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PlantscapeSolutions
05-07-2012, 01:49 AM
Has anyone else has an issue with a lighting system likely grounding just enough to eat GFI outlets but not enough to ever trip the transformer? Luckily, the problem is at my own house.

The main line has all soldered spices and is looped. The light connections are Kichler disc's and I'm sure that's likely the cause of the problem. I've had disc's fail by melting or corroding and quit working in the past.

It seems like someone could build a better disc that has a gasket and is more rigid. I'd rather solder all the connections if it fit in peoples budget. I have offered solder over discs as an upgrade but nobody ever bites.

LLC RI
05-07-2012, 10:06 AM
Has anyone else has an issue with a lighting system likely grounding just enough to eat GFI outlets but not enough to ever trip the transformer? Luckily, the problem is at my own house.

The main line has all soldered spices and is looped. The light connections are Kichler disc's and I'm sure that's likely the cause of the problem. I've had disc's fail by melting or corroding and quit working in the past.

It seems like someone could build a better disc that has a gasket and is more rigid. I'd rather solder all the connections if it fit in peoples budget. I have offered solder over discs as an upgrade but nobody ever bites.

Hi,

I have two questions: 1. What do you mean that the main line is soldered and looped? and 2. WHY are you using quick discs ( or any other quick connect method?)

Surely there is a middle ground between the quick discs and a soldered splice... even wire nuts and silicone and tape would be better without much additional cost or time. As a professional, I would advise against using any quick connect method in that those are designed for the DIY'er.

A quick disc melting is a result of the current draw through the tap pins, which, over time get corroded/oxidized and reduce the clean flow of electricity. The result is arcing and is what heats up wires. A solid wire to wire connection will rarely produce arcing if everything is tight.

One last bit of advice would be to make sure the GFCI you are talking about is WR , weather resistant. These tend to produce fewer 'nusiance' trips.

First thing I would do at your house is to remove all the quick discs and install wire nuts which you can shoot with some silicone, and then tape up the splice well.

Good Luck
George

LLC RI
05-07-2012, 10:14 AM
I found 2 more cents worth of my commentary as I sipped my cawfee... If you are comfortable and confident with your soldered connections, just make those standard with your projects, all of your projects. Unless your customer is an electrical engineer who would understand the potentials for failure with quick disc type connections, most customers will opt for the 'cheaper' alternative because they don't know any better.

They don't know the importance of a proper and tight connection, even with low voltage- especially with low voltage.

If I were you, I'd use my solder method of connection as a selling point and in fact, even include that in my guarantee.

Good Luck

George

Classic Lighting
05-07-2012, 02:50 PM
I concur with the above. Quick discs are not a quality connection. Solder with a waterproof nut should be your connection of choice.

starry night
05-07-2012, 03:28 PM
............. I'd rather solder all the connections if it fit in peoples budget. I have offered solder over discs as an upgrade but nobody ever bites.

I would consider dependable connections to be basic to an installation. Where would you stop to fit people's budgets? Cheaper fixtures, cheaper bulbs, cheaper transformers, cheaper cable?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-08-2012, 12:10 AM
I would stop and ask why the customer has any knowledge at all of what your connections cost? Just incorporate the cost of proper connections into one system price and provide that. No alternatives.

Stop selling stuff, start selling systems.

S&MLL
05-08-2012, 12:28 AM
This is the first ive ever heard some a contractor having pricing options for connection types. Even a copper crimp and grease tube cost $2.00 per fixture. On a 100 fixture job we are still only talking $200.00........ Why offer the homeowner in the first place?

David Gretzmier
05-09-2012, 02:40 AM
to each his own, but I have irrigation systems out there 20 plus years, with lots of little low voltage wires and many, many grease nuts on them, around valves in wet soil constantly, and no corrosion issues period. ditto landscape lighting. no problems.

PlantscapeSolutions
05-09-2012, 10:17 AM
to each his own, but I have irrigation systems out there 20 plus years, with lots of little low voltage wires and many, many grease nuts on them, around valves in wet soil constantly, and no corrosion issues period. ditto landscape lighting. no problems.

Wire nuts work great on solid wire since that was the intended use where they can actually self thread and bite on the wire. With stranded wire you totally lose the important self threading feature which properly secures the wire.

Many times I've found wires where expansion and contraction of soil, foot traffic, or other issues allowed wire nut connections to corrode or actually short out because the connection became so small.

