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Desertdweller
03-25-2008, 01:00 AM
I'm new to lighting and have doing a lot of research and talking to installers, reps etc. We just finished our first job and used FX. It went great. The customer liked it so much he just signed to do the front yard also. We also have 3 more sold. My question is, Why wouldn't you use Unique? I'm not sold on the hub system or the transformer but what about the lights? They seem to be made well and they seem to have a lot of options for an installer. Just trying to sort through all the BS you get from reps. Any help would be appreciated.

Lite4
03-25-2008, 03:13 AM
If you are not "sold" on the Hub method as your primary method of power distribution, then frankly you are doing your customer a disservice and have no business installing lighting until you learn to install it correctly. It doesn't matter which manu you use. If you don't wire correctly they all fail.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
03-25-2008, 09:03 AM
Tim... I think your statement above is a bit too broad and generalizes too much.

I do not use the hub method of wiring (albeit for different reasons then most) and can tell you straight up that my customers have been done no disservice and that my systems do not fail.

It is most certainly possible, effective and reasonable to install a LV outdoor lighting system and not use the hub method of wiring.

Pro-Scapes
03-25-2008, 09:31 AM
Tim... I think your statement above is a bit too broad and generalizes too much.

I do not use the hub method of wiring (albeit for different reasons then most) and can tell you straight up that my customers have been done no disservice and that my systems do not fail.

It is most certainly possible, effective and reasonable to install a LV outdoor lighting system and not use the hub method of wiring.

I used to use ONLY the hub. As I learved about drop more and got more comfortable I use a variety of methods now but for main part I still use a hub. Some of my favorite fixtures do not come with leads on them so I am looking at other avenues as well. I still love the central connection point of the hub method tho. I am within .5v on my last project at ALL but 1 lamp and that lamp is .6 off at 11v. Rest are within 11.1 to 11.6 I did use some T's and a small 2 fixture chain as well. Gotta love the .5 taps!

Desertdweller
03-25-2008, 09:35 AM
I've helped a couple of the top guys in the Valley and they don't use the hub and don't seem to have a problem. When you mention Unique they roll their eyes and say they wouldn't touch it.

Lite4
03-25-2008, 10:19 AM
James, Are you daisy chaining? How are you managing your VD without using a central measuring point with known drop distances? A T is just a hub with 2 fixtures on opposite ends. If you are using LEDs, then this is a different story. I guess it really doesn't matter which method you use as long as you are measuring the correct voltage at the lights; which is the bigger issure here. I have just not personally found a better way of getting equal voltage across multiple fixtures. James, as you and I both know, most of the systems we run into out there are just a bunch of fixtures that are undervolted and daisy chained.
Desert dweller, So you have some animosity towards Unique. That is your own business. However, lets seperate the method from the manufacturer. It is true Unique does engineer their systems around the HUB method, but this certainly does not mean that if you are using products other than Unique, you can't use this method as well. I use several brands of fixtures, Unique is one of them. They are a very solid fixture choice. If your associates have had trouble with their products, I would personally be more suspect of their installation techniques than I would be of the product. Ultimately I don't really care what method you use, I am only giving my opinion here about my own lighting methodology. You will have to find your own way.

Desertdweller
03-25-2008, 10:38 AM
Tim,

I appreciate your opinion but I think you're getting your panties in a bunch. I never said I had animosity towards Unique. I just wasn't sold on the hub. That's why I'm asking about the fixtures. Most of you have experience with many manufacturers and I just wanted to draw on that experience and not make mistakes from the start. I'm actually meeting the Unique rep again Thurs to go over a small job that I want to try their product in.

Lite4
03-25-2008, 10:49 AM
Desert dweller, Sorry, I had to go back and read your original post. The fixtures themselves are as solid as they come with a very good pricepoint compared to fixtures of similar quality. I havn't used their transformers yet, so I can't comment on them. I also don't use their ultra long 16 guage leads. I use 12g for my leads to minimize voltage drop. I use UL 1838 compliant transformers to keep the voltage level down so I don't have a large voltage spike and a cascading failure of my bulbs if one burns out.

extlights
03-25-2008, 10:58 AM
Every installer will have their own opinion on fixture line. Although I've never really used Unique much I will say this. Last year we did a tear out of an existing system that had all Unique fixtures. Although the installation was done very unprofessional, the fixtures had held up very well in our climate. It was actually one of the very few tear-outs we've done where the fixtures have held up. Most of our tear-outs end up being kichler, Nightscaping, or fx and they look like they've been through a war.

