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SamIV
02-15-2010, 08:28 AM
Billy was approached to write a few articles for Landscape and Hardscape Magazine. His first will be on transformers and the second I believe will be on design. The link below will get you to the first. Only thing I contributed were a few shots of projects. Next months will have more pics from a few of the regulars and not so regulars here. Link listed below:

http://turfmagazine.epubxpress.com/wps/portal/turf/c0/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3iLkCAPEzcPIwML0yALA09nE1dHH1MTQ38jA_1I_ShzhLxBmKkRUN7I2dTS38nQwNtAPwRk YqZ-pJmBhQGIWawfaQyiC_QjDfULshOTqlIjFQEOSSxG/


Thanks,
Burt Wilson
Accent Outdoor Lighting

RLDesign
02-15-2010, 09:28 AM
Hello Burt and Billy,

I liked the article. In that photo of Mike G.'s transformer - it looked liked a lot of 8gu. wire, is anyone other than me designing with a good bit of 10 and 8 gu. wire???

Mike G. even uses the color tape like me, but since I use NS powercenters I have a lot more room inside. Did that transformer look tight to you guys? I have heard good things about it, but was wondering what others think.

Talk soon.

Tanek
Reynolds Lighting

RLI Electric
02-15-2010, 10:06 AM
Nice article guys. I have thought about doing these for my local papers in the Home sections. The second I sit down, bang, writers block. How long did it take to do an article like this? I would imagine you tweaked this dozens of times.

Classic Lighting
02-15-2010, 10:07 AM
Great article Billy. It explains, in simple terms, what to look for in purchasing and installing a trans. A good introductory article for the newbie looking to learn about lighting.

Classic Lighting
02-15-2010, 10:10 AM
Hello Burt and Billy,

I liked the article. In that photo of Mike G.'s transformer - it looked liked a lot of 8gu. wire, is anyone other than me designing with a good bit of 10 and 8 gu. wire???

I try to avoid 8 ga like the plague. IMO, I would rather runs 2 10's than an 8. Allows for more flexibility in the designs.

RLDesign
02-15-2010, 10:21 AM
HELLO ALL - I am turning this 8 gu. cable into a new thread.

Talk soon.

Tanek

Pro-Scapes
02-15-2010, 11:32 AM
Hello Burt and Billy,

I liked the article. In that photo of Mike G.'s transformer - it looked liked a lot of 8gu. wire, is anyone other than me designing with a good bit of 10 and 8 gu. wire???

Mike G. even uses the color tape like me, but since I use NS powercenters I have a lot more room inside. Did that transformer look tight to you guys? I have heard good things about it, but was wondering what others think.

Talk soon.

Tanek
Reynolds Lighting

Thanks guys. To be clear that photo IS of a Gambino Transformer but that photo was Miscredited. That installation IS by ME on a job here locally. That job featured 5 transformers. No 8ga wire there. I rarley use it and would assume add another trans (the photo in the location side bar is in the front yard of same job). That is 10ga Superflex wire and some 12ga as well.

All of my installations are color coded and noted on the transformer lid and documented. This particular installation had a complex 13 station UPB system installed with a UPB dimmer installed at each transformer. The on transition time is 3.3 seconds. The job is coming up on 2 yrs old now (the photo is 3 weeks old from a service visit) with no issues on the side of the transformers or fixtures (coppermoon bullets and washes with Unique tree lights and probes on the dock posts). The only issue I have had is 2 failed lamps in 2 yrs and 2 of the UPB switches were damaged by a lighting strike (gfci had to be replaced too but system was intact)

The Cover shot is a project in which Burt and I completed together just over 3 years ago on the beach in Gulfport. The photo is by Burt. I think it came in around 7 transformers and 150 fixtures.

I try to avoid 8 ga like the plague. IMO, I would rather runs 2 10's than an 8. Allows for more flexibility in the designs.

Exactly. 8ga is so rediculous in price right now it is seemingly more than double that of 10ga.

Pro-Scapes
02-15-2010, 12:16 PM
Nice article guys. I have thought about doing these for my local papers in the Home sections. The second I sit down, bang, writers block. How long did it take to do an article like this? I would imagine you tweaked this dozens of times.

