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Mike M
06-09-2008, 12:27 AM
I'm still using the Nightscaping stainless steel aube-based timers, and it gets expensive.

Anyone hear of any manu putting an astro in their trans yet?? Or something better than the intermattic with the watch batteries?? The batteries don't recharge and die too easy if power is cut off.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-09-2008, 02:24 AM
I am done with timers.... Im a UPB guy now and loving it.

Mike, you can always make your own timer set up using the standalone Aube Timer, a 2-Gang PVC weatherproof switch box, a 2 Gang Weatherproof-while-in-use cover (Intermatic), a decora or duplex receptacle, and a grounded pigtail.

However, after you procure all those materials, and account for your time to assemble them, I would suspect that you will be coming pretty darned close to the cost of the unit you are using now... and it wont look nearly as impressive.

Ultimately you need to stop worrying about the cost of the components (steak) and start selling the sizzle. A few bucks more for a good controller is not going to be the deal breaker on a sale.

Today was a good day, 2 large systems contracted, both are new clients who have "heard good things". We are now fully booked out to 3rd week of September with 19 projects contracted. Sales are through the roof and the phone keeps on ringing! I am bringing on another installer next week. We have already outsold 2007 and Im not stopping for anything!

When asked today to see some "samples" of the products that I was going to install I simply let the client know that I don't sell fixtures, I sell afterdark outdoor living environments and that I only use the best materials available. That was good enough for him. Amazing how people really don't want to know about all the techno-data, they just want things to work and look great.

Have a great day!

(anyone spare a fully trained installer? :) )

Chris J
06-09-2008, 08:17 AM
UPB is fine and dandy if you are in a market with little to no competitors. In a market saturated with contractors, however, a lot of people will have more than one bid on hand for their project. For me, I'm usually a little more expensive than the rest as it is because of experience and design quality. Putting UPB in the mix without an alternative will just make our bids exceedingly higher than the others. Can you see yourself, as a homeowner, paying 8k for a lighting job when you have three other proposals for 5-6k?
Of course, if you have the customer's ear long enough to explain the differences and issues then you might be able to win over some of them. But, as many have stated here, most customers don't care about the components (steak), they just want their home to sizzle at night. I think it is wise to have an alternative plan for those who don't want to pay the extra cost for the bells and whistles, and it would be nice if there were a reliable timer to accomplish this.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-09-2008, 08:58 AM
Ok Chris, I can see your point somewhat. Its not like I dont have competition here you know! There are many excellent lighting companies in the surrounding area that can and do install great lighting systems right next door to my clients.

I guess my point is that you have to SELL the benefits of the control systems to your clients. Don't look at UPB and other such enhancements as something that makes your systems more expensive and less competitive, instead you should be SELLING the clients on it, and allowing your professional experience to shine through, offering a unique and remarkable product and service mix that your "competition" does not.

Will this technique win 100% of the jobs every day? No of course not, there will always be those who are value oriented and that is just fine. However, if you want to position your business and service as the head of the pack, to be the leading innovator in the market, and gain that reputation, then you are going to have to offer the market something more, and something better then the rest of the pack.... And that is going to come at a higher price... and I am certain that the good people of Florida understand that as much as anyone.

Give it some thought Chris.... including UPB controls is just one way in which you could continue to lead the pack in your market, providing you with a competitive edge over the others.

The glass is half full!

Pro-Scapes
06-09-2008, 09:26 AM
Often times I offer the advanced control system as an upgrade and when I do I am sure to offer to incorperate and balance thier existing lights both inside and out into the system.

Multi transformer jobs get a upb regardless. Its just built into my price.

Chris J
06-09-2008, 04:32 PM
I offer it, and I use it when I can. I was simply stating that I too would like to have a quality, reliable digital astro timer that could be used in case the customer didn't want the upgrade.
As far as the Floridians go, right now they all have their pocket books on lock down regardless of the price.

worx
06-09-2008, 10:56 PM
I'll second that Chris!!!! (pocket book lock down)

Steve

David Gretzmier
06-10-2008, 12:12 AM
i guess I have wishful thinking as well on a good timer. I use the intermatic digital with the larger aa batteries and they seem to last about 2 years. I use this in combo with the included photo cell or an external built photo-cell box, and it solves most of my problems. Set the digital to only work from 5:30 pm to 12:30 am and the system only works from dark to 12:30, no matter when dark is. If these folks have issues with photo-cells at 3 different transformers coming on at 35 minutes apart, then I use the sylvania below for a sunset On time set to dark to dusk, with a digital to shut it off at a certain time. sounds complicated, but actually easy in practice, and at 45 bucks for both total cost, not too bad per trans. Folks that want it on all night, just use the sylvania.

