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Mike M
02-04-2008, 10:28 AM
Anyone here use pierce-points at least when chaining, or seen one worth looking into?

DO NOT COMPARE WITH ALTERNATIVES, I'm not starting an argument/debate here on best connections, search for mike's splice thread or whatever I called it.

I plan to subject some pierce-point connectors to a heated salt bath experiment.

Also, is the 3M pouch with hardening sealant the only thing that could hold a completed pierce-point connection?

Thanks!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-04-2008, 01:01 PM
Stop thinking so much about minutae Mike. Be more productive.

Pierce points suck and there is no place for them in a professionally designed and installed lighting system. Period.

Mike M
02-04-2008, 01:44 PM
James, you better put in in your LED interest group.

irrig8r
02-04-2008, 02:57 PM
Stop thinking so much about minutae Mike. Be more productive.

Pierce points suck and there is no place for them in a professionally designed and installed lighting system. Period.


Mike, In your heart you know he's right.

Pro-Scapes
02-04-2008, 06:38 PM
LED's with the wide range of input may give you the oppurtunity to chain fixtures but gives you no excuse to use pierce points. Minus Kudos points for you today mike.

If you want to go led thats your perogative but dont hack your systems in just because you can chain em. Its not fair to your clients to offer high quality components with marginal workmanship.

You have come up with some off the wall ideas and topics but this one is the worst by far.:nono::nono:

Mike M
02-04-2008, 06:41 PM
Mike, In your heart you know he's right.

Chris was peeved that I wasn't sharing info, but it's only because I knew you guys would laugh at me and insult me.

Please, read the opening statements of my post. Of course James is right, in regards to lighting systems as we now know them. James is brilliant, but I don't think he gets my needs.

Let me ask you this Greg, what does the phone company do in your house, do they still use the hub method like they did in my old Pennsylvania basement? Do they cut-n-nut? Do they use heatshrink tubes? No. No. And no. They tap into the line with little silicone-filled pierce-points.

I asked not to compare the pierce-points with our current favorites for a reason. Wiring objectives and configurations are about to cut loose from old restrictions.

You guys better start doing your homework, or the new guys coming with clear minds and a fresh start will have a big advantage over you.

I love Unique and Cast with all my heart, but then again, I love trains, too. Until I see Nate see-the-light, Mike M's new big two: DGLights & Kichler. In fact, intermattic has the perfect transformer. How crazy is that?

Wow. Just like that, I've got two orders of LED's coming. I'm so pumped I can't sleep.

Let me explain my rationale for those of you who don't play with calculators: LED's are not just eco friendly, they are cheaper to install. Yup. 25% of the required wattage for same candle power means 25% of the copper windings in a transformer, and 25% of the needed copper in a cable.

Add to that, the savings in labor. You can daisychain your heart out. The control module in the fixture can take a range of volts, like 9v thru 15v, and still only give the LED exactly what it needs.

Greg, you gonna make 20 conventional splices on one run? or find a good pierce-point and pop it into a 3M sealant pouch? Labor = $, multiple cuts = more chance of failure and voltage loss.

Demo's. 20-30 minutes. Why? you can use 9v batteries and no wires, or, an easy-to-assemble daisy run with multiple movable pierce points.

Replicability and simplicity. Without so much worry about multitaps and readings, you can promote your service and tech guys to installation and head back to your office for design, marketing, and running your business.

Just flag the site per your designs, go back and inspect and aim in the evening. Or, check in and help on a few installs during the day.

Am I really alone on this one?

Pro-Scapes
02-04-2008, 07:01 PM
On the pierce points... yes your alone. Alot of guys dont run hubs and do T's and chains and loops which would basically be what your doing. You dont see them offering pierce points. You think allum is bad in your coastal area, try a pierce point.

I think its great you wanna lead off with the led scene but keep in mind. They wont be for every one. On another note. Dont sell your cost short yet. Theyw ill still need to be maintained even tho you will not have to relamp. Optics will still get dirty... plants will still grow etc. Pierce points create wicking. Wicking will eat your voltage alive. I have dug up systems a year old with pierce points and grease in side only to find the cable is black.

We all chimmed in on your splice thread which you studied forever and now you want to revert back to a DIY type of splice ? Unreal your even considering this. when systems fail in a few years your reputation your working so hard on now will be trashed.
Why sell a 100,000 hr fixture with a 10k hr connector. Rememeber the weakest link syndrom ?

Mike M
02-04-2008, 07:24 PM
Nate mentions a 24v system and you guys go off on him. He's a genius. Why do you think he would do this, just to play with more sparks? No! He funded his manu business with money he made as a smart installer. Wire isn't just resistant to electricity, it's friction for income, too. Voltage drop costs money to deal with on a conventional 12v system.

The multimatic trans was made for a similar cost-savings idea: free yourself from circuit limitations of amp load.

I'm hoping he's smart enough to already have something like a 14.5 fixed trans for an LED system.

Billy, the pierce points you pulled up with black copper wire, you did not specify the brand and/or UL info. Not all wire nuts are created equal either, you know.

I'm putting my ideas to the test, so stop worrying. I already order several different pierce points. I'll either soak them in a heated corrosive solution or I'll just toss them in my buddy's crab pot (trap) and see what we pull up. Then I'll hook up my true rms meter.

I still can't believe you guys think I have a problem. This is so classic. If you guys think I'm wasting my time, just let me know and I'll keep all my results and new systems configurations to myself. Maybe I'll show them to Chris J. because he hasn't chimed in to insult me. Yet. Billy, I'm gonna keep ordering every LED FOLD gets in stock until you cry mercy. :)

Eddie Clemens. When will he realize that LED's are the greastest thing that ever happened to controls?

irrig8r
02-04-2008, 07:35 PM
I don't know anything about phone companies using pierce points... here they don't.

If you completely seal them in epoxy they might hold up... but why go the trouble when there are better solutions to the problem already tried and tested?

Using pierce points is cutting corners, no matter how you try to convince yourself otherwise.

Also, beware of downsizing wires too much... you still might want to expand a system in the future.

And Malibu/ Intermatic transformers? If you're not selling a transformer with a warranty as long as the projected life of your LEDs then you're not thinking ahead far enough.

IMHO, if you're going to be installing pure LED systems, you still have a responsibility to your customers, to the maker of your LED products, and to your own future business to install the best overall quality system you can...

Mike, I think you have an opportunity to get a lot of positive local press exposure if you can push the whole energy and materials savings "green" angle.

The reputation of LED systems depends on installers who know what they're doing. Do it right to begin with and reap greater rewards later.

My $.02.

Mike M
02-04-2008, 07:47 PM
Greg, I hear some promise in your tone. Kichler ain't Unique or Cast, but they are big enough to back their fixtures and transformers, and intermattic has a contractor grade transformer perfect to drive an LED system.

It's okay to be affraid! I always told my students, courage means being affraid, but stepping forward anyways.

I'm putting my money where my mouth is.

Mavericks, call me! Let's be independent together! If not, I'm flyin solo.

Pro-Scapes
02-04-2008, 08:24 PM
yes phone companys do use the little round pierce points with silicone but I have yet to find them direct buried... in a pedestal yes... in a home yes... in a phone box yes... in the ground un protected no I have never seen this. Big difference tho... the wire is up inside the grease and fully shouded BEFORE the wire is pierced.

I also think you will find it difficult to place a hadco power tap or other piece point in a resin sack. Maybe I am missing something here ?

I agree with greg. Dont go overboard downsizing your wire. These thing still pull wattage and you still will have V drop.

I already gave you my solution on messanger. Use the unique or gambino transformers and run them at 14v. Even tho the led will handle 15 make sure you pad some room.

I would continue with the standard system and OFFER or advertise the LED's but dont pass up an install where someone wants something different. Do yourself, Your business and your clients a favor and dont cut corners. Price it a few bucks a light higher and do it right.

Eden Lights
02-04-2008, 08:29 PM
Eddie Clemens. When will he realize that LED's are the greastest thing that ever happened to controls?

Someone told me my name was dropped here, so I thought I would check it out. I really haven't followed this thread much. What do leds and controls have in common or how are they related? Are leds dimmable? What am I missing?

Mike M
02-04-2008, 08:56 PM
Someone told me my name was dropped here, so I thought I would check it out. I really haven't followed this thread much. What do leds and controls have in common or how are they related? Are leds dimmable? What am I missing?

Okay, Eddie;

I'll quote a history prof I had 24 years ago: "History is invisible." i.e., it's happening right now, but we don't see it.

LED's are dimmable. Thank you for noticing.

Welcome bro, you on board?? PM me and we can discuss wiring details, ideas. Got money? You can help me form a new company. This offer goes with anyone interested. If you already have a company, consider partnering.

Thanks.

extlights
02-04-2008, 09:35 PM
I have never and will never talk down to someone who is willing to go out on a limb and try something. With that being said, I don't like those connectors and will not use them, however we've replaced systems that were probably 10 years old that did have those and many of them did not fail. If you want to use them fine, you just have to remember it's on your dime if one fails.

I'm not 100 percent certain on led's just yet. The concept of them is interesting yet unproven in this industry. My main concern would be putting in a product in my customers multi-million dollar home that's really uncertain at this point. I think in maybe a few years things could change, but I'm not quite sold on them as of now. I also could be completely wrong.....who knows.

ChampionLS
02-04-2008, 09:36 PM
Since we know more about Pierce Points than anyone who posts on this forum, let me share the real facts.

Pierce Points, also called Insulation Piercing Connectors have many advantages, and several disadvantages.

Advantages:

To provide a quick connection to circuit cable, when using a smaller sized fixture cable.

Provides a tap to the circuit cable without cutting or splicing- The more you cut your circuit cable, the longer length of cable you will need. Manually splicing the cut circuit cable increases resistance at each cut

Cutting the circuit cable makes it weaker and more subject to failure, should the cable be pulled.

Pierce Points can be used over and over, by simply loosening, and relocating to another point along the circuit cable.

Pierce Points provide a neat, clean appearance and a small working footprint to install. I.E. working overhead, or under a deck or overhang.

ALL underground circuit cable uses a UL approved PVC insulation, which provides a liquid tight & gas tight seal, and was specifically designed for use with Insulation Piercing Connectors.

Disadvantages:

The introduction of Silicone filled wire nuts designed specifically for low voltage use and/or direct burial has economically replaced, the Piercing Connector price for price.

Pierce Point connectors can only be used with one conductor or cable at a time. Large over sized wire nuts, and other new cable connectors allow for Hub wiring, and connecting of multiple fixtures at once.

Pierce Point connectors are only practical with wiring methods such as: daisy chain, loop method and Tee, and can cause voltage drop when uses excessively.

Excessive relocating of Pierce Points on an existing circuit cable will leave injury to the cable and allow wicking to occur. This can cause corrosion under the jacket and failure of the copper conductors.


There are many ways to install lighting, and there are many ways to provide wiring of those fixtures. For those of you who know our product, we use the Pierce Point connector exclusively, and for good reason.
Since nobody here is a paver contractor, our initial product was an accent light for pavingstones. Pavingstones are laid on a one inch thick bed of sand. Once the pavers are laid, there is no way of routing any wires to a fixture without excessive labor. To simplify this, I designed a system where the circuit cable is first laid down on the sand, and the pavers place right over the cable. Laborers install the pavingsones and are not held up with conventional wire loops sticking up in the laying pattern. Also, taking a guess at where a fixture should go by leaving a exposed wire loop is a mistake waiting to happen. Conventional wire nutting requires slack in the cable, and that slack must be buried.

The use of a Piercing Connector allows zero slack requirement in the circuit cable, and a quick, easy installation process for the installers. The lighting installer can easily measure and calculate for fixture placement. Once this is done, one or two pavingstones are removed to expose the cable. A small finger full of sand is moved from around the cable,and a pierce point (hereinafter called Power Tap Connector) installed with the fixture. This power tap connector can easily withstand the pounding vibratory compaction of a plate tamper, which is used to settle the pavers and provide interlock. It is critical to install a electrical connector that meets this criteria and use it in such a manor as outlined above on any in-grade fixture when working with interlocking pavingstones. ANY disturbance to the base aggregates can cause failure of the interlocking design and require a service call.

