss any other topic for that matter.

So where do I start?

There are many factors that go into the where and why we have a particular product line or specific part manufactured. Typical manufacturing may include all or part of the intermediate processes that are required for the production and integration of components during assembly.

First: you might consider Total Vertical Integration – Manufacturing all the parts in house. This would include sheet metal stamping of transformer cans, making our own wire, having a foundry for our cast brass line, machining, polishing and finishing, and so on. This would require an enormous amount of capital as well as extensive expertise in many varied disciplines.

Second: Intermediate Integration: Having certain parts manufactured for us to our specifications by a qualified supplier. When we first released our Odyssey brass product line, we brought in the raw brass parts and performed the weathered brass process in house. That was until the EPA came knocking on our door. O.M.G……..You can’t believe what a nightmare that was…..

We all know that between OSHA, the EPA, workman’s comp, insurance, overtime, employee rights, and class action lawsuits, it is a miracle anything is still being manufactured and or assembled in the USA. Our own system is forcing us out! To be compliant with everything that it takes to manufacture; casting brass, stamping copper, machining steel, and finishing these products, we would have to dramatically increase the cost of our fixtures. If we chose to make all aluminum fixtures and powder coat them, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Now, so it is clear, the vast majority of components we use here at Unique in our fixtures and transformers are made to our stringent specifications and are proprietary to us. The exceptions to this include lamps, fuses, crimps, connectors other miscellaneous electrical items, of which we only purchase the highest quality offerings from industry leaders. Most manufactures buy lighting fixtures as they buy clothes; “I’ll take this one, that one and, yeah, that one looks like Unique, so some of those on the order as well.”

As for our proprietary components, here are a few examples;

Sockets: Our sockets are the only ones in the industry to utilize beryllium copper contacts. This material has the highest temperature rating of any contact material available, and will not deteriorate over time as plain stainless steel, bare copper, or even nickel-plated copper will. It is simply the best material available, and we pay a premium for it, but we feel that our products and customers are worth this premium.

Wire: Our insulation is made of 99% pure PVC plastic mixed with the latest in UV inhibitors. No regrind is used, so we know exactly what is going into the product. The reason we do this is so the leads lay flat in the trench without memory. We also use a very high copper strand count, which makes for a more flexible and compliant lead wire, and actually allows for more copper per foot than a course strand. The copper is 99.5% pure, which is the purest available. Copper of this purity carries an electrical current much more efficiently than lower-grade copper, which is why you will notice less voltage drop with our wire leads and home run wire. The stranded copper conductor is made from rod conforming to ASTM B-49 and B-115 standards. Obviously, these specifications make our wire more expensive, but again, we believe that the performance is worth the cost.

O-rings: All of our O-Rings are aircraft grade and manufactured from materials engineered for maximum life in the harsh environment typically found in low-voltage lighting.

Housing: Every single fixture is ours, and requires hundreds and hundreds of man hours to go from concept to finished product.

For example…

1. Idea on paper Start
2. Concept to CAD 6 weeks
3. CAD to review 2 weeks
4. Review back to CAD 2 weeks
5. CAD to review 2 weeks
6. CAD to E-Drawing 4 weeks
7. E- Drawing to Prototype 2 weeks
8. Revised E- Drawing 4 weeks
9. E-Drawing to Prototype 8 weeks
10. Prototype to 1st article 8 weeks
11. Apply for patent 3 to 5 years
12. Beta run 12 weeks
13. Modifications ?
14. Testing ?
15. 2ND article 12 weeks
16. Soft Release 12 weeks
17. Production 6 weeks

Unique Lighting Systems is very proud of the fact that we not only design our fixtures, but we own our own molds as well. We use the very best materials possible because QUALITY MATTERS AT UNIQUE.

We all know that copper has almost tripled in cost in the past two years. Brass is composed of roughly 60% copper, so its price has followed suit. Stainless steel has also increased two-fold during this same time period. Even with this huge run-up in raw material costs, the price of our products has only moved up marginally. We work very hard with our vending partners to keep costs at a minimum, and we pass these savings along to our customers to keep our prices competitive.

After raw materials, direct labor is the next biggest cost component of our fixtures. We would like nothing more than to have our parts cast and machined in the USA, and we have looked at a cost effective way to do this from every angle. This is a labor-intensive process, and when you factor in the wage differential overseas and combine it with the tough environmental compliance standards we live with, the cost to build our product from scratch domestically would make our products unaffordable. We live in a global economy, and there are sound financial reasons for sourcing material and components from locations that are highly competitive in that particular industry. Mexico was the place to be for labor-intensive production in the last decade, and today China is the world’s low-cost labor leader, so in order to remain competitive, we utilize this advantage. If the market would accept a good old “Made in the USA” fixture for close to $200.00, we would be the first to offer it.

Some may question the quality of any product coming out of China, and with the extensive media coverage given the recent toy recalls, it is understandable how the uninformed could draw this conclusion. The reality is that quality varies greatly from company to company in China, just as it does here or anywhere else in the world. It is prejudicial and ignorant to paint all products coming out of China as being of inferior quality. Japan faced this same issue in the sixties and early seventies, and look at them now. The Toyota Production System is now a world standard that is emulated globally.

So how does Unique Lighting ensure that our Chinese partners are only supplying top-quality product? In dealing with outside sources, it is critical that you put a lot of systems in place to ensure the products are made to our high expectations and quality standards. First, we start with our conceptual drawings and CAD designs. We establish min-max tolerances within 1/100 of an inch. I won’t bore you with the entire product design details, but I can tell you we go through first, second, and sometimes third article samples before approving any design. We then test the product in the field and put it through the ringer, making sure that everything we designed digitally is working as planned.