Sylvania makes a digital timer,AA Batteries, that will determine sunset/ON time by your zip code, AND will set time by radio frequency in the air BUT then only will let you set a number of hours the system is then on after sunset. so setting it for 4 hours on after sunset is great in June, but then silly in December.

JoeyD
06-10-2008, 10:08 AM
David can you post more info on this Sylvania timer? Maybe a picture and part number. Thanks.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-10-2008, 09:20 PM
Ok so I have to ask..... Why not simply use the tried and true Aube Ti035 timer? It is an Astro, It is rugged, it is rated to handle 2400W, it uses a NiMh internal battery so freezing is not an issue, It has a robust feature set and is easy to use.

http://www.aubetech.com/products/produitsDetails.php?noProduit=78&noLangue=2

Chris J
06-10-2008, 10:14 PM
Doesn't the Aube have to be wired into the line voltage side of the circuit? I frequently install transformers at an outdoor receptacle that is not switched. If I'm not mistaken, this control would require me to have an electrician install a separate receptacle and retrofit the switch inside the home. Is this correct? If that's the case, I think I would rather just use the UPB controls because the cost would probably come out to be the same. Wouldn't it?

Pro-Scapes
06-10-2008, 11:48 PM
Yes the Aube controls the line voltage . With your kichler transformers you would need an electrician to install it for you to control your receptical.

I have started using them on newer homes that were prewired for lighting and controled by a switch inside.

irrig8r
06-10-2008, 11:57 PM
Doesn't the Aube have to be wired into the line voltage side of the circuit? ... If I'm not mistaken, this control would require me to have an electrician install a separate receptacle and retrofit the switch inside the home. Is this correct?

No and no. That is, if you buy the Nightscaping stand alone version.

And it has a dual receptacle where you plug in your transformers.

Or one transformer and Christmas lights. Or whatever...

Pro-Scapes
06-11-2008, 12:02 AM
I forgot about that nightscaping thing that comes in the enclosure already wired.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-11-2008, 01:07 AM
Chris, the Aube Timer when used in the modular control bay of a Nightscaping Powercenter is probably the most cost effective means of Astro Timer control on the market. Then there is the stand alone accessory timer unit that Nightscaping makes which will work for any transformer.

On most if not all of my jobs I have an EC on site to install dedicated circuits for the lighting transformers that are remotely located.... It isnt much for them to put an inline single gang switch box near the panel and install the Aube timer there.

UPB is still going to cost more per transformer controlled no matter what as you will need to install a phase coupler, a timer/scheduler, the transformer control switch and at least one interior control module. But... the advantages of the UPB system are worth the extra 8 to 10 percent of the system price IMO.

Have a great day.

Pro-Scapes
06-11-2008, 11:43 AM
The real gains I have seen by offering the UPB set up is

slow fade in and fade out of my systems (this will only happen if you use dimmable controls and use a trans with no relay)

Centralized control so everything is in sync

Controlability (I can add touch pads virtually anywhere)

incorperation... I can add in existing lighting thoughout the home with ease This also allows me to determine the settings for existing lighting which look best to compliment our new lighting vs compete with it.

When you think about the increased lamp life due to the slow on and off or "soft start" feature it can often times offset the price of the UPB system.

I can happliy report zero premie lamp failures on the systems I have used this set up on.

Now if you only need on off control of a lighting system the AUbe will be more cost effective from the start.

Chris since your using the Kichler transformers and relamp regularly you might be best off with the aube set up.

Mike M
06-12-2008, 12:06 AM
Chris,

I've been using the one that just mounts outside, next to the trans, and has two receptacles. It is the Aube switch attached to an outlet, all inside a small stainless steel box. Very quick and easy, put together by Nightscaping. No need for an EC. But the item costs twice as much as just the switch alone.

Chris J
06-12-2008, 12:48 AM
Thanks for the info Mike, but I am very sceptical when it comes to Nightscaping products. I may not be giving enough credit for their newer technology, but everything I have encountered around here that is Nightscaping is simply crap. The fixtures are falling apart, and their transformers are a bit rediculous. Hi, Low, Med switch? What is up with that? No thanks.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-12-2008, 09:35 AM
Open your mind up a bit Chis... The Nightscaping Power Center and the H3O line are very versatile transformers with the best availability of on board control options in the business. As for the High, Med, Low output selector switch... well it is a fantastic "tool" that has saved many over time. Especially functional on the H3O line of multitap transformers.

