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Richie@
05-31-2012, 09:16 AM
Bid 2nd phase lighting job using all LED 35 fixture job using a mere 10% mark up and normal Install price and home owner says OUCH so re figured using Halogen and he went with that quote so until LED drop in price I don't know that I can sell a 35 plus fixture job using all LED , may have to use some LED and blend in halogen here an there.

Anyone else having the same problem , just curious.

Richie

Classic Lighting
05-31-2012, 11:33 AM
I don't even mention halogen to customers anymore. Let's face it, halogen is a dinosaur compared to LED.
Try to convince the customer to break the project into zones as dictated by their budget using LED products. The Roman empire wasn't built overnight, their lighting project doesn't have to be built overnight either.

GreenLight
05-31-2012, 01:30 PM
Recently I am starting to realize that my LED bids are really only coming up about 12% higher than halogen. It's almost become such a no brainer that I basically refuse to install halogen unless specifically demanded by the customer.

The labor savings, wire savings, trans savings, etc. etc that LED offers really offsets the fixture expense a great deal if you really look closely at the numbers. I will agree that pathlight LEDS are still fairly high, but I am getting awfully good prices on bullets, wall lights and non directional spread lights with really good warranties.

Richie@
05-31-2012, 04:06 PM
Sometimes your the Bug and sometimes your the Windshield.

David Gretzmier
06-01-2012, 02:56 AM
The toughest hurdle for me is not the price but what happened today. the customer asked me how long they will last. I can with reasonable certainty tell them how long the trans, wire, connections, and how long halogen bulbs and fixtures last. But I have been testing LED's for close to 7 years now, and the only answer I have is I don't know. I do know the ones out the last 30 months have been very good, before that, not so much.

and then you ask folks to pay more for LED, and then you tell them you still have to come back and clean lenses, aim, trim foliage, etc, and even when you take the time to show the electrical and rebulb savings...they still mostly choose halogen.

the time will come soon, probably within 3 years, when an LED system will cost less than a halogen system to install. you can already do it with less expensive aluminum 10w hong kong ebay fixtures out there, but again, that longevity thing.

The Lighting Geek
06-01-2012, 10:00 PM
I have been 100% LED for 5 years plus. It doesn't make sense to me to install halogen systems anymore, when you can get a 15 year warranty, 75% less energy and no lamps to change using Kichler. There are other manufacturers as well with good LED products.

A lot of the success in closing jobs with LED is a multifaceted marketing plan that gets you in front the right potential clients. If you are getting too many no's, you might want to look at how and where your leads are generated. It took me a while to get it down and I worked many hours to refine my plan. Feel free to PM me if you want more specific info.

David Gretzmier
06-01-2012, 11:29 PM
tommy, you may be right, but I have pretty much installed 90% of my lighting jobs on properties here from $2 million to $20 million in the past 3 years, and I am not seeing the demand for LED. There are no higher value properties around here. probably 5% of them ask about it. a higher percentage actually seem to ask me NOT to use LED. even if I can overcome folks objections about thier perception of LED color and the solar thing, when asked I am honest about our LED experience-

and I will confess my marketing and my attitude does not help much, as we had some substantial ( greater than 75% ) failures on all LED fixtures and retrofit bulbs that are older than 3 years. all have failed from 4 years back. we are running about 20% failure rate on 24-36 months, ( but most are much higher on less expensive retrofit mr-16's), and 8% on 12-24 months. less than 2 % on 12 months or less. all these 3, 2, 1 year numbers are far better than they have been in the past.

but my 5 year track record does not give me the freedom to tell folks to invest in LED. I would not reccomend a transformer or fixture to folks that had a 100% failure rate beyond 4 years. I do tell them the ones today are far better than just 3 years ago and most have L70 ratings, ip ratings and etc, but most folks honestly want to be able to put a bulb in a fixture in 5, even 10-15 years rather than replace the fixture.

I had a gentleman say this to me the other day- you know, if we were just talking about 1, 3, heck even 10 fixtures inside my house, and I knew they were needing to be outright replaced in 8, 12 years, I would never agree to that. why would I even remotely agree to replace 38 fixtures in 12-15 years. "ridiculous". I can't really argue the point.

The "field replaceable" modules do give me some hope. but again, they are very new...

Gilmore.Landscaping
06-01-2012, 11:47 PM
On large system you can actually factor in the cost saving of running LED vs Halogen bulbs. I did the calculation on a few system when I first started installing them and yes the LED system costs more but in the Hydro bill alone it pays for itself.

Richie@
06-02-2012, 04:42 AM
Funny how things work out , got this email early this morning.

Just discussed with my wife......if you throw in the a free outlet to run the dehumidifier in my Crawlspace the job is yours! Let's stick with the original quote....(All LED's). I will leave a check for $ xx deposit under the mat for you tomorrow. If possible, come by in the afternoon so we can enjoy a cold beverage together and celebrate! Congratulations......we really appreciate the work you do, and most importantly, we are enjoying your friendship! Thanks. Todd.

starry night
06-02-2012, 09:55 AM
Now that's the kind of client relationship that not only cools the throat but warms the heart.

Lite4
06-02-2012, 10:08 AM
Nice way to start the weekend!
Posted via Mobile Device

Richie@
06-02-2012, 12:49 PM
This client is a lot of work but patience paid off , also heard two of his co workers want to see the finished project and then have an estimate for their property.

The Lighting Geek
06-02-2012, 02:00 PM
I had a gentleman say this to me the other day- you know, if we were just talking about 1, 3, heck even 10 fixtures inside my house, and I knew they were needing to be outright replaced in 8, 12 years, I would never agree to that. why would I even remotely agree to replace 38 fixtures in 12-15 years. "ridiculous". I can't really argue the point.

The "field replaceable" modules do give me some hope. but again, they are very new...

Most people will renovate their landscape in 10-15 years anyway, it doesn't make sense to me what he said. In my area, after installing 10,000 LEDs or so, I have never had that conversation. Most like the fact no bulbs to replace. CA has it power problems and electricity is expensive, I do have that in my favor.

The Lighting Geek
06-02-2012, 02:02 PM
Funny how things work out , got this email early this morning.

Just discussed with my wife......if you throw in the a free outlet to run the dehumidifier in my Crawlspace the job is yours! Let's stick with the original quote....(All LED's). I will leave a check for $ xx deposit under the mat for you tomorrow. If possible, come by in the afternoon so we can enjoy a cold beverage together and celebrate! Congratulations......we really appreciate the work you do, and most importantly, we are enjoying your friendship! Thanks. Todd.

Very nice outcome! Good work!

Richie@
06-03-2012, 09:29 AM
Thanks Tommy ,

I bend over backwards most times to make things work out in our favor , it pays off in the long run.

GreenI.A.
06-03-2012, 01:16 PM
I push my clients towards LED. If the customer wants to save the money and use halogen I'll usually pull out a discount to get them to go with LED. Like said above a LED system might be 10-15% higher is cost so I'll offer to meet the client in the middle. I usually figure that few hundred in profit I'm not getting will be made up when I'm not getting a warrantied service call for blown bulbs.

Wathre
06-04-2012, 01:05 AM
LED is still best for me.

JimLewis
06-04-2012, 03:48 AM
we had some substantial ( greater than 75% ) failures on all LED fixtures and retrofit bulbs that are older than 3 years. all have failed from 4 years back. we are running about 20% failure rate on 24-36 months, ( but most are much higher on less expensive retrofit mr-16's), and 8% on 12-24 months. less than 2 % on 12 months or less. all these 3, 2, 1 year numbers are far better than they have been in the past.

but my 5 year track record does not give me the freedom to tell folks to invest in LED.