We have a full time QC department whose job is to verify that incoming approved products are built to spec before they are given to the line for assembly. We also have a full time outside QC firm performing QC audits in China. We have a full time team of Unique personnel whose job is to verify that parts being assembled are being done in a quality fashion. We also have in-house product engineers to fix and develop procedures to resolve potential or current problems. We have people in charge of Document Control to make sure all changes are then implemented fully all the way back to our overseas factories. The point is that we do add quite a bit of value to our products here in the States, and because of this, almost all defects are caught here before they make it out to our customers. Do we ever have a bad batch of parts brought in from overseas? YES, but everything from Design, ASSEMBLY, QC, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Shipping, Tech support, etc…..is done right here in the USA. For the record, our injection molded products such as well lights are done here in the US.

So what is Unique Lighting Systems?

Unique Lighting Systems is a landscape lighting manufacturer in Escondido, CA. We manufacture our own Transformers from winding the bobbin all the way up to riveting the core into our stainless enclosures. We manufacture our own fixtures after bringing in the components from our outside sources. I stand strong on this issue regarding us manufacturing in the USA because a lot of people including our competition would like you to think we are just another Chinese-made product. Although we do not shy away from the fact we have some cast parts made overseas, we do take great pride in having our product assembled and manufactured here! Beware of those out there selling products that look like ours and are passing them off as just as good or better because of price. Based on what you know from reading this, you should now understand that it is simply impossible for these imposters to be “just as good as Unique.” They may be cheaper out of the box, but over the long run, the quality of the product and the team that stands behind it here at Unique make our fixtures and transformers the best value on the market.

As stated at the beginning, you may always contact me personally at my office. I am available by cell or email, and I encourage you to contact me with any questions, comments, or ideas you might have concerning Unique Lighting Systems.

Thank you

To a brighter future

Nate Mullen
760-580-4980 cell

irrig8r
12-19-2007, 04:22 PM
Let me preface my comments by saying no offense intended to either Nate or Joey...

Might I humbly suggest that this be moved over to the Unique sponsor's forum?

On most online forums that I've been to, a lengthy post promoting your products like this would be considered SPAM.

No doubt it's good information, and I can uinderstand why you want to get it out there after hearing a little of what people ran across at the IA show.

I'm just questioning the placement...

JoeyD
12-19-2007, 05:51 PM
Gregg,
The reason it was posted here was out of response to the whole "Whats So Unique about Unique." He looked at posting it in that thread but it had been spun into something completely off topic. This response was created due to discussion in this forum regarding our manufacturing process and location of it.

I know you are a very respectable person no hard feelings here. Please undertand we only want to "set the record strait" here where this may be read by all. Nate and I have no problem if the mods want to move it but know our intent was not to advertise, I think I do enough posting that people know what I and Nate are about here on Lawnsite, that is to learn and to spread good knowledge to our industry. If we wanted to advertise this I would be posting this in every catagory on lawnsite and running an ad in a magazine, instead we posted this where all who may have an interest would be able to read it. And it is a topic that has been discussed regularly.

If others feel as you do I have no problem having it posted or moved into the Unique forum.

Joey D.

pete scalia
12-19-2007, 07:47 PM
Made in the USA

This is a challenging subject to attempt to make clear in a few paragraphs, but I will give it a shot. You should all know that you can contact me personally if you want to discuss this further, or to discuss any other topic for that matter.

So where do I start?

There are many factors that go into the where and why we have a particular product line or specific part manufactured. Typical manufacturing may include all or part of the intermediate processes that are required for the production and integration of components during assembly.

First: you might consider Total Vertical Integration – Manufacturing all the parts in house. This would include sheet metal stamping of transformer cans, making our own wire, having a foundry for our cast brass line, machining, polishing and finishing, and so on. This would require an enormous amount of capital as well as extensive expertise in many varied disciplines.

Second: Intermediate Integration: Having certain parts manufactured for us to our specifications by a qualified supplier. When we first released our Odyssey brass product line, we brought in the raw brass parts and performed the weathered brass process in house. That was until the EPA came knocking on our door. O.M.G……..You can’t believe what a nightmare that was…..

We all know that between OSHA, the EPA, workman’s comp, insurance, overtime, employee rights, and class action lawsuits, it is a miracle anything is still being manufactured and or assembled in the USA. Our own system is forcing us out! To be compliant with everything that it takes to manufacture; casting brass, stamping copper, machining steel, and finishing these products, we would have to dramatically increase the cost of our fixtures. If we chose to make all aluminum fixtures and powder coat them, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Now, so it is clear, the vast majority of components we use here at Unique in our fixtures and transformers are made to our stringent specifications and are proprietary to us. The exceptions to this include lamps, fuses, crimps, connectors other miscellaneous electrical items, of which we only purchase the highest quality offerings from industry leaders. Most manufactures buy lighting fixtures as they buy clothes; “I’ll take this one, that one and, yeah, that one looks like Unique, so some of those on the order as well.”

As for our proprietary components, here are a few examples;

Sockets: Our sockets are the only ones in the industry to utilize beryllium copper contacts. This material has the highest temperature rating of any contact material available, and will not deteriorate over time as plain stainless steel, bare copper, or even nickel-plated copper will. It is simply the best material available, and we pay a premium for it, but we feel that our products and customers are worth this premium.

Wire: Our insulation is made of 99% pure PVC plastic mixed with the latest in UV inhibitors. No regrind is used, so we know exactly what is going into the product. The reason we do this is so the leads lay flat in the trench without memory. We also use a very high copper strand count, which makes for a more flexible and compliant lead wire, and actually allows for more copper per foot than a course strand. The copper is 99.5% pure, which is the purest available. Copper of this purity carries an electrical current much more efficiently than lower-grade copper, which is why you will notice less voltage drop with our wire leads and home run wire. The stranded copper conductor is made from rod conforming to ASTM B-49 and B-115 standards. Obviously, these specifications make our wire more expensive, but again, we believe that the performance is worth the cost.

