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View Full Version : My LED install: What a Trip!


Chris J
07-28-2008, 04:47 PM
I installed a backyard/dock/deck system today for one of my current customers. On this install, I decided to use the LED deck lights (1.9w each) because of the long, multi-level dock leading to the deck on the water. I always do my calculations at my desk before arriving at the job site, and I knew that I could "theoretically" pull this off but I just didn't feel comfortable about it. I daisy chained 14 deck lights (with a 35w MR16 about half way down the run). When I powered it up, I had 12.3v at the first fixture and 11.7v at the end of the 150 string using the 14v tap. Only 6/10ths difference in 150'!!! This put my MR16 halogen at 12v, so I backed it down to the 13v tap. As I finished the job, I found myself staring at it in amazement. I don't daisy chain, and the word makes me cringe, but with the parameters of LEDs being between 8 to 15v anything is possible. It is almost ridiculous how far you can string these lights along and still have the voltage within the limits.
As long as these things will hold up over time, I'm sold on the concept!

jshimmin
07-28-2008, 04:58 PM
What fixture and bulb combo did you use?

Chris J
07-28-2008, 05:12 PM
What fixture and bulb combo did you use?

I used the Kichler 15765BE. It's an LED fixture, not a replaceable lamp. I'm going back tonight for the final adjustments of the tree illuminations, and I'll let you all know about the color temp and aesthetics. I wish I had a camera right now. This back yard is going to look amazing!

JoeyD
07-28-2008, 05:26 PM
24v gives you alot of the same freedom!!

Post up some pics Chris!!

Chris J
07-28-2008, 07:44 PM
If I had used a 24v system, would I still be able to daisy chain 15 lights out to 150' and still have proper voltage to the first, last and 35w halogen in the middle? If it were a 24v system, the lights would have to be 7w to provide the same effect/result so the total lamp load would be 133w. Would it work? I don't have any calculators for a 24v system, and I don't know the parameters/specifics on the voltage range.

NightScenes
07-28-2008, 07:46 PM
That's great Chris, I can't wait to see some pics.

TXNSLighting
07-28-2008, 08:01 PM
Hope to see some pics!!

Chris J
07-28-2008, 09:04 PM
Anybody got a good used camera for sale. I looked at Costco for a camera I think I'd like, but the cost is $1200 to $2000. What's better for our purposes? Canon Rebel XSi 12.2mp, Canon 40D 10.1mp or Nikon D300 12.3mp?

TXNSLighting
07-28-2008, 09:13 PM
I have a Canon Powershot S5 IS. I think it works fine. It was only $400 bucks on Amazon i believe...But of course there are better ones id love to have. But they cost well over a grand...

Chris J
07-28-2008, 10:12 PM
I just got back from the adjustment session and it looks great. The color of the LED deck lights is perfect, but man do those things pack a punch. Nice warm color but It's almost too bright. I would probably have a problem with it, but she is elderly and the higher light level will help her navigate the path down to her dock. The customer is tickled pink, and I expect to get some calls from the surrounding houses as well as from across the lake especially.

Lite4
07-28-2008, 10:50 PM
Hey Chris,
I bought the D40x from Costco for about a grand with an extra lense. It works Ok, but I will probably upgrade to Nikon D3 in the next few years. Can't wait to see some pics.

davidInOttawa
07-28-2008, 10:52 PM
Hi Chris..

Just like you would prefer a customer to not cheap out on lightscaping after paying enormous sums on pools/landscaping etc.. you should also consider using a professional product to promote your business.

I took a quick look at your site, and the pictures were good.. But they could be better.. With a better camera you could expect better low light performance, and better focus in low light.

The cameras you mentioned are all good choices... (I have the Canon 40D and love it, but the XSi or Nikon would be great as well). For a good digital SLR like this, you should get a good wide angle lens.. Wide angle for most consumer DSLR's is a little different than the film cameras (there is a multiplication factor due to the smaller sensor size). The "kit" zoom lens for these cameras (17-55mm or similar) should be ok to start with, but if you want a dedicated lens for your wide angle night shots you should consider something like a 10-22mm.

