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View Full Version : New to lighting biz, need help


clyde
01-08-2013, 10:38 PM
I am familiar with electricity , I had ac/dc and digital electronics courses in college.

What i am trying to find out is if you have 7 Topdog lights ( upon customers specific request ) what size transformers do you need. We are lighting up a wooden bridge he just built about 200' long going to lake. He wants these lights about 20' up. The area is in a wooded area has standing water and stays wet ( to walk in ) a long time after it rains. The problem is I am not familiar enough with the lights , nor the USUAL transformer sizes on the shelf you can buy. Do they come in 100, 200 and/or 300 watt?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-08-2013, 11:24 PM
What i am trying to find out is if you have 7 Topdog lights ( upon customers specific request ) what size transformers do you need. We are lighting up a wooden bridge he just built about 200' long going to lake. He wants these lights about 20' up. The area is in a wooded area has standing water and stays wet ( to walk in ) a long time after it rains. The problem is I am not familiar enough with the lights , nor the USUAL transformer sizes on the shelf you can buy. Do they come in 100, 200 and/or 300 watt?

Not trying to be difficult here but you need to provide some more information.
What lamps are you planning to use inside the fixtures? (how much illumination do you want on the object? This will help to figure out lamp type/output, beam spread, mounting height and fixture count) Will you use halogen or LED? Once you know the total load (watts) and type of lamps/fixtures, then you can calculate your voltage drop and determine how many and what type of secondary circuits you are going to run from the transformer to the fixtures. Finally you will be able to determine the right size of transformer to use. Keep in mind that you should leave some extra capacity on the transformer for future expansion or changes.

There is a lot more to doing this properly that they show on those Lowes and Home Depot instructional videos!

Good luck.

clyde
01-08-2013, 11:38 PM
LED,

He said he doesn't want something really bright, just enough to create a mood and be able to see if there is a snake on the bridge with 70 yr old eyes... ( lol)

What would you suggest on 20-25' up as far as wattage?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-09-2013, 12:01 AM
I would suggest you use Illumicare LED MR16 lamps, 6watts each. the 3000K at 45 Degrees will give you a nice soft, even distribution and at approx 240 Lumens each these are as bright as a 20W Halogen MR16 lamp. If you find you want it brighter then bump up to the 2X LED MR16 lamps which provide nearly the same output as a 35W Halogem lamp. Much will depend on the ambient light conditions, the reflectivity of the object and just how bright the desired effect needs to be.

The nice things about using LED is the relatively wide range of input voltages that they will accept. This makes doing your voltage drop calculations much easier and it also allows for the use of significantly small transformers.

Hope this helps.

clyde
01-09-2013, 12:05 AM
thank you!!!!

You think about $150/fixture? and then $1/watt on transformer? is enough

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-09-2013, 12:19 AM
Sorry but I will not participate in discussions in regards to your pricing, costs, etc on this forum. It is not the place to get into it. I will say that a professionally designed and installed lighting system should, and in my experience would, cost significantly more than what you are proposing. Personally I would never provide per fixture costing and $/watt makes no sense to me what so ever. A great lighting system is worth far more than the sum of its parts + some labour. Heading down that route you are not doing yourself, or your clients any favours.

Lite4
01-09-2013, 08:49 AM
I agree with James on going with the illumicare LED's. Especially if you are putting them up in trees. Also you may want to consider a different down light. The top dog is not designed for downlighting applications and will fill with water, unless you drill a small hole in the front glass lense for water to escape.

action1
01-09-2013, 12:45 PM
Clyde, before you jump into the lighting you should take a couple of free courses sponsored by some of the distributors and lighting companies . Also get a book ot two about the subject. You are going to create big problems not knowing how to balance loads on tramsformers as well as many other technicalities . I make a lot of money repairing rookie mistakes.
Just a thought.
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clyde
01-09-2013, 04:07 PM
this walkway ( bridge ) is about 200 ft
I am going to need something with about a 30-40ft flood light.

How many watts you think? and is there one brand in particular you would suggest to shine down that gives a moon light effect? NOT a street light effect

Lite4
01-09-2013, 05:41 PM
Illumicare LED drop in. Go 25-30' up and you will get a better effect. Try to cast light across some branches and leaves on the way down also to accentuate the effect.

