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Old 09-22-2013, 02:40 PM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Location: Beaverton, OR
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I don't disagree with any of the advice above. All good stuff. Especially on the connections.

As for the issue you're explaining with hubs vs. daisy chain (what you called "strung") that is a little more complicated issue. In general, you don't have to worry about voltage drop issues with LED fixtures, because many fixtures have a wider threshold that they will illuminate in. So making sure each fixture gets the exact same voltage (or close) isn't nearly as important as it used to be with fixtures that had halogen or incandescent lamps.

But that said, it depends a lot on which brand you use what that threshold is. Some brands only illuminate fully in the 12-15 volt range. So you still have to watch your voltage to make sure each fixture gets at least 12. And if you're using a transformer who's biggest tap is 12 volts, you're going to have problems. Once you start getting much under 12v, a lot of the fixtures on the market start to decrease in illumination, like the older halogen/incandescent fixtures did. But other brands will illuminate fully all the way down to 8v. So you really need to understand what the thresholds of your fixtures are and keep the voltage high enough to make sure they get full illumination.

Also, some fixtures have built in voltage-regulators (if that's even the right term) that keep the voltage at a certain point, even if you over-volt. So that helps keep the lifespan of the lamp long. But other fixtures do not, so you need to be careful not to over-volt those ones.

Some brands still encourage using the hub system, because their LED fixtures still have a pretty tight voltage range that needs to be maintained. So getting to know the brand you're using and what the manufacturer recommends regarding hubs/voltage range, etc. is important.

I prefer to daisy chain and I like to use fixtures with the widest voltage range possible. It just makes the installation process much easier for my workers, who don't always understand as much about lighting as I do. So there is more forgiveness in a system that has a wide voltage range and where you can daisy chain for long lengths. Less can go wrong. But everyone has different tastes. The thing is, just learn from your manufacturer's rep. what the recommendations are for that brand of LED fixtures.
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Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
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