Ok. First of all, I can almost guarantee you I know the reasons why you're seeing failures. First, if you were installing LED retrofits 4-5 years ago, that stuff was junk compared to what they have today. We were at the very beginning of the outdoor LED venture back then. But second - and this is the biggest reason - I really believe the biggest problem with most outdoor LED light fixtures is that they don't take care of the heat issue. Two things. First, in every LED "light" there are really two main components. The LED array and the driver. And almost always it's the driver or soldier joints that fail, not the actual LED array itself. Problem is, with most manufacturers of aftermarket LED lamps, these are all put into the same "light bulb". So you have the driver sitting right in the same tiny little area as the LED array. They're putting the driver in a super confined area where it doesn't have room to dissipate the heat sufficiently. So over time it gets too hot and fails. To make matters worse, this method is also more prone to water or moisture intrusion as well.

That's why I love the way Kichler builds their fixtures. Particularly their spot lights. The driver is in a totally separate chamber from the LED array. It's completely encased in resin with a really well thought out heat sink in it. So not only is it totally separated from the LED array by a few inches, it's also completely sealed and has a huge heat sink that keeps the temperature around the driver cooler. It also makes it pretty much impossible for moisture or water to ever get into the area where the driver and solder joints are.

I've heard Vista say that their spot light is XX% cooler to the touch than the Kichler spots - as if that's a good thing. If I was them, I'd never utter those words as long as I loved again. That means that your driver isn't dissipating as much heat! It's actually a good thing to be putting off a little heat. That means heat is being dissipated from the driver area, which means your LED fixture is actually going to last a long time!

I bet you that almost none of the "failures" you're seeing are with Kichler LED fixtures. And if you said they were, I'd seriously challenge you on that. I have only been installing Kichler for a year now as my lead-off product. But I do have one job that we did all Kichler design Pro LED a little over 3 years ago and we haven't had any failures at all. I know guys in other states who've been installing them a lot longer than I have with little to no failures. And I know what the return % is at Kichler as well.

I think what you're seeing is a result of not very well thought out LED arrangements. And this is the problem I have with most of the other low voltage lighting companies on the market. They aren't separating the LED array from the driver and they aren't sufficiently protecting the driver from heat, water, moisture, etc.. So yah, you're going to get failure much sooner in that case.


I had a gentleman say this to me the other day- you know, if we were just talking about 1, 3, heck even 10 fixtures inside my house, and I knew they were needing to be outright replaced in 8, 12 years, I would never agree to that. why would I even remotely agree to replace 38 fixtures in 12-15 years. "ridiculous". I can't really argue the point.

Ok. So we're clear - you're speaking about the need to replace the entire fixture, as is the case with Kichler.

First of all, you have to understand that there has been a fundamental change in the way light "bulbs" or lamps are made. It used to be that there was just a filament that lit up and that's what made light. You were just depending on one component - the filament. Now, there are two components. The driver and the LED array. And what research has shown is that when they are placed too close together and too much heat is allowed to build up without having a method to dissipate the heat, then we end up with failure pretty quickly. Just as you've seen - in 3-4 years. So the solution Kichler has found is an ingenious one; put the driver a ways away in it's own isolated chamber where it is away from the LED array and build a heat sink that sufficiently takes heat down to below the threshold where they've seen problems. You eliminate the heat issue, you eliminate the issue of them going out so soon. Which is why Kichler can safely warranty their "lights" for 15 years.

But because this is a fully integrated fixture like that - and because the driver is fully encased in resin material - you cannot just take out a "bulb" and replace it. We're not talking bulbs anymore. It's a whole system. Even if you could replace the LED array, how do you know that's the component that went out? Did you know that the LED array is usually not what goes out? It's typically the driver or solder joints, due to too much ongoing heat. So you go replace the LED array and then the light fixture still doesn't work. What then? Now, you've wasted an hour or more driving over there and the time trying to replace what you thought was broken. But no, it's something inside. So why not just replace the whole damm fixture. What's your labor rate? By the time you wasted 2 hours trying to figure out if it's the LED array or the driver or a solder joint that went bad - even if you could replace all those things - you will have wasted more money in labor than the fixture is worth!

On one hand you're saying most LEDs don't last, and then you're bemoaning the very thing that makes the Kichler lamps last so much longer than all the others! (The fact that they use integrated fixtures with components that are isolated and protected and can't be changed out).

Second, your analogy is a bad one. House fixtures don't need to be waterproof, rain proof, weather proof, etc. They don't have to be built so that they can handle extreme cold and extreme heat either. They're usually in a nice dry house that always stays within 10-20 degrees or so. So of course you wouldn't ever have to replace a house fixture! But that's not even a fair comparison at all! The very thing that makes a really good outdoor light fixture so awesome - the very thing that makes it able to be waterproof, rain proof, weather proof, and able to handle all sorts of changes in heat, etc. is the very reason why it has to be replaced entirely if it goes out! It's a whole system! It's not just a light bulb! If it's built well, it's a fully integrated, sealed, protected system! And that's what you want it to be!

A better analogy would be the tail lights on newer cars. Have you noticed that most newer cars are going with LED tail lights? Many have even gone with LED headlights! Guess what? Many of those are integrated fixtures as well! When you go to replace them, you're not going to be able to just go to NAPA and buy a "bulb". Mercedes, Audi, BWM, etc. are going to make you buy the entire tail light fixture! And I bet you that rich guy who asked you that question wouldn't fret about that when it happened, would he? I would have LOVED it if he had asked me that question. It would allow me to educate him a little on the topic. I bet you he would change his mind after he heard my response.

I love the fact that Kichler not only builds a product that they know will outlast everyone else - but they also put their money where their mouth is. They give you a whole new fixture if it ever goes bad within 15 years. That's freakin' awesome! I bet even Mercedes doesn't do that with their LED tail lights.

The "field replaceable" modules do give me some hope. but again, they are very new...

Why should they be "field replaceable"? LED technology is good enough right now that if it's done right, it shouldn't HAVE to be replaced - not for at least 15-20 years! The term "field replaceable" to me means they are building in failure. They know it's going to fail sooner than you'd consider reasonable, so they're going to give you an easy way to replace their failure. And then charge you for it! Wow! Really? No thanks! How about just making a fixture that will last a long time without failing and doesn't need to be replaced any time soon? What a novel concept!

Let's say that these "field replaceable" units go out every 7 years - twice what you tell me you're getting now from the drop in LED retrofit lights you say you've installed over the past few years. So you install one of these field replaceable units today and in 7 years it goes out. So you go spend $55 for a replacement "module" or whatever, and then that one goes out in 7 years again. So you have to replace it a second time. Now you've been out to work on this fixture 3 times in 14 years, including the original installation. And someone has had to pay for that! Either you charged the customer a service call and parts on two additional occasions or you ate the cost for that. Either way, it's been spendy for someone. Or you could have just gone with a Kichler unit and left it there for at least 15 years without any worry. If it ever did go out, the most you'd be out is the 1 hour of time you'd need to go replace it. But the fixture would be totally free. And I bet Kichler would even find a creative way to help reimburse you for your time if that happened.

JimLewis
06-04-2012, 04:14 AM
Bid 2nd phase lighting job using all LED 35 fixture job using a mere 10% mark up and normal Install price and home owner says OUCH so re figured using Halogen and he went with that quote so until LED drop in price I don't know that I can sell a 35 plus fixture job using all LED , may have to use some LED and blend in halogen here an there.

Anyone else having the same problem , just curious.

Richie

To the original post;

First of all, I don't understand why installers think LED is more expensive. At least for me, going LED has actually dropped my prices on lighting a little.

First, I use MUCH smaller and less expensive transformers these days. Second, I use smaller wire. Third, I use less wire, because I am not doing the stupid hub system anymore. Fourth, it's less labor because I'm not doing the hub system anymore. And as far as the cost for fixtures goes - I was using Unique Lighting before. And I've found that the Kichler spot lights and path lights I am using now are approximately the same price as the Unique Odyssey series light fixtures I was installing before. So my fixture price hasn't changed, but my transformers and other materials have gone down and so has our install times.

I guess if before you were installing a really cheap variety of outdoor lighting then yah, the cost of the good LED fixtures are going to be more.

Anyway, no, we haven't had any problems selling our customers with LED at all. Like Tommy said, we don't even mention halogen as an option anymore. Why would we? With smaller transformers, 75% less energy use, and lamps that don't have to be changed for 15 years, why would I want to go with the old-school stuff? Halogen vs. LED is like Carburetor vs. Fuel Injection. There came a time when it was no longer smart to install carburetors. That time has come for halogen outdoor lighting, IMO, right now.