I think what Tim is trying to say is wiring is the veins of the system...if done incorrectly it won't matter what type of fixtures you're using, there will be problems. You have to find what works best for you in your climate and soil. Take into consideration the warranty, what kind of service you're going to get if there shall be a problem etc. For us, we've had great luck with Hadco and Hinckley. Maybe a couple of bad sockets over the last 4-5 years with the Hadco, but overall it's been a very reliable line that has held up very very good in our climate. Let's just say this...if there was only 1 good line out there, then all us professionals would probably be using the same line....If you've been reading these threads you know that's not the case.

JoeyD
03-25-2008, 11:28 AM
I've helped a couple of the top guys in the Valley and they don't use the hub and don't seem to have a problem. When you mention Unique they roll their eyes and say they wouldn't touch it.


I guess I will chime in, I will try and keep the rep BS to a min. LOL... In all seriousness you dont have to be a fan of the Hub to like Unique. You can order your lights with no wire lead now, we did this for those who dont like using a Hub method all the time. The Hub to me is a no brainer, I prefer to make one connection for every grouping of lights vs. 2 connections for every light. It is easy once you learn the Hub to design lighting around it. Obviously there is no better way to ensure proper voltage to every lamp then keeping all the wire the same and in most cases it is the quickest form of wiring due to the fewer connections needed. It is hard to argue the Hub and most that do either dont understand it or are loyal to another manufacturer who preaches against it. Of course there are those who just feel that their way of wiring works best and they still like Unique for it's many products.

As for transformers well those who are loyal to FX usually will roll their eyes at Unique, for the most part FX and Unique have been like water and oil, they (FX) even modified their warranty years ago to state that if you used a non ul 1838 compliant transformer with their lights they would void your FX warranty. Most of this anamosity starts from the manufacturers themselves which then carries down to their loyal users. It is rather unfortunate but it is just the way it is. What people tend to forget is that Unique carry's more UL listings than any of our competition, if it is a UL1838 unit you want then we will build it for you, and we will build you any direct burial unit you want, we will build you an I Force, we will build you a custom unit consisting of all 15v taps if you want or all 12v taps if you want. Anything you want we can build when it comes to transformers. It is just reality that over the years the bulk of our customers want to run long distances with smaller wire utilizing higher taps to compensate the drop, and so we listen and we continue to build these units. Does it increase the chance for a chain reaction burnout when using higher taps? Well sure it does, but in a Hub if I have only have 5 lights the worse that happens I lose 5 lights. We always explain to homeowners that LV is not like the line voltage in your home, if you see a lamp burnout you need to replace it. But this is no worse than using a UL1838 unit and diasy chaining or using an improperly regulated T method with inconsistant voltages. Undervolting will also cause burnout and thats what so many people forget. It is an inherant problem with Low Voltage and I can be on the 15v tap and have one lamp burnout and cause over volting so it is all relevant.

So why wouldnt you use Unique? Well you wouldnt use Unique if you are loyal to another manufacturer who hates Unique...you wouldnt use us if you are into the cheapest product you can find...So I ask you, why wouldnt you use Unique? I want to know, I want to know why these guys roll their eyes, it cant be because we lack quality or suport. It cant be because we have a small product line in terms of available fixture choices and transformers. It usually boils down to price and loyalty. We dont appeal to everyone, not everyone likes brass and copper, and not everyone likes our transformer layouts, but one thing is for sure, there are a whole lot of new "manufactuer/importer" companies popping up everywhere that have built their entire buisnes models off of Unique Lighting Systems, that says something about what we have going on over here. You owe it to yourself to generate your own opinion about us. I think you will like what you find. No manufacturer has the field experience and understands the challenges the contractor faces int he field and that is what drives us to develop the products and systems we do. Just like the new 24v system!!

Not everybody likes us, but we make some customers very happy!!

Joey D.

klkanders
03-25-2008, 12:25 PM
Very good summarization Joey! You have to respect your reply no matter what fixtures you use or how you wire them. "Researching" information is good thats why I have read every post in this lighting forum and some way more than once. IMO Installers are going to give me more accurate info than a rep who is going to be loyal to the line they are selling at the time. But if 9 out of 10 people on here, or that you meet, say to give a product a try thats what I will do. I like those odds.

Keith

dwightschrute
03-25-2008, 12:43 PM
Why doesn't F/X and Unique likeeach other?