This took me a few hours to write. I stepped away... printed it... Re-read it... made changes... The article I submitted was a bit longer and had more photos but I guess there is a min of 2 edits per article once submitted. In the final print you guys are seeing it seems to be in a much more simplistic style than I had it but then again it seems very readable now. I had plans for a nice background photo as well. The title of the article was also changed from my original. The bottom line is you shouldnt do yourself or your clients a dis-service by installing cheap transformers. It will end up costing you more on your bottom line than if you had just selected a high end unit to begin with.

Next month is an Intro article on design work. I hope they dont cut it up too much and/or eliminate any of the great photos from Burt, Tim Ryan, Chris Mitchell or myself. I forgot the deadline so left myself about 2 days to do a rough draft and round up the photos on that one.

Pro-Scapes
02-15-2010, 10:43 PM
Guys I stand Corrected. The Gambino trans picture as mounted is Mine. The inset with the colored tape is in fact Mike Gambinos. I submitted both shots and they chose to pair them up like this. Sorry for the mix up but it was easy to do since that trans as pictured in the closet looks identical to the inset minus the bush leaves on the edge.

RLDesign
02-16-2010, 08:46 AM
With that said, does anyone else feel like this is all cable 8 in the Gambino transformer. I guess I could call him directly, but I figured someone other than him would know from looking. I think it looks like 8?

Thanks for your help.

Tanek
Reynolds Lighting

JoeyD
02-16-2010, 10:51 AM
great article Billy!!!

Lite4
02-16-2010, 05:22 PM
With that said, does anyone else feel like this is all cable 8 in the Gambino transformer. I guess I could call him directly, but I figured someone other than him would know from looking. I think it looks like 8?

Thanks for your help.

Tanek
Reynolds Lighting

Could be 8. Mikes Transformers are UL1838 which limits them to 15v. On long runs with a good load, you will see more 10 and 8 guage wire used to compensate for voltage drop since these transformers do not have higher voltage outputs above 15 volts. Looks like a good trans and I love the 1/2 volt taps. You can probably really dial in the voltage on that baby.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-16-2010, 07:43 PM
Could be 8. Mikes Transformers are UL1838 which limits them to 15v. On long runs with a good load, you will see more 10 and 8 guage wire used to compensate for voltage drop since these transformers do not have higher voltage outputs above 15 volts. Looks like a good trans and I love the 1/2 volt taps. You can probably really dial in the voltage on that baby.

When did Mike receive the UL listing on the transformer? Last time I asked it was still pending. Is it UL or ULc?

Pro-Scapes
02-16-2010, 11:13 PM
The magnums hold voltage under load. Its surprising. Last project I did last week with them I was pulling 4.7 amps on the primary with 118v coming in which is pretty full for a 600w trans. I had 12.1v at the 12v tap.

The trans is so solid it cut back on the need for heavier wire in many cases. Thats 10 and 12. Rememeber some wire seems to have a thicker jacket than others.

Lite4
02-17-2010, 08:06 AM
The magnums hold voltage under load. Its surprising. Last project I did last week with them I was pulling 4.7 amps on the primary with 118v coming in which is pretty full for a 600w trans. I had 12.1v at the 12v tap.

The trans is so solid it cut back on the need for heavier wire in many cases. Thats 10 and 12. Rememeber some wire seems to have a thicker jacket than others.

Man, that is so true on the wire jacket. I have some 14 that has the jacket of a 10. Its a ridiculous waste and a pain to work with. I usually don't use 14 anyway but my supplier was out of 16.

RLDesign
02-17-2010, 10:42 AM
The magnums hold voltage under load. Its surprising. Last project I did last week with them I was pulling 4.7 amps on the primary with 118v coming in which is pretty full for a 600w trans. I had 12.1v at the 12v tap.

The trans is so solid it cut back on the need for heavier wire in many cases. Thats 10 and 12. Rememeber some wire seems to have a thicker jacket than others.

Is there room inside for a UPB module?

Thanks,
Tanek

Pro-Scapes
02-17-2010, 02:16 PM
Yes sir.