I think your problem is the same problem I had about 5 years ago selling lighting in general. My clientele just wasn't wanting to pay big $$ for a solid brass, Unique Odyssey series system. So I had trouble selling them. Partly because they didn't see me as really an expect in lighting. So we had to work on that a little. And partly because lighting wasn't quite as popular in our area back then. But nowadays lighting around our area seems to be catching on a lot more. Meanwhile, as our company and reputation has grown a lot - I find we now attract a better clientele who don't mind spending some serious dough on outdoor lighting, especially when they aren't going to have to adjust the timer on their system ever (astro timers) or have to change a lamp for 15 years. I find it's whole lot easier to sell lighting systems right now than it's ever been at any point in our company history. I'm loving lighting right now. But if you would have asked me 5 or 6 years ago I would have said I was struggling to sell many lighting jobs at that time as well. These days, we land a lot of them and very easily. Hang in there! It gets easier over time as you learn more!

starry night
06-04-2012, 06:04 PM
What's that ringing? I think it's the bell for Round 8 (?) of retrofit LEDs vs. integrated LED fixtures.

S&MLL
06-04-2012, 06:48 PM
What's that ringing? I think it's the bell for Round 8 (?) of retrofit LEDs vs. integrated LED fixtures.


Counting New installs & Add on systems last year we installed 12 I repeat 12 fixtures that were not LED.

This year we are at 2.... yes 2 fixtures.

Now this doesn't count fixtures that are installed during a service call for repair or replacement. What does that tell you about round 8

indylights
06-04-2012, 08:11 PM
Why should they be "field replaceable"? LED technology is good enough right now that if it's done right, it shouldn't HAVE to be replaced - not for at least 15-20 years! The term "field replaceable" to me means they are building in failure. They know it's going to fail sooner than you'd consider reasonable, so they're going to give you an easy way to replace their failure. And then charge you for it! Wow! Really? No thanks! How about just making a fixture that will last a long time without failing and doesn't need to be replaced any time soon? What a novel concept!

Because if something does go wrong, you don't have to needlessly throw away an entire fixture. Even Kichler (and wow, it's obvious you just came from their warehouse) fixtures fail. Popping in a new element is a lot easier than scabbing in a new fixture, and you aren't needlessly adding to the incredible landfill problem this country already has. And just hope your 5 year warranty on the Kichler housing doesn't fail before the LED warranty (and again, that's what their written warranty states, it doesn't matter what any rep "tells" you they will do). And despite what the fine folks at Kichler obviously preached during your trip, there are more than two main components that make up LED "light". Do some independent research not promoted by a manufacturer. Other than that, it's sound like things are going well for you, so continued success.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

steveparrott
06-04-2012, 08:23 PM
On the fully-potted-fixtures-that-need-to-be-replaced-when-they-fail vs. integrated-fixtures-with-replaceable-components debate: a few points

Just because a driver is fully potted doesn't mean that its components are high quality - if they use electrolytic capacitors in the drive circuit, they can still fail pre-maturely
They may also be susceptable to voltage spikes and surges that can weaken components or cause catastrophic failure - not uncommon events with dirty currents going into the field
Lightning strikes are more common than you might imagine - especially in warmer states. A lightning strike can take out an entire LED system - and it's not covered by warranty.
Potting doesn't reduce electromagnetic interference - a problem with many popular LED's.

Also, when circuits are designed properly, and when thermal transfer is adequote, there's no reason why LED chips and drivers can't share the same board.

There's no reason why LED components can't be made replaceable (without discarding the entire fixture) - in fact, the IESNA considers replaceability and seviceability very important characteristics in a quality luminaire. Discarding entire fixtures when LED failures occur is wasteful and expensive.

JimLewis
06-04-2012, 09:27 PM
Because if something does go wrong, you don't have to needlessly throw away an entire fixture. Even Kichler fixtures fail.

An extremely low number of their LED Design Pro light fixtures have failed since they came out with them. I would disclose the % but I'm not sure whether that was privy information or not. Regardless, it's an extremely low percentage. Particularly considering the failure rate on everyone else's LEDs.

Popping in a new element is a lot easier than scabbing in a new fixture

I'm not sure that's true. Assuming this element you speak of is something that's been protected pretty well, you're going to have to unseal the unit and take apart the thing to get to it. I bet I could switch out a fixture in about the same time it would take you to switch out this element you speak of.

and you aren't needlessly adding to the incredible landfill problem this country already has.

Really? That's our biggest problem in our country is the landfills??? And this is going to be made so much worse because of outdoor lighting fixtures? Please. You gotta be kidding me.

And just hope your 5 year warranty on the Kichler housing doesn't fail before the LED warranty (and again, that's what their written warranty states, it doesn't matter what any rep "tells" you they will do).

I'm sorry you don't believe it. But they are warrantied for a full 15 years. If the light stops working for ANY REASON for 15 years, it's replaced. No questions asked. This didn't just come from my rep. It came from my distributor, It came from the rep. for the entire West side of the U.S., and it came from the president of Kichler's landscape lighting division. I specifically asked them that question just a week and a half ago. Item number 1 on their warranty page that discusses the 15 year warranty on the Design Pro LED fixtures supersedes all of the other warranty stuff mentioned below that.

And it hasn't been a case of "just take my word on it." My experience has shown that they are more than willing to replace the fixture for any reason as well. I had one path light that the homeowner called me about. It didn't have any signs of damage. But he said he had seen the neighbor kids run into it with their bikes several times and now it wasn't working anymore. When we went to take it in, we were given a new fixture without even any question as to why it failed. They tested it. It didn't work. They handed us a new one. Simple as that. Didn't even ask when we purchased it or anything. Easy counter swap replacement.

Now if you want to stand up there and say, "Well, I still don't think they're going to warranty it." you're just spouting off conjecture. Because all evidence to the contrary. And my experience has been otherwise, too. I've found them to be good on their word with everything so far. And they certainly are offering a whole lot better warranty on LED stuff than anyone else I can find. You want to keep knocking them, fine. But I think you're just hating. The facts are they have a great warranty and they've backed it up.

The other nice part is other than that one, I have yet to have any fail at all. So we shouldn't even need their warranty too much. But if we ever do, it's nice to know I can just get a new unit and move on. I don't have to worry about what component went out, shelling out money for a replacement component or lamp, etc. I can just switch it out with no material cost to me whatsoever.

And despite what the fine folks at Kichler obviously preached during your trip, there are more than two main components that make up LED "light". Do some independent research not promoted by a manufacturer.

Please enlighten me. I saw the components and the inside of the units myself. Was there another component they were hiding from me?

indylights
06-04-2012, 10:23 PM
Show me one word on their warranty page that says item number one supercedes all else. They are taking back all product from you now because it is well within 5 years, you just started using Kichler a year ago, so the debate on that really is mute for a couple more years for both of us. I just go by what I see in writing. Let me know what happens in 6 years when an aluminum fixture by the west coast rusts away and the LED is damaged because of that. Also just curious how you know everyone else's failure rate and who you define as everyone else. Some more "privy" info? Again, I don't care who you use, but your "privy" information you keep talking about isn't that "privy". That same "privy" info they give you they give to the next group that comes in, and the next, and the next, and all their reps, all their distributors, and anyone else who matters. If you don't think electronic waste contributes mightily to landfill problems domestically and internationally, you are dreaming. If you want to be enlightened on everything that makes up LED, please PM me, and I can send you reams of information, both independent and manufacturer based, on what makes quality LED components. And for the record, I don't use Kichler now and won't for my own reasons, have in the past, don't care who does, have a relative who's income is greatly affected by how much Kichler his irrigation distributorship sells, and therefore get a great deal of the same (and probably more) "privy" info as you, and use a mix of integrated, lamp, and replaceable module LED fixtures.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

bcg
06-04-2012, 11:15 PM
Scott, the 5 year warranty on the Aluminum fixtures is only for the coating, the rest of the fixture is covered by the 15 year warranty. So if the coating peels 6 years in, that isn't a warranty issue, but if the LED fails it is. My experience with Kichler leads me to believe that if you bring an Aluminum fixture back 14 years later with both coating issues and failed LED, they're going to replace it.