Our Power Tap Connector, (Mfg. by Hadco) for us is the only UL recognized stand alone component of it's type. All others at the time of our listing with UL did not pass acceptance.

To further inhibit corrosion, an anti-corrosive compound made of NYK (NOT ox guard by General,which is a graphite) can be generously applied to all electrical connections and to the circuit cable before applying the Power Tap.

-Anthony

ChampionLS
02-04-2008, 09:51 PM
For those of you who missed this discussion several months ago, visit this thread:

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=191545

Mike M
02-04-2008, 09:52 PM
Thank you my friend. You are the second pro installer that has recommended to me the Hadco product.

I am also exploring another stage of protection, and will be trying products like 3M's sealant-filled pouches/bags.

To accomplish you installation objective, you have found a reliable means.

LED's can be daisy chained in numerous ways which light bulbs like halogens cannot. If I find the hadco to pass my raised temperature salt solution bath test, or crab-pot-in-the-ocean experiment, then I too will have found a fine application.

I am also testing others.

By the way, the long dasiy chained capabilities of LED's would lend themselves nicely to paver applications.

extlights
02-04-2008, 09:57 PM
I've used the Hadco connector a handful of times for really tight connection spots where there couldn't be any slack. Just be careful that you don't over tighten that screw because the top part of the connector will crack and you won't get a good connection. I think I have a few hundred of those connectors we've never used in a bag somewhere. :)

Mike M
02-04-2008, 09:59 PM
I read a recommendation to use a cordless drill, probably perfect since you can set the torque.

Eden Lights
02-04-2008, 10:04 PM
Okay, Eddie;

I'll quote a history prof I had 24 years ago: "History is invisible." i.e., it's happening right now, but we don't see it.

LED's are dimmable. Thank you for noticing.

Welcome bro, you on board?? PM me and we can discuss wiring details, ideas. Got money? You can help me form a new company. This offer goes with anyone interested. If you already have a company, consider partnering.

Thanks.

"The cutting edge is also the bleeding edge."

Very few manufactures now do proper testing and then proper beta testing in the field. That is what they have us dummies for and we do it for free, no we do it at a huge loss!

ChampionLS
02-04-2008, 10:07 PM
Mike,

Hadco discontinued the double tap connector, but we carry it exclusively. It allows you to connect ONE 18 gauge circuit cable to EITHER 12/2 circuit cable or 10/3 circuit cable. There is a tremendous advantage with this option. 10/3 cable (Luma cable by RUUD) can allow twice the current and cable run. The center conductor would be ground and the outer conductors are the hots. Alternating the connector will tap into either circuit A or circuit B. Placing two separate transformers or one 600 watt unit (300x300) will allow separate switching of fixtures, with the only labor of placing one cable.

The Hadco LVC3 is made of Fiberglass reinforced Nylon and stainless steel pierce pins. At some point, they went to a cheaper grade of resin and if you over tighten the top half, you can crack it. We just recommend you carefully press the two together with the end of your screwdriver, or a piece of wood. Never use pliers!. We had the unit tested on our UL file and it passed the saline test with flying colors.

The one thats still available is the single circuit type through Hadco.

Pro-Scapes
02-04-2008, 10:12 PM
has anyone ever given thought about thoes razor sharp points either not making a sound connection thus increasing resistance and a drop in voltage to your light or thoes same points cutting clean thru some strands of wire which would bring up steve parrots post about wire stripping ?

A good manual connection is by far better. If you want an inline then look at the ace connectors. Anthony you have your solution built into the fixture. Thoes hollow plastic bases are the perfect place to hide a small connection and protect it along with making it acsessible for any needed service.

Mike M
02-04-2008, 10:12 PM
What is the application on the one they still make, 12/2 to 18/2?

ChampionLS
02-04-2008, 10:12 PM
Heres a nice example of how to use the double sided Power Tap Connector for some special effects.

ChampionLS
02-04-2008, 10:16 PM
Yes. I don't know how much they use them, since the hub method became available. You might want to contact Lew Waltz. We were with them at Lightfair in 05.

Mike M
02-04-2008, 10:20 PM
PP's will return and dominate.

ChampionLS
02-04-2008, 10:21 PM
has anyone ever given thought about those razor sharp points either not making a sound connection thus increasing resistance and a drop in voltage to your light or those same points cutting clean thru some strands of wire which would bring up steve parrots post about wire stripping ?

A good manual connection is by far better. If you want an inline then look at the ace connectors. Anthony you have your solution built into the fixture. Those hollow plastic bases are the perfect place to hide a small connection and protect it along with making it accessible for any needed service.

Hey Billybob!

YES...your 100% correct :hammerhead: You DO need a good eye, and some common sense when using these. It's rare to miss, since the Hadco unit is designed with a wire groove, but like anything thats mass produced, the pins can get bent and a miss-splice can occur. WE recommend you connect your fixtures with the power turned on. This way you'll know right away if you dont have a sound connection. Go dig up those instruction sheets behind your fax machine and brush up. You'll see we covered everything.

We'll me making some improvements in the future when it comes time to replace the mold.

-Anthony

ChampionLS
02-04-2008, 10:38 PM
I would like to show everyone a retrofit from 8 years ago. The photos shown are from an experiment to install lighting. These units..simply taped together using stock hardware and a 12v lamp has evolved to (company name) today. The HDPE base can be modified to fit retaining wall caps, by cutting off the paver depth flange. This was a retrofit project that came out nicely. Here we are installing Sesame colored lamp modules. Note, the chintzy power tap from Intermatic's Malibu line, before the Hadco product. That Malibu unit never failed either. I tried to take a close up of the pierce point for you to see. Notice there is zero corrosion (probably because its installed above grade and hidden in the wall block)

Enjoy.

ChampionLS
02-04-2008, 10:43 PM
In case your all wondering how we removed those step treads without breaking them... get yourself a air chisel with a portable air compressor. They pop right off. If you look closely at the last picture, you can see the chisel's entry point next to the existing cap. Wheres my Staples Easy Button??! :drinkup:

Lite4
02-04-2008, 10:48 PM
Anthony, I used to install tons of pavers. I would always run conduit to my connection points where we were planning on having paver lights or wall lights. I would simply push my wire through the conduit, make my connection and push the wire and connector into the conduit. I would then use an expanding foam to fill the conduit so that sand would not leach out through the conduit and cause settling. I don't see the problem in doing it this way with a good connection. Most of the paver lights are on the perimeter of the pavers or concrete anyway. I will never feel comfortable with a pierce point, but you guys can do whatever you want.

Mike M
02-04-2008, 10:54 PM
Tim, if you do an LED install and can chain 20 to a single run, for lots of runs you install, do you think you might look for a quality, reliable pierce point? Even if just for demo's??

Lite4
02-04-2008, 10:59 PM
Mike, I am still not sold on LEDs, with the exception of Anthony's product and its specified intention, so I will not be using them unless they are driving some fiber optic lights for varied efects (see fiber optic thread). I do not daisy chain so even using them on a demo is not feasable for me. Thanks for asking though.

ChampionLS
02-04-2008, 11:10 PM
Tim,

I hear you. Believe me. The problem is the paver guys are... "paver guys" They don't know electricity. They dont have time to learn, and they won't take time out to prepare for it. None of these guys want to slow down their installation with procedures that are time consuming. Simply stated, what we have here is no different than doing it above grade. Pull wire, connect, it's done.

The professional landscape lighting contractor will make time to go the extra mile, even if it's not needed, and there is probably extra money in the budget for it. The pavingstone marketplace is decades behind. Half of these contractors don't even use transits or laser levels.

As far as call backs, and warranty- We have yet to honor any replacement Lamp Modules or trouble shoot serious corrosion issues from our methods. We didn't say you couldn't use wire nuts. We do stock and sell them as an accessory.

ChampionLS
02-04-2008, 11:13 PM
We always specify to use the 'loop back method' for all installs whenever possible. Again, at only 4 watts (close to LED) there is not much voltage drop, since each fixture only draws 0.33 Amps.

Lite4
02-04-2008, 11:15 PM
I hear what you are saying about most hardscapers. I never had a problem because I was doing the pavers and the lights myself.
As far as the connections go each one of us is going to find our own path and comfort zone with connections, if the pierce points work for you guys, hey, more power to you. I am just not going to get out of my comfort zone on this one. I am sticking with my heat shrinks.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-04-2008, 11:29 PM
Mike.

I will go out on a limb and say that I have installed more LED based pro grade lighting in the past year then anyone else on Lawnsite and perhaps in the industry. I did a lot of research leading up to this decision, certainly more then a couple weeks worth.

I tested technology, learned the specs, sourced products, adapted techniques, etc etc. So far so good.

One thing I have not changed, nor intend to in the short term is the type or method of my power systems, wiring, or connections. There is a very good reason for this. LED lamps and technology are still very new, especially for our application outdoors. In the event that there is a catastrophic failure of the lamp technology (i.e. it does not stand up, the lamps fail, etc) I dont want to be left with a completely useless system in the ground.

I would highly recommend that you power up and wire up your systems in the traditional manner. That way, if you do suffer from a major issue, you can simply return to relamp the system with traditional technology and the connectors, wire, voltage drops, and transformers are all in place to accomodate the switch. You might see that as covering your ass... but you have to be wise when pushing the envelope.

My way, it costs you some lamps if there is an issue. Your way, you have to completely rebuild the system from the Transformer forward... or risk losing the client and your reputation.

You are just getting started... don't take on too much risk my friend.

Eden Lights
02-04-2008, 11:57 PM
Mike.

I will go out on a limb and say that I have installed more LED based pro grade lighting in the past year then anyone else on Lawnsite and perhaps in the industry. I did a lot of research leading up to this decision, certainly more then a couple weeks worth.

I tested technology, learned the specs, sourced products, adapted techniques, etc etc. So far so good.

One thing I have not changed, nor intend to in the short term is the type or method of my power systems, wiring, or connections. There is a very good reason for this. LED lamps and technology are still very new, especially for our application outdoors. In the event that there is a catastrophic failure of the lamp technology (i.e. it does not stand up, the lamps fail, etc) I dont want to be left with a completely useless system in the ground.

I would highly recommend that you power up and wire up your systems in the traditional manner. That way, if you do suffer from a major issue, you can simply return to relamp the system with traditional technology and the connectors, wire, voltage drops, and transformers are all in place to accomodate the switch. You might see that as covering your ass... but you have to be wise when pushing the envelope.

My way, it costs you some lamps if there is an issue. Your way, you have to completely rebuild the system from the Transformer forward... or risk losing the client and your reputation.

You are just getting started... don't take on too much risk my friend.

Are you saying that your using a MR16 style LED? Everything else the same. While this would be a excellent way to get your feet wet and is very smart, wouldn't it limit the LED benefits?

I had the benefit of a client financed look into led packages in 2006 and I couldn't really sell them to him or myself. It came down to a 12W array vs. the 20W Halogen and the cost difference had to be paid back with lamp savings, since the energy savings wasn't that big of difference, maybe at best $100 per year. I couldn't sale less maintenance since most of my maintenance is adjusting, pruning, re-staking, cleaning, and etc. and not just changing lamps. I think my first use of leds will be tree or high structure mounted downlighting, since that would cut down on maintenance costs and become a real benefit to my clients and myself. This same client has a vacation home where we have 300W of halogen lighting that is part of a off grid system. Solar panels, battery packs, charger, and power inverter setup. While this was a out of town job that we only did the lighting for, it was still a lot of fun.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-05-2008, 12:12 AM
I do a lot of downlighting here both building and tree mounted. It is also very naturally dark. The use of LED MR16 lamps is very effective for creating natural, soft, moonlighting effects. I have to limit my uplighting and dramatic features to switched circuits that are only used on occassion due to municipal ordinances and good neighbour policies (which I whole heartedly support and in most cases helped to craft).

The use of these LED "drop ins" as some like to call them, is a very effective means of advancing my clients into LED lighting systems, it offers excellent cost benefit to them in terms of maintenance and efficiency, and make my life much easier and safer. As the LED industry advances, so will I. I will not succumb to installing sealed LED based fixtures though, and I will continue to build my systems to incandescent specs in terms of transformers, loads, wire and connections.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-05-2008, 01:33 AM
Mike there is another reason to build your systems more ruggedly, not use thin wire, not use cheap connectors etc etc.... I call it the "race for the bottom". Too many people out there are racing for the bottom of the market. It is not the way to go.

