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2 Q's for U

Discussion in 'Unique Lighting' started by Mike M, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,943



    I submitted a bid yesterday for a job involving 860 feet of home runs. I got killed on wire. I also figured why you guys use fuses, with the load on the 12 gauge, as I tried to plan for eliminating the 10.

    I demoed with Unique fixtures: tree lights, stellers, 2 paths, and the little MR 11 uplight. (I'm name-stupid, can't remember the model names).

    I am very curious about how I could have wired more efficiently using a 24v system. Does Unique have any visual diagrams or a model wiring job which illustrates the benefits of using the 24v system? Either that, or just post the spec's and guidelines for installation & wiring.


    Mounting stellers on a roof: I did another demo last night with 4 stellers on a roof, using the Unique gutter brackets. The homeowner loves the visual effect, but the shingles are a little hot, plus, they didn't like the fixture in the gutter (profile stands out in daylight, just above home entrance).

    I got a tip to move the fixtures up onto the roof. Any suggestions or details on this would be appreciated. I'll take pics and post them for suggestions on the main lighting page. I also have room to mount vertically on the white frame below the windows of the gables.

    I guess the trick is dealing with close proximity and hot spots.

  2. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933


    I will answer this the best I can as I am learning more and more about our 24v system with every training we do and with every day I spend discussing it with Nate. So obviously without knowing exact specifics as to what wattage lamps your using and at what quantity per run etc. I cant tell you exactly how the 24v system would have saved you X amount of dollars or what not on this job you just did.

    Here is what I can tell you. This is based off of ohms law by the way....12ga cable as we know at 12v is good for 240w and 20 amps at 100%, at 80% it is good for 192w and 16amps. The wattage rating is based on 12v x 16amps which is what 12ga is rated for, that equals 192w. well with a 24v system do the math, that 12ga cable is now good for 384w at 80%, so right there I double my wattage capacity. My amps remain the same but I double my current carrying capability!!!

    So what would you say if I told you with my 24v system you can use 14/2 and it is now good for 288w at 80%? That is still more than 12/2 at 12v and the cost difference in 14/2 vs 12/2 is tremendous!!

    Another benefit of the 24v system is your window for properly volting your lamps grows to almost 3v! That means that the minimum voltage it takes to perform the halogen cycle is 21.6v with max being at just a little over 24v. This gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility in your wiring and would even allow you to use a T method more efficiently if that method presents itself as being the easier method for wiring a particular run. To go along with this I will say that the disparity between the lamps reduces with a 24v system, you wont be able to tell the difference in 21.6v and 24v!!

    The list of benefits will continue to grow as we get more and more proficient with this. I can tell you that Nate can regergatate this 24v system like we have been selling it for years. (which in reality we have had a 24v TF for years) He has more information than you could imagine on this system and I can tell you the more I hear about it and the more I learn about it the more I see it as becoming the future of low voltage lighting. The lamp variety is growing, we are working on a 24v par 36 lamp and we are already looking at having some 14/2 made to our specifications just like we make the 12ga.

    So with all that being said, let me know if you have any other questions!!!!

    Joey D.
  3. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    Now as for your Stellars in the rain gutters...my first idea for getting rid of the hot spots is to rise the Stellar up like we do on a 6" brass riser which we sell. But I also saw you said that the homeowner did not like seeing the light in the day, well that there presents a problem. So you ask how can you move it up further on the roof and the only thing I can think of is some sort of 90deg fitting taking you from the gutter bracket to a riser than another 90 or 45deg fitting that would allow you to place the light up further in the roof. Maybe you can just use the knuckle on the Stellar to get the desired angle and could do away with the second fitting I described.

    Not sure if you can visualize what it is I am trying to say, and I am not even sure if it is feesable as I havent seen the roof you are talking about. The best thing here is to get some pics and lets play with some ideas......

    Joey D.
  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,112

    Joey, I have a question about the 24 volt system. I have been reluctant to use any power source above the 15 volt settings on my jobs. Not because I am worried about the old argument of someone getting shocked, that is not even my concern. What I would worry about is putting a run out there even as high as 20 volts. Now imagine one of the lights on that run burns out. What does this do the voltage at the other fixtures. It would cause a horrendous power spike in the other bulbs because while compensating for the longer run with a much higher voltage setting, when the run becomes imbalanced by a bulb burning out the voltage swing is much higher than it would have been if that run was installed with 10 or 8 guage wire and set at 12 or 13 volts. I believe this higher voltage would cause a rapid cascade failure of the bulbs on the rest of that run due to the screaming high voltage to the bulbs. With the lower voltages and heavier wire, when a bulb burns out the voltage swing is not nearly so dramatic and allows you more time to replace that bulb without worrying so much about a rapid cascading failure of the other bulbs. I don't know if my rambling makes any sense. Did you understand any of that? I am just curious what yours and Nates thoughts are on this.
  5. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    What you are describing here Tim is correct. It is an inherant problem with low votlage lighting. If you are running on a higher tap it does increase the chances of a chain reaction burnout effect that would occur quicker than if being ran on a lower tap. But if neglected it doesnt matter if you are on 14v tap, the voltage still increases and anything above 12v is going to hurt the remaining lamps. This is why it is so improtant to educate your homewoners that hey this isnt like the lights in your house that if a lamp burns out it can wait until your ready. If you spot a lamp out in the LV system you need to get it replaced as to prevent the rest of the lamps on the run from bruning out. See in a Hub system it isnt that big of a deal becuse it is rare you have more than 5 or 6 lamps on a Hub so worst case scenario is you knock out 5 or 6 lamps. And if you explain that this is somthing that can occur in a LV system up front to the homeowners then I dont think they will ever be pissed off with you. We always recommend leaving the homeowner with a lamp replacement kit anyway because you know they are going to replace lamps on their own, better to give them the right lamps to do it with and educate them a bit.

    In a 24v system it is all relative because we are using 24v lamps that require the higher voltage to operate. The cool thing about 24v and I explained this before is you have almost a 3v range to set your lamps in so you can set your lamps around 22v then if some burn out and it goes up 2v no big deal.

    To me Tim it is a fair trade off for being able to compensate much longer runs with a higher voltage tap and 12ga or now 14ga cable vs. having to restructure your system and primary power to compensate for your lack of higher taps and then have to be using 10 or 8ga cable.

    To have to run 120v in the landscape so that I do not exceed 15v on my low voltage lighting system to me seems rather ironic, I mean we are afraid of 16v yet we run 120v as to not exceed 15v? It just doesnt make sense. If you test your system correctly and perform what we call the critical 3 which is Amps on the secondary, amps on the primary, and voltage at the lamps and ensure all are within the limitations of the transformer and wire capabilites top it off with solid connections you have nothing to worry about.

    The 24v system is coming and talk about setting yourself apart. Your competiton wont know what to do when it comes to servicing a 24v system, they will be forced to call you!! Your wire costs will decrease and your range of flexability will increase!!
  6. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,112

    very interesting.
  7. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,943

    Yes, very interesting. Especially when I look at 840 feet of copper wire. Too bad we don't have a circuit-breaking semiconductor that shuts the whole circuit off when a lamp goes out.

    Since Unique is not a wire producer, and it is just another material expense for installers, we are all on the right "paige" to try and shrink the market share for wire producers.

    I'd rather my expenses go to what the property owner can see above ground. Quality fixtures. They don't understand the rest.

    At least with the transformers, they see a nice stainless steel box.

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