O-rings: All of our O-Rings are aircraft grade and manufactured from materials engineered for maximum life in the harsh environment typically found in low-voltage lighting.

Housing: Every single fixture is ours, and requires hundreds and hundreds of man hours to go from concept to finished product.

For example…

1. Idea on paper Start
2. Concept to CAD 6 weeks
3. CAD to review 2 weeks
4. Review back to CAD 2 weeks
5. CAD to review 2 weeks
6. CAD to E-Drawing 4 weeks
7. E- Drawing to Prototype 2 weeks
8. Revised E- Drawing 4 weeks
9. E-Drawing to Prototype 8 weeks
10. Prototype to 1st article 8 weeks
11. Apply for patent 3 to 5 years
12. Beta run 12 weeks
13. Modifications ?
14. Testing ?
15. 2ND article 12 weeks
16. Soft Release 12 weeks
17. Production 6 weeks

Unique Lighting Systems is very proud of the fact that we not only design our fixtures, but we own our own molds as well. We use the very best materials possible because QUALITY MATTERS AT UNIQUE.

We all know that copper has almost tripled in cost in the past two years. Brass is composed of roughly 60% copper, so its price has followed suit. Stainless steel has also increased two-fold during this same time period. Even with this huge run-up in raw material costs, the price of our products has only moved up marginally. We work very hard with our vending partners to keep costs at a minimum, and we pass these savings along to our customers to keep our prices competitive.

After raw materials, direct labor is the next biggest cost component of our fixtures. We would like nothing more than to have our parts cast and machined in the USA, and we have looked at a cost effective way to do this from every angle. This is a labor-intensive process, and when you factor in the wage differential overseas and combine it with the tough environmental compliance standards we live with, the cost to build our product from scratch domestically would make our products unaffordable. We live in a global economy, and there are sound financial reasons for sourcing material and components from locations that are highly competitive in that particular industry. Mexico was the place to be for labor-intensive production in the last decade, and today China is the world’s low-cost labor leader, so in order to remain competitive, we utilize this advantage. If the market would accept a good old “Made in the USA” fixture for close to $200.00, we would be the first to offer it.

Some may question the quality of any product coming out of China, and with the extensive media coverage given the recent toy recalls, it is understandable how the uninformed could draw this conclusion. The reality is that quality varies greatly from company to company in China, just as it does here or anywhere else in the world. It is prejudicial and ignorant to paint all products coming out of China as being of inferior quality. Japan faced this same issue in the sixties and early seventies, and look at them now. The Toyota Production System is now a world standard that is emulated globally.

So how does Unique Lighting ensure that our Chinese partners are only supplying top-quality product? In dealing with outside sources, it is critical that you put a lot of systems in place to ensure the products are made to our high expectations and quality standards. First, we start with our conceptual drawings and CAD designs. We establish min-max tolerances within 1/100 of an inch. I won’t bore you with the entire product design details, but I can tell you we go through first, second, and sometimes third article samples before approving any design. We then test the product in the field and put it through the ringer, making sure that everything we designed digitally is working as planned.

We have a full time QC department whose job is to verify that incoming approved products are built to spec before they are given to the line for assembly. We also have a full time outside QC firm performing QC audits in China. We have a full time team of Unique personnel whose job is to verify that parts being assembled are being done in a quality fashion. We also have in-house product engineers to fix and develop procedures to resolve potential or current problems. We have people in charge of Document Control to make sure all changes are then implemented fully all the way back to our overseas factories. The point is that we do add quite a bit of value to our products here in the States, and because of this, almost all defects are caught here before they make it out to our customers. Do we ever have a bad batch of parts brought in from overseas? YES, but everything from Design, ASSEMBLY, QC, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Shipping, Tech support, etc…..is done right here in the USA. For the record, our injection molded products such as well lights are done here in the US.

So what is Unique Lighting Systems?

Unique Lighting Systems is a landscape lighting manufacturer in Escondido, CA. We manufacture our own Transformers from winding the bobbin all the way up to riveting the core into our stainless enclosures. We manufacture our own fixtures after bringing in the components from our outside sources. I stand strong on this issue regarding us manufacturing in the USA because a lot of people including our competition would like you to think we are just another Chinese-made product. Although we do not shy away from the fact we have some cast parts made overseas, we do take great pride in having our product assembled and manufactured here! Beware of those out there selling products that look like ours and are passing them off as just as good or better because of price. Based on what you know from reading this, you should now understand that it is simply impossible for these imposters to be “just as good as Unique.” They may be cheaper out of the box, but over the long run, the quality of the product and the team that stands behind it here at Unique make our fixtures and transformers the best value on the market.

As stated at the beginning, you may always contact me personally at my office. I am available by cell or email, and I encourage you to contact me with any questions, comments, or ideas you might have concerning Unique Lighting Systems.

Thank you

To a brighter future

Nate Mullen
760-580-4980 cell

So you get all of the pieces of the fixtures from China already acid finished and then you assemble, install sockets, o-rings, lenses etc in house?

JoeyD
12-19-2007, 08:09 PM
Correct Pete, Our casted brass molds do come in already finished in what we call our weathered brass finish. We then do all the assembly from their on here in San Diego!

pete scalia
12-19-2007, 08:14 PM
Correct Pete, Our casted brass molds do come in already finished in what we call our weathered brass finish. We then do all the assembly from their on here in San Diego!

Nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike M
12-19-2007, 08:57 PM
No doubt it's good information

I agree. But I got lost on the SPAM thing.

SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES
12-19-2007, 09:11 PM
You know what would be nice. the same letter typed up on Unique letter head and posted with the thread. that is a great piece of literature straight from the horses mouth on what makes Unique a better product. it would be nice to have to show to customers when they ask why Unique is a little bit more than some of the other cheaper guys.