By building your systems properly, using top grade components you not only protect yourself from failures, but you ensure that you are making a good living. Put another way... how many $5k systems do you have to install in a year to make a decent living for you and your family? Now how many $50k systems do you need to install to make that same quality of life?

Use better stuff, focus on better systems, better clients, better markets, etc etc. Don't race to the bottom on component quality and costs.

Regards.

Pro-Scapes
02-05-2008, 07:36 AM
PP's will return and dominate.

:laugh::laugh::laugh: Not on my jobs they wont. Using pierce points is lazy and ranks your systems up there with the hack landscapers slapping things in.

Mike M
02-05-2008, 07:42 AM
Alright, now you guys are starting to think. Let's put what we know on the table and kick it around.

I'm presenting a model which not only uses efficient fixtures, but also an efficient system (based on my model that LED's require 25% of the copper and power). I offer smart illumination. What can I say? It's not only eco-friendly, I think it's fun. And it's more than a great light source, it's a great system.

A bigger risk is the expensive insurance policy: using copper wire and transformers that are 400% more than necessary, in case the LED's prove to be failure over time. In fact, a worse insurance policy is popping in those fallible retro-bulbs. You may as well bury an MR16 halogen in a baggy next to the stake.

If you backpack solo, you know you have to walk a little more carefully and not make bad decisions. However, you don't bulk up on a bunch of stuff in your pack "just in case" you need it. The extra weight will be the source of your lagging behind and may be a cause for injury, or worse yet (IMO) the reason you fell short of your goals.

If you guys want to carefully study and observe what happens with LED's, I'll leave a popcorn trail behind me.

Mike M
02-05-2008, 07:44 AM
:laugh::laugh::laugh: Not on my jobs they wont.

To which jobs are referring, Billy? Your LED systems, or your conventional lightbulb systems?

Pro-Scapes
02-05-2008, 07:46 AM
To which jobs are referring, Billy? Your LED systems, or your conventional lightbulb systems?

any of my systems. If I chained an led system I am still going to solder em up or use buchanans.

Mike M
02-05-2008, 07:56 AM
Billy, solder would be fastest and best of the conventional cutting methods. All the connections would be in a row, very fast, no voltage loss. It's how I splice now, but if I find a good pierce method...

Let's face it, you know I'm obsessed about details, you know I research, you know I'm using the scientific method to put several brands to the test. So why be affraid of a connection if I find one which works?

I would never use pierce points on my halogen systems, I prefer soldering at a hub and using ace connectors for in-lines.

eskerlite
02-05-2008, 08:06 AM
I have replaced every pierce point connector i ever stupidly installed. Dont put these in the ground. Throw them out when You see them. Any connector is better. Ace connectors are the best and are ul 1838 listed. Are your pierce points? I say NO!
Sean C.:nono:

Mike M
02-05-2008, 08:12 AM
I have replaced every pierce point connector i ever stupidly installed. Dont put these in the ground. Throw them out when You see them. Any connector is better. Ace connectors are the best and are ul 1838 listed. Are your pierce points? I say NO!
Sean C.:nono:

I believe the hadco's are listed, I could be wrong.

eskerlite
02-05-2008, 08:21 AM
There are no pierce point connectors UL listed.
Sean C.

Pro-Scapes
02-05-2008, 08:22 AM
I have replaced every pierce point connector i ever stupidly installed. Dont put these in the ground. Throw them out when You see them. Any connector is better. Ace connectors are the best and are ul 1838 listed. Are your pierce points? I say NO!
Sean C.:nono:

UL listing does not mean its high quality it just means it conforms and its safe. You think the UL gives a rats hairy butt if you get called out to a failed connections. I will give anthony a point here. Where he is placing his is

A)on top of well drained sand
B)under a brick which protects it
C)not a dedicated lighting guy

Listen to Sean here. This is experience speaking to you. I cant even comprehend we are discussing this mike after your splice thread. No one ever said it had to be a hub to solder.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-05-2008, 08:34 AM
Mike I have a belief that I have tried to live by for a long time.... so far it has served me well:

When you think something is right, and all the people around you say that it is wrong... well then you are probably wrong.

On pierce points and building your systems with light ga. wire, connectors and small transformers.... for the time being... you are wrong my friend.

extlights
02-05-2008, 09:08 AM
Just curious....You keep speaking of these led's and the features and benefits of them....how many projects do you have in the ground that are all led's? It takes a lot of time, practice and experience with anything to know exactly how it's going to perform, the pro's and con's of them, and the reliability of them...not to mention a lot of other unanswered questions someone might have. Even with conventional low voltage lights, I'm sure everyone here when they first started had a learning curve also, as well as a lot of personal field testing with some different manufacturers products... ie. lights, wire..etc.

My advice would be if you don't have much experience with led's, don't just solely take someone elses word about them. It takes a lot more than reading up on something and listening to what someone has to say about a product to really fully understand all the capabilities of it. And back to the subject at hand....it's the same for the connectors. You can do all the tests you want on them....the real test, however, is putting them in the ground and seeing how long it will be before you return to replace them.

Mike M
02-05-2008, 09:12 AM
First, is anyone listening to me? I am not yet ready to bank on pierce points. It why I requested more info regarding the ones available. I will use the scientific method to rule them out or improve them to my standards. I am merely realizing a change in the way I do things, as dictated by my new needs and new freedoms associated with LED's.

Second, if not pierce points, I would do as Billy suggests, since he and I know that soldering is fast and reliable. I would line up my connections like ducks in a row, and dunk them all into my solder pot before it cools.

The bigger question here is whether there is a need to reconfigure a whole new system.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-05-2008, 09:38 AM
First. Mike... are you hearing everyone else?

In my experience, I do not think you are wise to move to 100% LED based outdoor lighting systems at this time. There is not the variety, flexibility and selection of light sources required to solve all of your needs on the market at this time. The sealed fixtures on the market are a joke. The DGlights line looks promising but is very limited in scope. The number of LED replacement lamps is very limited in efficacy and consistancy.

What will you do when you need a brighter source? A softer source? What about soft floods? How will you alter the beam spreads? What about fully shielded downlighting? How will you handle the inherent beam spread variances between similar fixtures when doing Architectural lighting? (You understand the variance that currently exists with LEDs right?) What about a variety of pathlighting styles and outputs? Underwater Lighting? How will you batch or bin your LED lamps to ensure even and similar colour output? (You are aware of the need to batch/bin the manufacturing of LED elements to ensure colour consistancy, right?) I have more questions if you are up for them...

I am convinced that LED is the future of our industry, but it is not all there just yet. Learn it, seek it out, start using it where appropriate, build it right based on tried and proven methods so you don't get caught....

Regards.

Mike M
02-05-2008, 11:19 AM
James, I don't have all the answers, but that's the fun part. I can respond a little to some q's, but these are responses, not all answers.

What will you do when you need a brighter source?

Kichler has a boatload of 35 and 50 w equiv's coming.

A softer source? What about soft floods? How will you alter the beam spreads?

Did you get one of Sherman's yet? My palm65 came with three optical choices.

What about fully shielded downlighting? How will you handle the inherent beam spread variances between similar fixtures when doing Architectural lighting?

Kichler already has a plethora of fixtures to suit many needs, shouldn't be long. I'll have to check their catalog online to see what they have planned for LED downlights. Sherman covered this with me on how to modify the Palm65 for downlighting. I guess we'll have to wait a few years (at least) for CAST to make an LED tree light.

When you say inherent beam spread differences, please specify if you mean LED retro bulbs.

When I get my kichler order, I'll put three on my side exterior to examine consistencies.

In fact, James, the LED's all illuminate at a fixed wattage, unlike halogens, which vary according to the exact the voltage being distributed at each.

What about a variety of pathlighting styles and outputs? Underwater Lighting?

I hate paths, but when I need them, I'll be limited to DGLIGHTS and whatever Kichler has. Underwater lights are not my niche or preference either, I like relection. Let the EC do pool lights.

How will you batch or bin your LED lamps to ensure even and similar colour output? (You are aware of the need to batch/bin the manufacturing of LED elements to ensure colour consistancy, right?)

Again, is this a retro bulb issue? The color was so good from the Palm65 side by side with the halogens on my house, I don't see how that could be a frequent problem in comparison with additional palm65's from other batches.

In regards to color, did you know you can get RGB LED's and dial in the perfect color for each? A very special application, but it may have it's place.

I have more questions if you are up for them...

Definately, these are awesome questions. Too bad I have to be the one responding.

JoeyD
02-05-2008, 11:24 AM
Pierce Point connectors, Intermatic TF's, and Daisy Chains............WOW....are we back in 1985???

There is a reason all of these things have gone away and that is becuase they SUCK!

As for LED.....I am all for it....as soon as someone other than China is the one pushing the industry to you guys. I dont know about Shermnas products so no offense Sherman but until any of you can show me an LED developed for LANDSCAPE LIGHTING USE by GE, USHIO, SYLVANIA, or PHILLIPS I will pass. There is a reason they have not released an LED for L/S Lighting. BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT PROVEN!!!!! GE explained they have less than 10K hours of testing completed on LED's and these havent even gone into the LANDSCAPE yet.......I think I will trust GE over Chinese peddlers any day. But good luck, guys like you Mike are the guys that will help us figure out what needs to be done. I commend and support your cause. But I refuse to think that a Pierce Point connector and Home Cheapo sold Intermatic TF is a good idea. You dont have to completely revert unless you plan on giving no warranty and never coming back. But I dont see you being that kind of contractor.

Mike M
02-05-2008, 11:38 AM
I knew you would sit up straight when I said Intermatic. Did you know they have a pro grade trans with lifetime, not available at Home Cheapo? Also, I know guys here that use their astronomicals inside of Cast and Kichler boxes.

I only mention it because LED's don't require multi-taps. Nor equalizer hubs. Nor several runs of wire (hence the topic of daisy chains). And for control, LED's are dimmable.

irrig8r
02-05-2008, 11:42 AM
Mike I have a belief that I have tried to live by for a long time.... so far it has served me well:

When you think something is right, and all the people around you say that it is wrong... well then you are probably wrong.



Yeah! Like Galileo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo) and Copernicus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus).

James, my friend, I know you're a member of the Dark Skies Association, but are you a member of the Flat Earth Society (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_earth_society) too?

:)

Frankly, I like Mike's curiosity, his willingness to push the envelope, and not just accept conventional wisdom.

Maybe it reminds me of myself 25 years ago...

However, in my experience it never pays to put all your eggs in one basket...

Mike M
02-05-2008, 11:49 AM
Greg;

Being extra political on this big election day!

I don't always put all my eggs in one basket either, but when I play poker and go all in, it's because I have the nuts.

Thank you for your support. 25 karma points & and a buy-in.

irrig8r
02-05-2008, 11:57 AM
I knew you would sit up straight when I said Intermatic. Did you know they have a pro grade trans with lifetime, not available at Home Cheapo? Also, I know guys here that use their astronomicals inside of Cast and Kichler boxes.

I only mention it because LED's don't require multi-taps. Nor equalizer hubs. Nor several runs of wire (hence the topic of daisy chains). And for control, LED's are dimmable.

You mean this (http://www.intermatic.com/images/misc/al600tpws_10034-sellsheet.pdf) one?

I ran into something similar on a job where I was doing some fixture replacements and relamping this past year. They were not stainless, had no photocells or integral timers and were installed with X-10 receivers that weren't working. I expect they were 10 years old. I left the transformers but installed Nightscaping ETC-400s. Transformers worked fine, but were noisy.

Intermatic sells a lot of TFs to the EC market. They're used to their quirks I guess.

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 02:11 PM
I have replaced every pierce point connector i ever stupidly installed. Dont put these in the ground. Throw them out when You see them. Any connector is better. Ace connectors are the best and are ul 1838 listed. Are your pierce points? I say NO!
Sean C.:nono:

You hit the nail right on the head. You stupidly installed! :hammerhead:

YES, the HADCO LVC3 is cULus listed and is 100% suitable for direct burial. Did you bother to read my post here?? Probably not. Go back and read it. These connectors (especially newer ones) will not fail when properly installed.

