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Rainman7
12-17-2008, 10:25 PM
I have always used the Cast/Unique Hub method. I always feel like its such a waste to coil up and bury all the extra wire on the 25' leads. What other methods do you use?

Chris J
12-17-2008, 11:49 PM
This is just my personal opinion, but I think if your going to use the hub method you better not cut the extra wire. 16ga wire will lose a lot of volts quick, so it's best to keep all the leads at the same length. I'm not a big fan of the hub because of this, and that's why I group my fixtures in my designs and use a T method. All of my installs are usually within a half of a volt (11-11.5). I've never liked the idea of all that wire being wasted and burried in the ground. Plus, it gets rather cluttering on the job site.
But, to each his own as far as I'm concerned. No matter how you do it, if your luminaries have equal voltage, then it doesn't matter how you arrive at that point.

Dreams To Designs
12-18-2008, 12:10 PM
The leads for a hub system do not have to be 25', but they all must be of equal length. Cutting the leads will only end up with you having a bunch of short pieces of 16ga wire and less flexibility if you need to reposition fixtures. I find as the landscape grows, having that extra wire allows me to reposition fixtures to a more appropriate location, rather than hacking a plant so it doesn't block the light. A hub system can allow for more design flexibility, but as Chris says, whatever method works for you and your client, is best.

Usually a combination of methods will suit each site better than one idea. A multi-volt transformer and a hub system are a great way to use a s a basis for a lighting design, but inline or T's will suit certain situations better. With the proliferation of LED technology, the way in which we install lighting today is bound for a complete overhaul.

Kirk

JoeyD
12-18-2008, 12:31 PM
You do not need to keep all 25ft of wire on your fixture leads if you know the rules. If you are setting your Hub voltage between 11.3 and 12v then you can cut your leads down to as short as you want. Scenario....

Voltage at Hub is 12v. Fixtures have 25ft leads of 16/2 and have 20w lamps. At 25ft you will experience approx. a .5v drop in voltage.

so 5 lights total on 1 Hub:
3 lights at 25ft 16/2 will read at 11.5v
1 light at 10ft of 16/2 will read at around 11.8v
1 light at 5ft of 16/2 will read about 11.9-12v

The idea behind keeping them all the same length is that you now know they are all being distributed equally and you have the ability to move lights around during the install and after the landscape matures. But as long as every lamp is between 10.8 and 12v it doesnt matter. The human eye is not going to tell the difference between 11 and 12v. You cut the wires all you want as long as you stay within the required voltage range.

The Hub is still the best method for 12v halogen lighting when it comes to limiting conections in the ground and adding and removing fixtures from a system. To each his own but as long as you know the rules there is a lot of flexability in the Hub system. With the emrgence of 24v and LED, other wireing methods such as the daisy chain and T are able to be used with ease!!

Mike M
12-18-2008, 12:51 PM
I think Unique will have some good methods for wiring LED's, since the needs and liberties are similar to the 24v system.

But nobody here has the balls to talk about a usable pierce point. What's better, one long, uncut home run cable, or one that has been sliced up and spliced 24 times?

JoeyD
12-18-2008, 01:50 PM
Longevity has to be taken into consideration and I am not sure that a pierce point will hold up over time as well as a properly spliced connection would. I also have NEVER seen a pierce point that didnt allow for moisture intrusion and wicking. But the day I do see one is the day I will eat crow in regards to the pierce points!! LOL

Rainman7
12-18-2008, 06:18 PM
Thanks for the responses. I was asking the question because I was talking to someone from GardenLight and they were saying that the Hub method is great but they prefer the "Power-something(I forgot)" method. It sounded like and inline daisy chain type wiring. I could be wrong about that, I am going to be speaking to them again tomorrow.

Has anyone ever used Garden Light Fixtures?

JoeyD
12-18-2008, 06:51 PM
The search button at the top here is pretty handy......

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=253128&highlight=Garden+Light

Mike M
12-18-2008, 07:36 PM
Joey, why not make a better one that is encased in something? The phone company uses those crimps with silicone in them.

Don't you see the value in not cutting the cable? The need for this will greatly increase with long chains.

I may not need them, since I solder, but still, they would be great for add-ons when you don't have slack on the main wire.

JoeyD
12-18-2008, 08:06 PM
The concept is slick but I dont know...............

Mike M
12-18-2008, 09:13 PM
Look in your desk drawer. Can you rig something with office supplies?

irrig8r
12-18-2008, 10:53 PM
....But nobody here has the balls to talk about a usable pierce point....