The Lighting Geek
03-25-2008, 12:55 PM
I like the hub method and that is all we use. It keeps mistakes down to minimum. In a rare situation that requires me to do it differently, I do it myself. My employees (Team Geek) live and breath hub method from day one. I have no call backs except to add lights. We also can do more with less labor.

klkanders
03-25-2008, 01:09 PM
Im sorry I just re-read the title to this thread. I should have never entered this thread cuz I like Unique. I apologize I will be leaving now....I feel soooo bad.......:waving:

:walking: Keith

NightLightingFX
03-25-2008, 02:31 PM
I was spawned into the industry through Unique so maybe my oppinion is baised but this is my oppinion. First of all Unique is a class organization BUT I will admit at times their sales pitch can be kind of strong. If a lighting contractor doesn't respect Unique for thier quality and customer service then I would have to come to the conclusion that that lighting contractor is narrow minded and his advise is dated. I will admit I haven't been using a lot of Unique fixtures lately but there is no doubt in my mind they have the BEST!!! transformers out there, far superior to the MDL??? transformers what ever they are called what Kichler and etc uses. On a fully loaded system you will not get anywhere near the voltage drop as you will on a MDL??? (You know what I mean) transformer. I have tried both, there is a big difference. My big reason why I don't use Uniques' fixtures is price. But I believe Uniques Transformers are worth every peny.
~Ned

NightLightingFX
03-25-2008, 03:25 PM
I've helped a couple of the top guys in the Valley and they don't use the hub and don't seem to have a problem. When you mention Unique they roll their eyes and say they wouldn't touch it.

I just want to elaborate on this quote a little more. See I really think these "top guys in the valley" are ignorant. It sounds like they aren't open to new ideas and if you don't take in all the different ideas out there you are limiting yourself. Being open minded seems to be my big theme today. I don't limit myself to one manufacturer I use the best fixture, and etc. for the right situation. I personally like the hub system best, but I know there are a lot of quality lighting guys that use a modified hub system / T system. On the other hand if someone is a hard core advocate of the Daisy chain system - you know they don't know what they are talking about.
~Ned

dwightschrute
03-25-2008, 03:30 PM
Just trying to sort through all the BS you get from reps. Any help would be appreciated.

What BS are you hearing?

JoeyD
03-25-2008, 04:39 PM
Why doesn't F/X and Unique likeeach other?

FX had it out for Unique the day we released a non UL1838 transformer. They decided they would tell people how dangerous we were and that is sort of what started it all. There was sort of a "turf battle" that ensued being that both Unique and FX are in San Diego. It was more negativity from FX towards Unique. We have no problems with them, I personally get along with their local guys just fine and I have always been very up front in saying that FX makes a very good quality product. They are good competition to have, they develop their own products and they do it all state side which is very impressive to me.

dwightschrute
03-25-2008, 06:11 PM
ok cool, i thought it was over a lawsuit

JoeyD
03-25-2008, 06:20 PM
There was a lawsuit over them claiming our units could kill people but the fued was started well before the lawsuit, that was just the topper. But that is all way behind us, your going back many many years. The scare tactics didnt work then and they certainly didnt deter us or other manufacturers from developing transformers well beyond 15v.

Lite4
03-25-2008, 07:55 PM
I will have to say this. I have yet to find a company with better customer service. It is second to none. I need to give props to Jim Parish, the Unique rep in my area. He has been extremely helpful to me and it is definitely causing some loyalty here. Pass my compliments on to Nate about Jim for me and tell him thanks.

JoeyD
03-25-2008, 07:58 PM
will do Tim, Thanks for your continued support!!

Joey D.

YardPro
03-25-2008, 09:16 PM
i will chime in and disagree with a lot of guys here....

i do not use the "hub" method. I do not daisy chain either....

i use a sort of hub in that i run t's and will run a few fixtures chained from there. We also usually run a larger wire size to help VD....I find it cheaper to run a size up. the labor it saves in more runs of smaller wire more than offsets the cost of the wire.

We keep our voltage 11-12 volts. most of the fixtures are within a few tenths of a volt of each other.

will you EVER notice a light output difference between 11.2 and 11.7 volts... not in a million years..

does the bulb life suffer..... NOPE... i warranty all our bulbs for a year, and have only had to replace a handfull of bulbs over the past few years....

We just did a relamp for a client that we installed two years ago. He only had ONE bulb out, and thought it was time to swap them all out...\

I really think that guys that spend a lot of time making sure that EVERY light is EXACTLY the same is being way too anal.


i

pete scalia
03-25-2008, 09:36 PM
I guess I will chime in, I will try and keep the rep BS to a min. LOL... In all seriousness you dont have to be a fan of the Hub to like Unique. You can order your lights with no wire lead now, we did this for those who dont like using a Hub method all the time. The Hub to me is a no brainer, I prefer to make one connection for every grouping of lights vs. 2 connections for every light. It is easy once you learn the Hub to design lighting around it. Obviously there is no better way to ensure proper voltage to every lamp then keeping all the wire the same and in most cases it is the quickest form of wiring due to the fewer connections needed. It is hard to argue the Hub and most that do either dont understand it or are loyal to another manufacturer who preaches against it. Of course there are those who just feel that their way of wiring works best and they still like Unique for it's many products.

