Originally Posted by irrig8r
Nightscaping transformers exceptional? They have been long lived in my experience, but a few annoying features with long overdue upgrades had not been corrected last I checked. Safe? Certainly! Reliable? Mostly. Easy to configure? No. Easy access? No. Wide distribution? No.
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Here is my assessment of the venerable Nightscaping PowerCenter Line of transformers:
They certainly have been around for long enough to work any bugs out! :-) and they are long overdue for some modernization. But they work, hardly ever fail, and have some features that no other transformers offer.
The case is probably the most in need of some updates. The silly slide up and remove door system, with is sharp edges and easily bent mounting tabs is their weakest 'feature'. Back in the day, many of us were on Bill to update the door to a hinged unit with a clasp, but this would require an expensive re-listing of the entire transformer.
Inside is where the magic happens. They are a dream to install and wire up for the busy contractor, what with ample room for extra wire and any necessary in-line accessories. I think they have more interior cabinet space than any other transformer on the market. And if this is not factually accurate, then it is the unique, large, dual sided terminal lugs that make the difference. Biggest lugs I have seen and you dont have to contort yourself in order to get under the transformer to ensure that your wires are all into the proper spots.
They also have a unique Low/Medium/High power switch, that when combined with their H2O (multi tap) transformers give you un-matched micro control of voltage outputs.
The Modular control bay is another fantastic feature. I don't understand why more manufactures have not borrowed from this. The contractor can easily install or replace / upgrade the controls on board in the field. The options are many what with stand-alone and combinations that include photo cell, analog timer, digital timer, relay module, sprinkler control module, x10 module. With a bit of upgrading Im sure they could produce a UPB module too. ( I make my own using the modular control bay blank plate.) This feature alone is worth the price of admission.
Another great feature is the on-board control over-ride switch. This simple toggle allows you to by-pass any installed control device and send power out to the system. Fantastic for service calls. Another unique feature as far as I know. Great for those times when a control has failed or programming is messed up and you want your client to have the lights on immediately.
For a long time I was a fan of the S-series fustats that these transformers used for secondary output safety. But that was back in the incandescent days. The fustat is still a great diagnostic tool, but in all honesty, there is something to be said for magnetic breakers, especially when your customers are located far and wide and there is not a supply of Buss S-25 Fustats nearby.
I think the NS Powercenter is still a great transformer, but it is probably due for an update. A switch to a torroid core, a door with hinges and a clasp, a UPB control module, a new smaller size (150 Watt) would be welcome.