Email me and I will send you some better pics.

You can use a plug in upb mod (or just about any pluggable timer I have ever seen) or you can install a decora sized UPB or other protocol type dimmer in it too without the need to purchase a seperate modular power bay like nightscaping. Look in the lower right corner. If you install more than one its easy to hard wire them to eachother so that 1 timer will control 2 transformers

There is also a bypass switch for maint visits where you can bypass the timer or controlled switch you put in. Then to top it off there are 3 led work lights inside the cabinet.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-17-2010, 03:32 PM
Yes sir.

Email me and I will send you some better pics.

You can use a plug in upb mod (or just about any pluggable timer I have ever seen) or you can install a decora sized UPB or other protocol type dimmer in it too without the need to purchase a seperate modular power bay like nightscaping. Look in the lower right corner. If you install more than one its easy to hard wire them to eachother so that 1 timer will control 2 transformers

There is also a bypass switch for maint visits where you can bypass the timer or controlled switch you put in. Then to top it off there are 3 led work lights inside the cabinet.

Hi Billy, perhaps you missed my question above... Did the Magnum Transformer get it's UL approval? If so, is it ULc (I assume so as it would be listed to UL1838, an automatic ULc listing) Last time I talked with Mike about it the listing was still pending, but that was a while ago.

thanks.

Pro-Scapes
02-17-2010, 10:12 PM
Could be 8. Mikes Transformers are UL1838 which limits them to 15v. On long runs with a good load, you will see more 10 and 8 guage wire used to compensate for voltage drop since these transformers do not have higher voltage outputs above 15 volts. Looks like a good trans and I love the 1/2 volt taps. You can probably really dial in the voltage on that baby.

Right on ALL accts Tim however I still opt to add line voltage in areas as needed and hiding another trans out there. With wire prices and the higher cost of the 18 or 22v transformers it can often offset the cost of adding another transformer where needed.

irrig8r
02-18-2010, 12:14 PM
Right on ALL accts Tim however I still opt to add line voltage in areas as needed and hiding another trans out there. With wire prices and the higher cost of the 18 or 22v transformers it can often offset the cost of adding another transformer where needed.

Looks like Billy is ignoring you James.... :rolleyes:

RLDesign
02-18-2010, 12:50 PM
I was waiting for the answer on UL as well. I am also wondering "weather" Gambinos come in powdercoated options over the stainless.

Thanks,
Tanek
Reynolds Lighting

Pro-Scapes
02-18-2010, 05:25 PM
I was waiting for the answer on UL as well. I am also wondering "weather" Gambinos come in powdercoated options over the stainless.

Thanks,
Tanek
Reynolds Lighting

All I have ever used is stainless. If they are that worried about having a clean stainless box on the side of the house I change it to an ingrade unit. Problem solved.

Gregg stop trying to instigate things. Tim mentioned it first. Tim has shown an intrest in using the units and Tim has never attempted to "shorten his supply chain" I felt it only fitting to reply to Tim. If James could not pick out the info from my post that is not my fault.

Tanek. Thats a nice looking install. Simple and clean. I have been trying to hardwire transformers latley. Looks cleaner

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-18-2010, 05:38 PM
Billy. I saw your post. There is a difference between being built to UL1838 standards and being UL/ULc approved. My inquiry was sincere. Has the Magnum received its listing certificate?

irrig8r
02-18-2010, 05:42 PM
Billy, I was just making an observation and a little joke... not trying to make trouble. Chillax.

Pro-Scapes
02-18-2010, 05:47 PM
Tim just told you it was and I confirmed that by telling him he was right.

indylights
02-18-2010, 10:00 PM
Tim just told you it was and I confirmed that by telling him he was right.

Except for you didn't answer his question. He politely asked when the listing was given and if it was also it was ULC. You answered neither question. If you don't want to acknowledge him, that's fine, but he still hasn't had anyone answer his original question.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

Pro-Scapes
02-18-2010, 10:34 PM
Except for you didn't answer his question. He politely asked when the listing was given and if it was also it was ULC. You answered neither question. If you don't want to acknowledge him, that's fine, but he still hasn't had anyone answer his original question.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

Scott this is an on going thing. You dont realize the story behind it. Trust me just leave it be. I have always chimmed in with answers when need be and I have done my best to help others on this board if only half as much as they have helped me.