S&MLL
01-10-2013, 12:16 AM
So when this client asked for your qualifications did you respond you took a digital electronics class in school? Sounds like this is your first time installing outdoor lighting. You might want to advise this client of yours that his wooden bridge project will be your first install. Last thing you want to do is tarnish your companies name by doing a half ass install. What type of connections do you plan on using? What is your primary power source? Is it existing are you installing it? How to you plan on running wire on this wooden bridge? Alot of questions you should ask yourself before you start your first lighting project. Especially since this project (downlighting a 200'long wooden bridge) would be over most "contractors" heads that read this forum
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clyde
01-11-2013, 08:53 AM
He is one of our regular maintenance accounts. I have installed 2 but it was before recession. I think the courses i have had are more than enough to allow me to trouble shoot any problems and or design. Don't patronize if i can build robots and systems with microprocessors I can put a lighting system up lol. The two systems I installed before were not LED. LED systems are new to me and I am just trying to get an idea as to about where I need to start thats all. Like we put lights 25' up and we need a 3 LED 20watt system etc...
looking at a display in a store WILL NOT represent the real thing as far as lights shining and the distance.

A local distrib is working on getting the lighting guys to give a course now that I have brought all this up to him.

I am not as familiar with the NEW LED products and of course everything else is based on it.

The Lighting Geek
01-11-2013, 01:02 PM
I think the courses i have had are more than enough to allow me to trouble shoot any problems and or design. Don't patronize if i can build robots and systems with microprocessors I can put a lighting system up lol.

I don't think anyone is patronizing here, but you asked for help and many of us are very experienced in this industry. We see people like yourself with all the best of intentions, get in over their head. Electronic classes are not the kind of training we are referring to here. There is much more to installing a system than a transformer, some fixtures and connections. I would suggest continuing your pursuit with the help of a local distribution company or manufacturer rep. They help you in many different ways.

A portion of our businesses is redoing other people's work. We just want you to be successful.

Viewpoint
01-11-2013, 01:07 PM
Clyde- The best way to get into the LED game is by using the LED retrofit lamps (like the illumicare) since they are essentially based on the benchmark of the halogen lamps we are used to. Look at the manufacturer's specs to tell what sort of light you'll get. A 20w halogen (BAB) equivalent may be a 4w, 5w, 6w or 7w LED depending on the manufacturer. Get a couple and demo them, play around with them and see what works before ordering the lot and finding out they're not what you want. The other option is to go with a proprietary LED fixture manufacturer (eg. Kichler, FX, Cast, etc). You'll get a better warranty, but your design flexibility may be more limited.

If you want more specifics, post a picture and a sketch of the project and the people here on the forum would be happy to overwhelm you with design ideas, installation techniques, product opinions, personal hygiene critiques, etc!

S&MLL
01-11-2013, 03:07 PM
Your ability to micro pen solder on an electronics board and your ability to calculate a load on a transformer I guess don’t go hand in hand. Your electronics classes obviously didn’t teach you basics laws of electric amp/volt/watt load.


If your 9volt robot arm draws 2.7 amps when lifting how many watts is it using? If you cant figure out how to use your robot building knowledge to figure out load on a 12volt transformer you might want to go take some more classes.

S&MLL
01-11-2013, 03:10 PM
btw when I was 9 years old I upgradded my pc ram from 128 to 256........... Does that make me an expert in everything electric?

starry night
01-11-2013, 09:38 PM
Clyde: With all due respect to someone trying to get started in landscape lighting, your initial post causes skepticism among most of us as to your readiness for this project (as simple as it may seem to you.)

First, you say the client has chosen Top Dog fixtures. Most of us wouldn't be dealing with a client who chose what we were to install. Second, you are not aware of products enough to tell the client that this fixture is not appropriate for the intended use. Lite 4 pointed out to you that this fixture is not made to be turned upside down for downlighting.

Then you ask us to tell you what the typical wattages are for transformers.
I would suggest you look online at the major manufacturers to see what is available. Despite your electrical background, you don't seem to know how to add up the total wattage or VAs of the lamps you are using plus wire resistance to find what size transformer you would need.

Later, you say you may attend a class put on by a manufacturer. Those types of classes are OK to pique your interest but don't expect to learn anything but the most basic information. You will need to do much more studying.
And then you can start with some simple jobs.

Please accept my comments as an attempt to be constructive.