As for transformers well those who are loyal to FX usually will roll their eyes at Unique, for the most part FX and Unique have been like water and oil, they (FX) even modified their warranty years ago to state that if you used a non ul 1838 compliant transformer with their lights they would void your FX warranty. Most of this anamosity starts from the manufacturers themselves which then carries down to their loyal users. It is rather unfortunate but it is just the way it is. What people tend to forget is that Unique carry's more UL listings than any of our competition, if it is a UL1838 unit you want then we will build it for you, and we will build you any direct burial unit you want, we will build you an I Force, we will build you a custom unit consisting of all 15v taps if you want or all 12v taps if you want. Anything you want we can build when it comes to transformers. It is just reality that over the years the bulk of our customers want to run long distances with smaller wire utilizing higher taps to compensate the drop, and so we listen and we continue to build these units. Does it increase the chance for a chain reaction burnout when using higher taps? Well sure it does, but in a Hub if I have only have 5 lights the worse that happens I lose 5 lights. We always explain to homeowners that LV is not like the line voltage in your home, if you see a lamp burnout you need to replace it. But this is no worse than using a UL1838 unit and diasy chaining or using an improperly regulated T method with inconsistant voltages. Undervolting will also cause burnout and thats what so many people forget. It is an inherant problem with Low Voltage and I can be on the 15v tap and have one lamp burnout and cause over volting so it is all relevant.

So why wouldnt you use Unique? Well you wouldnt use Unique if you are loyal to another manufacturer who hates Unique...you wouldnt use us if you are into the cheapest product you can find...So I ask you, why wouldnt you use Unique? I want to know, I want to know why these guys roll their eyes, it cant be because we lack quality or suport. It cant be because we have a small product line in terms of available fixture choices and transformers. It usually boils down to price and loyalty. We dont appeal to everyone, not everyone likes brass and copper, and not everyone likes our transformer layouts, but one thing is for sure, there are a whole lot of new "manufactuer/importer" companies popping up everywhere that have built their entire buisnes models off of Unique Lighting Systems, that says something about what we have going on over here. You owe it to yourself to generate your own opinion about us. I think you will like what you find. No manufacturer has the field experience and understands the challenges the contractor faces int he field and that is what drives us to develop the products and systems we do. Just like the new 24v system!!

Not everybody likes us, but we make some customers very happy!!

Joey D.

I know of alot of installers who talk big and then buy the cheap knockoff offshore stuff. I've asked them why they do this and they tell me why buy unique brand when I can get the same exact for less than half the price. They don't care about bulbs either they keep the cheap chinese imports that come with the fixtures. They don't care because once the check clears and the job is done they slam the trunk never to return again.
That's when pete comes in to change the whole thing out because the junk failed. It's an epidemic.

Eden Lights
03-25-2008, 10:19 PM
Hubs are for newbies that can't think and like to bury extra wire!:laugh:

pete scalia
03-25-2008, 10:28 PM
Hubs are for newbies that can't think and like to bury extra wire!:laugh:

What about Tommy the Geek then?

Desertdweller
03-26-2008, 12:38 AM
I appreciate the feed back. I'm not anti Unique just asking so I can learn as much as possible. This forum has been a great source of info and I thank all of you who contribute. Believe it or not I'm doing a small Unique system on Thurs so we'll see how it goes.

ChampionLS
03-26-2008, 01:24 AM
Hmmm very interesting thread.
I don't think any method is right or wrong. What matters is results. Keep your lamps running at their optimum voltage and everyone is happy. Quite often we receive inquiries about how we can claim 15,000 hours on our lamps. The answer is simple- We designed them at 14 volts, not 12. Since they are incandescent, a volt up or down won't make much difference.

The Lighting Geek
03-26-2008, 01:35 AM
No problem, I will be smiling all the way to the bank. :laugh:

JoeyD
03-26-2008, 10:55 AM
Hubs are for newbies that can't think and like to bury extra wire!:laugh:


Really Eddie? So enlighten us to the the new method of choice for experienced professionals since the Hub is for newbies. I can tell you that I have first hand wired lights in all methods, I have tested and troubleshooted all methods and I think anyone would be lying or is just un informed to say that the Hub is not the best way to produce equal voltage to every light and is not the quickest, eaisest, and most reliable of wiring methods.

You know you dont have to keep all the leads the same, you dont have to bury a ton of excess wire. If you wired the Hub regularly then just like other methods you would know the ins and outs and where you can cut some corners to save some time. For example if I have 2 lights on the hub, one is 10ft away and the other is 25ft away I may cut the 10ft down to size because I know that if I set my hub at 12v then the one that is 25ft away will be around 11.5 and this one at 10ft will be around 11.8-9. Simple as that. The bummer is when the landscape changes and I want to move the lights around to adjust, now that I have cut that wire I am limited. Where if I left the extra wire I could freely manuever it. You can argue the Hub but to say it is for newbies is crazy and I could produce a few millions of dollars worth of lighting professionals who would prove you otherwise.