If you're using the BBR fixtures, which I have on the installs I've used Kichler on, then the point is moot as those are covered by the 15 year warranty on both the LED and the housing.

That said, I'm really beginning to have concerns about integrated fixtures that must be completely replaced. I worry about how I'm going to deal with the 100+ fixture jobs down in 15+ years as things start to wear out. Since some of those jobs were ripping out 15+ year old systems and redoing them, I think the customers will be OK but then again, it's hard to predict the future.

indylights
06-05-2012, 12:38 AM
I promise last time beating this horse, but the 5 years on an aluminum fixture is for the housing and finish, not just the finish. Plain as day, item #3 on their warranty page. If they honor them later than that, that's great for the guys who use them. Just know they don't have to.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

Lite4
06-05-2012, 07:19 PM
My biggest issue with Kichler is (really Kichler?!? can't you make a 100 dollar fixture with a better engineered knuckle than simply some silly little plastic ball with a screw set driven into it?!?) Very chincy....You would think with all the $ they are making off their products they could invest a little into designing a more robust fixture...I'm just sayin.

bcg
06-05-2012, 08:08 PM
I agree with that, I've had several fixtures break at that plastic knuckle from very little force. So far, Kichler has warranted them but still, it's a PITA to have to replace a fixture over something that could be so easily fixed.

Lite4
06-05-2012, 11:28 PM
Sure they will warrant the fixture, (whooptydoo) but they won't reimburse me for my time to drive over during a busy day to rip out their plastic imposter, or my fuel to drive it across town, flop it down on the counter and drive back with a new piece of plastic. Silly little fixtures. I will take a robust brass fixture with an Illumicare drop in LED anyday over a Kichler. But that's just me, I am not going to limit myself to one fixture to try to light everything. Ok, Kichler guys, commence with the bashing. I can take it. :-)
Posted via Mobile Device

bcg
06-05-2012, 11:42 PM
I did have a situation last year where we'd installed some 15700 fixtures in a fountain that were suffering from water intrusion. I called my distributor who talked to the Kichler rep about it as replacement was going to require dis-assembly of the fountain at a cost of about $1500. The Kichler rep told him to have me replace all the current fixtures with 15711SS (as warranty replacements for the 15700's) and that he'd issue me a $1500 credit to cover the cost of the fountain work. We didn't ask for it, they offered. Like I said, I'm rethinking my commitment to integrated fixtures but...they did go above and beyond what they promised in their warranty for me so I do have some loyalty to them because of that. I don't know that there are many others that would have done the same.

starry night
06-05-2012, 11:50 PM
Bernie, I suspect that kind of treatment is probably reserved for buyers of your stature. I can't imagine that Kichler would shell out $1500 re-imbursement to just anybody.

David Gretzmier
06-06-2012, 02:01 AM
I have to hand it to you guys, this LED thing is creating a lot of passionate responses. And all your points about overall costs of wire, trans, and all are duly noted.

but it is not just a cost issue with me. I have to look deep in my heart and ask myself how long will what I put in LAST. not just trans, or wire, or lights. I have built irrigation systems, water features, retaining walls, stone patios, drainage systems, decks, pergolas, etc. I am 43, and I started paying with mowing and landscape stuff when I was 13. I look back over that 30 years, and a ton of my stuff ( maybe thousands of actual tons) is still out there. I drive by retaining walls I did 20 years ago and they are rock solid. irrigation systems I did 15 years ago are still running fine. I took alot of pride in my work back then, and while learning many things, I tended to look very long term in how long things should last that I charge people for. If they chose to not take care of something that was one thing, but if they took care of it, it should outlast THEM.

I think of all those things, and I ask myself would I use any item in any of those things that essentially has a permanant destruction clock built in, even if properly maintained.

take wood for a pergola or deck. Cedar, when properly maintained, will last more than a lifetime. but lets say you can use a brand new material. it will need no maintenance, but lets just say it will self destruct in 15-20 years. the whole thing will have to be torn down and rebuilt. period. no way around it. Is this something I would be proud of? I mean, I am all for less maintenance, but really, tear it down?

take that same 15 year philosophy on all the things I have built with my hands and my employees hands. Nothing would be left that is older than 15 years. no irrigation heads, no stone patios, no retaining walls. it would all be wiped out. I can't stomach that. not just on all the other stuff, but I have way too many fixtures that I put in 15 pls years ago that I still mainain that just need a bulb, wipe, and some grease, and it is good to go for another year.

And I really,really hope you LED only guys understand that 15-20 years is on the outside range of life you can expect from the latest hour test ratings from L70. (I really don't know why we are ok with losing 20, then 25 % but 30% of lumens is then officially bad) , but anyway, you only get that many years if we are talking 1500-2500 hours of use per year, 5-7 hours per night average. we get 4400 hours of yearly darkness here in Northwest Arkansas, and I have Alot (a bit above a third) of my clients that like the lights on all night, every night. I am sure you have got to have some too. I am hearing 40,000 hours and 50,000 hours being thrown around, and that to me is a 10 year self destruct or less number. and THAT I absolutely cannot believe you guys are ok with.

even if I could stomach watching everything I did 15 years ago be torn out and replaced, even if I am the one doing it, when you talk about the 1/3 or so clients I have that are all nighters and the number drops to less than 10 years, that is my trump card. I am dead set against installing that.

Sorry guys, I am in this for the really long term. and by that, I mean I am doing this for another 20 plus years. you show me a LED fixture that will run all night for at least 30 years at L70, then I am very interested.

JimLewis
06-06-2012, 02:46 AM
We went from having to replace lamps every 6-18 months (halogen, incandescent) to the ability to have to only replace lamps every 12-36 months (drop in LED) to not having to replace them for 15 years. But you're not satisfied with that? You say, "15 years isn't good enough. Show me 30 and maybe I'm in."

Ummm....Ok. You're hard to please. :rolleyes:

It's a trade off. We currently have a choice of installing fixtures that need to be replaced on a regular basis or ones that won't need to be replaced for 15 years, but when they do, the whole fixture needs to be replaced.

I can tell you from a lot of personal experience - that a lot of consumers LOVE the 15 year option. The number 1 complaint I get from customers who we did outdoor lighting systems for over the last 5-10 years is how they constantly have to be out replacing lamps on a regular basis. They either have to go out and do it themselves every month or two, or pay us to come out and switch them all out on scheduled intervals. In fact it's the #2, #3 and #4 complaint I get. People hate that about outdoor lighting. Especially since they never go out all at once. They just randomly go out - one or two every few months. The #5 complaint is how they have to go out and adjust their clock every month or two.

Now I offer customers a system where they don't have to ever adjust their clocks or rely on photocells (astro. timer) and they won't have to replace a lamp for 15 years - they are freaking eating it up! As I said in a previous post earlier in the year, lighting is the segment of our work that saw the biggest % growth last year. I've had an easier time selling lighting jobs than ever before because material costs on a whole system are less, labor is less, maintenance is virtually nonexistent, and energy costs are 75% less. It's a no brainer.

A lot of the systems we have installed have been for people who previously had an outdoor lighting system at their old home, or even at the current home I an doing the install on. And the one thing they are most excited about is that they aren't going to be out changing bulbs regularly. The number 2 thing they are excited about is the decreased energy use. And the #3 is the not having to adjust the timer every month or so. I've given bids to customers that were only sort of interested in lighting and once they learned all of this, it pushed them over the top to purchasing them.

There was a time when every mechanic out there was still resistant to fuel injectors too. Carburetors were easier to fix (simple rebuild kit) and they were easy to get to. But we all know how that battle went down. LED isn't perfect and will continue to get better. But even back when fuel injection was fairly new, it was still kicking a$$ all over the similar cars that still had carburetors. That's how I look at the best LED stuff now. It's all still WAY better than the old stuff.

