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Old 02-07-2014, 12:09 PM
New2TheGreenIndustry New2TheGreenIndustry is offline
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Location: Athens, GA
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Dos and dont's for the new guy???

I'm looking to adding lighting to my services this upcoming year. I think I'll do my own house first to play around with a few things.

My question is what are some of the dos and dont's with regards to LVL?

What are common problems you run into as an installer?
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Old 02-07-2014, 01:30 PM
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Classic Lighting Classic Lighting is offline
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The most common problem I have seen is lawn jockeys who offer to throw a few lights in the ground and then call themselves lighting pros. It takes years of study and practice to execute a lighting scene.
There are multiple issues when installing lighting because you are dealing with electricity- and that is often the reason a house burns down. Safety should be built into the system, circuit breakers, in-line fusing, and products that are listed to UL1838.
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:55 AM
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Lite4 Lite4 is online now
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Hey new guy (sorry I don't know your name otherwise I would use it instead) Lighting is a tremendous field to enter into. I can recommend a few sources for you to begin with. Nate mullen wrote a book called- advanced trade secrets of landscape lighting. It is a little dated but there is still some usable material in it for guys just getting started into lighting. I don't agree with everything written in the book, but who does with any book? Eat the chicken and spit out the bones I always say.

-Dig into the archives here with some of your specific questions- there is a lot of info here from some truly remarkable icons in the lighting industry.

-Get a demo kit, or have one made for you so you can go out and experiment with different lighting techniques. This will help you on the design placement side a bit once you have a good understanding of design principles from your reading. (if you need help with a demo kit, PM me)

When lighting overtakes landscaping as your passion, then you will begin to really experiment with it and strive to be better than those just moving fixtures.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:31 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is online now
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Do - Read everything ... Mullen, Moyer, Nightingale, Ortho, etc.
Do - Search and read the lawnsite forum.
Do - Attend local distributors and manufacturers training seminars
Do - Consider joining the AOLP. They welcome newbies with open arms and you will learn there.

Don't -even for a minute, consider installing cheapo, retail, or no-name fixtures and components. Not even at first. You are what you install.
Don't - give your time, service or talent away for free. There are good reasons why pro quality lighting systems are worth much more than the sum of their parts.
Don't - mess with line voltage (120v). Not even a little bit. New habits die hard. Get in the habit of hiring an electrician when you need one.

Light on.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:20 AM
New2TheGreenIndustry New2TheGreenIndustry is offline
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Thanks for the replys. I've been reading this forum for a few weeks and have already ordered the books from Mullen and Moyer, plus I'm attending a seminar put on JDL and Vista later this month.

Thanks for all your insight and making this forum such a valuable resource of information.

-Mike
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:36 AM
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Patriot Services Patriot Services is online now
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Does your city or state require special licensing for lighting. Some places consider it full electrical that must meet code and an inspection process. Nothing worse than getting into something and finding out the hard way you did it wrong.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:36 AM
New2TheGreenIndustry New2TheGreenIndustry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patriot Services View Post
Does your city or state require special licensing for lighting. Some places consider it full electrical that must meet code and an inspection process. Nothing worse than getting into something and finding out the hard way you did it wrong.
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I think a low voltage license is required.
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Old 02-21-2014, 02:21 AM
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JimLewis JimLewis is online now
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All good advice. But I really like everything James S. said.

A few things I'd add:
  • Don't bury your wire just an inch or two. I see wire sticking up out of the ground so often it makes me sick. And it's always because some Yahoo who barely knew anything about lighting just throw in some lights real quick, barely buried the wire, and called it good. NEC code is 6" depth. Bury your wire properly.
  • Do use proper connections. I'm a big believer in Lighting Shrink fittings. That's about the best way to connect wires I've found. Don't use grease filled wire caps. Use something permanent and waterproof like the Lighting Shrink fittings or Ace Connectors.
  • Too many landscapers just do uplighting/spot lights and path lights and nothing more. Consider architectural lighting, moonlighting, and all sorts of other effects. Check out GambinoLighting.com and go to his photo gallery. Excellent examples of all the different effects we can do with lighting. Learn to look for all this stuff.
  • Definitely DO read that Nate Mullen book. My favorite.
  • Learn how to take great photos of your lighting work. Don't farm it out to a photographer. Get a nice D-SLR camera, read all the threads we've had about photography here in this forum in the past, and figure it out. It may take you a while and a lot of trial and error. But there are plenty of us here to help you figure it out. Once you learn to get great photos of your lighting jobs, that's half the battle. Without them, it's a lot more difficult to land the really nice high-end lighting installs.
  • Always keep learning. This forum. Books. Seminars. AOLP website. Other lighting expert's websites. All that.
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