And for those of you who do a T or a loop or some sort of a T Hub hybrid where do you go to troubleshoot your system when lights are down or a wire is cut. I know that most people that dont use the hub also dont use our products which means they dont have 25ft leads pre wired to the lights which means you are making atleast 2 connections for every fixture. I make one connection for every 4-7 lights. I have a housed junction box "hub" for every connection I make so I can quickly add or remove lights. On top of that anyone else who comes in after the fact would know where all these connections are housed vs. those who have connections made all over the yard boosting resistance and increasing the chances for failure and a re burried directly in the dirt begging to be lost. Big wire is a thing of the past unless you need to pile on a ton of lights. Big wire does not solve VD, it is costly and it is a waste, unless like I said you need to pile close to 300w on one piece of wire or you limit your systems to 15v, then you have no choice in some cases. You can claim that the Hub isnt for you, you can claim your way is easier and better. But I say prove it. A Hub system will always be a more efficient, flexible, and easier maintained wiring method than any other T, Daisy, or Loop.

You know I appreciate your information Eddie so please do not take this the wrong way but your statement is a strong one and one that a lot of experienced professionals would find fault with.

Joey D.

JoeyD
03-26-2008, 11:02 AM
I appreciate the feed back. I'm not anti Unique just asking so I can learn as much as possible. This forum has been a great source of info and I thank all of you who contribute. Believe it or not I'm doing a small Unique system on Thurs so we'll see how it goes.

Keep us informed as to your experience with our products. Drew is a good guy and will surely take care of you. Please let me know if you have any questions or need any assistance.

Joey D.

Pro-Scapes
03-26-2008, 11:12 AM
I agree and disagree with ya Joey. The hub is not always the best choice. When you have 2 fixtures its not really a hub anymore its a T

If you plan your hub locations well and your main runs well there will not be much extra to bury. I make the extra burial time up in not having to splice at each fixture.

I disagree with all 12ga and running higher voltages. If your going to do that you might as well go to 24v systems.

Back on topic I still dont trust the knock offs but I think certain manufactures are getting over priced due to fancy packaging and other factors.

JoeyD
03-26-2008, 11:24 AM
I agree and disagree with ya Joey. The hub is not always the best choice. When you have 2 fixtures its not really a hub anymore its a T

If you plan your hub locations well and your main runs well there will not be much extra to bury. I make the extra burial time up in not having to splice at each fixture.

I disagree with all 12ga and running higher voltages. If your going to do that you might as well go to 24v systems.

Back on topic I still dont trust the knock offs but I think certain manufactures are getting over priced due to fancy packaging and other factors.


You are correc Billy. And I am nto saying you cannot produce proper lighting by using other methods, I am only saying that in general if I had one method the Hub is the best and the one I would choose hands down.

Agreeing on 12ga and bigger taps is really another topic and is really kind of beat up, we all know where and how we like to do things. There isnt one defined correct way, as long as you get optimal voltage then it really doesnt matter. I tend to sit on the side of the fence that says higher taps are plenty safe when tested and installed properly by professionals so using wire larger than 12ga is really not needed in most of the systems I have and continue to design. Now 24v, that will be a system that a lot of people will love to hate and critisize. But once you see the benefits it will be hard to argue. The only thing people will be able to hold onto is the fear of using 24v and above. I cant wait for our launch of the 24v system. It will be the most effecient way to wire a LV lighting system next to LED.

Eden Lights
03-26-2008, 12:05 PM
Well I will admit I have not really read this thread, but we use a hub type method when doing living growing objects that we need to adjust fixture placement for aiming, shielding, and etc. On architecture we use the T method with a service loop at each fixture. Every once in a while we will use a lollipop around small trees and statuary. We are always well within .5V on every circuit and limit every run to a max of 10amps so voltage fulcuations are not a problem due to failed lamps. Everybody is different and if you look at my post it was made in humor.:) For me a mess of skinny wire running everywhere doesn't work, but it may work for someone else. Some people drink Koo-laid and some don't. :laugh:

JoeyD
03-26-2008, 12:12 PM
Yeah Eddie and some kool aid is actually refreshing and tastes good. Again there are plenty of ways to wire a system, I am not arguing that. But for you to say what you did, tyring to be humerous or not, isnt a true statement. The difference between 10ga and 12ga isnt much, I wouldnt consider either one that skinny. For me a bunch of burried connections that are un housed everywhere doesnt work, but it may work for someone else. And if you limit every run to 10amps then why would you ever use anything larger than 12ga? And how does that fix voltage fluctuations? If a lamp burns out does it not increase voltage to other lamps?

