PDA

View Full Version : Cast transformer


irrigation lemieux
08-11-2009, 06:34 PM
What do you thing about cast transformer.they seems very nice a helpful.the terminal lugs,switch to common.what about there warranty,are they tough.

Lite4
08-11-2009, 08:38 PM
Lugs are too small, wiring compartment is too small, does not hold voltage under load very well. Just my experience though, some guys love em. Their fixtures are pretty rugged.

S&MLL
08-11-2009, 09:30 PM
Soft start is real nice. But that can be hardwired into any mdl unit

irrigation lemieux
08-11-2009, 10:07 PM
How many wire that you can put in a lug...

Pro-Scapes
08-12-2009, 12:45 AM
We have a pile of em out there. The installed and hooked up ones have had zero issues. Had some issues with MDL from various resellers but it is usually an issue right out of the box. Issues have ranged from poor connections at common inside to overheating units. Relays were problematic on a couple of runs. Some of ours are going on 4 yrs now. They were always replaced without question.

The lugs are not to small per se if you stick with 900w max but the wiring compartment is something of a headache to work in. I do agree the extra common can be a huge help when distributing loads but make sure you understand how this works and you still cannot exceed the rated overall load on the trans.

Oh and BTW the only ones I have used are the stainless ones

steveparrott
08-12-2009, 05:00 PM
Lugs are too small, wiring compartment is too small, does not hold voltage under load very well. Just my experience though, some guys love em. Their fixtures are pretty rugged.

I need to interject here and hope the moderator will allow me to address the comments in this thread.

Lugs. The lugs in all CAST transformers are the biggest in the industry.

Holding voltage. The CAST transformers hold voltage under load as well, or better, than all other toroidal and EI-type transformers. See the results of a comparative test: http://www.cast-lighting.com/learning/articles/product-information_article_53

Wiring space. The wiring compartment of our Master Series transformers was enlarged last year, to nearly double the available space.

Relays. We recently upgraded our relays in all our transformers to improve their reliability.

Thanks for allowing me to address these points.

emby
08-12-2009, 07:24 PM
I have not had any problems with Cast Transformers. No problems with voltages, and no issues with room inside. I have been using all the Journeyman series. In the photos are a 900watt on the left and a 600 watt on the right. The 900 has seven number 12awg wires coming into it and I personally feel that there is still lots of room left to work with. Just my 2 cents.

Ken

Pro-Scapes
08-12-2009, 07:31 PM
Nice clean work there Ken.

Steve, I will be honest and say I have not looked at a new cast trans since the inrush issues. If these issues you speak of have been addressed then Kudos to Cast for continuing to evolve the product line.

Stuttering Stan
08-12-2009, 10:27 PM
I have installed 6 Cast transformers, Jouneyman and Master. I have yet to find a legimate complaint. They work flawlessly.

I do have one question for Steve. Are these transformers made by MDL?
I used a demo kit and a Cast logo sticker was placed over a Kichler sticker? My distributor said MDL makes transformers for many companies, including Cast.

indylights
08-12-2009, 10:57 PM
I have used pretty much exclusively Cast and Unique fixtures my entire lighting career (with the exception of a dreadful Vista experiment which will never be repeated), but use exclusively Cast transformers. Never had a problem with space in the lugs or wiring compartment, using 300 to 1500 watt transformers, and job sizes from 5 lights to just shy of 100. Never had a voltage problem, always performed extremely well. I have had perhaps less than 5 total issues in the 6 years I have used their transformers, and every issue was resolved quickly with no questions asked. Reps have always been great and customer service has always been great to boot. Rock solid transformer. I'm not taking a shot here because everyone uses whatever they feel is best for them, but from reading Tim's posts, he is a dedicated Unique guy across the board, so I'm sure that's his preferance, which is absolutely his right. As you can probably tell, I'm not a Vista fan, which some guys love. So it's pretty much what you feel comfortable with, but I've had great results with the Cast transformer.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

ccfree
08-12-2009, 11:08 PM
Hi Steve, will you be at the Dallas show this weekend so I can test if your transformer has the biggest lugs in the industry? Looking forward to meeting you this weekend if you are there.


I need to interject here and hope the moderator will allow me to address the comments in this thread.

Lugs. The lugs in all CAST transformers are the biggest in the industry.

Holding voltage. The CAST transformers hold voltage under load as well, or better, than all other toroidal and EI-type transformers. See the results of a comparative test: http://www.cast-lighting.com/learning/articles/product-information_article_53

Wiring space. The wiring compartment of our Master Series transformers was enlarged last year, to nearly double the available space.

Relays. We recently upgraded our relays in all our transformers to improve their reliability.

Thanks for allowing me to address these points.

Lite4
08-13-2009, 12:48 AM
I need to interject here and hope the moderator will allow me to address the comments in this thread.

Lugs. The lugs in all CAST transformers are the biggest in the industry.

Holding voltage. The CAST transformers hold voltage under load as well, or better, than all other toroidal and EI-type transformers. See the results of a comparative test: http://www.cast-lighting.com/learning/articles/product-information_article_53

Wiring space. The wiring compartment of our Master Series transformers was enlarged last year, to nearly double the available space.

Relays. We recently upgraded our relays in all our transformers to improve their reliability.

Thanks for allowing me to address these points.



Sorry Steve, but I have to respectfully disagree with you. Perhaps I have an older model that I use for demos and perhaps Cast has upgraded their units since. The 900 watt unit I am using only goes to 14 volt and it is consistently under volted under load. I often have to unwire everything from the Cast transformer and hook up my Unique tranny just to get my optimum voltage to the fixtures. Even when I have 123-124 volts on the primary side. The lugs in the Journeyman unit I have are the small round ones similar to the Justin transformers.