Mike, Mike, Mike..... pierce points again? :hammerhead:

How many times have you brought up this naive idea to be shot down again and again?

Dude, are you making a joke?

Pro-Scapes
12-18-2008, 11:44 PM
Do you find its more viable to have 24 cut cables or would you rather have 24 proper splices. The pierce points basically cut into your jacket. Sure you can probably silicone the snot out of one and make it last a couple of years but its probably going to end up like a bandaid on a bloody nose

It seems like an idea at the time but after you do it you come to the realization there was probably a better way.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-19-2008, 12:19 AM
Mike, buddy, dude.... You REALLY must get over the pierce point connector for LV Lighting systems. Think of the lifetimes of experience here that keep telling you this over and over and over.

If it isnt moisture intrusion into the wire jacket that will cause the issue then think of this... What is the wire gauge equivalency of those tiny little points that contact the big thick branch wire? I was always taught: "Never cut a strand". There is a reason that fixtures come wired with the size of lead wire they have...and it directly relates to the ampacity of that lead wire and the rated wattage of the lamp that can be installed. Do you really think that two tiny pierce points are going to be able to handle the amp load of a 35w or 50w lamp?

I know you are talking about for LED based systems, but you have to take into consideration the max lamp wattage rating of the fixture. If the fixture is rated for a 35W lamp, then the lead wires and connections must also be able to handle that load.

Stop thinking about pierce points and put your energy into developing a market for your services!... You can develop the ultimate heavy duty pierce point connector when you have a bunch of employees working for you and all the time in the world to tinker! :)

Have a great day.

Mike M
12-19-2008, 09:52 AM
You can develop the ultimate heavy duty pierce point connector when you have a bunch of employees working for you and all the time in the world to tinker!

That's why I'm giving this job to Joey. He can goof off when Nate is out of the office.

You are really worried about cutting a hole in the jacket? The alternative is to cut the entire jacket off several times, increasing the small chance by 50 or so times of getting wicking, corrosion, cut strands, loose connections, or just simply voltage loss from an accumulation of brass connectors.

Not to mention labor and material costs associated with two connections vs. one at every fixture.

Now, in the halogen world, this is pointless to argue. But in the endless chaining land of LED's, this becomes a viable issue.

Those Hadco's have passed rigorous UL testing in heated salt baths. If we can just cover them with a tape of that grey putty, or something even better, then we give them an extra second stage of protection.

Maybe a heat shrink tube, or a new snapping grease-filled box?

Or, we address the need for soldering, maybe even just going to those solder-filled heat-shrink connectors James advocated.

Dreams To Designs
12-19-2008, 11:52 AM
Rainman, I have received Gardenlight samples and was not overly impressed. They seem to make an ok product, but nothing that compares to the solid metal products from Cast, Unique, CopperMoon or any of the other quality brands. Also after receiving phone messages and trying to contact them via email, I have never received any responses. I find service to be more important than anything other than quality, because without someone to help you out when you need it, and you will, you might as well buy Malibu from Home Depot.

Kirk

JoeyD
12-19-2008, 02:01 PM
Ok Mike! Nate is gone today...I am going to get my stapler, some scotch tape, and this old tube of ox-gard here and see what I can put togeather for you!! If anyone else wants a sample let me know, you pay shipping and I will send you my new pierce point made by Joey Lighting Systems. Please dont tell Nate, I will be privately marketing these!! They will only be sold through Home Depot and Lowes. I refuse to sell direct! I see huge potential here!



LMAO!

Mike M
12-19-2008, 04:58 PM
I can see him now at his desk grabbing at materials, "I will not be treated the same, it's my turn, I'll show those bastards," popping his head over the cubical, "Hey! Does anyone know how to sell on e-bay!?"

Chris J
12-20-2008, 01:05 AM
I think Unique will have some good methods for wiring LED's, since the needs and liberties are similar to the 24v system.

But nobody here has the balls to talk about a usable pierce point. What's better, one long, uncut home run cable, or one that has been sliced up and spliced 24 times?

You've got some spare time on your hands. Lay out two equal lenths of wire and attach 5 fixtures of equal wattages at the end. Connect the first run with splices of your choice, (hell, just twist the wiires together) and connect the other lengh with pierce points. I'll bet you will not have more than .01 difference (100th of a volt) This is a test that should have been done a long time ago, and I really don't know why I haven't done it. Go For it Mike!

Chris J
12-20-2008, 01:17 AM
You do not need to keep all 25ft of wire on your fixture leads if you know the rules. If you are setting your Hub voltage between 11.3 and 12v then you can cut your leads down to as short as you want. Scenario....

Voltage at Hub is 12v. Fixtures have 25ft leads of 16/2 and have 20w lamps. At 25ft you will experience approx. a .5v drop in voltage.

so 5 lights total on 1 Hub:
3 lights at 25ft 16/2 will read at 11.5v
1 light at 10ft of 16/2 will read at around 11.8v
1 light at 5ft of 16/2 will read about 11.9-12v

The idea behind keeping them all the same length is that you now know they are all being distributed equally and you have the ability to move lights around during the install and after the landscape matures. But as long as every lamp is between 10.8 and 12v it doesnt matter. The human eye is not going to tell the difference between 11 and 12v. You cut the wires all you want as long as you stay within the required voltage range.

The Hub is still the best method for 12v halogen lighting when it comes to limiting conections in the ground and adding and removing fixtures from a system. To each his own but as long as you know the rules there is a lot of flexability in the Hub system. With the emrgence of 24v and LED, other wireing methods such as the daisy chain and T are able to be used with ease!!

I agree Joey, but what about certain situations like this. Put this into your calculator: 5 lights that are 100' from the trans. All equal lenth to the hub with all equal length leads. 4 lights at 35w and 1 at 10w. What's the hub going to do to that 10w light? This was not a very good scenario. I can come up with more realistic ones soon.

Mike M
12-20-2008, 07:16 AM
You've got some spare time on your hands. Lay out two equal lenths of wire and attach 5 fixtures of equal wattages at the end. Connect the first run with splices of your choice, (hell, just twist the wiires together) and connect the other lengh with pierce points. I'll bet you will not have more than .01 difference (100th of a volt) This is a test that should have been done a long time ago, and I really don't know why I haven't done it. Go For it Mike!

Again, something for Joey to do at the shop. I'd suggest 25 brass ace connectors vs. the pierce points.

Another thing to consider is a chain of twist-ons would have to be compared over time, say three - seven years out, when plant roots and tugging landscapers have a chance at one long cable snaking through the trees and shrubs.

Anyways, I think someone is making connectors from aluminum for better conductivity, worth looking at.

GreenLight
12-21-2008, 09:07 PM
I agree Joey, but what about certain situations like this. Put this into your calculator: 5 lights that are 100' from the trans. All equal lenth to the hub with all equal length leads. 4 lights at 35w and 1 at 10w. What's the hub going to do to that 10w light? This was not a very good scenario. I can come up with more realistic ones soon.


Now im getting confused (not hard to do, lol)...But Chris, in the scenario you mention above I don't understand why that would be any different. Now I haven't used hubs, but from what I gather they are nothing more than a distribution center for exact current (tell me if im wrong here, I could be). Hypothetically if the voltage incoming to the Hub is 12 volts, as mentioned in Joey's scenario, and every 25 foot lead represents a .5 drop in current then why would that have any negative effect on the 10 w light? It would still be at 11.5 volts at with the 25 foot lead as would the 4 -35 watt lights. Tell me if im missing something here.

Chris J
12-22-2008, 08:42 AM
The 35w lights are going to create more resistance than the 10w light, and all in 16ga wire. My statement was more of a question than it was fact, however. I don't do many hubs, but my first impression is that the voltage will be higher on the branch that has the smaller wattage lamp. Somebody give it a try and tell us the results!

JoeyD
12-22-2008, 11:55 AM
Chris is correct. There are situations that if you have multiple wattages on a single hub the voltage being distributed will differ do to the load differential. BUT even with equal lengthy wire different wattage lamps on a hub can do this, it isnt always about cutting the wire down. You need to know your rules and always verify with a volt meter.

GreenLight
12-22-2008, 12:50 PM
Chris is correct. There are situations that if you have multiple wattages on a single hub the voltage being distributed will differ do to the load differential. BUT even with equal lengthy wire different wattage lamps on a hub can do this, it isnt always about cutting the wire down. You need to know your rules and always verify with a volt meter.

If that is the case then I think Unique's website is falsely advertising the "hub". According to the hub promo on the site it says "The Hub System ensures proper voltage distribution and can be used with one or more fixtures. Unique Lighting fixtures come with a 25-foot wire lead that taps into the Hub creating a simple, and maintenance-free lighting system!"....Now reading further into the literature it says the hub is only weighted for 192 watts total. It would seem to me if the hub is doing what it claims to do, you would have zero problem with the 10 watt light as the voltage distributed from the hub would be 12, with a 25 foot lead lets say it drops .5 volts and the 10 watts maybe adds another .1 or .2 drop bringing the true lamp voltage when turned on to 11.3 or 11.4.....Now in the case of the 4 (35) watts bulbs if the hub is equally distributing 12 volts to each fixture (with a .5 drop to cover the 25 ft. lead) then possibly the wattage would drop a bit due to the 35 watt lamp being on the RUN, but not from the distribution center. So, theoretically, the 35 watt lamps may end up dropping to 10.9 or 11 due to the wattage of the lamp, but not due to voltage distribution from the hub. Making the 35 watt lamps all uniform and the 10 watt lamp slightly higher because of less tug at the fixture. Am I misenterpreting this information?

JoeyD
12-22-2008, 01:00 PM
Yeah you are misinterpeting. 192 watts is based off of 12ga cable, not the HUB. Again the HUB is a wiring method, it is not a device. The HUB's we sell are nothing more than housings for your connections with an inline fuse and the connectors themselves.

So if you use 10ga then your Hub can handle up to 288w, if your using 8ga then your Hub can handle up to 300w. We promote 12ga cable and therfore the Hub would be good for 192 watts. That is 5 35w lamps that is why we usually promote no more than 5 lights pe hub. 5x35 is 175.

SO, if you have 5 lights at 100ft. 3 are 35w and 2 are 20w all have 25ft leads of 16/2. You then have a total of 145w. at 100ft on 12/2 you are going to have a about a 4v drop to the HUB. so you set your TF tap at the 16v tap. NOW the way this is going to work is you now have 12v at the Hub, the 3 35w fixtures are working at 11.5v and your 2 20w are burning at 11.8v because they have less of a load. It is no different then cutting the wire on the fixture leads essentially because you have just reduced the resistance/load. The Hub system is the ONLY wiring method that can produce equal voltage to every fixture. But there are still factors that can change the load and cause imbalencing. But if you know what the range is of your lamps then even if you have difference in load or wire resistance you can still always keep your lamps between 10.8 and 12v.

If you have more questions this may be better to do over the phone because trying to type every scenario is hard on the fingers.....LOL

GreenLight
12-22-2008, 01:45 PM
Im on the same page with you Joey..And I understand completely what you are saying about the voltage drop along the home run to the hub based on the wattage load of the 5 fixture max. But all I am attesting to is if you know the final total wattage load of the run, lets say is 165 watts and you use this figure to properly tap the trans at the 15 or 16 volt in to get 12 volts at the hub, then what difference does it make what the combination of lights is as long as they don't exceed the wattage load for wire you are home running with?

Example 1

2 50 watt lights
2 20 watt lights
= 140 watts

Obviously the 50 watts are going to have more resistance on their leads (and higher voltage drop on these 2 fixtures) but that shouldn't have an inverse affect on the 2 20 watt lights.

Example 2
4 35 watt lights
= 140 watts

Exactly the same amount of wattage is being pulled from the connector inside the hub housing, as in the above example, the difference being that all lights should get the same reading due to same wattage in each lamp.

Basically what I am trying to replicate and figure out above is, if you know your final lamp load is 140 watts total, then you know you are manipulating the transformer in order to get right at or around 12 volts at the hub...Once you have accomplished this, then theoretically each lead should basically function almost as an independent intity going from the hub to the fixture and one fixture shouldn't have an effect on another at this point even if the wattage load for each is different. Obviously they could still get different readings because the 50 is going to drain more voltage from it's lead than the 35 or 20. Sorry, I will call with any more questions, but I felt this was the only way I could diagram my question and make it somewhat understandable *hopefully*.

JoeyD
12-22-2008, 01:52 PM
You are absolutly correct. In any method the transformer can only compensate VD to the first point of connection. Everything thereafter has to do with your wireing design. Your scenario above is understood and is accurate. The higher the wattage the higher the load the higher the resistance the higher the VD! This is an inherant issue with LV lighting, this isnt "unique" no pun intended to the Hub method. In these cases it would be best to pull 2 seperate runs, 1 for the 50watters and 1 for the 20watters.

GreenLight
12-22-2008, 02:04 PM
Thanks for your answers Joey and I have 2 lighting jobs lined up right after the new year. I fully intend on doing some business with you and giving these hubs a try as I have some great situations of 20 watt path lights in groups of 4 that I look forward to using the hub method on.

JoeyD
12-22-2008, 05:42 PM
Sounds great! Thanks for the opportunity to earn some buisness. Please let me know if you need any assistance with the installation layout. I would love to help anyway I can!!