Eden Lights
03-26-2008, 12:55 PM
You didn't understand the skinny wire post, but let's agree to disagree. I didn't know you guys used 12 gauge for fixture leads? As far as burried fixture leads, I wouldn't consider a tiny wirenut filled with grease under a very small hub stake next to the ground near as good as cripped barrels inside long grease tubes, so thats not a issue at all. When you have a max of 5amps on each side of a T, voltage increases are min. just like when using a hub. Joey I have said over and over that your system is outstanding, but I think most guys (Professionals) out grow any real need for it and it becomes more of a neg. than a positive.

JoeyD
03-26-2008, 01:30 PM
I got ya Eddie. And I know you have given us props, I just want to be clear in understanding your point here. We do use 12ga on leads longer than 25ft by the way. And the Hubs are not tiny wire nuts they are actually mechanical barrel lugs threaded into grease caps in a Hub Junction box. Yes they are small but they force you into making a tight connection. To each his own with connections but we provide what we belive to be a solid mechanical connection. We make 3 different types of Hubs, the FHub or the skinny stake like you describe, the Satellite Hub which is like a 4" valve box w/ and inline fuse and then we have our larger Galaxy Hub and it is a 5" diamater housing and also carry's with it an inline fuse as well as a lid housing spare fuses. Much better when compared to burrying any connection unidentified into the ground.

And I would beg to differ that "most" guys outgrow the Hub. I think you would find that "most" professionals grow into using the Hub system. In all of our experience the Hub is a new way of doing things for guys and they tend to outgrow the Daisy Chain, the T, and the loop methods of old for the sake of fewer connections, ease of install, maintenance, and system growth. The Hub is by far the best wiring method for low voltage lighting, and if you had to pick one method forever it would be hard to say the Hub wouldnt be that choice, its flexabiltiy and ease will always win out and outweigh the negatives of burying more wire leads. Again without a wire lead how do you move your lights around? You have to have some ammount of wire lead incase your landscape grows or changes. Or what about night time adjustment? You need more than 1ft of wire at your light anyway. What if that tree grows from 10ft to 20ft and now needs another light added, do you just want to splice it in to the existing T or would you like to run it back to an existing junction box that it is easy to find and manipulate to accept another light? In reality it is a case of agree to disagree because I could offer valid rebutles of why the Hub is better or as good as any other method out there.

But in all this is good dialogue for those who read and are interested in lightng or are looking to do better lighting.

Joey D.

Eden Lights
03-26-2008, 01:43 PM
Yes, Joey does drink Koo-laid. He also sleeps with a hub and a par under his pillow at night for comfort and security. I applaud your zeal and enthusiasm in YOUR products, but to say you have a biased opinion would be a understatement.*trucewhiteflag*

JoeyD
03-26-2008, 02:06 PM
No Eddie, I chug kool aid from a Hub can and eat Pars for breakfast. Am I biased? Just a bit, do I admit when others have better ideas and better products? I always do. My zeal and enthusiasm doesnt just stop with my products Eddie, remember I too love outdoor lighting so I would say it carry's over to this entire industry. I need it to flourish as much as you do!

Want some kool aid?

Joey D.

Lambent Leaves
03-27-2008, 02:27 AM
I have serviced Unique (not installed though) and they seem to hold up as well as any. Personally, my issue with Unique is with their Kool Aid.

I can't speak to other markets but around here (in the Geek's neighborhood) the Hub Method is pushed as the end all, and that anybody can do it. The issue is that then anybody does, and they don't follow the instructions and it turns into a hazard. I have repaired more than one Unique system that was half-a** installed by a hack and had a major meltdown of the wire in the transormer. Joey maybe you can clue me in on this but the Tranny in question didn't appear to have any secondary protection, therefore the meltdown when there was a short in the landscape.

I realise hacks can screw up anything, but it seems unsafe to offer a transformer without said protection, where any hack can get his hands on it.

Pro-Scapes
03-27-2008, 08:39 AM
Uniques system wants you to fuse at the hub. Most hacks would toss this fuse. Most manufactures and dist regardless if they push a hub will tell you how easy and profitable lighting can be. Thier distortion of the codes and makeshift profits or telling guys to go out and get "300 a light" is very disturbing.

They dont focus on design as much as they should. Unique has the "next level" training for design but that should be the first level. Have you ever noticed just about any seminar teaches people how to hook stuff up first so they can jump in the field and start right away ?