To clarify. The Magnum is UL1838 and cUL listed. End of discussion. If anyone is interested in the transformer they can contact me directly.

David Gretzmier
02-18-2010, 11:45 PM
just reading this thread for the first time. Thanks for clarifying. before the above post, I believed it was not listed, just built to standards and not canada UL.

I have always heard gambino's trans are awesome, especially with the 1/2 volt taps.

article was good, and hopefully will swing more folks to buy good trans and actually check voltage when they install lighting.

on the "9 volts" thing To be fair, I have installed many a nightscaping trans back 15-20 years ago that had good voltage at the time. after many years at 70-80% load, those voltages dropped considerably, so that under load, even when the switch was on "high" the starting voltage was less than 11 volts.

given the sheer weight of copper in those older units, I still wonder why they dropped so much over the years.

most trans I test today start the unloaded voltages of taps .5- 1 volt above what is marked ( even higher on higher 18-22 volt taps) , and as the load goes up the voltage drops to closer to what is marked. rarely do taps start at 12.1 unloaded and stay that way.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-18-2010, 11:48 PM
Billy, I am glad to hear that Mike got the listing, it was a long time coming. Congratulations to him. The Transformer is quite nice.

As for any "on going thing", well, I was not aware that you were privy to any discussions I was having with MG regarding his transformers. Have you become his de-facto distributor? It is all so confusing! Should I contact you or MG directly for more information.

Pro-Scapes
02-19-2010, 12:01 AM
James I emailed you. I was "privy" to a conversation between you and I.

Have a great day.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-19-2010, 12:11 AM
on the "9 volts" thing To be fair, I have installed many a nightscaping trans back 15-20 years ago that had good voltage at the time. after many years at 70-80% load, those voltages dropped considerably, so that under load, even when the switch was on "high" the starting voltage was less than 11 volts.

given the sheer weight of copper in those older units, I still wonder why they dropped so much over the years.

most trans I test today start the unloaded voltages of taps .5- 1 volt above what is marked ( even higher on higher 18-22 volt taps) , and as the load goes up the voltage drops to closer to what is marked. rarely do taps start at 12.1 unloaded and stay that way.

I just have to comment here

1: I have installed somewhere +/- 1000 Nightscaping transformers from 1998 to 2008. I have never experienced the type of voltage issues that you speak of. Never. Many of these have been loaded to the max. Are they perfect? No. All transformers will experience some voltage drop under load but I have always found the NS Powercenters to be strong and stable.

2: There are no moving parts to wear out in a core and coil transformer David. It is a simple 10:1 electrical circuit. Copper wire wrapped around a core then encapsulated or sealed. All else remaining the same, there is no way the transformers would suffer from any sort of voltage fade over time. Perhaps you were missing some other conditions in the system that was increasing the load placed on the transformer, thus throwing your voltage readings off? Added fixtures? Corroded connections? Oxidized wire?

3: Other than some accessory modifications the NS Powercenters have been built the same way for many many years. Same Core, same layout, same cases. The 'weight of the older units' is the same weight as those available today.

Are they perfect? No I dont think so. But they certainly don't deserve the bashing that some seem to like to unload upon them on a regular basis. There are better on the market and there are worse. The NS Powercenter has always been a workhorse for me.

That being said... wait till you see what is coming to market in a couple of months from a major name in power systems. It is quite a remarkable unit. Something the market has been asking for and needing for a long time.

Pro-Scapes
02-19-2010, 07:57 AM
just reading this thread for the first time. Thanks for clarifying. before the above post, I believed it was not listed, just built to standards and not canada UL.