Thanks for taking the time Nate. You don't see to many company's getting this involved with thier customers as to be a member of Lawnsite.

Eden Lights
12-19-2007, 11:45 PM
That's alot of work to cut off some black sewer pipe and stick a tractor headlamp it.

No I am just kidding, I couldn't resist and little PAR jab. Thanks for sharing the information on Unique.

nate mullen
12-20-2007, 08:39 AM
That's alot of work to cut off some black sewer pipe and stick a tractor headlamp it.

No I am just kidding, I couldn't resist and little PAR jab. Thanks for sharing the information on Unique.

that was in 1989, then I started to use 5" DB GRAY electrial conduit I used to spray paint green and brown then I had a mold made in 1993 the f125 was born. fyi all of our well lights are injected molded now and come in brown or black

Lite4
12-20-2007, 09:06 AM
Thanks Nate,
That post was very incitefull. It is amazing that anybody can do business in this country anymore. What have we come too.

I also agree about that article in print for a handout, it would go well with the end consumer to illuminate them about the whole manufacturing process.

Pro-Scapes
12-20-2007, 09:07 AM
great post nate. I do like 90% of what I have used from unique so far. I cursed up and down that I could not fit my lens retainer clips inside the lunars tho on my last project. All in all its a very well rounded product line and nothing I have seen yet has been of questional quality except for Joey himself :)

I still cant convert to the dark side and do all 12ga yet tho. Im kicking myself now for doing it on a project and had to dig in another line because I felt my design was comprimised when I could not add a few more lights to a hub. Cheaper to run a single 10ga than 2 strips of 12 for 210w

JoeyD
12-20-2007, 09:37 AM
great post nate. I do like 90% of what I have used from unique so far. I cursed up and down that I could not fit my lens retainer clips inside the lunars tho on my last project. All in all its a very well rounded product line and nothing I have seen yet has been of questional quality except for Joey himself :)

I still cant convert to the dark side and do all 12ga yet tho. Im kicking myself now for doing it on a project and had to dig in another line because I felt my design was comprimised when I could not add a few more lights to a hub. Cheaper to run a single 10ga than 2 strips of 12 for 210w


Thanks for kicking my nuts into my throat there BUDDY!!! LOL:dizzy::drinkup:

As for the print version of this I agree and will have it done. I will make an attachment to d-load for you guys to print but i will also have some officially printed here to start sending out!!

Joey D.

nate mullen
12-20-2007, 09:53 AM
great post nate. I do like 90% of what I have used from unique so far. I cursed up and down that I could not fit my lens retainer clips inside the lunars tho on my last project. All in all its a very well rounded product line and nothing I have seen yet has been of questional quality except for Joey himself :)

I still cant convert to the dark side and do all 12ga yet tho. Im kicking myself now for doing it on a project and had to dig in another line because I felt my design was comprimised when I could not add a few more lights to a hub. Cheaper to run a single 10ga than 2 strips of 12 for 210w

The only reason Joey's around is my wife likes him.

You won't get any aguments out of me on that one. Just be careful on the connection that you use, a lot of the connections are only rated for 10 amps. and also not rated for that many wires under 1 connector.

we will have a 24 volt lighting systems vary soon.................you will than never need 10 or 8 and you will we able to put 384 watts on 12/2. for all of you that are going to freak out about over 15 volts ( 1838) I ask you this ...........why is it ok and legal to install 120 volt lighting in landscaping.

NightScenes
12-20-2007, 10:00 AM
Ok Nate, please explain 348 watts on 12/2 wire. I think it would be good for everyone to know how you come up with those numbers. Why not 192 watts max?

JoeyD
12-20-2007, 10:22 AM
What is this, bash on Joey day?! LOL...Wait until I tell your wife about the poker game last night!!! Christmas Shopping huh??? LOL

Paul, I will let Nate explain it, this 24v system is his baby and I dont want to spoil it. And after that last comment from him I think I will take the rest of the day off.

Joey D.

Pro-Scapes
12-20-2007, 12:08 PM
The only reason Joey's around is my wife likes him.

You won't get any aguments out of me on that one. Just be careful on the connection that you use, a lot of the connections are only rated for 10 amps. and also not rated for that many wires under 1 connector.

we will have a 24 volt lighting systems vary soon.................you will than never need 10 or 8 and you will we able to put 384 watts on 12/2. for all of you that are going to freak out about over 15 volts ( 1838) I ask you this ...........why is it ok and legal to install 120 volt lighting in landscaping.

I am probably 1 of 3 people on this board who still insist on soldering connections. I didnt know there was an amerage limit on solder since your esentially only limited by the wires capacity and what will fit in your grease tubes.

If your planning to use 24v just so you can run further I would assume install another trans rather than bury a quarter mile of wire. I know its cheaper to run the 12 ga 1000 ft and shoot 24v down it than it is to install line voltage out there but just because its more cost effective doesnt mean its the best way.

Since your brain storming come up with a 1 1/4" chase for the iforce and an 1120 watt model :) would of made me use 3 of em this past week.

nate mullen
12-20-2007, 12:16 PM
Ok Nate, please explain 348 watts on 12/2 wire. I think it would be good for everyone to know how you come up with those numbers. Why not 192 watts max?

amps x volts............20 amp wire x 12 volts = 240 watts x 80% = 192

amps x volts............. 20 amps wire 24 volts = 480 watts x 80% = 384

amps x volts............. 20 amps wire 120 volts = 2400 watts x 80% 1920

all on the same size wire that why a 24 volt lighting system will be great for all of us

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-20-2007, 03:31 PM
Maybe not all of us Nate... A 24V "Landscape Lighting", "Garden Lighting", or "Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting" system is not going to fly here in Canada. Im sure you read the reasons why a few days ago.

Electrical components must be approved for the application in which they are installed / used.