That is : They are to be used on the correct wire, with the correct insulation properties and of the correct gauge for which the connector was designed. There is not one company... NOT ONE that anyone on this forum can even mention that has installed as many Power Tap Connectors as we have. EVERY ONE of these are buried below grade under patio's, walkways, and driveways. We have ZERO failures to date using the LVC3. Perhaps it's because our system is in a controlled environment? I dont know, but they do work period.

Again, for those of you who have no concept of how pavingstones are laid:
Pavers are laid on a one inch thick bed of concrete sand. Concrete sand is washed and cleaned of all ocean salts. It must be this way for use when making concrete. The Power Tap Connector is embedded in this sand layer, because it fits, and it fits without stupid wire loops, or other time consuming procedures. It can also be removed, and relocated without cutting or splicing of the circuit cable. (yes, you would still have to seal up and tape over the pin holes, but that only takes less than a minute).

Furthermore, Underwriters Laboratories has put all our components, including the Power Tap Connector under 35 laboratory tests, including a direct saline submersion test for 48 hours. If you want to know every test, I'll dig up our file and post it here.

My advice is get your head out of your A_ _! and stop over engineering everything. The biggest company in the world- Underwriters Laboratories approved this wiring method, yet a few bozo's think they are smarter.

Do you think the Power Tap method is ONLY USED with low voltage??

WRONG!!!!!

Are any of you familiar with a lamp cord switch?????
How about a quick plug????
How about LINE VOLTAGE Christmas lights!

Do you realize ALL OF THEM ARE Tap Connectors?????? Thats right!!! LINE VOLTAGE. Nothing shorted out, no corrosion, no dim lights. Only dim intelligence!!!!!!!!!. :cry:

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 02:19 PM
I knew you would sit up straight when I said Intermatic. Did you know they have a pro grade trans with lifetime, not available at Home Cheapo? Also, I know guys here that use their astronomicals inside of Cast and Kichler boxes.

I only mention it because LED's don't require multi-taps. Nor equalizer hubs. Nor several runs of wire (hence the topic of daisy chains). And for control, LED's are dimmable.

YES! Exactly This is the basic product line we sell. They are OEM transformers, without all the retail homeowner garbage applied to it. They don't come with instruction sheets that are written in 42 languages...matter of fact they don't come with ANY instruction sheets. There is a Pad-Printed instruction right on the Analog timer, so it can not wash off or crumble away over time. Also, with LED's there is no reason for using selectable voltage taps, since there is little to no loss of voltage due to the low current draw.

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 02:42 PM
Pierce Point connectors, Intermatic TF's, and Daisy Chains............WOW....are we back in 1985???

There is a reason all of these things have gone away and that is because they SUCK!

But I refuse to think that a Pierce Point connector and Home Cheapo sold Intermatic TF is a good idea. You dont have to completely revert unless you plan on giving no warranty and never coming back. But I dont see you being that kind of contractor.


Joey, slow down a minute. Your leaving out one important fact:

When Intermatic introduced the Malibu line, none of their fixtures were over 20 watts. The majority of them are 7, 11 15, and 20watts. There was hardly any voltage drop and using a quick connector works well with homeowners.

FACT : Intermatic Inc. has sold more landscape lighting systems worldwide than ANY manufacturer here in the US. They are still in every Home Depot, Lowes and god knows how many other retail locations. They ALSO have not expanded their wattage by much.

Now comes Unique, Cast, Vista, etc. etc. and everyone is using high wattage lamps. Of course there is a need for a better wiring method and one that can combat voltage drop.

So to come out and say Power Taps are old technology is foolish and not a very educated answer. LED's have yet to make a serious introduction to the marketplace, but... the Power Taps are a excellent candidate for quickly and effortlessly connecting a low current draw fixtures to existing circuit cable.

Oh!.. and PS.. The LVC3 by Hadco is Polarized!

JoeyD
02-05-2008, 02:51 PM
Joey, slow down a minute. Your leaving out one important fact:

When Intermatic introduced the Malibu line, none of their fixtures were over 20 watts. The majority of them are 7, 11 15, and 20watts. There was hardly any voltage drop and using a quick connector works well with homeowners.

FACT : Intermatic Inc. has sold more landscape lighting systems worldwide than ANY manufacturer here in the US. They are still in every Home Depot, Lowes and god knows how many other retail locations. They ALSO have not expanded their wattage by much.

Now comes Unique, Cast, Vista, etc. etc. and everyone is using high wattage lamps. Of course there is a need for a better wiring method and one that can combat voltage drop.

So to come out and say Power Taps are old technology is foolish and not a very educated answer. LED's have yet to make a serious introduction to the marketplace, but... the Power Taps are a excellent candidate for quickly and effortlessly connecting a low current draw fixtures to existing circuit cable.

Oh!.. and PS.. The LVC3 by Hadco is Polarized!

Sorry Anthony, I love you but you are not going to sell me on pierce points. They encourage water intrusion which causes wicking. They allow for poor connections to be made. I dont care who makes it, if its a pierce point you are encouraging a daisy chan more than likely and yes for low wattage systems it may work but it is not a professional way of installing in my opinion.

I love that Intermatic uses them beucase then it allows the homeowner to see why they need a professional next time. I realize non of us (manufacturers) will ever be on the same level as Intermatic and like I have always said.....I love Malibu because it gives us something to compete against. Nothing is easier than selling someone on a good lighting system after they have had a malibu system fall apart on them.

JoeyD
02-05-2008, 02:53 PM
You hit the nail right on the head. You stupidly installed! :hammerhead:

YES, the HADCO LVC3 is cULus listed and is 100% suitable for direct burial. Did you bother to read my post here?? Probably not. Go back and read it. These connectors (especially newer ones) will not fail when properly installed.

That is : They are to be used on the correct wire, with the correct insulation properties and of the correct gauge for which the connector was designed. There is not one company... NOT ONE that anyone on this forum can even mention that has installed as many Power Tap Connectors as we have. EVERY ONE of these are buried below grade under patio's, walkways, and driveways. We have ZERO failures to date using the LVC3. Perhaps it's because our system is in a controlled environment? I dont know, but they do work period.

Again, for those of you who have no concept of how pavingstones are laid:
Pavers are laid on a one inch thick bed of concrete sand. Concrete sand is washed and cleaned of all ocean salts. It must be this way for use when making concrete. The Power Tap Connector is embedded in this sand layer, because it fits, and it fits without stupid wire loops, or other time consuming procedures. It can also be removed, and relocated without cutting or splicing of the circuit cable. (yes, you would still have to seal up and tape over the pin holes, but that only takes less than a minute).

Furthermore, Underwriters Laboratories has put all our components, including the Power Tap Connector under 35 laboratory tests, including a direct saline submersion test for 48 hours. If you want to know every test, I'll dig up our file and post it here.

My advice is get your head out of your A_ _! and stop over engineering everything. The biggest company in the world- Underwriters Laboratories approved this wiring method, yet a few bozo's think they are smarter.

Do you think the Power Tap method is ONLY USED with low voltage??

WRONG!!!!!

Are any of you familiar with a lamp cord switch?????
How about a quick plug????
How about LINE VOLTAGE Christmas lights!

Do you realize ALL OF THEM ARE Tap Connectors?????? Thats right!!! LINE VOLTAGE. Nothing shorted out, no corrosion, no dim lights. Only dim intelligence!!!!!!!!!. :cry:

Burry that connection in the ground then come see me in five years with it.....not a professional installation for quality low voltage outdoor lighting.

JoeyD
02-05-2008, 02:55 PM
I knew you would sit up straight when I said Intermatic. Did you know they have a pro grade trans with lifetime, not available at Home Cheapo? Also, I know guys here that use their astronomicals inside of Cast and Kichler boxes.

I only mention it because LED's don't require multi-taps. Nor equalizer hubs. Nor several runs of wire (hence the topic of daisy chains). And for control, LED's are dimmable.

Nothing wrong with Intermatic in general. I use Intermatic on every job I have ever done, usually int he form of a timer weather it was a TN111C or a T101 or an Astronomical. Here at Unique use their Photo Cells still. I am glad they have come up with a professional grade unit, it probably has been around for a while. But in general the Malibu line is what I refer to as DIY stuff and not considered professional in my mind.

extlights
02-05-2008, 03:06 PM
This debate could go on and on forever. As far as intermatic goes I'm with joey with the timers etc. I have never and would not ever by the "pro" grade transformer Intermatic makes....mainly because I live 20 minutes from that facility have know quite a few people who work there...."Professional grade is a very loose term to some companies".

Mike M
02-05-2008, 03:15 PM
I'll use an old Mike G. annoying expression that is the truth: close your eyes and imagine. Make yourselves understand what a diode is, and what the ramifications are in a system which uses it.

You can hit the control modules/drivers with a range of watts, and they will still give the LED what it needs for a consistent brightness/color temp.

As soon as you put too many on a run, the lights will blink, instead of fade. So you know immediately you have too many.

You can "dial in" dimmable settings if you want, as well as use RGB led's which you can dial-in color.

When we are liberated to chain our lights, it becomes like line voltage, just string a long circuit and don't worry about equalizing volts. When this happens, you'll be chaining fixtures along main runs. You may even branch off main runs with chains.

With all those chains, it's worth learning more about whether or not a pierce point can be made or modified to perform to professional specs. I plan to first find one or modify one, and then find a second layer of protection for that, such as a snap-on grease pack or a sealant-filled pouch like the one 3M makes.

I am testing all this myself. I am well trained (inadvertantly) in the scientific method. I can also throw crap in the ocean and see what happens later when I hook up my rms meter.

Why, on earth, would you guys be telling me I'm foolish? If you think I joke too much here or am too inexperienced, than I will stop being funny. Starting right... Now.

Okay, starting now.

Now.

Okay, starting now.

JoeyD
02-05-2008, 03:25 PM
Mike I wish all the power to you. I would love to be proven worng here but reality is it is going to be very hard to keep water out of a piercepoint without some serious effort, time, and money. All of which I am sure you have plenty of but do you really care all that much. The whole point of making a pierce point is becuase it is cheap, quick, and easy. Even if it is an LED system I would have to imagine that wicking will still be a concern??

Mike M
02-05-2008, 03:40 PM
some serious effort, time, and money. All of which I am sure you have plenty of

Nope. I have no health insurance since I quit my day job and began walking down a new road in my life.

I think the main reason people use pierce points is to avoid cutting up a main run so many times. This is an issue when you chain a lot. Another reason is the size or clean shape of the connection.

If anyone thinks of running a string of (17) 5 watt fixtures and doing the cut and nut for each, they should at least consider soldering to maintain conductive ingregrity.

That will be my option if I am unsatisfied with my findings.

Joey, I have no idea where I posted it, but please check out my LED photo, comparing an MR16 20w with one of Sherman's 5w Palm65's.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-05-2008, 03:59 PM
[What will you do when you need a brighter source?
Kichler has a boatload of 35 and 50 w equiv's coming.
A: Where are they? B: Promises and Specifications in the LED world are one thing, actual performance and output is another. C: You will have fun matching the colour temperature of one Manu's product to another's. I guarantee you that Kichler's product will not match the colour temperature of DGLights Product, nor will it look the same as any others'. D: I will bet that Kichler's new line is another group of sealed fixtures... any issues you have to toss them away... very dumb.

A softer source? What about soft floods? How will you alter the beam spreads? Did you get one of Sherman's yet? My palm65 came with three optical choices.
So you think you can successfully and artfully apply light to every possible application and requirement with three optical choices? There is a reason we have so many lamp options... because they are required.

What about fully shielded downlighting? How will you handle the inherent beam spread variances between similar fixtures when doing Architectural lighting?
Kichler already has a plethora of fixtures to suit many needs, shouldn't be long. I'll have to check their catalog online to see what they have planned for LED downlights. Sherman covered this with me on how to modify the Palm65 for downlighting. I guess we'll have to wait a few years (at least) for CAST to make an LED tree light.
Again, you are betting on the future. I have some experience in this department Mike. Very few manufacturers make a downlight that is completely moisture proof. Kichler even uses a lot of open fixtures for downlighting. This is not going to cut it for use with Power LEDs and their required circuitry.