I agree unique should have a secondary protection standard in the transformers and if you still wise to fuse at the hub you can do so. I went a step further... any light mounted to the home gets the inline fuse and is connected to the trans that has secondary breakers installed so I have

Breaker panel
GFCI
Thermal breaker
secondary breakers in trans
Inline fuse (structure mounted fixtures)

I think the boys at Unique Spike the kool aid.

Mike M
03-27-2008, 08:48 AM
Billy, don't forget to wear insulated gloves, and a hard hat in case the fixture falls on your head.

Pro-Scapes
03-27-2008, 09:17 AM
So maybe its overkill. I just do things how I would want them if my family were sleeping inside. Keep it safe... keep it simple and have respect for your clients and thier saftey.

Mike M
03-27-2008, 10:04 AM
Actually, I like everything but the inline fuse idea. Too many connections plus maintenance issues.

What product are you using for this?

Lite4
03-27-2008, 10:16 AM
Bravo Billy, I do exactly the same thing. If you want a good lead on inline fusing products PM me.

JoeyD
03-27-2008, 11:22 AM
I have serviced Unique (not installed though) and they seem to hold up as well as any. Personally, my issue with Unique is with their Kool Aid.

I can't speak to other markets but around here (in the Geek's neighborhood) the Hub Method is pushed as the end all, and that anybody can do it. The issue is that then anybody does, and they don't follow the instructions and it turns into a hazard. I have repaired more than one Unique system that was half-a** installed by a hack and had a major meltdown of the wire in the transormer. Joey maybe you can clue me in on this but the Tranny in question didn't appear to have any secondary protection, therefore the meltdown when there was a short in the landscape.

I realise hacks can screw up anything, but it seems unsafe to offer a transformer without said protection, where any hack can get his hands on it.


This is a probem with un trained lighting guys installing a system and not performing the proper checks and balances with a volt meter and amp probe. There is a risk of melt down if you overload a wire or make a faulty connection. It is the nature of the beast, but this can happen on any system and a secondary breaker doesnt neccesarily solve this issue. See most 25amp breakers dont trip until they hit 32amps which if you have one or two runs with low amperage a short can occur and cause a melt down without tripping the breaker. Now what people seem to overlook is we offer and have offered for years transformers with secondary protection at the transformer. Our problem sometimes is the distributors not always having them on the shelf which leaves the installer to buy whats available right now. But we have also instituted the inline fuse which gives you run protection on each individual run. We cannot control everything every single contractor does. We can only do so much, we cannot be on every job or at every counter to discuss the hazards of making a bad conenction or overloading a run. We try to include all of this info in our instructions and stress the importance of the Critical 3. We all know what most do with instructions though.

As for someone hacking in a Hub system, this is something again that is out of our hands. I think you will find a lot more hacked in daisy chain or T systems then you will Hub systems. I mean there is only so much you can do to mess a Hub up. It usually comes down to someone thinking they can run one hub to another hub to another hub essentially creating an overload on the cable, a dramitic VD issue, and causing the wireing method to now be essentially a glorified daisy. But again, we cannot be everywhere to teach every single person, as much as we would love too.

Joey D.

Lambent Leaves
03-27-2008, 04:34 PM
You are right Joey, you have no control over the installer or end user. If every manufacturer engineered their product for the lowest common denominator in contractor skill, all we'd have is Malibu.

Unique is great if installed properly, I personally like the challenge of figuring ot the voltage drop on my mod-hub/tee systems. I even wrote a voltage drop calculator program that works in excel so I can have it in my pocket on my phone. (If you want to check it out, PM me...it's super simple, but effective)

I did want to note one other issue with the Unique system (sorry to pile on, but I used to work for FX and while their Kool Aid is not as strong, is present nonetheless). That is with a 22v tap, and 11v at the fixture, you're losing 50% of the power into the ground. Not very efficient. Sticking to big wire and keeping runs shorter saves power. If you need to make a run 300', have an electrician pull power out and add another transformer (Upsell!).

klkanders
03-27-2008, 04:59 PM
So how much am I charging my client to put 2 fixtures w/20W lamps to light something an additional 300' away? :)

Keith

klkanders
03-27-2008, 05:11 PM
Maybe I am wrong but I thought the 22v tap, 11v at fixture, and wasting power thing has been talked about before and proven wrong?

I would like to know from Joey how many 1838 complient transformers are sold versus transformers with up to 22v?

I would think that the majority of transformers being sold and used are 15v and under. Is it cost effective to call for line locates, call in an electrician to pull a line to add a transformer that may only operate a few lights? Or just change out that transformer for a non-1838 one?

You guys tell me as I have not been doing this as long as most of you.

Keith

JoeyD
03-27-2008, 05:16 PM
You are right Joey, you have no control over the installer or end user. If every manufacturer engineered their product for the lowest common denominator in contractor skill, all we'd have is Malibu.