I wish there was an option on the market that lasted 15 or more years AND was replaceable. I'm sure it's coming. But until then, I'll take the one that has 15 years over the one that has a lot less years but is replaceable any day. I just like the concept of no worries, no maintenance way better. In 15 years - for the 5% of customers who are still in the same house, still using our company, etc. - I'll be able to then sell them on a system that will probably last for 30 years, be totally field serviceable, and use 90% less energy. Technology always improves over time. Low voltage lighting is like a flat screen TV. You're not going to want the same one forever. Eventually, the newer technology is going to be so much better that you're going to want to do away with the old one anyway. 15 years is about that time, for most people, I think.

David Gretzmier
06-07-2012, 03:14 AM
jim, all points duly noted.

I will concede that LED has in the last 2 years, at least among the higher priced stuff solved a ton of problems. the color problem and output problem, and given the last 24 months of testing, it would appear that longevity wise they are a vast improvement over previous LED's. I will concede that it is easier to install LED's, faster, with smaller less expensive trans and wire.

I won't concede that the spread choices are all the way where they need to be, as far as having the ability to take a 20 watt equiv. fixture and make it 10 degrees for a long throw. but most spots are available in 3 spread choices, and that is good enough for 85% of what we do.

I won't concede the hour rating. I think you know that LED L70 testing is done in a lab. it is extrapolated based on a year or so of 24 hour testing and looking at lumen degradation over that time and they draw a bell curve. they then assign a L70 or L80 hour rating and thus, the hour rating in the 25000-50000 hours that they throw around. I really need to know that you understand that none of the LED fixtures on the market now have anywhere near 20000 to 25000 hours of testing on them, much less double that, even in a lab.

I won't beat a dead horse, so I will ask you point blank- what are you telling clients that want the lights on all night long? have you shown them the math that says they will need full fixture replacement in year 9 or 10? are you counting on kichler or other manu's to warranty the lights and possibly reimburse you labor? what do you plan to say to any clients noticing when the lights start hitting 80% lumens and they seem a bit dimmer? because according to the way I read the L70 charts, that starts happening around the 20,000 hour mark. that would be around the middle of year 5 for all nighters. and the end of year 10 for the 6 hour folks.

I am really not trying to pick a fight here, but I sense that many folks don't have good answers for the above questions. to me, saying that only 5% of folks won't be living there is not a reason to put in stuff that self destructs. saying that folks will redo their landscape anyway is not a reason. I get that on a new home, some stuff does fail over a 15-20 year period- carpet, paint, roofing, a/c, appliances, etc. but plumbing, drywall, insulation, electrical, framing is not that way, and lighting fixtures does not have to be.

JimLewis
06-07-2012, 02:28 PM
I gotta get back to work. But I'll answer a few of these real quick......

I will ask you point blank- what are you telling clients that want the lights on all night long? have you shown them the math that says they will need full fixture replacement in year 9 or 10?

I don't see any reason why people would have their lights on all night long. Haven't run into it yet. In fact, everyone so far has asked me - before we signed the contract - "Now, this is something we can turn off like around 11 or 12 at night, right? We don't want them running all night long." Not to say some people wouldn't want this. I just haven't run into any of them. If I do, I guess we'll have to have a discussion about decreased life expectancy.

But again, my analogy with Flat Screen TVs applies here. Technology always gets way better over time. Even if they have to replace them in 9-10 years, what they'll have in 9-10 years from now we'll be so much better that they're going to WANT to replace them.


are you counting on kichler or other manu's to warranty the lights and possibly reimburse you labor?

No. Only if it becomes a huge problem would I ask them to do that. The thing is, I'm making WAY more profit on outdoor lighting than any other product we install. One reason I love lighting so much is it's the one part of our industry (at least in my area) that hasn't been totally ruined by cheapskates doing work for next to nothing. So I can still enjoy a nice markup AND top dollar for labor. The markup on materials is so good that it often makes my lighting jobs twice as profitable as the other landscape work we do. So if I have to send a guy back to replace a light or two, no big deal, in my mind. We're making enough off the current lighting installs to have some extra money on hand to pay a guy to go replace a fixture on an old lighting install, if needed.


what do you plan to say to any clients noticing when the lights start hitting 80% lumens and they seem a bit dimmer? because according to the way I read the L70 charts, that starts happening around the 20,000 hour mark. that would be around the middle of year 5 for all nighters. and the end of year 10 for the 6 hour folks.

I don't see that being too much of a problem. The Kichler fixtures actually seem to be a little too powerful right now. The medium spot, which they say is equivalent to a 35 watt halogen - seems more like a 45w output to me. And their small spot (supposed to be like a 20w) seems more like a 30w to me too. Anyone who's installed a lot of Kichler that I've spoken with agreed that these are a little stronger than they say. So if it decreases by 30% or so - slowly over time - I don't think it's going to be too noticeable. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. But I think the performance of them, even at 70%, should still be pretty strong.

to me, saying that only 5% of folks won't be living there is not a reason to put in stuff that self destructs.

I'm just saying it's not going to be a big problem for the installer. And if someone came to me in 15 years and said, "Hey. I bought these lights from some guy 15 years ago and they were supposed to last a long time but they seem to have dimmed now and a couple have quit working." I'd just say to them exactly what I say to people now when I run into that situation - "That's okay. The technology we have now is soooo much better than what we had back then. It's probably time to just install a whole new system at this point. These days, the fixtures we use last _____ years, use _____% less energy, you never have to adjust your timer, etc. etc. etc. The stuff you have is old technology. Let me install a new system and you'll be loving it for the next decade or two!" Then we move on to discussing their new lighting system and how much better it will be!

Honestly, I don't want systems that last forever, anyway. For the same reason Ford doesn't want to make a car that lasts forever or LG doesn't want to make a TV that lasts forever. I want to be able to keep selling more lighting over time! And technology always improves so much over time with anything electronic that eventually most people are going to WANT to upgrade - simply because what's available now is SOOO much better than what was available 15 years ago.

Can you imagine having the same cell phone, TV, car stereo, refrigerator, computer, sprinkler system, etc. that you had 15 years ago? Not me! Things don't last forever. And especially in today's age of consumerism, people understand that very well.


saying that folks will redo their landscape anyway is not a reason. I get that on a new home, some stuff does fail over a 15-20 year period- carpet, paint, roofing, a/c, appliances, etc. but plumbing, drywall, insulation, electrical, framing is not that way, and lighting fixtures does not have to be.

A/C units certainly fail or need major work over 15 years. I know mine has. Appliances too. I certainly don't have the same fridge or microwave or dishwasher that I had 15 years ago. In fact, when I think of what I had 15 years ago I have to laugh.

Outdoor lighting is like consumer electronics. It changes very rapidly. I know of a couple of changes that two of the big outdoor lighting manufacturers are working on RIGHT NOW that, if they come out, could totally revolutionize the outdoor lighting industry - again! Outdoor lighting isn't like indoor lighting. It doesn't need to last for 30-40 years. And even if it did, it would be severely outdated by what will be available then. Most people change the paint on their house every 5-15 years, re-roof their house every 10-20 years, buy a new car every 5 years, get a new TV every 7 years, remodel their kitchen every so often, get new windows, new cell phones, new computers, etc. It's not unreasonable to treat outdoor lighting in the same way. To have to change out an outdoor lighting system in 15 years or so, is something that should be expected, IMO. If - for no other reason - than what will be available then will work so much better, use so much less energy, look nicer, be easier to use and program, have more features, etc. And that's what I tell people if they ask about the 15 year thing. I haven't had one consumer who didn't agree with that yet. But usually, it doesn't even get brought up.

Richie@
06-07-2012, 10:45 PM
I'm sure I will get beat up over this question but who cares.

Anyone here using Lenses or Filters with their LED fixture Installs because I'm not getting that Eye popping view with LED like you do with Halogen.

starry night
06-07-2012, 11:29 PM
Not sure of what you're saying, Richie. How do you make LEDs "pop" by using filters?