I have always heard gambino's trans are awesome, especially with the 1/2 volt taps.

article was good, and hopefully will swing more folks to buy good trans and actually check voltage when they install lighting.

on the "9 volts" thing To be fair, I have installed many a nightscaping trans back 15-20 years ago that had good voltage at the time. after many years at 70-80% load, those voltages dropped considerably, so that under load, even when the switch was on "high" the starting voltage was less than 11 volts.

given the sheer weight of copper in those older units, I still wonder why they dropped so much over the years.

most trans I test today start the unloaded voltages of taps .5- 1 volt above what is marked ( even higher on higher 18-22 volt taps) , and as the load goes up the voltage drops to closer to what is marked. rarely do taps start at 12.1 unloaded and stay that way.

They dont start at 12.1 and stay that way... They usually read somewhere around 12.5-12.6 (hence the need for the 11.5 tap)for me depending on the incoming voltage and they will read slightly lower if I have a dimmer inline. Yes David when the Magnums were first built they were built to standards. Mike invested large sums of his own time and money dealing with UL and sent them a good quantity of transformers to tear down and conduct testing on. It is all done now and the Unit obtained the listings.


When I mentioned 9v it wasn't on a NS trans altho I do find these all the time. It has been a series of overseas transformers installed by a company here I have found. Imagine telling someone who spent 10k in lighting last year they need a completly new system because even the wire is junk.

David this proves another point. It is IMPORTANT to document your systems. Note the incoming voltage. Outgoing voltages and amps on everything from primary load to indiidual runs

RLDesign
02-19-2010, 11:23 AM
Thanks for whoever complimented me on my install. I try darn hard to be the cleanest installer in the world. I keep a good log of all my runs, readings, and add-ons. I use NS transformers and cable 10&8, and design systems that can be upgraded and modified in minutes. I color code all my runs, splices, and fixtures. I also mark each fixture at the base with the wattage and beam spread. Each client got mapped this year. All 750 irrigation clients and 250 lighting clients. That level of detail makes for no errors on the install, and takes only a little bit of time and tape. We only did this for the last 3 years, so we have about 100 projects with no tape and only recent mapping. I have installed hundreds of NS power centers. Some projects have 10 250 watt non-raintites, and some have 10 1000 Watt. I have always used their transformers because most of my projects do not need more than 12V. I work on an island (avg. 100'x75' lots). I have piles of transformers that I just remove and throw away - I think we counted 30 trans. I am trying to find a good - really good transformer. I like Gambinos unit, but I need to handle one. James, I think I have heard rumblings of that "ghost" you are talking about.

Talk soon.

Tanek
Reynolds Lighting

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-19-2010, 11:29 AM
It isnt a 'ghost' my friend. Designing is done, prototype is being built and on its way to UL. Manufacturer is motivated and optimistic to have it on the market by early spring 2010.

It will be trick, slick and widely available through "normal" distribution channels.

JoeyD
02-19-2010, 11:55 AM
you must be talking about our new Verticle Direct Burial coming out available in sizes from 360w to 1838w!!! Its a fine transformer!! LOL

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-19-2010, 01:03 PM
you must be talking about our new Verticle Direct Burial coming out available in sizes from 360w to 1838w!!! Its a fine transformer!! LOL

Aww geeez Joey, you spoiled my surprise! (NOT).

I dont suppose those that you speak of will be ULc or cETL approved will they?:canadaflag:

David Gretzmier
02-20-2010, 12:20 AM
james- While you may see it as NS bashing, the reality is in my shop. I have 4 NS 1000 watt trans, all of them put out less than 12v on high with no load. 2 of these were installed by me aprox 11 years ago and 2 others were upgrade jobs that we came in and added lights and reworked some others. These 4 join the many others I have replaced over the years, even going back to the good old 150 watt 12 volt greenie. I have several out there that work fine, but on others, suggesting oxidized wire or overloaded systems is great ( thanks for the dig) , but The systems work fine with the replacement trans, and my volt meter reads what it reads on my work bench at the shop.

I appreciate that yours work fine, it may be a climate/heat thing. I'd love to say I have 1000's in the field, but it is more like in the low 200's. and most of those are gone now.

And I understand how trans work, but funny how some trans, both magnetic and torrodial, hold voltage better than others? Could it be that some trans are wound better, have higher quality wire, finer guage wire, or better at dissapating heat?

I am also not alone in the nightscaping trans thing, far from it, but you seem to miss that.