Add a good sturdy tripod (MANFROTTO 190XB/W 484RC2 HEAD ~ $250.00 or better) and learn how to use the timer on the camera (so that you don't introduce shaking while pressing the shutter button), and you will create rock steady, high resolution images of your work.

If you need a smaller camera, a lot of pros like the Canon G9.

Cheers!

David

cgaengineer
07-29-2008, 08:11 AM
Anybody got a good used camera for sale. I looked at Costco for a camera I think I'd like, but the cost is $1200 to $2000. What's better for our purposes? Canon Rebel XSi 12.2mp, Canon 40D 10.1mp or Nikon D300 12.3mp?

Get the D300 or the D3 if you have money to burn! I am very happy with my Nikon equipment and the build quality is very good...pickup the Rebel, then pickup the Nikon D300...you will notice the difference, you will also notice Nikon added a top LCD and the Rebel lacks this handy feature. It used to be Canon had the low light advantage at higher ISO's, but now that gap is closing. Canon also used to be the ticket if you wanted a full frame DSLR, this is no longer the case.

If you have Nikon specific question I will try to answer them...but whatever you do dont buy a point and shoot for low light photography. If you need the auto features you may look at the Nikon D80 which is a very nice camera and very similar to the D200 but lacks the speed and the weatherproofing.

The D300 is the D200's replacement. If you could find a used low shutter count D200 for around $700-$900 I would jump on it. Feel free to PM me for any questions.

NightScenes
07-29-2008, 08:37 AM
Chris, are you not using the photographer anymore? I use a Canon Rebel XT and it works very well. I also know that the XTI is very good. Both of these are less than $1000.

Good luck Chris.

Chris J
07-29-2008, 09:04 AM
No, I haven't used the photographer in quite some time because of the expense. I have really been lacking in the area of fresh photos of my work, and it's really starting to bother me since I see some of you taking so many photos. Once I got an ample portfolio of my work, I virtually stopped hiring the photographer. The problem is, all of the photos I have are from when I was a rookie, and they no longer portray what my company can do. To make matters worse, when the web guy scanned in my photos for the web-site, he didn't take them out of the protective plastic in the portfolio. That is what is making the photos on the site look a little fuzzy. Of course I could have him do it again, but it has been one of those things that just kept on being put on the back burner. Amazing how time will just fly by, and then make you wonder why you haven't done this or that yet. I plan on being on being a little more proactive in the future.

Chris J
07-29-2008, 09:06 AM
Chris Jones,
Thanks for the info and offer to help. I'm sure I'll need some guidance when I get a camera, and I appreciate your offer.

ChampionLS
07-29-2008, 11:27 AM
I installed a backyard/dock/deck system today for one of my current customers. On this install, I decided to use the LED deck lights (1.9w each) because of the long, multi-level dock leading to the deck on the water. I always do my calculations at my desk before arriving at the job site, and I knew that I could "theoretically" pull this off but I just didn't feel comfortable about it. I daisy chained 14 deck lights (with a 35w MR16 about half way down the run). When I powered it up, I had 12.3v at the first fixture and 11.7v at the end of the 150 string using the 14v tap. Only 6/10ths difference in 150'!!! This put my MR16 halogen at 12v, so I backed it down to the 13v tap. As I finished the job, I found myself staring at it in amazement. I don't daisy chain, and the word makes me cringe, but with the parameters of LEDs being between 8 to 15v anything is possible. It is almost ridiculous how far you can string these lights along and still have the voltage within the limits.
As long as these things will hold up over time, I'm sold on the concept!


I've been saying this all along on our paver lighting/deck lighting system. With low watt fixtures, it's possible. Did you use the Philips system?