Have a great day.

Pro-Scapes
12-21-2007, 07:27 AM
amps x volts............20 amp wire x 12 volts = 240 watts x 80% = 192

amps x volts............. 20 amps wire 24 volts = 480 watts x 80% = 384

amps x volts............. 20 amps wire 120 volts = 2400 watts x 80% 1920

all on the same size wire that why a 24 volt lighting system will be great for all of us

are you talking about 24v lamps and everything ? so you will be selling us 30v taps ? I also assume the price will be higher. so will it still make us more money ?

Mike M
12-21-2007, 08:48 AM
I'm just a talkative beginner, so you can stop reading now. I shake my head at how much copper we use. I welcome any innovation which is cost effective by finding a better way.

Think of how much less copper you would need, in fact, then think of how small the wire will be in the future with LED's. Sorry about mentioning LED's, but you will also save even more wire with inherent resistors, since everything can be chained, like in line voltage.

Fuses and quick connects can be housed inside of fixtures (one connect for going in, one for going out), eliminating hubs and splices and miles of leads. Use little quick connect splitters and just add-on to any fixture on the run. I don't know why they don't have resistors built into halogen bulbs or fixtures.

No more splices during installs, but some quick connects with butt crimps in your service kit.

I'm gonna eat breakfast now.

JoeyD
12-21-2007, 08:53 AM
are you talking about 24v lamps and everything ? so you will be selling us 30v taps ? I also assume the price will be higher. so will it still make us more money ?


We have the 24v T3's and MR16's. There is not a 24v PAR36 to my knowledge. A 24v TF is only another $5 mmore than our standard Multi Matic units. You can buy them with secondary fusing, secondary lugs, you can also get them in Direct Burial. We also now have them in Pool and Spa as well.

You use the same 12ga or 10ga although no need for 10ga with a 24v system. You just add the 24v lamps to your fixtures.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-21-2007, 08:58 AM
are you talking about 24v lamps and everything ? so you will be selling us 30v taps ? I also assume the price will be higher. so will it still make us more money ?

Now who on earth wants to get into the sourcing, stocking and tracking the use of 24v lamps? Think of the confusion and frustration in the marketplace on jobs that the original installing contractor looses touch with! Can you imagine the client, caretaker, or yard maintenance guy trying to figure out what is wrong when every replacement (12v) lamp they put in a fixture burns out?!?

Naw they won't move to a full 24V system... they will just throw more voltage, at thinner or longer cable runs until they get 12V at the lamp. What a dogs breakfast of wiring techniques and potential future failures that will be.

We should be pushing for industry standardization people, not looking towards 'new' and alternative directions that will muddy the industry and leave clients upset and systems dysfunctional in the future.

Just my .02 CDN.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-21-2007, 09:06 AM
We have the 24v T3's and MR16's. There is not a 24v PAR36 to my knowledge. A 24v TF is only another $5 mmore than our standard Multi Matic units. You can buy them with secondary fusing, secondary lugs, you can also get them in Direct Burial. We also now have them in Pool and Spa as well.

You use the same 12ga or 10ga although no need for 10ga with a 24v system. You just add the 24v lamps to your fixtures.

Joey, what is the range of 24V lamps on the market?

In MR16, how many wattages and beam spreads?
In Bi-Pin, T3 or T4, how many lamps at 24v?
In Wedge base?
What about SCB?

Do you really think there is enough demand in the market to develop a new lighting system at 24V and have it compete with 12V systems, knowing the risk of confusion in the market after the installation and installer is long gone?

You know what I think/say: Do it right the first time. Pay an electrician to run some line voltage to where it is required. What is the big deal? It might cost a bit more on a whole system but on a per fixture cost breakdown it is very little. Life is easier when 12V = 12V my friend.

Mike M
12-21-2007, 09:20 AM
Naw they won't move to a full 24V system

It's all in the calculator. How much money can be saved on copper? Every time I handle my 10 gauge wire it reminds me of my old house in PA with all that heavy and dangerous copper knob and tube wiring. Thank God we got away from that stuff.

It would not be a logistics nightmare if I went 100% 24v., now would it? And I don't want lawn guys or homeowners doing service calls anyways, swapping my bulbs with 50 watters from Home Depot and not sealing housings correctly whether or not 24 or 12v.

I see your point with your customization model. Lots of specialty fixtures from multiple manu's/distributors, adding on 24v would just make things worse for that model.

Copper is so expensive, I cannot believe how much of it we use to compensate for 12v. I'd like to know what they do in Japan, where they have limited natural resources, and pride themselves on efficiency and shun any kind of waste.

I can't read Japanese, but I'll google stone garden tea ceremony lighting or something. This has me really curious.

JoeyD
12-21-2007, 09:24 AM
Joey, what is the range of 24V lamps on the market?

In MR16, how many wattages and beam spreads?
In Bi-Pin, T3 or T4, how many lamps at 24v?
In Wedge base?
What about SCB?

Do you really think there is enough demand in the market to develop a new lighting system at 24V and have it compete with 12V systems, knowing the risk of confusion in the market after the installation and installer is long gone?

You know what I think/say: Do it right the first time. Pay an electrician to run some line voltage to where it is required. What is the big deal? It might cost a bit more on a whole system but on a per fixture cost breakdown it is very little. Life is easier when 12V = 12V my friend.


James let me say this. You do not always and will not always need a 24v system. YOu I know will NEVER need one becuase you will never go beyond 15v becuase you have sweaty, salty palms and you do not want to be electricuted while standing in a puddle makeing a connection. I'm messing with you.

Reality is you will use a 24v system when you can and need one. For exampkle, a gentleman called us yesterday from a winery. His power source was 1500 feet away from where he wanted his lights. We designed him a 24v system and its done, no problem!!