Unique is great if installed properly, I personally like the challenge of figuring ot the voltage drop on my mod-hub/tee systems. I even wrote a voltage drop calculator program that works in excel so I can have it in my pocket on my phone. (If you want to check it out, PM me...it's super simple, but effective)

I did want to note one other issue with the Unique system (sorry to pile on, but I used to work for FX and while their Kool Aid is not as strong, is present nonetheless). That is with a 22v tap, and 11v at the fixture, you're losing 50% of the power into the ground. Not very efficient. Sticking to big wire and keeping runs shorter saves power. If you need to make a run 300', have an electrician pull power out and add another transformer (Upsell!).

It's all good. Trust me when I say that I understand fully why most feel like we push our system so hard. Fact is for the most part today and for many years we were the only one's pushing this system and sometimes when you have something new in an industry you have to shout to be heard. We are proud of the fact that we have what we believe is a very good, easy to learn, and easy to maintain lighting system.

Now as for the 22v thing you made comment too. What you say is correct. You do lose energy, that is VD. You have resistance in the line, that is part of LV lighting. Unfortunatly so many companies have preached that we are energy hogs....(I know you know what I'm talking about) yet no one wants to consider the costs involved in running 120v. You say upsell, and I agree. But I prefer to upsell in design and not in power. I prefer to have my transformers housed closer to the home. This makes servicing and automating much easier. Obviously if I have to pull 120v into a yard then I have a Direct Burail unit to offer but nothing is worse than paying all that money to have an electician trench almost 20" into the soil for 300ft to run 120v when I could easily pull a $75 300ft 12/2 direct burial cable 6" into the soil without conduit and get the job donein a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost. It is still more affordable to do it our way then to run 120v and now with 24v we can be even more effecient and go even further with less energy loss.

Unique's goal is the same today as it was when Nate created it and that is to provide professional grade systems to professionals. This includes first off the power source. So many companies are founded on developing fixtures and offering a cookie cutter transformer secondary. We are reverse. We develop transformers and push a system then offer fixtures to compliment our system.

This is all good stuff though, again this type of conversation really allows the newbies who read here to gain understanding about what quality lighting is and what goes into developing a quality system that they can be proud of and will last.

Joey D.

Lambent Leaves
03-27-2008, 05:25 PM
Adding those far-off fixtures is always an issue. I ask my clients if they would use an outlet in the back 40, and they often can see a use in addition to the Lights (for the leaf blower, DJ for a party, etc.)

As an FX guy, I was told that anything over 15v in the field was EVIL and that it was a bonfire waiting to happen. The Electricity Police and inspectors will shut you down, and so on. Alright so I blew it out of proportion. No one (at least around here, that I know of) is even enforcing the 1838 or any other low voltage standards be they NEC or UL. That's taken care of and worried about by the manufacturers who are making their best effort to put out a high quality and safe product.

As to the 22v to 11v drop and efficiency issue, I should have posed it as a question, since someone else may have some detailed data on this. I don't claim to know everything. Just most things:)

JoeyD
03-27-2008, 05:44 PM
LOL.....Your exposing the underlying efforts that your old boss used to and still continues to preach to his customers. These are big myths, what makes anyone think that 16v is going to cause something to catch fire yet 15 is so safe? How does voltage start fires anyway, it is amperage that generates heat. Those are battles we used to fight on a daily basis, now that information is laughed at by the majority. We proved them wrong then and we continue to do so not just with our own products but with all the other upstart companies that are develping their busines' based upon our system principals. Now they aren't fighting just Unique they are fighting CAST and all the others now making transformers beyond 15v. We are not the only company standing on this side of the line anymore.

And again as for lights far away, sometimes installing 120v is the right thing and is beneficiary, we all know there are multiple ways to get things done right. Every job is different and requires alternative decisions based upon the projects layout and requirements. It is just nice to know that if you want to go down that drive way 300ft you can do it with 12/2 and still get 12v to your lights ALL NIGHT LONG!!

Oh shoot got to run, the electricity police are here.......lol

Lambent I need your email...email me joey.digiovanni@uniquelighting.com

Lambent Leaves
03-27-2008, 05:59 PM
I think it's about time the feud got a little more exposure.

I can speak to personal experience with Josh (FX) and have heard tell of Nate (Unique), though I've never heard him speak or met him (Factory Fly-In anyone?) that both have strong personalities that may need some edge-polishing. And I don't care if this gets back to Josh as I welcome a call (he hasn't returned any communication personally since I was unceremoniously sacked in 2005). If you're reading this Josh, I know a good restaurant to get Halibut.

JoeyD
03-27-2008, 06:09 PM
Yeah, we can trade some good war stories!! LOL Good luck with that response!!

Joey D.