I am glad you had good luck with them, but after many years, I did not and I still continue to find terrible output from them and have to replace them.

extlights
02-20-2010, 03:09 AM
We've never installed any Nightscaping components, but have removed quite a few of their transformers as well. I'm not sure why they went bad and frankly don't care. I'm not going to say that the entire brand is garbage because of the ones that we had to replace though.

For me it comes down to performing. I just want it to work properly and be reliable. I don't think that's too much to ask for.

RLDesign
02-20-2010, 12:31 PM
Hello,

I know everyone has their field experience and that trumps everything. But, until this shake up this year - Nightscaping backed anything I ever sent back. Their lifetime warranty was golden, but I get it that you have to be around to cover the warranty. I know Nightscaping had its fair share of products and pieces that were problematic, but I have only had 4 transformers in way over 500 that were replaced by myself and repaired and installed again on another project. I know there are those who have their issues with NS, but we all have one company or another that has rubbed us the wrong way at one point in our career. After attending conference in San Antonio, the major thing I noticed from everyone was that the group and industry seem to be embracing each other, rather than turning away or knocking product. Product and technology are all evolving and it is our job as contractors to make educated choices about a product and a relationship... because if you install you should want to service it, and if you service it you care that it will last and work. That means you have to be close to your manuf. of fixtures, transformers, and all components. My way of doing business may not be for some, but I enjoy my clients. I choose my clients - they don't choose me. We have worked long and hard to be able to say goodbye to jerks, and hello to Mr. and Mrs. Thank You. That goes directly back to the relationship you have with your suppliers and I feel that many companies/contractors are embracing the competition as a piece of the puzzle, and trying to legitimize our industry. Just a rant and my 2 cents.

Tanek
Reynolds Lighting
reynoldslandscaping.com

David Gretzmier
02-20-2010, 11:28 PM
I agree that the entire brand is not garbage, just my experience on the trans. also they were golden to me too on the first few dozen trans sent in for waranty work on the same voltage and many switch issues. They always repaired or replaced for free. At some point around 7-9 years ago, My local Ewing store stopped selling and 5-7 years ago accepting warranty work on Nightscaping trans. I had made the transition to FX probably a year or so before that because of the ease of the multi-tap, no fustats, etc, so I then just started replacing the units with FX and other name brands rather than warranty work on the failing nightscaping units.

I would love to be in the position of "choosing" my clients. As the only Light specialist in an area of a half million folks, i still have to market and attract clients just to have part time work. I have to work for Mr. and Mrs Jerk and Mr and Mrs. thank you.

Pro-Scapes
02-21-2010, 10:49 PM
Ok so NS is not complete junk if you like things old school.. It is just outdated for my taste. I like flexibility. My projects often change on the fly especially when a new landscape is going in with it. We often switch control systems over to UPB once the clients realize I can make everything MUCH easier and more secure for them at the touch of a buttin. I dont want to have to carry different power bays and boxes of fustats with me nor do I want power cords hanging on jobs when I can prevent it.

The NS power centers while they are easier to wire up than alot of units I have tried just cannot hold a candle to the Magnums. Tanek just drop me an email and I will get you all the info you need on them including pricing and avalibility. Once I saw and tried em it has been really difficult to go back. The room inside IS more than the NS unit in your pictures. What you thought looks tight is about 2 ft of slack wire inside. Try leaving plenty of working lenght inside most transformers. It wont happen.

RLDesign
02-22-2010, 08:56 AM
Thanks. I will definitely check them out. What is your direct email?

Thanks,

Tanek
Reynolds Lighting

Pro-Scapes
02-22-2010, 09:11 AM
PM sent. Not hard to figure out my email :)

extlights
02-22-2010, 09:11 PM
Hey Billy can you send me that info as well? We're starting up our new location this year and I'm thinking that I may try something new.

Pro-Scapes
02-22-2010, 09:25 PM
Dave hit my email. When my computer crashed I lost yours. I tried what I thought it was and it bounced.

sal rodriguez
02-23-2010, 10:18 PM
Nice article Billy. I've seen those transformers on a ranch in santa barbara that I repair and maintain the sprinklers at. pretty slick. keep up the good work .

sal