NightLightingFX
07-29-2008, 12:16 PM
Hey Chris,
You have just got to go out and take pics. Even if you don't have a SLR camera. You can still get some great pics with a point and shoot. Start out with a point and shoot, and see what you can get with that. I think you might be surprised at some shoots you will get.
~Ned

JoeyD
07-29-2008, 12:18 PM
If I had used a 24v system, would I still be able to daisy chain 15 lights out to 150' and still have proper voltage to the first, last and 35w halogen in the middle? If it were a 24v system, the lights would have to be 7w to provide the same effect/result so the total lamp load would be 133w. Would it work? I don't have any calculators for a 24v system, and I don't know the parameters/specifics on the voltage range.


You absoultly can. I took your scenario here based upon the info you gave. I did 14 lights all 10w except one 35w in the middle. They are wired to a 150ft daisy chain run. The homerun is 14/2.........See the attachment.......You will see that it says 20ft wire run to first light then I put 10ft inbetween each fixture all the way down. I loss less than one volt. And rememebr with a 24v system I can be as low as 21.6v and as high as 24v so we have a large range to be in to ensure the halogen cycle is able to be performed! This is extremly beneficial when you have a lamp burnout. If one lamp goes you wont have to always worry about a chain reaction occuring.

I also did it on 12/2 wire, and then I did a few scenarios with 5w lamps. I just figured 10w would be more common in what we do with halogen.

24v is an amazing concept!

Chris J
07-29-2008, 04:44 PM
I've been saying this all along on our paver lighting/deck lighting system. With low watt fixtures, it's possible. Did you use the Philips system?

I don't know what the Philips system is, but I didn't use it. It was a combination system of MR16 halogen along with the LED deck lights (Kichler 15765BE)

Chris J
07-29-2008, 04:51 PM
You absoultly can. I took your scenario here based upon the info you gave. I did 14 lights all 10w except one 35w in the middle. They are wired to a 150ft daisy chain run. The homerun is 14/2.........See the attachment.......You will see that it says 20ft wire run to first light then I put 10ft inbetween each fixture all the way down. I loss less than one volt. And rememebr with a 24v system I can be as low as 21.6v and as high as 24v so we have a large range to be in to ensure the halogen cycle is able to be performed! This is extremly beneficial when you have a lamp burnout. If one lamp goes you wont have to always worry about a chain reaction occuring.

I also did it on 12/2 wire, and then I did a few scenarios with 5w lamps. I just figured 10w would be more common in what we do with halogen.

24v is an amazing concept!

Edit: I went back and saw the lengths. So in your calculator you are using a hub? Does that now mean that I have to attach 15 leads under this dock?

NightScenes
07-29-2008, 06:05 PM
Hey Joey, that thing is only counting 20' of wire and not the entire length of 150'.

Chris J
07-29-2008, 06:50 PM
Yes, that's what I saw as well. 20' to the hub, then 10' lengths. I'm still waiting for Joey, but I think he entered the info wrong. In either case, I don't think this is a daisy chain test.

JoeyD
07-29-2008, 07:42 PM
The way I understood it was you have 150ft total...so what I did was go 20ft from TF to the first light then I have 10ft inbetween everyfixture, wired into a daisy chain. Does that make sense? There is a total of 150ft there. Read and you will see there is 10ft in between each light. You can see how the VD goes down at each fixtures voltage. 24v is a beautiful thing!!!!!!

tell em' lighting geek! I had one of our local contracotrs come by yesterday to tell me that he bid 7 days on a huge install. He used 24v for the first time and they finished in 4 days. His guys love the ease and flexability. Our Sequencers are working withthe 24v transformers also!

Chris J
07-29-2008, 08:48 PM
OK Joey. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but that calculator looks wierd. The voltage drop from each fixture doesn't add up to the total voltage drop at the top of the header. I'm thinking that could be explained as cable loss, but I can't find the info in the test results to prove that to myself. You win.

JoeyD
07-30-2008, 10:45 AM
Just wanted to show the positives of 24v as an option thats all!!