As for lamps there are alot more 24v choices than you think. Now as for SCB and DCB we dont mess with that crap anyway nor do we mess with wedge base. We use Bi Pin lamps only except for our 120v orions which utilize medium base lamps and our par fixtures.
So as for range of options here you go.
Ushio makes 24v T3 in both Halogen and Xenon filled. They come in 5w, 10w, 15w, and 20w. There is also a 50w available. Dont know why I dont see a 35w? They last from 2000hrs in Halogen up to 10000 hrs in Xenon. They have 24v MR11 in every spread you want and in 20 and 35w. In MR16 they have wattages 20, 35, 50, 75 in 12degree up to 36degree. We know you might want a 60degree every now and then but we do have all of our lenses to spread, narrow, and soften your lamps. MR16 avg life is from 2500 to 4000hrs depending on wattage.

This is just USHIO, we know GE has just as many if not more.

Mike M
12-21-2007, 09:43 AM
after the installation and installer is long gone

That's the problem. Should that be allowed to happen? I have built long-term commitment with reliable routine service into my young business model.

The biggest mistake landscapers make is when they think they are just selling the fixtures and wires and transformers and they don't realize there is a need for service and routine maintenance. A year or two goes by and bulbs are out and light from a kicked stake is facing the woods. 5 years goes by and the aluminum is corroded and nothing works, shrubs have grown over the fixtures, and nobody notices what time anything is turning on. And I'm just talking about what I've seen in the past months of starting up my young business.

Why on Earth would I have sympathy for these installers when considering support for a new system?

The best thing that could happen is state regulations insisting the 24v systems be installed by certified landscape lighting specialists. When that happens, I'm 100% 24v. And thank God if nobody can legally touch the system and mess it all up.

This is best for the homeowner; less copper, more efficiency, and proper, education-based systems.

And this all coming from me, a guy who loathes government regulations.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-21-2007, 09:51 AM
Naw they won't move to a full 24V system

It's all in the calculator. How much money can be saved on copper? Every time I handle my 10 gauge wire it reminds me of my old house in PA with all that heavy and dangerous copper knob and tube wiring. Thank God we got away from that stuff.

It would not be a logistics nightmare if I went 100% 24v., now would it? And I don't want lawn guys or homeowners doing service calls anyways, swapping my bulbs with 50 watters from Home Depot and not sealing housings correctly whether or not 24 or 12v.

I see your point with your customization model. Lots of specialty fixtures from multiple manu's/distributors, adding on 24v would just make things worse for that model.

Copper is so expensive, I cannot believe how much of it we use to compensate for 12v. I'd like to know what they do in Japan, where they have limited natural resources, and pride themselves on efficiency and shun any kind of waste.

I can't read Japanese, but I'll google stone garden tea ceremony lighting or something. This has me really curious.


Mike, and Joey for that matter....

Do you really think that you will maintain contact with 100% of your clients over time? Do you think that no one will sell their property after you have put a system in? Or do you think that when those said properties are sold, 100% of the buyers with initiate contact with you to ensure ongoing maintenance of the lighting system.

Fact is, you will loose touch with a number of the clients and systems that you install. Things happen. This is why our industry needs to further standardize and not fragment. We have to develop standardized systems and methods so that our industry is not frowned upon in the long run.

Years ago LV outdoor lighting was getting a really bad reputation. I think we have organized and turned a corner and are heading in the right direction with dedicated outdoor lighting contractors, manufacturers, and distribution. We even have the AOLP if you wish. Now we need to further strengthen our industry by standardizing methods of installation and developing regulations and codes of our own. Having multiple voltage systems will only dirty the waters so to speak.

Imagine the frustration of a homeowner who doesnt know or understand the intricacies of his Multitap (to 22v) or 24V (heaven forbid) system and who has lost touch with the installer. They are more apt to just give up and badmouth the whole LV outdoor lighting industry. Now think of the confusion of the poor irrigators, lawn maintenance guys, caretakers, pool boys, and all the other people that homeowner might ask to "fix my lights". Do we really need to be confusing and frustrating more people as to what we do?

Need some power? Hire and electrician to put it in for you. I have been working on large sites (most of my clients are 3-5 acres, largest being over 100 acres.) for almost a decade now. It really isnt that hard or that much more expensive to work within the constraints and parameters of "traditional" Low Voltage Lighting. For you urban and suburban contractors, I can't imagine when any of this would be an issue for you at all.

K.I.S.S.

JoeyD
12-21-2007, 10:07 AM
James I am sorry but there are a lot of ways to do things and you may not agree here but if I am getting 12v or 24v to a lamp that requires 12v or 24v who really cares how you do it as long as you are not endangering people. Maintaining the system is something that has to be discussed and when you leave the closeout packet you should be very detailed in documenting what lamps were used where, what units were used to power those lamps, and how you distributed the voltage. If you do the critical three and check voltage at the lamps making sure you have correct voltage, you check amperage on your secondaries to make sure you did not overload the wire, and you check amperage ont he primary to ensure you did not overload the power unit then you have ensured your system is working properly.

Fact is we are not trying to change the industry we are trying to push it. Just because your other manufacturers do not offer the things we offer doesnt mean they are uneeded. Do you thinkt he 5k lights NS makes are all needed or for that matter used? Reality is while everyone elese is trying to come up with a new pathlight we are trying to come up with ways to make your job as a contactor easier.