When you say inherent beam spread differences, please specify if you mean LED retro bulbs.
Nope, I mean that the optical systems (collimator's, lenses, reflectors, etc) that are being used by better LED lamps and fixtures are not precise. As a result the beam shape and spread is different between sources. Try it.. line up a few of the same fixtures or lamps and shine them at a white wall. Then map the beam spread and shape. This is okay when used as a tree mounted downlight onto a landscape, or even in an uplight application, but it does not work very well for a lot of architectural applications.

When I get my kichler order, I'll put three on my side exterior to examine consistencies.
Get ready for some really "cool" output... meaning the Kichler LED product I have seen is all around 4000K or so.

In fact, James, the LED's all illuminate at a fixed wattage, unlike halogens, which vary according to the exact the voltage being distributed at each. Ahh wait till you learn about the manufacturing process of 'warm white' LEDs Mike.

What about a variety of pathlighting styles and outputs? Underwater Lighting?
I hate paths, but when I need them, I'll be limited to DGLIGHTS and whatever Kichler has. Underwater lights are not my niche or preference either, I like reflection. Let the EC do pool lights.
Love em or hate em, you will have to use them at some point. Why limit your designs to one or two fixture styles which will probably not compliment the style of the homes and properties you work on? I predict you will not be mixing Kichler and DGlights on the same zone cause the difference in colour will look like a dog's breakfast. As for letting the ECs do underwater lighting, this is a bad strategy... by not being able or willing to handle all of your client's outdoor lighting needs you open yourself up to competition and the possibility of loosing the job to someone viewed as more capable.

How will you batch or bin your LED lamps to ensure even and similar colour output? (You are aware of the need to batch/bin the manufacturing of LED elements to ensure colour consistency, right?)
Again, is this a retro bulb issue? No, it is inherent in the LED manufacturing process. The color was so good from the Palm65 side by side with the halogens on my house, I don't see how that could be a frequent problem in comparison with additional palm65's from other batches.
Colour batching isn't a frequent problem it is a constant issue with 'white' and specifically 'warm white' LEDs. White LEDs use phosphors to shift the colour spectrum to white and the application of these phosphors is somewhat variable, resulting in differing colour outputs between batches or bins of LEDs from the same manu. Do some more research into this... Go to the Cree site, or any major manufacturer of LEDs... read the spec sheets and read the ordering guides about binning and batching. This is very very important stuff you must learn.

In regards to color, did you know you can get RGB LED's and dial in the perfect color for each? A very special application, but it may have it's place.
Yes I am aware... most LED manu's make RGB product and Colorstars make a RGB LED MR16 Lamp that has its control circuit onboard and you can manipulate it with a remote control... very cool, but the output is not all that strong. RGB LEDs are mostly used for spec grade theatrical and architectural lighting, where colour projection is desired and required. Most of these systems use complex DMX units to control the entire system. High end stuff.





I am not trying to discourage you at all... Just be fully educated and aware of the state of the LED industry and the limitations and opportunities that it provides us outdoor LV lighting guys.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-05-2008, 04:03 PM
Sorry Anthony, I love you but you are not going to sell me on pierce points. They encourage water intrusion which causes wicking. They allow for poor connections to be made. I dont care who makes it, if its a pierce point you are encouraging a daisy chan more than likely and yes for low wattage systems it may work but it is not a professional way of installing in my opinion.

I love that Intermatic uses them beucase then it allows the homeowner to see why they need a professional next time. I realize non of us (manufacturers) will ever be on the same level as Intermatic and like I have always said.....I love Malibu because it gives us something to compete against. Nothing is easier than selling someone on a good lighting system after they have had a malibu system fall apart on them.


Hear Hear Joey! This man has spoken some truth here today! :clapping:

Mike M
02-05-2008, 04:22 PM
"I am not trying to discourage you at all... Just be fully educated and aware of the state of the LED industry and the limitations and opportunities that it provides us outdoor LV lighting guys. --James"

This is a very important statement. I agree, and let me add, the same is true for every member on this forum, whether or not they plan on using LED's. Education here is key. So is an open mind.

Now, I have to disagree about one angle, and that's the position of waiting on the side lines for all the market to be filled with a huge selection of specialty fixtures. By the time that happens, your competitors have pole position and you have a very late start, and no credentials as an LED installer.

For your model, and for mine, I say look for as many opportunities to go all-out LED, whether it's just for certain customers that want it, or for specific applications and zones.

The photo I uploaded under the latest photo thread was all 20 watt halo's, and I would confidently install projects like that with the palm65's. That particular customer was the one who asked about LED's and has an enclosed screened lanai with tropical plants in the back of his house. I'll do that zone LED's.

When Sherman gets me his 35 equiv, I'll look for more applications if I like it. I will gradually build a portfolio of LED's and I'll be learning all the nuances of the technology first hand. When I get the Kichlers, I'll try them too, and not read about them.

Eden Lights
02-05-2008, 04:28 PM
While I am still just sitting on the fence, the Kichler LED's have had the best color that I have seen so far, based on everything that I saw at LightFair last year. They are paying a premium for a Kelvin based spec tolerance being picked out of batches. Specs at 2800K, They have the color down to where I want it.

Mike M
02-05-2008, 04:34 PM
While I am still just sitting on the fence, the Kichler LED's have had the best color that I have seen so far, based on everything that I saw at LightFair last year. They are paying a premium for a Kelvin based spec tolerance being picked out of batches. Specs at 2800K, They have the color down to where I want it.

Don't lean too far on that fence Eddie, them pickets can rip your pants.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-05-2008, 04:36 PM
While I am still just sitting on the fence, the Kichler LED's have had the best color that I have seen so far, based on everything that I saw at LightFair last year. They are paying a premium for a Kelvin based spec tolerance being picked out of batches. Specs at 2800K, They have the color down to where I want it.

Interesting... Do you have any documentation or info links you can provide us? I have not seen anything new from Kichler yet.

Is this new line of LED fixtures comprised of sealed units as before or are they field servicable? Who is the manu of the emmitters? whose engines are they using? Are the fixtures composite?

See, I have an open mind... I just need the info man!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-05-2008, 04:51 PM
Interesting... Do you have any documentation or info links you can provide us? I have not seen anything new from Kichler yet.

Is this new line of LED fixtures comprised of sealed units as before or are they field servicable? Who is the manu of the emmitters? whose engines are they using? Are the fixtures composite?

See, I have an open mind... I just need the info man!

Ok I just found the info on the Kichler website.... moving this over to a new thread...

Mike M
02-05-2008, 05:53 PM
Okay. See ya later.

So, anyone know some good variable control manu's? I say we set'em, seal'em, and stick-em in our hubs, to control individual lights or sub-circuits.

I'll start making them in my garage and show diagrams and pics. Obviously, if installed in the hubs, my intent is to fine tune my own portrait, with the ultimate variety of tuned light levels.

Now, I can also run a control wire to a remote location, where the consumer can set controls above ground, if they so wish.

Or, I can send the wire to my transformer (now re-named "lighting controller"), which will seem familiar to those use us that use the same technolgy to operate irrigation valves.

Does everyone get it yet? The diode changes everything. Now we can have controllers that will program various stations, allowing automated scene changes.

I'll bet I could interface my Hunter irrigation controller with an LED system.

Chris J
02-05-2008, 08:46 PM
Since we know more about Pierce Points than anyone who posts on this forum, let me share the real facts.

Pierce Points, also called Insulation Piercing Connectors have many advantages, and several disadvantages.

Advantages:

To provide a quick connection to circuit cable, when using a smaller sized fixture cable.

Provides a tap to the circuit cable without cutting or splicing- The more you cut your circuit cable, the longer length of cable you will need. Manually splicing the cut circuit cable increases resistance at each cut

Cutting the circuit cable makes it weaker and more subject to failure, should the cable be pulled.

Pierce Points can be used over and over, by simply loosening, and relocating to another point along the circuit cable.

Pierce Points provide a neat, clean appearance and a small working footprint to install. I.E. working overhead, or under a deck or overhang.

ALL underground circuit cable uses a UL approved PVC insulation, which provides a liquid tight & gas tight seal, and was specifically designed for use with Insulation Piercing Connectors.

Disadvantages:

The introduction of Silicone filled wire nuts designed specifically for low voltage use and/or direct burial has economically replaced, the Piercing Connector price for price.

Pierce Point connectors can only be used with one conductor or cable at a time. Large over sized wire nuts, and other new cable connectors allow for Hub wiring, and connecting of multiple fixtures at once.

Pierce Point connectors are only practical with wiring methods such as: daisy chain, loop method and Tee, and can cause voltage drop when uses excessively.

Excessive relocating of Pierce Points on an existing circuit cable will leave injury to the cable and allow wicking to occur. This can cause corrosion under the jacket and failure of the copper conductors.


There are many ways to install lighting, and there are many ways to provide wiring of those fixtures. For those of you who know our product, we use the Pierce Point connector exclusively, and for good reason.
Since nobody here is a paver contractor, our initial product was an accent light for pavingstones. Pavingstones are laid on a one inch thick bed of sand. Once the pavers are laid, there is no way of routing any wires to a fixture without excessive labor. To simplify this, I designed a system where the circuit cable is first laid down on the sand, and the pavers place right over the cable. Laborers install the pavingsones and are not held up with conventional wire loops sticking up in the laying pattern. Also, taking a guess at where a fixture should go by leaving a exposed wire loop is a mistake waiting to happen. Conventional wire nutting requires slack in the cable, and that slack must be buried.

The use of a Piercing Connector allows zero slack requirement in the circuit cable, and a quick, easy installation process for the installers. The lighting installer can easily measure and calculate for fixture placement. Once this is done, one or two pavingstones are removed to expose the cable. A small finger full of sand is moved from around the cable,and a pierce point (hereinafter called Power Tap Connector) installed with the fixture. This power tap connector can easily withstand the pounding vibratory compaction of a plate tamper, which is used to settle the pavers and provide interlock. It is critical to install a electrical connector that meets this criteria and use it in such a manor as outlined above on any in-grade fixture when working with interlocking pavingstones. ANY disturbance to the base aggregates can cause failure of the interlocking design and require a service call.

Our Power Tap Connector, (Mfg. by Hadco) for us is the only UL recognized stand alone component of it's type. All others at the time of our listing with UL did not pass acceptance.

To further inhibit corrosion, an anti-corrosive compound made of NYK (NOT ox guard by General,which is a graphite) can be generously applied to all electrical connections and to the circuit cable before applying the Power Tap.

-Anthony

I've been trying my best to behave myself, but this entire post is a joke. I see that there are several more pages on this thread that I have not read yet, so I assume that others have already said what is on my mind. If not, I'll respond with my thoughts. Anthony, you should be ashamed of yourself. If not, I'm certainly ashamed of you if you are calling yourself a "pro".

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 08:52 PM
Okay... define what's professional. The fact that quite a few people are brainwashed on what may or may not fail, when they don't even use these products?

Wicking can occur with anything, anywhere, anytime. What about the receptacle where the power unit is plugged in? What about where the circuit cable is connected to the bus bar? What about where each lamp is seated in the socket? We can find an excuse for everything if you'd like. Another fact is the Power Tap Connectors are equal in price to Silicone Filled Wire Nuts. So theres no cost savings. The primary reason for their use is NOT CUTTING the circuit cable. Where's your professionalism here???? Spending extra time on unnecessary steps..using more resources and cable then whats really needed? You can look at it both ways.

As I always say.. The cost of Intelligence will always be cheaper than the cost of Ignorance. :laugh:

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 09:00 PM
Chris,

Plain and simple: My company has sold 70,700 fixtures in 2007, not including any accessories. We are coast to coast, North to South, and everywhere in-between.
EACH one of those fixtures has a Power Tap Connector included with it for the reasons I mentioned when dealing with Interlocking Concrete Pavers.

Do you think that I would even consider your baseless claim?

The system works. We have no failures. We are cULus listed.