JimLewis
06-07-2012, 11:57 PM
I don't quite follow what you're wanting the lenses to do either. But yes, we do use lenses sometimes on our LED installs. With FX Luminaire, they have a slick system where the lenses just snap on - one on top of the other. Unfortunately, each lens also decreases the lumen output substantially. So the more you add, the less light output you get. But I've used the lenses on the FXL stuff.

We also use the lenses on the Kichler fixtures too. I just put 4 frosted lenses on some fixtures today, because they were a little too hot and we were already using the small spot light with the 60 degree flood. So it was already about as soft as you could get and was still a little too hot. So the frosted lenses helped. But Kichler does it differently. You have to fully remove the clear lens that the fixture comes with and replace it. Which is a PITA. But the benefit is you don't get as much loss in lumens by doing that. Even the clear lens that most fixtures (like Kichler) comes with actually decreases the lumen output. So if you were to add another lens (say an amber lens) on top of the existing clear lens, you'd lose even more lumens. By just replacing the lens, you don't use as much. So I like the way Kichler does it that way, in terms of minimizing lumen loss. Unfortunately, it's just a PITA to switch them out.

We also use the amber lenses for customers who don't like the more natural light color that the Kichler lights or FXL lights come with. The amber lens will create a more amber glow that you are used to seeing with incandescent. So we use that once in a while. We did a whole big install with all amber lenses on every fixture a month or two ago.

Richie@
06-08-2012, 03:48 PM
Not sure of what you're saying, Richie. How do you make LEDs "pop" by using filters?

I didn't say that I did make LED pop with Filters but was just wondering if anyone did use Lenses or Filters.

Take 2 bullets 1 with 2700k LED and 1 with 2700k MR 16 20 watt , aim them at Identical objects - Plants - Tree - Roses and tell me what you see.

JimLewis
06-08-2012, 04:30 PM
Yah, you see a little different hue. That's because of binning. Just because one is the same color temperature as the next, doesn't mean you get the exact same look. A better understanding of binning will help you understand why this happens. I wish I had a good reference on the internet that explained this issue of binning better. Perhaps someone here can point you in the right direction.

Using filters, like amber filters, can get you pretty close to what you are looking for, if you're wanting to get the hue to be a little warmer, like halogen.

But I don't see a huge difference. I like the look of the Brilliance drop in LED and also the Kichler LED fixtures as well. Here are two photos from an LED job we did yesterday (Kichler). I thought the color turned out great.

.

Richie@
06-08-2012, 05:04 PM
This has been an Interesting thread thus far so lets keep it going.

starry night
06-08-2012, 05:37 PM
I didn't say that I did make LED pop with Filters but was just wondering if anyone did use Lenses or Filters.

Take 2 bullets 1 with 2700k LED and 1 with 2700k MR 16 20 watt , aim them at Identical objects - Plants - Tree - Roses and tell me what you see.

If the LED was measurably 2700K and the halogen was measurably 2700K, they would look the same.

JimLewis
06-08-2012, 06:18 PM
Well, I'm not sure what you mean by "measurably". But it's not true that just because two light sources share the same color TEMPERATURE that they will necessarily be the same hue. See chart below. If you follow, say, the 2700K line from top to bottom you could end up with a hue that was more toward the yellow/orange end of the spectrum up near the top (8B, 8C area) or you could end up with a hue that was more toward the pink/orange end of the spectrum. Both same color temperature - but different look. The 3200K line shows this even more dramatically.


Then, let's say you compare a halogen that is at 2600 vs. a LED that is at 2750 and both lights are at different ends of the binning chart - now the color is even MORE different from one to the next - even though the color temperature is pretty darn close.

.

JimLewis
06-08-2012, 07:21 PM
By the way, there is a fantastic Power Point presentation that goes over all sorts of awesome information about LEDs, history, components, what the critical components are, lifespan expectancy, binning, etc. All this stuff we are talking about in a nice Power Point Presentation done by Cree. It is here:

(The more informative of the two below is Part 2)

Part 1:
http://mzltg.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/cree-presentation-part-1.ppt

Part 2:
http://mzltg.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/cree-presentation-part-2.ppt

.

Richie@
06-08-2012, 08:37 PM
Jim,

All of the charts and power point are very Informative but take 2 Bullets 1 with LED the other with MR 16 20 watt and aim them at 2 of the same objects and you will see a color difference , MR 16 will show a better color.

JimLewis
06-08-2012, 09:01 PM
"Better color" is pretty subjective. Better to you? It's a slightly different hue/color...yes. It's maybe not the color you're used to because you're used to seeing light emitted from a glowing filament. But I don't know that it's a better color. It's just that the other one is what you are used to. I think the color from most of the better LED fixtures/lamps on the market are pretty nice. I should clarify that I like the color I've seen from Brilliance LED, Kichler, and Vista. I do not like the color that comes from the FXL light fixtures, when you take the lenses off. (There is a reason they come with an amber lens already installed.)

So we got finished with this lighting project last night. The two photos above was just a small portion of the job. And we had neighbors walking up and down the street at dusk/dark while I was trying to take photos all stopping and gushing over how great it looked. I didn't tell any of them what kind of lights they were and they didn't even notice that they weren't incandescent or halogen. They just thought it looked awesome. And it did! Our clients absolutely loved it and we kept getting lots of compliments from the passerbys.

Here's another one we did not too long ago with the Kichler LED. You don't like the color of the lights in this photo?

(By the way, this is with no lenses and no photo enhancement. This is the true color that came out of the Kichler 15742)

.

David Gretzmier
06-09-2012, 12:58 AM
Jim, I appreciate your answers. I am glad none of your customers feel the need for lighting all night long. That will greatly extend the life of their system. I guess I just happen to have a high number of folks who are security conscious.

in addition to the all nighters, I have dozens per year who also are also pretty adamant about having the lighting on in the morning as well as evening. They have to go get the paper or they have coffee out on the back deck.

You are obviously comfortable with your answers, so I won't challenge them. For my own standards, LED just does not last long enough compared to every other thing I have done in landscape outside. When it comes to stuff I do that dies in it's own time, I need a longer clock.

I do think that LED's will approach that in the next 5 years. we will be hitting a theoretical ceiling on lumens per watt around then, and longevity as opposed to efficiency will be getting r&d dollars.

also, as incan's disappear, more and more consumers will enter the purchasing realm of longer lasting bulbs. manu's will want to sell to them and have the longest life hour claim.

Lite4
06-09-2012, 07:12 AM
Thank you for posting those links Jim
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-09-2012, 09:38 AM
I would highly recommend that you guys join the AOLP and attend the Annual Conferences, paying close attention to the LAMP program that they offer. I have been involved along with Illumicare Group in the past two LAMP programs and the information and revelations have been illuminating to say the least.

In the program we take a wide variety of incandescent and LED lamps and do "real world" comparisons. The one thing that most have taken away from the program is that there is no standard or reference lamp from which to base your comparisons. The differences between same spec. halogen lamps are in some cases more noticeable and remarkable than the differences between same spec. LED lamps.

In terms of LED output, a lot of the information posted in this thread has been 'almost right'. I wish I had the time to go through each and every post and comment, but I am simply swamped with work & family commitments. My best advice to those of you who are using LED sources (I am thinking that is now everyone in North America except David. :)) is to find a manufacturer of LED lamps or Fixtures that you like and stick with them. This will help to ensure that your projects are all in the same colour, hue and intensity. Nothing looks worse (to my eye) than seeing a project that has a mish-mash of colour temperatures... all close but not spot on. I see it more and more and it just looks like a dog's breakfast IMO.

This is my primary concern with using integrated LED fixtures. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of different companies doing a lot of really good things with LED fixtures. They all have their strengths, and without exception, they all have their weaknesses as well. The big problem comes when you start mixing and matching. Company A makes a great 3000K bullet, Company B makes the best 'Warm White' Path Light, and Company C makes the best LED step light (at 2850K). The problem is when you put these all together in the same composition.