Order one up for that new landscape you are installing at your home... use it for yourself and you might just find out they are better then you think.

Have a great day.

Pro-Scapes
06-12-2008, 09:55 AM
Open your mind up a bit Chis... The Nightscaping Power Center and the H3O line are very versatile transformers with the best availability of on board control options in the business. .

I think that really is up for debate now isnt it. Seems to me like you would be limited to what the manufacture will outfit it with for you and what they build bays for. Then at that your stuck buying the internal control from them.

I would much rather be able to install my own control of choice in an industry standard configuration in both hardwire and pluggable formats.

Chris J
06-12-2008, 07:45 PM
James, while I appreciate the suggestion I have just seen too many down-sides to justify looking into it. Even if it did have the best control options, that's only one part of the total equation.
Thanks anyway, but there's really no reason to open my mind when my eyes are doing a good enough job by themselves.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-13-2008, 03:27 AM
I think that really is up for debate now isnt it. Seems to me like you would be limited to what the manufacture will outfit it with for you and what they build bays for. Then at that your stuck buying the internal control from them.

I would much rather be able to install my own control of choice in an industry standard configuration in both hardwire and pluggable formats.

I don't see any limits to the Nightscaping Powercenters and control options. Besides the analog timers, digital timers, astro timers, photocells, x10 modules, sprinkler modules, and relay modules that Nightscaping produces for the Powercenter line you can also order a blank decora module plate and insert your own controls (UPB for instance).

One of the coolest, and one that everybody is now copying, is the relay module. The "islander module"; T-SS-12V was thought up and developed by the Islander brothers out of Cali. Nightscaping had this years before the others and what a blessing for large multi-transformer jobs!

As all of the modules are plug and play, you simply order your powercenters and then order the control modules you want and assemble them on site. There are 5 terminals and full instructions with every module. Once you learn the schematics of the terminal layout you are easily able to adapt other controls into the control bay. It is very versatile and very easy.

So with that I will continue to maintain that Nightscaping has the widest range of available control system on the market.

Pro-Scapes
06-13-2008, 08:32 AM
I guess I missed the plug and play outlet on the nightscaping ? I didnt see that on any that I have worked with

Having to order a "bay" or other propriety sized control leaves you at the whim of that manufacture. I am able to grab someting off the shelf and install it within minutes.

Ok Lets rephrase what you have said. Maybe nightscaping has the widest range of controls avalible THROUGH THEM out of any manufacture. Come on James. Think outside the Box.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-13-2008, 09:23 AM
Billy, you seem to miss a lot in my posts....

"you can also order a blank decora module plate and insert your own controls (UPB for instance)."

And

"There are 5 terminals and full instructions with every module. Once you learn the schematics of the terminal layout you are easily able to adapt other controls into the control bay. It is very versatile and very easy."

I have installed a wide range of "other manufacturers" decora based control products into the Modular control bay with no issues at all. Timers, Switches, Dimmers, UPB switches, RF Remotes, etc etc... You are NOT limited to only what Nightscaping sells or assembles.

Oh, and for a twist, the entire lifetime guaranteed Nightscaping Powercenter line is available in Stainless Steel (standard), Copper, and I am pretty sure you can get them in factory Powder Coated Stainless Steel. I just ordered 9Copper Powercenters for a job... The client is going to be very happy with this as all of his exterior hardware & trim is copper.

Have a great day.

Pro-Scapes
06-13-2008, 09:50 AM
I still stand by its NOT the most versatile. Orderiing extra bays or plates or adapters... why not just have it all inside waiting for you and on top of that plug in capability too right inside.

Niether one of us will see eye to eye on this so just agree to disagree.

Eden Lights
06-13-2008, 04:10 PM
Around here problem with NS is, nobody wants to carry it or get it for you. So the prices are way to high! Great company, great products, poor poor rep. and dist=Dinosaur

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-14-2008, 01:47 AM
Hopefully that "Dinosaur" can actually continue to adapt evolve and innovate.

Just remember that that "Dinosaur" has consistently been responsible for some of the most evolutionary ideas in outdoor lighting over the course of the last 50 years.