Period!
Period!
Period!
Period!
Period.

Mike M
02-05-2008, 09:05 PM
Exclamation point!

Chris J
02-05-2008, 09:17 PM
Billy, solder would be fastest and best of the conventional cutting methods. All the connections would be in a row, very fast, no voltage loss. It's how I splice now, but if I find a good pierce method...

Let's face it, you know I'm obsessed about details, you know I research, you know I'm using the scientific method to put several brands to the test. So why be affraid of a connection if I find one which works?

I would never use pierce points on my halogen systems, I prefer soldering at a hub and using ace connectors for in-lines.

Mike, I've just started reading this thread and there are still several pages to go. What I think you are missing is this: The LED trip you are on is a good thing! Cutting edge technology may prove to launch you above and beyond what your competitors could even be dreaming about right now, and if you promote yourself correctly you will be wealthy. The problem with your thinking is this: It doesn't matter if your luminarie is a halogen or an incandescent or a LED. The only thing that matters is if the fixture is getting voltage. It has been proven time and time again that the pierce point connectors are worthless. In my beginning, I used to think they were "gold", but after a couple of years and countless call backs I dropped them like a bad habit. If I started to use LED's tomorrow, and also started to once again to use the pierce points, I would have the same problem: Quality fixture built to last for 20 years, with a connection that will fail real soon.
Do yourself a favor and listen to the majority. Your arguments have been discussed a thousand times, but there are 5,000 contractors who have had to learn the hard way. Don't make the same mistake I did.

Mike M
02-05-2008, 09:34 PM
Chris, I began this thread because any pierce points that came with my fixtures sucked. I need to find one that performs over time, or at least one that I can modify to last over time.

If I'm not happy with my findings, I'll go with solder. There are way too many splices on a main run with a long daisy chain to do it any other way.

In addition to Anthony's testament, our buddy Joe at lowvolt has used the Hadco's for twenty years, no prob. My modification may include an extra 3M hardening sealant pouch or a clasping plastic tray filled with grease.

Chris J
02-05-2008, 09:41 PM
You hit the nail right on the head. You stupidly installed! :hammerhead:

YES, the HADCO LVC3 is cULus listed and is 100% suitable for direct burial. Did you bother to read my post here?? Probably not. Go back and read it. These connectors (especially newer ones) will not fail when properly installed.

That is : They are to be used on the correct wire, with the correct insulation properties and of the correct gauge for which the connector was designed. There is not one company... NOT ONE that anyone on this forum can even mention that has installed as many Power Tap Connectors as we have. EVERY ONE of these are buried below grade under patio's, walkways, and driveways. We have ZERO failures to date using the LVC3. Perhaps it's because our system is in a controlled environment? I dont know, but they do work period.

Again, for those of you who have no concept of how pavingstones are laid:
Pavers are laid on a one inch thick bed of concrete sand. Concrete sand is washed and cleaned of all ocean salts. It must be this way for use when making concrete. The Power Tap Connector is embedded in this sand layer, because it fits, and it fits without stupid wire loops, or other time consuming procedures. It can also be removed, and relocated without cutting or splicing of the circuit cable. (yes, you would still have to seal up and tape over the pin holes, but that only takes less than a minute).

Furthermore, Underwriters Laboratories has put all our components, including the Power Tap Connector under 35 laboratory tests, including a direct saline submersion test for 48 hours. If you want to know every test, I'll dig up our file and post it here.

My advice is get your head out of your A_ _! and stop over engineering everything. The biggest company in the world- Underwriters Laboratories approved this wiring method, yet a few bozo's think they are smarter.

Do you think the Power Tap method is ONLY USED with low voltage??

WRONG!!!!!

Are any of you familiar with a lamp cord switch?????
How about a quick plug????
How about LINE VOLTAGE Christmas lights!

Do you realize ALL OF THEM ARE Tap Connectors?????? Thats right!!! LINE VOLTAGE. Nothing shorted out, no corrosion, no dim lights. Only dim intelligence!!!!!!!!!. :cry:

Anthony,
Did it ever occur to you that this is a Landscape Lighting forum where the majority of the connections are in the dirt/mud or otherwise wet locations? Your reference to "sand" or lamps etc.. is of no consequence to our purpose! Why don't you get your head out of your A-- and realize who you're dealing with! Do pierce point connectors work? Sure! As long as they are not exposed to the elements in which we Landscape Lighting Professionals are exposed to in 99% of our applications!!!!!!

pete scalia
02-05-2008, 09:41 PM
Chris, I began this thread because any pierce points that came with my fixtures sucked. I need to find one that performs over time, or at least one that I can modify to last over time.

If I'm not happy with my findings, I'll go with solder. There are way too many splices on the main runs with a long daisy chain method to do it any other way.

In addition to Anthony's testament, our buddy Joe at lowvolt has used the Hadco's for twenty years, no prob. My modification may include an extra 3M hardening sealant pouch or a clasping plastic tray filled with grease.

Mike have you ever heard the term analysis paralysis. Spend more of your time in the field testing these things instead of asking for everyones opinion you will be much better off for it. You have a way of putting every minute detail out here for your enjoyment or information I don't know which. This minutia is really bringing the bd down. Spend your time selling and promoting first. Without that you won't have to worry which connector will last the longest. Furthermore you've been told 1,000 different times which will work. It's like beating a dead horse already.

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 09:49 PM
No No No... don't use anything that is HARD like Epoxy... If anything, use silicone or NYK Corrosion Preventative Compound (a dielectric compound that is not a grease)

This is the same product that is used in the automotive and trucking industry to prevent corrosion on electrical terminals. HADCO also carries this in tubes. It's available in 5oz tubes, grease tubes, and 1/2 pints.

NOTE:

This is NOT the same as Anti-Oxidant Compound by Gardner-Bender found in Depot or Lowes- that stuff is for aluminum only and is nothing more than graphite and grease.

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 09:59 PM
Chris,

We use these connectors outdoors, under patio's, driveways, walkways, decks, and docks. Alternatively, the installing contractor may as his discretion use whatever method he/she likes. I don't care if you throw the things away. We supply them because they meet installation criteria, and are cULus listed.

Do you have a truck? Do you have a trailer? Do you loose sleep because your 4way flat trailer connector isn't soldered or heat shrunk? Theres more chances of the Power Tap Connector failing as intended the way we use them (buried) than simply burying them in mulch, where they are subject to drying out.

Chris J
02-05-2008, 10:00 PM
Chris,

Plain and simple: My company has sold 70,700 fixtures in 2007, not including any accessories. We are coast to coast, North to South, and everywhere in-between.
EACH one of those fixtures has a Power Tap Connector included with it for the reasons I mentioned when dealing with Interlocking Concrete Pavers.

Do you think that I would even consider your baseless claim?

The system works. We have no failures. We are cULus listed.

Period!
Period!
Period!
Period!
Period.

You are a salesman selling your product. Therefore, I expect you to defend your statements. I, on the other hand, have installed as many fixtures as you have sold and am therefore qualified to provide my input along with the the backing of the majority of professionals on this forum. We, as the majority, have told you that pierce point connectors are worthless. It seems to me that you, as a "company" would stop resisting this concensus and embrace the fact that you are losing business because of your foolish practices.
I'm no business genius, so please don't take me wrong. I'm simply trying to say that no one agrees with you because we have all tried it and it does not work for us. It may work (in your application only) but our normal routine does not include your lighting environment! (even though you would like it to).

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 10:09 PM
Chris,

Only the Paver Light comes with the Power Tap Connector. The deck model is available with the connector, or with two silicone filled wire nuts. A new product we are releasing in the next few weeks will also be available with either connector or wire nuts.

No hard feelings with anyone. I'm just speaking from our design point, and field research. If it didn't work for us, we would have never released it.

Chris J
02-05-2008, 10:14 PM
Why would you offer wire nuts if you feel so strongly about the PP? Confusing me now.

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 10:30 PM
The wire nuts are to satisfy both markets. Also, as I stated before (you might not have read it yet) the Power Tap Connector only works with 12/2 or 10/3. Many of you use 8/2, 10/2, 12/2, and/or may splice two conductors with one fixture lead included.

My entire discussion here is simply that we (as a company) or I (myself in field testing) have not encountered any trouble with the Power Taps when used correctly.

If our products failed, your reputation would fail too. Nobody wants that.

Mike M
02-05-2008, 10:35 PM
Wow. A very young industry experiences it's first paradigm shift and this is how you everyone responds? I must be really lucky suddenly having such a wide open field with few competitors. I have a lot to learn, but I'm at least I'm getting to work at it.

Minutia? Wasn't that a boy band in the 80's?

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 10:39 PM
Back soon... time for a break.

Chris J
02-05-2008, 10:39 PM
10-4. I will respectfully remove myself from the discussion. I meant no harm, but I do disagree with your analogies. If you find that the PP works well for you and your customers, then more power to ya. I was warming up to the concept of your products, but this thread kind of set me back a few notches, sorry.
Best wishes to you and your company.

Sincerely,

ChampionLS
02-05-2008, 10:41 PM
Back soon.. time for a break. :drinkup:

Pro-Scapes
02-05-2008, 10:41 PM
color temp is there in LED no doubt. The DG I posted pics of in a match up against halogen was astounding in the temp of the light. Very nice.

I had a PDF of the new kichlers but outlook compressed my msgs and now I cant find it. The fixtures look like a little snare drum and are extruded. Kinda homely looking but the color temp is supposed to be 2800k. I too have some of these on order in each wattage so I can see first hand the output and first redesign my own house and a select clients house with LED's on my dime.

Its not that I dont have the nuts like mike does but maybe I just have a bit more pride in my company than to offer something or go all out on something I have never installed and only played with a single fixture. Once I install a job or 2 with it I wouldnt hessitate to go full scale in my offerings of it.

A certain manufacture tells me its not worth offering a retrofit. This is where I disagree for reasons james states where you may need a certain style of fixture. I dont doubt LED's future in landscape lighting but they need to be more avalible first. If you can find quality ones trying to get your hands on em is pretty tough.

Chris J
02-05-2008, 11:43 PM
Wow. A very young industry experiences it's first paradigm shift and this is how you everyone responds? I must be really lucky suddenly having such a wide open field with few competitors. I have a lot to learn, but I'm at least I'm getting to work at it.

Minutia? Wasn't that a boy band in the 80's?

The world is there for the taking Mike. I'm anxiously looking forward to tracking your progress. I don't believe I've ever met a man so passionate about his craft/profession. I'm positive you will do well, but I'm also curious as to how well you will do considering your indecisions. Keep us posted on your results. I'm always listening to you (and learning).

Lite4
02-06-2008, 01:14 AM
LEDs may be great and all, but arent they a bit more spendy than a regular fixture right now. How many years is it going to take to offset initial costs of installation with the increased price of this technology? To the cost conscience homeowner, this may be of a more relevant concern at the moment. I know you can use a smaller tranny and wire and all that, but it would be interesting to plan out a cost comparison on a currently designed halogen system of around 30 lights, compared to a LED based system of equal number. I think I will track down some pricing on some LEDs and do the cost comparison as well as monthly operating costs and see how long it would take to reach a point of equilibrium between the two systems. I will post my findings when I am finished.

Mike M
02-06-2008, 06:32 AM
That's exactly what I did, Tim. I ran a few models. Here's a quick idea for one of them, multiply .25 by the cost of transformers and wire. Also, factor in the value of less service (less heat will cause less corrosion issues, plus consider the longevity of LED operation), operational cost reduction for the client, about .25 the set up time for a demo (I'm soldering on some 9v terminals to the fixtures or simply using pierce points--remember you can chain your heart out), plus all the free publicity of your eco friendly business.

Wow, I just thought of something really cool. PM me, and anyone interested in forming an alliance to promote professionally designed LED systems. Like the way the dairy guys do milk and the cowboys sell beef and the Florida groves sell oranges. We could have an ad agency do a logo and slogan and make press kits. We could even certify ourselves.

Okay, that's a little big, but why not form a team that hashes out and embraces LED's? Can we Yahoo groups it?

I wanna know who's with me. My goal is to take a break from chit chatting today and work on the system. This sure ain't just swapping out fixtures.