Why hire an eelctrician on every job, thats lame. Just get the job done with the tools that are at your disposal. If the 24v system is not for youthen fine, but trust me there will be alot of PROFESSIONALS that will love it!! we wouldnt throw thousands of dollars at it if we did not know that already.

nate mullen
12-21-2007, 10:37 AM
are you talking about 24v lamps and everything ? so you will be selling us 30v taps ? I also assume the price will be higher. so will it still make us more money ?

yes 24,25,26,27,28,29, and 30 volts taps........have them now and selling....we also have all mr 16 and astro bright lamps, I am working with GE on a par 36. The price on the lamps are about double, the transformer are a little more. But the cost saving on wire is big. The wire can be cut in half. And yes they will be aproved for landscape lighting. I designed a job yesterday. 900 ft long driveway ..... 12 lights at the end.... 20 watt lamps......really can not be done on a 12 volt system but on 24 volt no problem.We can use 3 runs of 8 wire. 3 amp load on each run about 3.7 VD or 4 runs of 10/2 with a 2.5 amp load about a 4.8 VD. This is when vaule enginernig comes in to play.

You could run 120 volts to the end which would cost at lest ...........min size conduite of 1" with 2 # 8 and 1 # 10 thwn , pull boxs , pull roap, soap, tenching, Hire a electrian...what do you think $5000.00

24 volt system........3 # 8/2 80 watts ..2700 ft @ .90 cents = 2400.00
24 volt system........4 # 10 60 watts...3600 feet @ .50 cents = 1800.00


you have a saving of about 3000.00 dollars.not bad

Mike M
12-21-2007, 11:01 AM
That's cool, but I am curious about average medium-sized installs that can be done with 12v. or 24v. Where is the break even point in price comparison between a 12v. and 24v. system?

At what point does it become a savings to use 24V? Can it be approximated by a benchmark of total feet of homeruns? Of course the wattages from bulbs will matter, but a formula could factor in these variables.

nate mullen
12-21-2007, 11:06 AM
Now who on earth wants to get into the sourcing, stocking and tracking the use of 24v lamps? Think of the confusion and frustration in the marketplace on jobs that the original installing contractor looses touch with! Can you imagine the client, caretaker, or yard maintenance guy trying to figure out what is wrong when every replacement (12v) lamp they put in a fixture burns out?!?

Naw they won't move to a full 24V system... they will just throw more voltage, at thinner or longer cable runs until they get 12V at the lamp. What a dogs breakfast of wiring techniques and potential future failures that will be.

We should be pushing for industry standardization people, not looking towards 'new' and alternative directions that will muddy the industry and leave clients upset and systems dysfunctional in the future.

Just my .02 CDN.
I already have and sell this system and by the way GE makes the lamps. Are you still using 7.2 volt cordless drills. WE here in the USA are up to 28 volt cordless drills . As far as Industry standards go, should we adopt your method of voltage drop for a starter I am sure you would like that.........17 years ago I challenge the Voltage drop formula because it was wrong. It is my duty as a Manufacture and a Lighting Professional to also expose the inaccuracy, myths, ignorance statements. I chose and still choose to think outside the box....It is you that is fear full of change do you not want to teach your dogs new tricks?.......... Is the world still flat where you live. :usflag:to a brighter future, Nate

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-21-2007, 11:11 AM
I have to question that cost estimate of $5k to run line voltage to the end of a driveway! To power a 250w load you would not need anywhere near the infastructure that Nate quoted.

If the soils are co-operative they would simply pull a 10/2 NMWU in with a vibratory plow to 18" depth. If the soils are un-coperative then they would pull TEK armoured cable instead. We are talking hundreds not thousands. I have this done regularly by a variety of EC's here.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-21-2007, 12:03 PM
I already have and sell this system and by the way GE makes the lamps. Are you still using 7.2 volt cordless drills. WE here in the USA are up to 28 volt cordless drills . As far as Industry standards go, should we adopt your method of voltage drop for a starter I am sure you would like that.........17 years ago I challenge the Voltage drop formula because it was wrong. It is my duty as a Manufacture and a Lighting Professional to also expose the inaccuracy, myths, ignorance statements. I chose and still choose to think outside the box....It is you that is fear full of change do you not want to teach your dogs new tricks?.......... Is the world still flat where you live. :usflag:to a brighter future, Nate

This post has been edited by M. Donovan. The original version was insulting and inflammatory to me personally. I am not sure why Nate Mullen would sink to such levels on a public forum.

My original response has been removed too. The gist of it was that Mr. Mullen should be ashamed of his remarks and that I no longer have the time or the interest to participate here.

To the true professionals out there doing great work for great people, I wish you all luck and prosperity and hope that we can cross paths in person in the near future. Adieu.

Merry Christmas.

JoeyD
12-21-2007, 12:19 PM
James, Nate's comment was edited and bassicly said he understands why some get on your case. I saw it and I think they only changed one line. It was not any worse than than things you have said about Unique Lighting in this forum and in other places. You need to understand that Nate would not jump down someones throat if he did not feel provoked or attacked. Nate does not need me to stand up for him but I do know what he was and is upset about. You choose to call us out and then back away. You then bring out your loyal ns distributor to pin us on 1838 and then love to gloat about it. You cannot sit so high up then drop down to a low level only to claim you are still taking the high road. No body wants you to leave this forum, we know how much you have to offer here. But if you cant take the heat then you should not dish it out, especially to those who are only trying to improve the industry.


Bottom line is you have started atleast 3 threads trying to pin Unique on something. "Whats So Unique" if you really want to know, we dont allow people to make us look like we are trying to ruin the industry. We dont sit there and teach bad VD methods, and we dont always do things that are in your words "traditional". We want to push this industry and if we hurt some feelings along the way that I guess thats just something that is going to happen. So many people have tried to build there fences higher but they cant hold us in. We will continue to let that fire burn and we will continue to try and produce products and materials and techniques that are going to better this industry and make your lives easier.

Respectfully,
Joey D.

nate mullen
12-21-2007, 01:07 PM
I have to question that cost estimate of $5k to run line voltage to the end of a driveway! To power a 250w load you would not need anywhere near the infastructure that Nate quoted.

If the soils are co-operative they would simply pull a 10/2 NMWU in with a vibratory plow to 18" depth. If the soils are un-coperative then they would pull TEK armoured cable instead. We are talking hundreds not thousands. I have this done regularly by a variety of EC's here.

James, Are you an Electrical contractor? I was. NEVER NEVER NEVER would you pull cable in with a plow............................at least not in the USA. Its closer to the 5K than 100's you state.

nate mullen
12-21-2007, 01:26 PM
This post has been edited by M. Donovan. The original version was insulting and inflammatory to me personally. I am not sure why Nate Mullen would sink to such levels on a public forum.

My original response has been removed too. The gist of it was that Mr. Mullen should be ashamed of his remarks and that I no longer have the time or the interest to participate here.

To the true professionals out there doing great work for great people, I wish you all luck and prosperity and hope that we can cross paths in person in the near future. Adieu.

Merry Christmas.

James, It was not my intention for you to leave this forum. As a lighting professional you offer experience and expertise to all of those that participate here. Which is why when you state facts, or your opinion as facts, they have to be true. I have sat here for weeks reading some of your posts that are simply not true, undermine and insult me and my company. My original post is the one posted now as far as I can tell…..Its is always in the best interest of any profession to move forward, challenge and innovate. Anyway I look forward to meeting at the ALOP. To a brighter future, Nate Mullen

Lite4
12-21-2007, 01:54 PM
James,
The argument could also conversly be made that there is too much standardization nowdays in the low volt systems. Why do you think we have to fight homeowners who can run down to just about any hardware store and find parts to fiddle with their own systems instead of calling a lighting specialist. Things have been made very easy for them. I realize it also because it doesn't require any licenses or certifications to work on it but maybe it should. I think alot of these parts are available to them because of industry standardization to a degree.
I don't see the problem with different voltages. An electrician deals with many types of lights and voltages. 12v, 120v, 240v 480v and so on. Why would it be such a problem as lighting specialist to adapt to different technology and techniques for different situations, just as an electrician would.
In my humble opinion, the more sophisticated the systems become the more we are going to see the homeowners and tinkerers staying away from lighting and leaving it to the trained specialists.
I am fine with new technology. I am a smart enough guy to be able to track my clients and their hardware. I also don't have any problem keeping a variety of components available in my truck.
Sorry James, I am not harping on you man. Just my perspective of the issue.

SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES
12-21-2007, 09:09 PM
James, I am not a lighting professional by any means. I am about as green as you can to this industry, but that does not keep me from noticing someone with a personal riff when I see it. I do not understand your problem with a 24V system. it may be my ignorace to the technology, but my view is, there are plenty of products outhere on the industry that have a very limited application and this may very well be one of them, but there have to be uses for this product or Nate would not spend well earned money to put it into production. My view is, if you don't need it, don't buy it, if you don't think it will be a success and will be harmful to the industry, then that will be Nate that suffers the reprocussions.

Also, if you have a riff with someone here, i don't see a problem with confronting them, but if it gets personal enough, don't expect someone to sit idle by and just take it. If it gets bad enough, don't be surprised when LS yanks the thread.

irrig8r
12-22-2007, 10:16 PM
So, if these 24 V lamps are readily available, how and where are they used in other parts of the world? How long have they been in use and what kind of a track record do they have?

Things change.... new standards get accepted for one reason or another. My old '66 VW bug had a 6 volt system. I'm glad it's not the standard for cars.

Mike M
12-23-2007, 06:42 AM
Kichler has a 24v trans for indoor lighting, recommended for runs longer than 30 feet. I know nothing about indoor lighting, but this tells me they use finer cable. Very interesting. Still wondering where the breakeven is for outdoor lighting. Small, medium, or just large jobs, etc?

nate mullen
12-23-2007, 09:25 AM
Kichler has a 24v trans for indoor lighting, recommended for runs longer than 30 feet. I know nothing about indoor lighting, but this tells me they use finer cable. Very interesting. Still wondering where the breakeven is for outdoor lighting. Small, medium, or just large jobs, etc?

I think tI think there are several things to consider:

1: I have always believed in creating separation in my company’s. Back in the day when I was a lighting contractor I concentrated on a lighting style that was focused on the ability of light to reflect back on all surfaces I.E. sidewalks and driveway. This taught me placement and levels of light. AND ………………….I was the only lighting pro in all of San Diego country not to use path light …..which at that time all L/V lights were Aluminum which deteriorates fast. ( the powder coating was not a good ether back then.) I called it CD. (Continuous deterioration ) Now I could say things nobody else could ……………my first rule of marketing…………….say things nobody else can……………My lighting systems are life time warranty ……….my lighting style is different I creating a lighting portrait using the light to create a mood .not the fixture……….I hope you get the point, Now lets take the 24 volt system this can easily create that separation. Less wire, more profession, can’t by it at home depot, reinforces a need for a maintenance contract, more energy efficient.

2: It is more cost effective;
Smaller wire, we could start using 14 gauge if we wanted. (I will get a price on it for fun…………now before any freaks out all of our homes are wired in 14/2 romex except for the kitchen).

More lights on a run. Twice as many on the same size wire

Double the distance with the same size wire

Half the watt loss as a 12 volt system

Even on a small 20 light system it could be big. What ever half the wire is ……………..this could be big If your transformer is 1838 it has a limit to 25 amp per circuit. Which by the way it is a violation of the NEC to put a 12 wire under a 25 amp over current protection………….so every system that has 12 wire on it is not legal….. But you won’t hear anybody tell you that. (I been making 1838 transformers for years, but there are a lot of limitation to them, maybe I’ll start a post) Now that 25 amps means 300 watts @ 80 % that’s only 240 watts. This force’s you to either use 1 #10 wire for all 240 watts (which now circumvents the reason to use larger wire to over come voltage drop…. it will be like using 12) or use 2 # 12 wires with 120 watts each. (which is not legal).