Most people can see a 200K difference in colour temperature. Many pros can see as fine as a 100K difference. It is noticeable. Then there is the differences in hue and tone from different chip manufacturers and from different bins from the same manufacturers. The more you mix and match LED fixtures from different companies the more variance you will see in the output in your systems.

This is one reason why from day one I have been a fan of LED LAMPS. When using top quality LED Lamps (ones that have been specifically designed and manufactured for use in outdoor lighting systems) you can continue to use all of the fixtures (from all of the different manufacturers) you have grown to know, trust and rely upon and maintain consistency in terms of intensity, beam, colour, etc across your entire composition.

I would highly encourage you to look at the LED lamp options provided by Illumicare Group. www.illumicaregroup.com As far as I can tell they are still the only LED lamp company out there that has designed and manufactured each and every lamp specifically for use in enclosed fixtures and outdoor applications. They do not buy their lamps "off the shelf" or simply re-sell whatever some factory has produced that is "good enough".

Illumicare is a manufacturer of a full line of LED lamps to fit into almost every type of landscape lighting socket and fixture. MR16, SCB, S8 Wedge, T5 Wedge, G4 BiPin (in 4 configurations), G5.3 BiPin, PAR36.
All of their technical information, performance data and photometrics are published online (unlike so many LED fixture offerings) allowing you to confidently make comparisons before you buy.

If you have any LED lamp technical or application questions, don't hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to help you out. james@illumicaregroup.com

Lite-On!

steveparrott
06-09-2012, 01:01 PM
Here's another one we did not too long ago with the Kichler LED. You don't like the color of the lights in this photo?

(By the way, this is with no lenses and no photo enhancement. This is the true color that came out of the Kichler 15742)

.

One important aspect of LED color is consistency across the beam. Not sure if it's an artifact of the photo, but if you look at the color of the square columns, you'll notice it changes from the bottom (edge of the beam - brownish) to the top (middle of the beam - more white).

It's easy to see this if you project the light onto a poster board. I've done this in our lab and the brownish-orangish rim is clearly visible (with some mfgs). I measured color temp across the beam and it changes drastically near the rim. This is a serious problem with lighting columns and light-colored walls.

The problem is evident with some chip mfgs. and is primarily caused by irregularities with, or presence of, poorly designed phosphor coatings on the chip. Keep in mind that many mfgs. save money by purchasing cheap chips.

JimLewis
06-09-2012, 01:09 PM
I would highly recommend that you guys join the AOLP and attend the Annual Conferences, paying close attention to the LAMP program that they offer.

Well, I'm still not really convinced I need to join. But I am interested. I called them a few weeks ago - asking for a return call - and nobody has called me back yet. I wanted to know if there were others in my area.... If there was a chapter. I also wanted to discuss the benefits of membership and see what I'd really be getting for joining. But no call back. So I dunno.

As far as I can tell, there is not a chapter in my area. And they don't appear to be interested in returning my call. But if they do, I'll talk to them about it. I'm sort of interested. I'd be a lot more interested if there was a local chapter.

S&MLL
06-09-2012, 02:23 PM
Well, I'm still not really convinced I need to join. But I am interested. I called them a few weeks ago - asking for a return call - and nobody has called me back yet. I wanted to know if there were others in my area.... If there was a chapter. I also wanted to discuss the benefits of membership and see what I'd really be getting for joining. But no call back. So I dunno.

As far as I can tell, there is not a chapter in my area. And they don't appear to be interested in returning my call. But iffie they do, I'll talk to them about it. I'm sort of interested. I'd be a lot more interested if there was a local chapter.

Feel free to send me a pm ill give you my cell number if you want to talk about the aolp. They seem to be a little un organized over there. Took me about 6 weeks to get a welcome folder once i signed up
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starry night
06-10-2012, 12:41 AM
........... Took me about 6 weeks to get a welcome folder once i signed up
Posted via Mobile Device

You got yours in only six weeks?

Richie@
06-10-2012, 01:25 AM
This has been a good thread , I just want to thank everyone that got Involved , I spent the day an evening with two clients and I must say I am shot and calling it a nite.

Richie

NightScenes
06-12-2012, 03:24 PM
I just checked in, sorry guys. I just don't have the time to be on here as often as I used to. The AOLP office had to make some personel changes recently and everything should move much smoother now. I'm sorry for the lack of communications and slow responses that anyone has had to deal with. Please drop me a note anytime (look at my profile for email address or website). www.night-scenes.com

Relleum
06-16-2012, 12:05 AM
Jim,

All of the charts and power point are very Informative but take 2 Bullets 1 with LED the other with MR 16 20 watt and aim them at 2 of the same objects and you will see a color difference , MR 16 will show a better color.

Please understand the gravity and truth to this statement. I purchased over $1000 worth of integrated led fixtures from Volt (their TM 20 and 35 line), and the color output is a problem. They claim 2800k, but they don't look anything like halogen 2800k. It is a shame too, because i combed tons of forums, reviews, and blogs before I took the plunge.

I finally asked them to swap all of them out for their mr16 uplights, and they were gracious enough to oblige (since they are already installed and thus in eligible for exchange). But before I rip them out, I might try filters to get the desired warmth. It's a really tough decision because I know LEDs are the future, but I don't want to spend every night coming home to lights that I don't like..

@JimLewis, you are dead wrong to say that color output is subjective based on our previous experience with halogen. We've had fluorescents forever now, and nobody except my father in law thinks that color is appealing. The problem with most quality LEDs in my experience is that they haven't gotten rid of a slight greenish hue that isn't present with a regular halogen.

So I think Richie's statement needs to be fully addressed by the pros. Because I'm not happy with my LED landscape lighting, and it isn't because my taste has to evolve.

starry night
06-16-2012, 12:26 AM
Please understand the gravity and truth to this statement. I purchased over $1000 worth of integrated led fixtures from Volt (their TM 20 and 35 line), and the color output is a problem. They claim 2800k, but they don't look anything like halogen 2800k. .......... But before I rip them out, I might try filters to get the desired warmth. ............

I am astonished to hear your opinion. I, too, tried some of Volt's Infinity integrated LED fixtures. not 2800K? They looked more like 2600K to me. (And my pro photographer agreed.)
They were way TOO WARM for the application I intended them for. They looked too yellow on the sandstone facade I was trying to light.
I finally found a use for them on some white painted columns of another project where they looked appropriately warm.

S&MLL
06-16-2012, 12:29 AM
Please understand the gravity and truth to this statement. I purchased over $1000 worth of integrated led fixtures from Volt (their TM 20 and 35 line), and the color output is a problem. They claim 2800k, but they don't look anything like halogen 2800k. It is a shame too, because i combed tons of forums, reviews, and blogs before I took the plunge.

I finally asked them to swap all of them out for their mr16 uplights, and they were gracious enough to oblige (since they are already installed and thus in eligible for exchange). But before I rip them out, I might try filters to get the desired warmth. It's a really tough decision because I know LEDs are the future, but I don't want to spend every night coming home to lights that I don't like..

@JimLewis, you are dead wrong to say that color output is subjective based on our previous experience with halogen. We've had fluorescents forever now, and nobody except my father in law thinks that color is appealing. The problem with most quality LEDs in my experience is that they haven't gotten rid of a slight greenish hue that isn't present with a regular halogen.

So I think Richie's statement needs to be fully addressed by the pros. Because I'm not happy with my LED landscape lighting, and it isn't because my taste has to evolve.

What voltage do you run your mr16s at? I run mine around 11.8-12.2 mostly run prism sure color 5k hour lamps. I find a high quality 2700k retro mr16led lamp to be dead on.

Now say you run mr16s in the 10 range then a 2800k led will look way different
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Relleum
06-16-2012, 12:52 PM
I am astonished to hear your opinion. I, too, tried some of Volt's Infinity integrated LED fixtures. not 2800K? They looked more like 2600K to me. (And my pro photographer agreed.)
They were way TOO WARM for the application I intended them for. They looked too yellow on the sandstone facade I was trying to light.
I finally found a use for them on some white painted columns of another project where they looked appropriately warm.

Too yellow is not very descriptive. To me, a landscape 2800K should be a warm orange, with no hints of green or blue, but no hints of pink either. It's all about sufficient, balanced color.

I'll refer back to the Cree color chart that Jim posted:

http://i.imgur.com/k6w6h.png

I was expecting output in the small blue circle from the volt TM 20s. Instead what I'm seeing is a varying range in the aqua area. The most important takeaway is the hint of green that bleeds in at those levels. It really throws everything off. Now I am not necessarily saying their lights are actually in the 3300-3700k range, but that is where the green happens to start showing on my monitor in the same quantity that I am seeing with the Volts.

And these aren't the first LEDs that I have with a touch of green hue. My undercabinet kitchen LEDs have the same thing. The only LEDs I've seen that do a great job of eliminating the green is the Cree CR6 - very natural output. Most people talk about the cold blue color of cheap solars or LEDs, but substituting with green (even a little) has the same effect, just not as pronounced.

David Gretzmier
06-18-2012, 01:12 AM
wait- there is someone else in the world that does not like LED's? Look james- I am not alone!

The greenish hue you speak of has to do with the phosphor coating on the LED lens itself. all high power LED's come from a very bright blue LED probably starting around 6-8000k color temp. They then coat that LED with a yellow phosphor or stain to create a warm white color. the problem again is getting it just right, and just right over a really long period of time. but we all know yellow and blue make green. The other element of this equation is how long and to what degree of degredation happens over a 25-50000 hour life of that yellow phosphor. everyone hopes it does very well, in spite of the problems shown in my testing and most other folks from fixtures 3-4 years back.

but I find the color thing was so bad back then when LED's first started coming around, that when it got close folks were happy enough.

I have to say for my eyes 2700k to me is not a warm orange but a whitish yellow with no green. I would say a 5000 hour mr-16 at 11-11.3 volts is just about perfect. The Volt LED's I am currently testing are probably closer to 3200k, or a a tradtiional halogen at 12-12.5 volts.

Relleum
06-19-2012, 09:59 PM
wait- there is someone else in the world that does not like LED's? Look james- I am not alone!

The greenish hue you speak of has to do with the phosphor coating on the LED lens itself. all high power LED's come from a very bright blue LED probably starting around 6-8000k color temp. They then coat that LED with a yellow phosphor or stain to create a warm white color. the problem again is getting it just right, and just right over a really long period of time. but we all know yellow and blue make green. The other element of this equation is how long and to what degree of degredation happens over a 25-50000 hour life of that yellow phosphor. everyone hopes it does very well, in spite of the problems shown in my testing and most other folks from fixtures 3-4 years back.

but I find the color thing was so bad back then when LED's first started coming around, that when it got close folks were happy enough.

I have to say for my eyes 2700k to me is not a warm orange but a whitish yellow with no green. I would say a 5000 hour mr-16 at 11-11.3 volts is just about perfect. The Volt LED's I am currently testing are probably closer to 3200k, or a a tradtiional halogen at 12-12.5 volts.

This is exactly the kind of technical information I was after, and helps reinforce my inclination to just exchange the Volt Infiniti for the MR-16 top dogs. What bulbs specifically do you recommend that are good 5000 hour mr-16s? I'm hoping that I can get away with the majority being not more than 20watts, since I have 9 up lights and 7 path lights (10 watt each) on a 300 watt transformer. It's cutting very close!

starry night
06-19-2012, 10:28 PM
Ahhhh, a match made in lighting heaven: Relleum and David.
Just teasing, David. Your contributions on this forum are invaluable.
But it looks to me like Relleum was merely looking for someone to backup his opinion of LEDs based on his limited experience with them. David, I think your main reservation concerns longevity of LEDs or the lack of it. Relleum, your hangup seems to be color. You should really take a look at other LEDs, maybe those from Brilliance, Illumicare, or Unique.
You either need LEDs or a bigger transformer for halogen with the array of fixtures you listed.

bcg
06-20-2012, 12:15 AM
I will say that if your concern with LED is color only, you really should get halogen MR16's from several manufacturers and shine them all on a white wall. You'll be amazed at the difference (and the hot spots and crappy edges), or at least I was. It's really difficult to compare any LED to a halogen MR16 when there is no "standard" to speak of in the halogens.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-20-2012, 12:56 AM
I will say that if your concern with LED is color only, you really should get halogen MR16's from several manufacturers and shine them all on a white wall. You'll be amazed at the difference (and the hot spots and crappy edges), or at least I was. It's really difficult to compare any LED to a halogen MR16 when there is no "standard" to speak of in the halogens.

Bernie speaks the truth! Having participated in the AOLP LAMP program for the past couple of years, I have seen this first hand with a wide variety of both halogen and LED lamps. There simply is no reference or standard.

My best advice is to find a line of LED products (be they lamps or fixtures) that you are happy with, and that meet all of your application requirements and stick with them. It is far better to have all of your light sources with a similar intensity, beam pattern and colour than it is to start mixing and matching from various manufacturers. That is when things start to get really unsettling.

Lite4
06-20-2012, 11:01 AM
This is exactly the kind of technical information I was after, and helps reinforce my inclination to just exchange the Volt Infiniti for the MR-16 top dogs. What bulbs specifically do you recommend that are good 5000 hour mr-16s? I'm hoping that I can get away with the majority being not more than 20watts, since I have 9 up lights and 7 path lights (10 watt each) on a 300 watt transformer. It's cutting very close!

Buy GE Constant color lamps with a cover glass, they are by far and away the best halogen lamps on the market for color and longevity of life. Ushio will be a close second, however their reflector does degrade over the lifespan of the lamp and lumen output will diminish where the GE's will not.

JimLewis
06-20-2012, 12:22 PM
Wait! What happened to Firefly??? Now I won't hardly recognize you except for the fern picture! :)

Lite4
06-20-2012, 12:36 PM
Hey Jim,

Yes firefly is gone, has been for 3+ years. As many of you know I have been working for others for the past 3 years since I made my trek across country. 10 days ago out of the blue, myself and the Landscape architect I shared an office with got our pink slips and were shown the door due to budget cutbacks from the company I was working for. Well, I had been planning on getting something started back up, but intil 10 days ago I was going to wait until next spring or summer. Things got thrown into high gear all of a sudden and plans have changed. Instead of relying on someone else for my job security, I am going back out on my own so if I go hungry and am out of work it will be my own fault. The climate for lighting here is terrific and I already have 1 month of work I sold in the last week. The company I was with felt bad about cutting us loose and in return gave me all of the past customers for service work and all the new ones I had in bid and prospect which was nice. My website should be completed by the first of next week. It is not an ideal situation to be starting up this late in the season, but that just means I have to get busy.

starry night
06-20-2012, 01:44 PM
I think the original thread has run its course, so I don't mind posting this personal message:

Tim, I was always surprised that you were working for someone else. With all you have on the ball, you'll do great out on your own again. Please email me with your new email address.

Relleum
07-23-2012, 07:47 PM
So I exchanged my LEDs for Top Dawg MR16 fixtures. The color is very natural now, and I'm definitely happier as a result. But of course, I have new problems now. I'm currently at 256 of the 300 watt capacity of my transformer, so any more lights will require a new transformer. Also, the Volt toroidal core transformer doesn't officially support dimming, and now I'm in a situation where dimming the house and soffit lights create a color mismatch with the landscape lighting. So either run everything at 100% to match color, run just landscape at 100% and house lights "close enough", or take chances with dimming the transformer to match. It's so temping, since dimming seems to work pretty well on the surface. I have no idea if it will reduce the lifespan of the transformer, or bulbs themselves.

Sigh. Why can't transformers dim?

S&MLL
07-23-2012, 10:42 PM
Convert your soffit lights to mr16 lamps. And lamp accordingly. Dimming is never the solution when mr16s come in 10 20 35 50 watts. Best way to keep color temps on point with eachother
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S&MLL
07-23-2012, 10:44 PM
And you can dim a transformer just use a low voltage dimmer. Magnetic not electric. But we never really do that. We use to use zane secondary low voltage dimmers but.i have not installed one since we went full led in 2010
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