Tim I'd love to see what you come up with. If you use excel, you can plug in and alter all kinds of variables and we could send the file back and forth for debate and refinement.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-06-2008, 06:42 AM
I have done the cost benefit analysis. Based on my numbers here, my clients will save between $210 and $230 per fixture installed over the life of the LED lamp. This analysis takes into account: Cost of materials, Cost of Electricity, Rated life of both lamp technologies (4000 & 35,000 hours respectively), Lamp maintenance and changeouts, Service Costs, etc etc.

On a recently installed system. The incremental cost of using LED lamps was $5200 on the installation. The client will save $23,000 in electricity and lamp maintenance over the life of the LEDs which I have de-rated to 35,000 hours.... about 17 years of use for this client.

Stay tuned.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-06-2008, 06:49 AM
That's exactly what I did, Tim. I ran a few models. Here's a quick idea for one of them, multiply .25 by the cost of transformers and wire. Also, factor in the value of less service (less heat will cause less corrosion issues, plus consider the longevity of LED operation), operational cost reduction for the client, about .25 the set up time for a demo (I'm soldering on some 9v terminals to the fixtures or simply using pierce points--remember you can chain your heart out), plus all the free publicity of your eco friendly business.

Mike.... I cannot be more emphatic about this. STOP PLANNING TO INSTALL SMALL TRANSFORMERS AND LIGHT GAUGE WIRE AND SUBSTANDARD CONNECTORS IN YOUR FUTURE LED SYSTEMS.
If you are wrong, and you experience a catastrophic failure of the technology in an outdoor landscape lighting application, then you are screwed!

You are involved in a bit of an experiement here. Cover your bottom line. Spec. your systems to full size transformer, cable, connectors and loads. Then if the new technology lets you and your clients down for any reason, you can simply re-lamp or re-fixture the systems olde style.

After you have a year or two or more of LED systems in the ground, and they are perfoming as planned and required, then make the shift.

Think about it a bit more Mike.

Mike M
02-06-2008, 06:57 AM
When I was in education, there was so much going on so quickly, that upper management actually had an odd moment with a good concept:

Hellfire missiles. Shoot first, aim as you go!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-06-2008, 07:02 AM
On the cost benefit analysis of LED over Incandescent technology:

You do all understand that each and everyone will have to do their own breakdown and analysis here right? As the key factors in the cost benefit analysis are all variable, each and every one of us will have a different set up inputs and output.

Another new thread....

Pro-Scapes
02-06-2008, 07:27 AM
LEDs may be great and all, but arent they a bit more spendy than a regular fixture right now. .


The new kichler ones have a rather reasonable price tag compared to when vistas line was out but I only have been quoted on the AZT line up and not yet the BBR

Pro-Scapes
02-06-2008, 07:31 AM
Mike.... I cannot be more emphatic about this. STOP PLANNING TO INSTALL SMALL TRANSFORMERS AND LIGHT GAUGE WIRE AND SUBSTANDARD CONNECTORS IN YOUR FUTURE LED SYSTEMS.
If you are wrong, and you experience a catastrophic failure of the technology in an outdoor landscape lighting application, then you are screwed!

You are involved in a bit of an experiement here. Cover your bottom line. Spec. your systems to full size transformer, cable, connectors and loads. Then if the new technology lets you and your clients down for any reason, you can simply re-lamp or re-fixture the systems olde style.

After you have a year or two or more of LED systems in the ground, and they are perfoming as planned and required, then make the shift.

Think about it a bit more Mike.

This is what i have been screaming to him for over a week now. I dont think he gets how quickly voltage will drop with small gauge wire especially once his wicking sets in from pierce points.

eskerlite
02-06-2008, 09:41 AM
Why dumb down the industry with crap connections? Put the best connector in the box with the fixture. Pierce points are for trunk slammers and diys. The fact that you cannot be there when every contractor opens your boxes and doesnt get told not to put these in the ground because they will fail and to only use above ground. It cant be done. Give them the best connector you can and charge them for it. Obviously you now think the pp is the best you can offer? It is not.
Sean C.

Eden Lights
02-06-2008, 09:54 AM
I really didn't want to get into this debate on PP, but I think that as long as you stand behind your product 100% without charging your customers, your products and offerings will evolve to things that work for you and your customers.

This is just a FYI for everybody, if you add everybody up that posts here we are just a small minority, a micro climate if you will. With that being said Kichler sold a unbelievable number of PP last year, so somebody likes them and there working for them. No I am not talking about the one with their fixtures, I am talking about installers buying them as a single item for use with other fixtures.

Eden Lights
02-06-2008, 09:58 AM
Recommended Reading

http://www.lowvolt.org/showthread.php?t=124

eskerlite
02-06-2008, 10:02 AM
What happens when someone calls and says this pp connector failed, do you send them another one to fail or do you send the next best connector and say try this? It all starts with You. You chose the connector because You are the seller. People look to You for the best they can get. Why should it start with a pp connector good only for 5 % of the installs nationwide? It all starts with YOU. Put in a good connector and forget about how many kichler sold.
Sean C.

Eden Lights
02-06-2008, 10:25 AM
The thing is the Hadco and Kichler PP are not failing. While I don't use the Hadco PP because I haven't used Hadco since the late 90's. (another topic) I have always used the Kichler PP on Kichler fixture installs. I have looked at several Kichler PP that are 10 years old and there is no corrosion of the points, how long does it take? I believe your 5% is incorrect. OLP has supplied and installed more fixtures than anyone else in the world, so they alone discredit your numbers.

JoeyD
02-06-2008, 10:51 AM
I am all for a good LED discussion but to discuss and to hear anyone defend PP connections....well frankly its embarassing. There is no defense for them, they are the WORST connection you can make and I dont care what anyone says, if you burry them in a wet location they will be the first type of connection to corrode and fail.

To say that a PP connection is just as good or better than a stripped, crimped, and greased connection is ludicrous and factually wrong! It is rare that you will see a properly installed Unique System with a connection failure because of the lugs and grease caps. On top of that we do grease all of our sockets becuase they can corrode if water gets into them. How do you properly grease a pierce point??? I guess I will start collecting PP connection photos to show what a joke they really are. Nooffense Anthony but I have seen hundreds of these things in the field broken and barely working. Funny thing is most guys using PP for some reason dont know how to bury wire either.

ChampionLS
02-06-2008, 01:09 PM
Bury this!

100% underwater and still functioning!

We have these installed in the NJ coastal areas, which are prone to flooding with seawater. It's easy to cry when your behind a desk. We have 8 years of field experience. The Power Tap Connector installed with NYK Anti-Corrosive Compound will not fail.

I don't want to keep posting pictures here of our products, however I wish to prove a point. I will defend the HADCO LVC3 because it is a reliable unit.

ChampionLS
02-06-2008, 01:23 PM
Recommended Reading

http://www.lowvolt.org/showthread.php?t=124

This is NOTHING more than someone's Opinion. It's like reading a tabloid newspaper.

Show me FIELD RESULTS. Show me REAL PHOTOS of FAILED connectors. If you inspect each one, I guarantee they were installed on the wrong cable, or were simply a bad product of choice. I told you the LVC3 is the ONLY cULus recognized STAND ALONE product with a listing. This means it was the only connector to successful connector to pass all UL's rigorous tests and not fail.

A UL listed system is comprised of all the components it takes to sell a product. One of those components may or may not live up to it's designed use. As long as ALL the components together work, the product is listed.

This is WHY you don't see those tap connectors for sale by themselves, with the exception of the LVC3. Only listed connectors are allowed to be sold.

JoeyD
02-06-2008, 02:21 PM
Bury this!

It's easy to cry when your behind a desk. We have 8 years of field experience.


Come on Anthony...I know your not questioning my field experience nor our companies. I like you and your product a lot, I have shown your sample to numerous contractors including Nate and they all said what a nice product it is.

Maybe I am coming way out of left field here but I can see the PP being nothing more than a QUICK and EASY way to make a connection as well as not being bulky so to say when burrying under paver stone. But to say it is better and or just as good is not true. It may work for you and I am happy that it does, I dont want your system to have problems but if I was to bring up your argument of PP connectors to any of our PROFESSIONAL and QUALITY installers they would laugh at me. Not knocking you just speaking the truth.

But please do not insult the fact that I now handle majority of my customer support and relations from behind a desk these days. I paid my dues of being in the field and was in the field yesterday as was every single one of my sales guys learning and teaching trick applications. This comapny prides itself on field experience and knowledge and I take pride in knowing how to design, wire, and troubleshoot any low voltage lighting system there is. You dont learn that from sitting behind a desk.

Respectfully,

Joey D.

Eden Lights
02-06-2008, 03:42 PM
This is NOTHING more than someone's Opinion. It's like reading a tabloid newspaper.

Show me FIELD RESULTS. Show me REAL PHOTOS of FAILED connectors. If you inspect each one, I guarantee they were installed on the wrong cable, or were simply a bad product of choice. I told you the LVC3 is the ONLY cULus recognized STAND ALONE product with a listing. This means it was the only connector to successful connector to pass all UL's rigorous tests and not fail.

A UL listed system is comprised of all the components it takes to sell a product. One of those components may or may not live up to it's designed use. As long as ALL the components together work, the product is listed.

This is WHY you don't see those tap connectors for sale by themselves, with the exception of the LVC3. Only listed connectors are allowed to be sold.

Did you even read Joe's comments? He is on your side and has been doing this longer than a few of us combined! Maybe I posted the wrong Link?

Eden Lights
02-06-2008, 03:51 PM
This a ten year old connector that was in a wetland/bog type area with irrigation? I am not trying to sell any method as some here are which makes you biased toward your system. I use both from time to time and would say I am not scared to use either method when done properly, Like someone else said it has alot to do with the spec of the wire.

Eden Lights
02-06-2008, 03:52 PM
Part II Part II

JoeyD
02-06-2008, 04:03 PM
I do admit that what you have shown above does look like it has held up very well. I stand corrected that there is the potential to make a good connection with the proper PP product however I am sure over time I could produce more negative than positive results with PP's becuase the majority I have seen in the field were installed very poorley and tend to be on daisy chained systems which even furthers my argument of them and their use.

I do stand corrected that there is the potential for a good PP connection and Anthony no offense again, I do love your product and all you have to offer. I hate when these posts turn to petty arguments. Eddie has solidified your point with visual proof and thats what I need sometimes, especially on a subject such as this and LED.

Joey D.

Eden Lights
02-06-2008, 04:26 PM
Joey, I dug that thing up quite some time ago when this was discussed at length over on Lowvolt.org. At the time we were installing alot of PP connectors and I was very concerned. I realize that a hub above ground with a deep grease tube is a superior connection, but I haven't seen a quality PP failure either.

It really boils down to the Contractor backing up the product in the end. Every system we install we provide an Lifetime warranty on the transformer, Ten years to Lifetime on fixtures, Ten years on all wiring and connections-including cut wires due to standard bed and lawn maintenance, Three years on all lamps, maintenance, and labor, and Two years on all upb controls and programming.

I will say that on some commercial work we sometimes lower the warranties to get the price down to a competitive level when the design is being bid by various other electricians and low voltage lighting companies.

JoeyD
02-06-2008, 04:30 PM
Joey, I dug that thing up quite some time ago when this was discussed at length over on Lowvolt.org. At the time we were installing alot of PP connectors and I was very concerned. I realize that a hub above ground with a deep grease tube is a superior connection, but I haven't seen a quality PP failure either.

It really boils down to the Contractor backing up the product in the end. Every system we install we provide an Lifetime warranty on the transformer, Ten years to Lifetime on fixtures, Ten years on all wiring and connections-including cut wires due to standard bed and lawn maintenance, Three years on all lamps, maintenance, and labor, and Two years on all upb controls and programming.

I will say that on some commercial work we sometimes lower the warranties to get the price down to a competitive level when the design is being bid by various other electricians and low voltage lighting companies.

I couldnt agree more with you Eddie. It is always about the installer and their work.

Those second pics you posted do look like that moisture is definilty able to get into that connection. The wire shows no signs of wicking but I have to believe at some point it will begin corroding.