Just my everyday field experience with a Cast unit.

Regards

Pro-Scapes
08-13-2009, 01:18 AM
Tim I have never seen a Cast unit with lugs as small as the old vista or justin units. Thoes older ones were just a joke. The biggest lugs I have seen are the FX superblox which has a monster set screw.

Mike G's trans has terminals about the same size as the MDL units but there are 2 taps per common and the half volt incriments help eliminate crowding on certain taps.

Lite4
08-13-2009, 02:13 AM
Hey Billy,

The one I got came in a Cast demo kit that our company purchased in February. It is definitely not the MDL style tranny that kichler puts out. I actually like the lugs in the MDL, very spacious and easy to load. I actually had to pop the bottom plate off this cast unit just so I could wire in the runs. I just tossed the plate and don't even use it. It was crazy, no room at all for wiring that thing. With the plate off and out of the way it's ok, but I can only put about 3-12s in each lug, 4 if I really take the time and freshly strip all the wires each time. The unit I have consistently runs about .5-.7 volts under stated tap when loaded.

I have always wanted to try Mike G's tranny. I really like the compartment layout of it. I am just not a big 1838 guy and really like the flexibility of Uniques trannies with the higher taps, juuust in case you need em. I try to limit my #10 and #8 usage anywhere I can. That stuff is crazy expensive!

irrigation man
08-13-2009, 08:45 AM
i have had a couple people tell me that when using leds on a soft start when it first comes on the lights strobe for a few minutes, went out and tried my own led on it and thats exactly what happens,not a complaint just didnt know if anyone else had seen this happening,im not saying only cast transformers do it but any with any kind of slow start seems like it might have the same affect,qwhat to you think steve have u seen or heard about this happening?

Pro-Scapes
08-13-2009, 10:46 AM
It happens with Any dimmable trans set up in a transition on scene with UPB too. I did a mock up of an expansion with LED's because the client was bugging me about it. I forgot I had the UPB dimmer set to come on over 5 seconds and for about 1-2 seconds it looked like mad scientist was at work.

For halogen lamps the soft start either in that cast trans (steve sent me some to correct an inrush prob I had with them 2 yrs ago) or a UPB dimmer set to come on slow has done wonders for premature failures. Lamps last longer with them in our experience

JoeyD
08-13-2009, 01:44 PM
I want to make mention to one thing in regards to lugs. I fully understand the benfits to having a large open lug for ease of wiring. It is really nice to be able to pile a bundle of large or small wires into one hole. But like I mentioned before there is a reason that our standard Multi Matic lugs are provided with 3 smaller holes on each terminal block vs. one large and a reason why our H-Force and I-Foce untis are provided with medium size single lugs.

Reason is just like you have different size wire nuts for different size connections the same should apply for your transformer. That big lug or blue wire nut is awesome if you have 5, 6, 7 wires but its not so great if you have 1 or 2 wires which is common. We all know arching creates heat which creats meltdowns so having one small 12ga wire in a large open hole made to handle up to 7+ wires leaves plenty of room for potential arching and meltdowns.

Just keep that in mind before you get too excited about big huge terminal blocks or lugs. Sometimes whats easy isnt always whats best.

And just to add to the topic, CAST units are very nice working units.

indylights
08-13-2009, 04:35 PM
Sorry Steve, but I have to respectfully disagree with you. Perhaps I have an older model that I use for demos and perhaps Cast has upgraded their units since. The 900 watt unit I am using only goes to 14 volt and it is consistently under volted under load. I often have to unwire everything from the Cast transformer and hook up my Unique tranny just to get my optimum voltage to the fixtures. Even when I have 123-124 volts on the primary side. The lugs in the Journeyman unit I have are the small round ones similar to the Justin transformers.

Just my everyday field experience with a Cast unit.

Regards

Tim,

Maybe they use a different transformer in their demo kit, but every transformer I have gotten from Cast has gone up to at least 15 volts and has always had the MDL style lugs, and they've always held their voltage very well, and this is going back six years. That is what my everyday field experience has been.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

SamIV
08-14-2009, 02:40 PM
Have to agree that this must be a special transformer for the demo kit the Tim is having issues with. I have Cast transformers 6 years or better in the field without a single issue. The older 1200's got a little tight with all the runs coming in but still had ample room and large taps. 900's and 600's had all the room needed and plenty and large taps to boot.

Although Cast transformers are MDL, must be different than other MDL's as I've had to replace Kichlers's with Cast. I also purchased other MDL's from another distributor with this distributors name on it, and they could not hold voltage like the Cast. Replaced a Cast 600 watt at my house with this distributor's MDL 900 and had to step up on very tap for all runs compared to the Cast. The Cast blew it away as for holding voltage. This distributor now buys from another transformer manufacturer. As I have said in the past, " I probably would have installed a bunch of more Cast if it were not for distributor issues". They manufacture a solid product and service is hard to beat. Another great manufacturer and distributor steered me in another direction though.

Burt Wilson
Accent Outdoor Lighting

BrandonV
08-14-2009, 05:48 PM
I've only installed 3 cast transformers (1500W) but I liked them very much, they are hefty boogers but they've done a great job, and I like the soft start option myself.

Pro-Scapes
08-14-2009, 06:37 PM
TRUE the cast units are NOT the same as the kichlers or old coppermoon ones. They are manufactured by the same company but they are manufactured to CAST specs. The problems I had seemed to be isolated to a couple of shipments. I have dozens out there with no issues and I do know if I did have an issue that Steve would make sure it was taken care of.

I guess alot of it was dist issues but that coupled with the incidents I had and the fact I found stuff that works great for my style just made me move on. If I still had them avalible locally and I could get them without the insane shipping costs it would definatly play a roll in if I would use em again (especially if there is more room in them now)