In irrigation your only usually operating one valve at a time so your amp draw is probably too small to even measure with most meters I would think. With lighting your amp draw is many times greater so a failing connection will overheat much more easily as it fails and be an actual fire hazard.

A fully loaded lighting system running at capacity may also have a short from an aging wire nut connection where as a lightly loaded system may run just fine under the same scenario with it's much lighter amp draw.

I've seen wire nuts on other people systems that were only two years old heat up to well over 100 F and get to the point where they start melting.

I'm probably going to get out my Goot solder pot and ditch my evil little quick connect discs. I still think there is a simply way to design a great quick connect disc that has a gasketed enclosure that would be a labor saver. It may me better to have two separate pockets in the disc with two connection prongs in each side and two caps. It can be a pain to try to get all four wire perfect as you try to tighter the cap on the Kichler disc. You can think of these improved discs as being almost more of a mini hub connection and less of an evil disc.

starry night
05-09-2012, 10:56 AM
This thread has changed into a thread on wire connections, so..................

I don't have any experience with quick discs. Are they pierce point?
And if they are pierce point, doesn't that damage the wire strands?

S&MLL
05-09-2012, 08:56 PM
Yea pierce points..... homeowner peice of junk. I sell boxes of 100 for 1 dollar if ur interested
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David Gretzmier
05-10-2012, 02:16 AM
while I appreciate the thoughts on stranded verses solid, I have no corrosion on any grease wire nuts on landscape lighting installed in the field over the last 20 plus years. no melted ones either. sorry to say, it works. not sure what the amp rating of the ones I use from king, but given they can do several 12's and 10's up to 400v, my gut tells me they can handle a bit of heat and amps. a poorly made connection, however, can arc, and that is a different type of heat altogether.

emby
05-15-2012, 01:54 AM
This is just something that I was taught and well respected as an electrician:

When connecting two solid copper wires together (such as 14/2 or 12/2 etc.) you always twist the two wires together with linesman pliers as the little spring inside the wire nut is not strong enough to provide this wire type a safe connection. Arcing will occur when a large load is on.

When twisting two stranded copper wires together you should always use the wire nut to twist them together. The little spring binds around all the little strands and holds them in place, thus making a tight connection. If you use the linesman pliers on this type of wire, you risk breaking some strands off and reducing the ampacity of the guage of wire.

Also, we all know that copper and aluminum are two apposing metals and will eventually corrode one another right? Have you ever looked at the material that little spring is made of inside those grease filled wire nuts? Mostly and if not all of them are aluminum. Eventually they will corrode...but thats why we perform maintenance !!

Just my opinion of course and sorry to keep this off topic thread going :)

stebs
05-15-2012, 02:13 AM
Back to the original question... I'm not entirely sure a fault on the secondary side of your transformer would cause your gfci outlet to trip... I could be wrong though....

emby
05-15-2012, 09:00 AM
Oh ya the original question (haha),
A (GFCI) ground fault circuit interrupter monitors the ampacity between your 120v line (black) wire and your neutral (white) wire. Any leakage of ampacity will cause the GFCI to trip.
So, no a leak or a short on the secondary of your transformer will not cause it to trip. In my experiences what causes nuisance trips on a GFCI is moisture related issues such as not using a bubble cover (in use rated cover) or a faulty GFCI, or two GFCI's on the same circuit!
The transformer secondary 25 amp breakers are the protection for your landscape wires.
I would suggest you have a qualified electrician investigate as to why that GFCI keeps tripping.

Hope this helps.

Richie@
05-15-2012, 09:17 AM
Oh ya the original question (haha),
A (GFCI) ground fault circuit interrupter monitors the ampacity between your 120v line (black) wire and your neutral (white) wire. Any leakage of ampacity will cause the GFCI to trip.
So, no a leak or a short on the secondary of your transformer will not cause it to trip. In my experiences what causes nuisance trips on a GFCI is moisture related issues such as not using a bubble cover (in use rated cover) or a faulty GFCI, or two GFCI's on the same circuit!
The transformer secondary 25 amp breakers are the protection for your landscape wires.
I would suggest you have a qualified electrician investigate as to why that GFCI keeps tripping.

Hope this helps.

Also remember the 2011 NEC code requires outdoor GFCI receptacles to be WR Weather Resistant & TP Tamper Proof and Bubble cover for In use applications.

PlantscapeSolutions
05-15-2012, 09:40 AM
I finally found some time to do some investigating. I went to the one light that had been out and looked their first. Apparently one of my guys had cut the wires to one light and every time it rained or the irrigation ran it was grounding and damaging the outlet.