ChampionLS
02-06-2008, 08:24 PM
Joey... Brother...Fellow Associate...etc.etc...

I am not referring to you, or questioning any of your experience. I'm just simply stating in a calm tone of voice that we have not experienced any problematic troubles, or failures by using the tap. I can't speak for every installation, obviously different geographic locations will play an important fact in the overall integrity of the system.

The paver lighting system is best installed using the tap, for the reasons I mentioned prior. Now as we develop newer products, and increase wattage, they will be replaced by a more suitable connector for the job.

Now heres an interesting find.. (I already knew this was going to happen)
We have never had a tap connector fail on our lighting products on field testing or even under our warranty replacement. So... while we've been hashing this thread out.. I decided to pay a visit to the beds in the front of my house. YES.. I am going to look like an a _ _ in Macy's window and admit that I have 4 Malibu bullet lights up lighting the pillars on the porch. They've been there since 1995, and are due to be replaced by the CAST units that I have waiting. We are replacing the porch and steps, and including lighting this spring. Well.. I went to check on the fixture's tap connector (Intermatic's Fast-Lock) and the fixture crumbled right off the stake. Oh boy! Time to get them things outta there fast. But.. at least the connector was still operational. :dizzy:

Pro-Scapes
02-06-2008, 09:07 PM
thats amazing Eddie... I have at least 30 quick discs i pulled off a job that was under 2 years old and the wire was black as can be. I know they are someplace in my recycle pile. I really need to look for em tmrw and get some pics since the truck is out for repair.

about a dozen failed and yes some still worked but the wire has definatly seen better days. Maybe its the diff in draw. I would think a bad connection and then a 20-35w draw on it would cook thoes things. With anthonys 4w and led min draw it might be diff but I would still just shy away from it personally. I just couldnt sleep at night if I wasnt doing things the very best I could.

ChampionLS
02-06-2008, 09:15 PM
Billy,

The Spec's I have on the Hadco LVC3 is:
Body and Shell: Glass reinforced nylon
Screw:18-8 stainless steel Philips head thread forming type
Conductor: type 442 1/2 hard stainless steel
Listing: cULus
Rating: 8 Amps
Accepts 18/2 spt1 secondary cable to 12/2 or 10/3 spt3 primary underground circuit cable.

The pictures shown of the connector that was buried may have been old..maybe they didnt use stainless steel back then. I've seen brass contacts that are soft, bend easily and actually corrode away due to electrolysis.

Pro-Scapes
02-06-2008, 09:22 PM
I have one of thoes hadcos you sent me. If I ever install one of your lights I would just assume use an ace connector or other means. I know this means me cutting the wire but there is less chance for a bad connection or anything going wrong in the future.

Different strokes for different folks.

Lite4
02-06-2008, 09:32 PM
The only way I could see the legitimacy in the long run for a PP is to do what Mike was suggesting and fully encapsulating the connection in something like a very large DBY. However, doing so would defeat the purpose of using the PP in the first place because of the increased cost of the DBY unit. You would just choose a more cost effective method of connection.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-06-2008, 10:46 PM
So this thread is still open? Why is it not viewable on the main page?

Pro-Scapes
02-06-2008, 11:09 PM
So this thread is still open? Why is it not viewable on the main page?

because its one of thoes bad bad ideas that should of never been created in the first place and it was hiding in shame ??

Mike M
02-07-2008, 06:29 AM
Very funny Billy.

:gunsfirin

Tim is realizing the original purpose and benefit of this post, to hash out what we know and see if we can come up with a usuable pierce point for long chains.

A few key items: I'm not looking for cheaper, I'm looking for the best way to make several connections along a run. I don't like the idea of cutting up my home run or main artery like it's an anaconda threatening my villiage.

In addition to preserving cable intergrity, I also like efficiency.

Now, once I find the best pierce point (dang the acronym, I hate saying pp), which there seems to be good leads here, I (or we, for those willing to persue) will consider modifications or methods, such as additional sealants/greese etc. The final stage will be what Tim is now thinking, to explore a greese tube or capsule large enough to conatain it.

Look, none of the solutions are immediately obvious, so don't bust on people for brainstorming.

I had an idea two nights ago. Listen, we can make a good protype, with the help of friends (each other), but we should consider a more private discussion (anyone here welcome, even the doubters).

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-07-2008, 06:44 AM
Mike. Join the AOLP. They host a private, for members only forum and it is truly private. I cannot be googled. Now, is it 100% secure for discussing new product Ideas? I would suggest not.... given the amount of imitation and copying that goes on in this industry, and the fact that the AOLP is largely supported by manufacturers and distributors... But, it is a start.

Mike M
02-07-2008, 07:19 AM
Thanks, James!

I just made a yahoo group, too. I'll join aolp soon, but I am low on funds, since I just suckered for a Mac notebook.

Can you recommend a good private vehicle for those wishing to share and generate propriety info among friends?

Pro-Scapes
02-07-2008, 08:32 AM
Thanks, James!

I just made a yahoo group, too. I'll join aolp soon, but I am low on funds, since I just suckered for a Mac notebook.

Can you recommend a good private vehicle for those wishing to share and generate propriety info among friends?

Email lists... like yahoo groups or just open an email dialog and click reply all.

Mike M
02-07-2008, 08:50 AM
Billy, is yahoo groups publicly readable without joining the group?

Pro-Scapes
02-07-2008, 09:04 AM
if i recall from when i owned a group there is a setting you can make but im not sure now

eskerlite
02-07-2008, 09:49 AM
Dont forget James, the LVLIA/AOLP was started by a major manufacturer and because of the lack of contractor members we invited more manufacturers and distributors to support us. Its working out so well! Just the facts here. Everyone should know the truth.
Sean C.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-07-2008, 05:24 PM
You know Sean, I am going to let that lure die. I am really not in the mood just now to argue.

Those who knew Bill Locklin personally, those who were beside him when he envisioned and then formed the LVLIA, they know and understand the truth behind his idea and his intentions. The rest, or "the truth" as you call it, well it is just a bunch of BS and conjecture, which gets morphed and filtered through the years like a bad rumour might.

irrig8r
02-07-2008, 08:53 PM
Dont forget James, the LVLIA/AOLP was started by a major manufacturer and because of the lack of contractor members we invited more manufacturers and distributors to support us. Its working out so well! Just the facts here. Everyone should know the truth.
Sean C.


Sean...

I've heard the tale told a little differently...

Now since I wasn't there, maybe you can correct me, but the way I heard it goes something like this:

Bill Locklin put up seed money for the organization and at the same time warned/ advised that it ought to be independent and ought not rely on manufacturers/ distributors and so not be beholden to them...

Seems to me you omitted part of that in your version.

eskerlite
02-08-2008, 08:16 AM
Very true about the seed money. The dream and support came from Bill. The dream faded when the seed money ran out. We( Ive been a member since year 2) could not survive with the small amount of then NS contractors alone. When the board at the time voted a manufacturer in who was not happy with the way NS was doing things this person took offense with NS. This is when Bill did not want to be a part of the organization or any of the future plans. I totally agree with what he did. I felt sorry for his situation and did not agree with how things played out.
The seed money came from NS. This in my mind is called a manufacturer support. The organization can not and will not ever survive without manufacturers, distributers and contractors. Contractors alone could not keep the boat afloat. The manufacturers we have now and distributers are in it for everyone. There is no bullying or power struggle. Ive been on the board for 4 years now and have seen it all go along great.
I was involved only as a member when Bill got slighted. I made it my goal to communicate with Bill about getting back involved with the organization from the time I was on the Certification commitee in 2003. I understood he didnt want to get hurt again.
I kept trying up until a year and a half ago. Rest in Peace Bill.
Seed money and the fact we were so ul 1838 focused like NS, many already thought it was a NS sponsored group. In the big picture we were supported by NSfrom the start. Until the board made some in my opinion bad decisions with whom they voted on the board.
If You were so close to him James why were You not a charter member from the beginning? Why did You just join this year? Just curious.
Thats my two cents. Anyone hear a different story than I witnessed let me know.
Sean C.:waving:

irrig8r
02-08-2008, 11:22 AM
Very true about the seed money. The dream and support came from Bill. The dream faded when the seed money ran out. We( Ive been a member since year 2) could not survive with the small amount of then NS contractors alone. When the board at the time voted a manufacturer in who was not happy with the way NS was doing things this person took offense with NS. This is when Bill did not want to be a part of the organization or any of the future plans. I totally agree with what he did. I felt sorry for his situation and did not agree with how things played out.
The seed money came from NS. This in my mind is called a manufacturer support. The organization can not and will not ever survive without manufacturers, distributers and contractors. Contractors alone could not keep the boat afloat. The manufacturers we have now and distributers are in it for everyone. There is no bullying or power struggle. Ive been on the board for 4 years now and have seen it all go along great.
I was involved only as a member when Bill got slighted. I made it my goal to communicate with Bill about getting back involved with the organization from the time I was on the Certification commitee in 2003. I understood he didnt want to get hurt again.
I kept trying up until a year and a half ago. Rest in Peace Bill.
Seed money and the fact we were so ul 1838 focused like NS, many already thought it was a NS sponsored group. In the big picture we were supported by NSfrom the start. Until the board made some in my opinion bad decisions with whom they voted on the board.
If You were so close to him James why were You not a charter member from the beginning? Why did You just join this year? Just curious.
Thats my two cents. Anyone hear a different story than I witnessed let me know.
Sean C.:waving:

Thanks Sean.

The AOLP can expect a membership application from me by next month.

eskerlite
02-09-2008, 05:27 PM
Great to have You Gregg. Im glad someone sees the light of my AOLP/LVLIA history posts. Everyone here and I know that 50-75 people view these threads every day should join the org and lets take this thing to mars. Those who come up with an excuse not to join, well you are pessimists and we dont need the negativity. All of You who get it I need to see your names on the new member list next month. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
You all have $175.00 to join for one year. Dont tell us You have internet and dont have 175.00 to gamble with. I want to meet all 50 of You next Year face to Face in Scottsdale!
Im on the website commitee now and we will take that to the next level and would like members input.
Thanks and enjoy the weekend. Everyday Matters
Sean C.:usflag::canadaflag::clapping::laugh::laugh::laugh:
WWW.dbcurraninc.com


,

Lite4
02-09-2008, 11:26 PM
I was going to get signed up last fall but just never got around to doing it. I'll be in by next month.

eskerlite
02-10-2008, 12:21 PM
Look forward to seeing your name on the List Tim. We are in transition with our ED and a Management company right now. There should be no delay in Your process. If there is let me know.
Sean C.

Mike M
02-10-2008, 02:16 PM
Send me an application, please. Thank you.

6 Station Loop / Bluffton / SC 29910

eskerlite
02-10-2008, 03:50 PM
Go to www.aolponline.org and download the application.
Sean C.

Chris J
02-19-2008, 10:25 PM
I really didn't want to get into this debate on PP, but I think that as long as you stand behind your product 100% without charging your customers, your products and offerings will evolve to things that work for you and your customers.

This is just a FYI for everybody, if you add everybody up that posts here we are just a small minority, a micro climate if you will. With that being said Kichler sold a unbelievable number of PP last year, so somebody likes them and there working for them. No I am not talking about the one with their fixtures, I am talking about installers buying them as a single item for use with other fixtures.

Eddie,
You wouldn't happen to know who some of these contractors are would you? I have an enormous supply of Kichler PP conectors that I would like to get rid of at a fraction of the wholesale price.

Thanks.

Eden Lights
02-19-2008, 10:51 PM
Chris, I think you were sitting beside me when Kichler gave those numbers to us?

Chris J
02-19-2008, 11:05 PM
My mind must have been wandering. I've been doing a lot of that lately.
I'm still looking for buyers though....

Mike M
02-19-2008, 11:39 PM
Chris, switch from Kichler to Hadco fixtures and I'll buy all your Hadco pierce points at 75% contractor price.

NiteTymeIlluminations
02-20-2008, 08:26 AM
most of those pierce points kichler sold were going to retail.

JoeyD
02-20-2008, 11:23 AM
They were going to guys who daisy chain!

extlights
02-20-2008, 01:05 PM
I have many many many hadco pp connectors....at least 4 years worth of them.