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Aluminum=No Good for landscape lighting

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by pete scalia, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. pete scalia

    pete scalia LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    Thank you Mr. Johnson
     
  2. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,804

    The name is Chris. My Dad is Mr. Johnson....but, you're welcome/
     
  3. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,941

    Well for one, they didn't use the plastic stake, they used a short aluminum base designed for screw-mounting. This means they had to submerge the aluminum into the soil, including the fixture housing. But what about the upper shroud/cover? Can aluminum spread from the housing like that? Makes me wonder about the acid from the tree. I've had to fix lawns that wouldn't grow under certain maple canopies. Aluminum corrodes rappidly under or over neutral pH.

    Holy crap that picture speaks volumes.
     
  4. Frog Lights  LLC

    Frog Lights LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 191

    Aluminum is fine for outdoor lighting . The problem is in China they will cast out of low grade metal. We found that problem and corrected it. All of our product is made of the best grade of metal and that will nolonger happen. The cost is much higher. Also the powder spray is not the same quality as available here in the USA.
     
  5. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    Well one thing you guys should know and maybe you do is that you do not need to bury the fixture for the aluminum to corrode. The only thing you need is a pinhole size imperfection in the powdercoat and it is over. A kicked rock could cause this, a weed wacker, a bouce off the concrete by the installer on accident, anything. The moisture will expose it, bubble the powdercoat and the deterriorate the aluminum.

    Noel, Are your fixtures aluminum?? When you say best grade metal I think of Stainless Steel or Titanium, Gold, Platinum, Silver, Copper, or Brass. I am not a metelurgist but thats what comes to mind. Aluminum would be near the bottom of that list. So what are Frog Lights made of? If it is aluminum I find it hard that your fixtures "will no longer corrode". When manufacturing aluminum corrosion just comes with the territory. We used to make an aluminum line but soon got rid of it once we realized how bad the corrosion was and how quickly it progressed.

    The only reason I say this is we have just seen 2 examples of corroded aluminum lights and these lights are from 2 of the biggest manufacturers in the lighting industry, Kichler and FX.

    Joey D.
     
  6. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,533

    Janet Moyer said in a seminar last year that she thought titanium could become the fixture material of the future.

    As for nicks in the finish, weedwhackers are really really good at doing that. I don't put fixtures in lawns at all, but if you put a powdercoated aluminum or steel fixture anywhere near where mowing equipment can make contact, you're asking for trouble.
     
  7. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933


    Geez, guys complain about pricing with Brass and Copper. I cant imagine what titanium would cost to manufacture??

    Although I am all for it!! If we could make platinum and gold fixtures and sell them we would!
     
  8. Frog Lights  LLC

    Frog Lights LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 191

    Joe
    Aluminum is a self protecting metal. It will oxidize slightly, (skin effect) however if it is mixed with other materials when it is molded that will affect its purity. The more pure the metal the less it will rot or oxidize. We use now their number 360 grade which is the best. That grade is used in engines and other high stress applications. It is equal to USA 5052-H32 grade aluminum. Further, we iridite it prior to powder finish. This will lend additional protection to the metal as a good undercoat for the finish. We are also working to equal the US powder spray.
    We are also now using the best stainless. There are different grades of that also. This has been an education to say the least. Maybe you want to contract me to manufacture aluminum fixtures for you.
     
  9. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,533

    Maybe Noel is onto something. As stated above:

    5052 This is the highest strength alloy of the more common non heat-treatable grades. Fatigue strength is higher than most aluminum alloys. In addition, this grade has particularly good resistance to marine atmosphere and salt water corrosion. It has excellent workability.

    Applications: Used in a wide variety of applications from aircraft components to home appliances, marine and transportation industry parts, heavy duty cooking utensils and equipment for bulk processing of food.
     
  10. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    All sounds good. But I will stick with what I know works. I have seen way to many aluminum products get eaten up in the soils. We will stick with making products we know we can warranty for long periods of time. But hey if you are the first to figure this out then congrats. I know there are marine grade aluminum lights they make for the coast guard, they consider them military spec/grade. But they cost hundreds of dollars. If someone has found a way to make lights using those specs then maybe you could be onto something. Bu until then I will play it safe with Brass and Copper.
     

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