I like to have faith in the concept of "Friends doing business with friends." which Nightscaping exemplifies to this very day. They are still the only manufacturing company that I know of, anywhere, that can take a product off their line, customize it to your specification, paint match it if necessary, and have it to your door in literally 2 to 3 days. They do this regularly for their Friends.

Is everything they produce an Ace product? No, I certainly don't think so. Just like any long standing and venerable company they have a need to modernize somewhat and that seems to be happening now. Besides that, some of their products are Aces and perform very well.

Won't it be fun watching and helping that 'Dinosaur' continue to evolve for another 50 years? I have learned in business that you have to be patient, that good businesses are just like good friendships, they help each other!

"Friends doing business with friends" . . . works for me!

NiteTymeIlluminations
06-16-2008, 10:28 AM
you guys are a trip. I couldn't care less who's name is on a p[roduct now a days...seriously...and I couldn't care less if a guy down the street installs a 200 light job supplied by whomever...wow...it feels good...but if you'd tell me a year ago I wouldnt be using a single kichler fixture I'd tell you you were crazy...I let all that go and I use the best for each individual nook and crannie...I guy in canada is certainly going to use a different product than a guy in florida and you guys can argue or discuss all day but you in totally different markets...and Billy, you have a diffeent favorite every day on everything. I used to think staying loyal to one or 2 brands helped a bunch but it really doesnt, it limits your choices significantly. I use hevi lite here, unique here, joey we need to talk, lumascape here, hadco here, sorry no NS only because they aint got no line voltage...but maybe soon some NS...I used some kichler, vista, etc...and we use a few different timers, we use no batteries but supercapicitor back up to hold time for 100 hours and permanent schedule retention.

But I'll never have a discussion with anyone who makes the BEST whatever...every area demand something different...every person needs something different.

Eden Lights
06-16-2008, 11:32 AM
Hopefully that "Dinosaur" can actually continue to adapt evolve and innovate.

Just remember that that "Dinosaur" has consistently been responsible for some of the most evolutionary ideas in outdoor lighting over the course of the last 50 years.

I like to have faith in the concept of "Friends doing business with friends." which Nightscaping exemplifies to this very day. They are still the only manufacturing company that I know of, anywhere, that can take a product off their line, customize it to your specification, paint match it if necessary, and have it to your door in literally 2 to 3 days. They do this regularly for their Friends.

Is everything they produce an Ace product? No, I certainly don't think so. Just like any long standing and venerable company they have a need to modernize somewhat and that seems to be happening now. Besides that, some of their products are Aces and perform very well.

Won't it be fun watching and helping that 'Dinosaur' continue to evolve for another 50 years? I have learned in business that you have to be patient, that good businesses are just like good friendships, they help each other!

"Friends doing business with friends" . . . works for me!

Great company, great products, poor poor rep. and dist=Dinosaur
Great company, great products, poor poor rep. and dist=Dinosaur
Great company, great products, poor poor rep. and dist=Dinosaur
Great company, great products, poor poor rep. and dist=Dinosaur
Great company, great products, poor poor rep. and dist=Dinosaur
Great company, great products, poor poor rep. and dist=Dinosaur
Great company, great products, poor poor rep. and dist=Dinosaur

I thought I would repost since you didn't read any of my issues with NS, nor did you address them. I agree with everything you said for the most part.

JoeyD
06-16-2008, 12:45 PM
you guys are a trip. I couldn't care less who's name is on a p[roduct now a days...seriously...and I couldn't care less if a guy down the street installs a 200 light job supplied by whomever...wow...it feels good...but if you'd tell me a year ago I wouldnt be using a single kichler fixture I'd tell you you were crazy...I let all that go and I use the best for each individual nook and crannie...I guy in canada is certainly going to use a different product than a guy in florida and you guys can argue or discuss all day but you in totally different markets...and Billy, you have a diffeent favorite every day on everything. I used to think staying loyal to one or 2 brands helped a bunch but it really doesnt, it limits your choices significantly. I use hevi lite here, unique here, joey we need to talk, lumascape here, hadco here, sorry no NS only because they aint got no line voltage...but maybe soon some NS...I used some kichler, vista, etc...and we use a few different timers, we use no batteries but supercapicitor back up to hold time for 100 hours and permanent schedule retention.

But I'll never have a discussion with anyone who makes the BEST whatever...every area demand something different...every person needs something different.

I'm not hard to find me Doug...Unlike you.....who knows what island you may be lounging on this week....errrrrr I mean working on this week!!

LOL:laugh: