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Stuttering Stan
04-02-2009, 08:26 PM
Today I attended a workshop that was sponsored by Cast. It was basically just learning the basics of lighting. We did a hands on install of about 20 fixtures in a back yard. Of course, the Cast rep went on an on about how his product was the best on the market.
So I come to my fellow LS compadres with a simple question. What is the general opinion about how Cast compares others like Unique, Kichler, etc?

Mr. Quik electric
04-02-2009, 08:30 PM
Limited product line. Sloppy fitting fixtures (Notice the large oversized O-rings). The tin coated wire is unnecessary and overated. Still, your system is only as good as your installer.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-02-2009, 08:46 PM
One of the best Tree Mounted Downlights in the business. Not a bad transformer either, it is a CAST specification built by MDL. The rest of the line does not impress me much at all. Some of the pathlights are atrociously top heavy. That little deck light looks like a bronze dog turd. The bullet I used for a couple of seasons and will not again unless they drastically improve it.

Regards.

Mr. Quik electric
04-02-2009, 08:50 PM
James,
I have one of the CAST transformers from a demo kit. It is a pain in the butt to wire. Tiny little lugs, pushed way down into the bottom of the cabinet. Impossible to wire. It is very heavy, Hmmmm... perhaps a boat anchor.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-02-2009, 09:02 PM
Tim, the case on the CAST Journeyman is sorta lame I will admit... I am really really stuck as to what transformer to use now.... More like screwed to be honest.

I looked at the new Vista's.... wasnt impressed with them either.

Unique is not really an option for us here in Ontario as they only have one 300w unit that will meet our regulations.

FX is not listed for use in Canada.

I am running out of alternatives fast... will probably be going with the CAST units until a viable alternative becomes available.

Regards.

Mr. Quik electric
04-03-2009, 12:07 AM
Wow, that sucks. I am surprised there aren't more transformers out there with a Canadian listing. I have never used the Qtran. Is that a possibility?

Cassius
04-03-2009, 07:30 AM
I must respectfully disagree with some of the above comments concerning Cast lighting. The fixtures are built to last. for real. Here on cape cod the tin coated wire is an absolute must unless you really like redoing wire runs that have corroded. They offer great technical and logistical support, and the limited fixture line is really about function as much as aesthetic. the o rings i've seen aren't over sized to the point of being an issue. It depends on if you want to sell pretty lights or pretty lighting designs i guess. I have background in theater and concert lighting so for me the fixture doesn't matter as much as the performance of the fixture. Use the Cast install method and you're set forever. factor in the lifetime fixture warranty and the wire quality and their training and tech support and you've got a great company with a great product. The journeyman transformers are a bit cramped, but with 20 fixtures, just jump up to the master series and you'll be happier I think.

GreenerGrass9
04-03-2009, 07:52 AM
I think Kichler has the best lighting option's and there warranty is also to. Now for transformers i would go with Vista but we don't have codes here for that knid of stuff.

Pro-Scapes
04-03-2009, 07:55 AM
Ok lets take this from the start.

I have hundreds of cast fixtures out there. No fixture failures but more than a few socket failures in both the bullets and the paths. My first year and a half installing I used them exclusivly.

The pathlights are structurally one of the beefiest paths you will see. Top heavy ? Sure but it takes a car running over them to break em. The fall back is the open lamp design. Seems to attract insects and irrigation spray.

the main issue I have with the bullets is the casting is a bit too small and lamps become wedged down in there. I will admit cast is one of the very fastest systems to install. You can yank the bullets right out of the box and stick them in the ground. No prep work besides cutting off the tag (does anyone use these ???)

Never had a cast trans issue with anything 900w or less. The 1200 and 1500 gave me inrush issues and a relay issue. Not all MDL transformers are the same but again I have not been thrilled with what I have seen from MDL latley.

I disagree with James. The deck light has a timeless good look and is just about the only decklight I use. I also use enough of the niche lights to keep a few in stock. When I use em I remove the silver reflector and sometimes even spray some patina inside to cut down on the hotspot and output.

The tin wire works well but. It gets real hard in the cold. I used to use it without exception and I used to solder every connection. I still do solder quite a few of my connections and I am convinced it is the tightest connection avalible. However I have do not use the dryconns anymore and instead use grease tubes. In place of spider splices I opt for a small irrigation valve box.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-03-2009, 08:04 AM
Cassius. If you make a good connection there will never be an issue with corroded cable. The fixture line is much too small to achieve many of the designs that we come up with and the fixtures are much to 'coarse' to impress many of our rather choosy clients. Those big O-rings become a real issue when it comes to holding the bullet fixture's aim. I know several contactors that have stopped using the bullets for this very reason. Also, the bullets lens will and often does crack in the winter months.

The "Cast install method" does not work in every application. It rarely works for us here. Yes they are a good company and yes they have some good products. But in the long run you will learn as other have to not put all your eggs in one basket.

As for the master series of transformers... they are not approved for use here in Ontario.

(Billy: I should have been more specific... it is the Savannah Deck Light that I find rather un-appealing. As for the round deck light, well it is fine I guess, but I don't 'do' round deck lights much... later)

Be safe, be compliant of your local codes and ordinances, and have a great day!

Pro-Scapes
04-03-2009, 08:08 AM
Must be the temp difference. Only prob I have had with cast lenses is I got several cracked in a few shipments.

Off gassing is a prob I have had with them. Not sure if it was the cast lamps (I still have some cast lamps out there 3 yrs old with only minor color shift)

Never had a problem with the cast bullet coming out of adjustment. Just crank that stainless bolt down real tight.

The bronze stakes are some of the best off the shelf fixture stakes around.

GreenerGrass9
04-03-2009, 08:13 AM
Is cast mostly all copper looking fixtures

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-03-2009, 08:17 AM
I too think it is climate issues that cause the Bullet to have cracked lenses and for the bullet to lose its aim. I was speaking to my Rep, Duncan about these issues... he sort of thought it might be the extreme cold/heat cycle in the winter that causes the lenses to crack. The snow load and cold/warm cycle is probably what causes the bullets to lose their aim.

None the less, two issues that I cannot ignore here, and that others should be aware of.

Regards.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-03-2009, 08:21 AM
See for yourself GreenerGrass: www.cast-lighting.com

GreenerGrass9
04-03-2009, 08:26 AM
Do they offer L.E.D. lights

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-03-2009, 08:41 AM
GreenerGrass... you might best be served by doing a search on this forum of 'LED' and 'LED Fixtures'.

There is a lot to learn.

Enjoy.

steveparrott
04-03-2009, 09:10 AM
I haven't checked the forum lately and was surprised to read some of the comments. Even though we're not a forum sponsor, I believe it's apropriate to briefly respond to the challenges.

The consensus experience of contractors using CAST is that the fixtures are among the most durable, rugged and well constructed available anywhere. You can read the testimonials on our website. One advantage we have is that we own our foundries and have 100% control over production and quality control. It's shocking to see what comes out of Asia and the cost-cutting strategies many manufacturers employ.

It is intentional that the number of fixture styles is limited - that simplifies the contractor's job (satisfies about 90% of project needs), keeps prices reasonable and ensures that backorders are a rarity.

As for CAST transformers, they are built to extremely rigorous specifications and they continue to evolve based on feedback from the field.

Finally, what some may not realize is that CAST has a non-traditional approach compared to many manufacturers. Our primary mission is to support the success of our customers. A contractor's success depends on immediate access to quality products that won't fail, are easy to sell, install and maintain; ready access to technical support in the field, online and in print; availability of high quality marketing materials; and ongoing training opportunities. We work hard in all these areas.

An indication that CAST is doing things right, is that even in these tough times we continue to grow our business and are nearing completion on a new foundry with more than four times our current production capacity. We have new products in the pipeline and are expanding our advanced trainings.

I invite everyone in the forum to visit our website to get a better taste of who we are and what we offer.

irrig8r
04-03-2009, 09:42 AM
An indication that CAST is doing things right, is that even in these tough times we continue to grow our business and are nearing completion on a new foundry with more than four times our current production capacity. We have new products in the pipeline and are expanding our advanced trainings.

Steve, I heard somewhere that CAST opened a foundry in Venezuela.

What makes it uneconomical to do the castings stateside? Is it labor costs or environmental regulations? Or maybe proximity to raw materials?

And how does your company deal with the political whims of Fidel Castro wannabe and megalomaniac Hugo Chavez? (He's done some goofy things like change the time zones in his country to be 1/2 hr. different than his neighbors and wants to be "president for life".)

Don't you have any concerns about nationalization?

steveparrott
04-03-2009, 09:51 AM
Gregg, our original foundry is in Venezuela, the new one is in Columbia. So far, we've had no problems in Venezuela.

As for using state-side foundries, nearly all bronze foundries in the states have closed due to the factors you state.

Here's some news, however, we are using a state-side foundry to produce our new Engineered Wall Light and our new Insignia Series of custom-embossed path lights.

irrig8r
04-03-2009, 10:43 AM
Gregg, our original foundry is in Venezuela, the new one is in Columbia. So far, we've had no problems in Venezuela.

As for using state-side foundries, nearly all bronze foundries in the states have closed due to the factors you state.

Here's some news, however, we are using a state-side foundry to produce our new Engineered Wall Light and our new Insignia Series of custom-embossed path lights.


Thanks Steve.

The nearest distributor for CAST to me (according to your website) seems to be Normac, which is like 90 miles or more away.

Anyone closer?

tonyGub
04-03-2009, 04:29 PM
Definitely a rugged fixture. Love most of the path lights as they work exceptionally well for residential and commercial projects. THese fixtures can take some abuse. Bullet lights are ok at best. My biggest problem with the bullet is the failure rate of the sockets. Over all they get a good grade from me. I agree with James that the tree lights are some of the best around. They need a better flood /wall wash. I would avoid the wall wash lights all together. The gasket does'nt seat properly and will cause more headaches than its worth. Pricing is very competitive compared to other manus. Not my favorite brand but it is up there.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-03-2009, 05:04 PM
Steve, please be sure to pass along any new product developments (or old product improvements! Treelight shroud mounting channel. hint hint hint) as they become available.

It would be really nice if you would work with MDL closer to come up with a more suitable enclosure for your journeyman series of transformers. That trap door nonsense at the bottom is the pitts. I can't stand laying in the dirt to wire up a transformer! Also, more room inside under the lugs would help to accomodate necessary slack and inline fusing.

Regards.

lx665
04-03-2009, 07:15 PM
Cast customer support is second to none! They are always willing to answer questions and go out of their way to make me feel valued. I have spoken to many other lighting reps at different shows and they all promise to make contact after the show. Cast is the ONLY company that has ever followed through on their promise! I am new to lighting and value Cast customer support.

John

Stuttering Stan
04-03-2009, 07:38 PM
Thanks for the replies fellas. I had no idea it was a hot issue.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-03-2009, 10:58 PM
Stan, EVERYTHING here on the lighting forum is a "hot issue". :)

Cassius
04-04-2009, 08:02 AM
Integra-
"But in the long run you will learn as other have to not put all your eggs in one basket."
Hopefully in the short run you will learn to not assume you know more than another person because you happen to have more posts. Kinda rude. I was just saying I liked Cast lighting and saying what was good about them, not inviting a lecture. If you have other ideas or experiences to report then by all means do so, but please do it in a less condescending way. I don't think anyone here doubts for a second that you are a leader in the field of landscape lighting. Why be dismissive of others' comments? Just because Cast or their methods aren't ideal for your applications doesn't mean it won't work for anyone else.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-04-2009, 08:13 AM
Cassius, I was not being condescending nor was I being dismissive. Such things are rarely communicated properly on text based media. I was not lecturing you either, simply offering some wisdom that I have picked up along the way.

As for not putting all of your eggs in one basket... well that is just pure, simple, age old advice. It applies in the outdoor lighting industry as well as it applies anywhere else. Those, throughout history, who have put all their eggs in one basket have in fact been hurt by such decisions. Don't believe me? Just ask a few 100% loyal Nightscaping contractors. There are of course many other examples.

There is not one single lighting manufacturer on the market that does everything well. Some have great transformers, some have great path lights, some have the 'magic bullet' others have the best architectural solutions, and on and on. I firmly belive that by using only one line from one source you would be seriously hampering your ability to offer your clients the best designs and the best performance. But hey, that is just me... what the heck do I know?

irrigation man
04-18-2009, 08:04 PM
i have sold thosands of dollars of cast on the seacoast and u will not find a better fixture for any area that has salty air ,do it once and do it right

PSUTURFGEEK
04-18-2009, 09:23 PM
Here's my opinion, first of all unless your living at the beach your paying an extra 7-8 dollars or more for the metal stakes, which in my State are never needed, secondly I think the Hub system is a bad idea intended for amateur installers who have yet to figuire out the art of Voltage drop,, and what first rate lighting company stays within a 25 foot area. It's similar to being handcuffed I'm told, and finally I must say I agree with the previous posts on the tin coated coated wire......what a waste of money. on top of that the price point is super inflated, and the new under the cap imitation light is a total overpriced failure and very hard to look at for that price.

irrig8r
04-18-2009, 09:33 PM
...and the new under the cap imitation light is a total overpriced failure and very hard to look at for that price.

You lost me there... what are you talking about? A new fixture? "Imitation light"?

PSUTURFGEEK
04-18-2009, 09:46 PM
They have a new under the cap light, I think it was designed to compete with Intragal and Vista's under the cap lights but the price is between 65-75 dollars and the shape is not something I have any desire to use, in todays economy who would spend that much more on a light that will virtually do the same job, and in the case of Vista's under the cap it still has a lense cover so what is it your paying for? the name ?

S&MLL
04-18-2009, 09:54 PM
I think he is referring to an Integral style light. I have not looked at Cast's leaflet in about 2 years so I'm not sure if they even make one.



P.S. would be nice to see a Jersey based lighting manu fight a TINY bit more for our rights!


Back on topic.

Cast makes a very nice tree light.

And their soft start feature makes the overpriced mdl almost worth it.

S&MLL
04-18-2009, 09:55 PM
wow took me over 8 minutes to post that it seems

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-19-2009, 08:47 AM
Gregg, CAST came out with a new fixture for under the cap stone of walls, similar to the everyone else that released them last year. Integral, Vista, Nightscaping, Unique and now CAST all have them.

Eden Lights
04-19-2009, 03:40 PM
i have sold thosands of dollars of cast on the seacoast and u will not find a better fixture for any area that has salty air ,do it once and do it right

I guess if you buy thousands you could mix and match the the hoods and fixing housings until you get castings that fit. That was about 4+ years ago, maybe they have improved?

Stuttering Stan
04-19-2009, 05:04 PM
I recently installed my first job. Used Cast because their distributor treated me like a king. I didn't encounter any major problems during the install. My only complaint is the 25ft fixture wire, it limited where I could install so I had to add extra home runs.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-19-2009, 05:47 PM
The Hub Method can be limiting when working on large scale properties. I guess it was developed around the 80/20 rule; ie: building a system that will satisfy the needs of 80% of the market.

As for CAST... Does anyone know if they have done anything with their metalurgy to stop that horrible white powdery coating from appearing on the fixtures for the first 9-15 months after installation?

steveparrott
04-21-2009, 05:13 PM
James, our metal mix remains the same. It's unusual for the white coating to last 9 to 15 months - maybe the Canadian climate is the culprit. The great majority of contractors are OK with the color change process. They just explain the process to the homeowner so they're not surprised. For homeowners that won't tolerate a few months (or weeks in more aggresive climates) of white coating, contractors will use a coating of WD-40 at installation to delay the color change. In most cases, use of WD-40 will delay the dezincification long enough so that when it does occur, it's not white anymore and goes directly to dark brown or starts to patina to the bluish green. The bottom line is that after the initial period of dezincification, the fixtures look beautiful for years.

steveparrott
04-21-2009, 05:16 PM
I guess if you buy thousands you could mix and match the the hoods and fixing housings until you get castings that fit. That was about 4+ years ago, maybe they have improved?

The issue you cite is ancient history, everything fits just fine.