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changes in cable design

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. Mike M

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

    Just curious if anyone would like to share the changes they may have made in cabling their systems, with the use of LED technology (layout design, gauge, and splice options).
     
  2. fakie99

    fakie99 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    splice options are the same; wire nuts w/silicone. but wire now is almost all 12-2. it's hard to conceive of a situation where 12-2 wouldn't work for a complete LED system. also, daisy-chaining of fixtures is much more acceptable with LED systems which impacts design by reducing the amount of wire required.
     
  3. Steve Atkinson

    Steve Atkinson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    Design: whatever method you use, keep good field notes on layout Changes and additions will likely be needed in the future.

    Cabling: 12-2 is not much more expensive than 14-2 or 16-2. I'd stick with the 12 knowing that at times one will accidentally lose a few copper strands during connection process.

    Connection: whatever type you like, remember: sound mechanical connection, excellent electical conduction, and completely watertight exterior.
     
  4. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Posts: 1,836

    I like the Lighting Shrink connections, especially on LED systems that can go longer between maintenance visits.

    I've been making a 12/2 main run and splitting 2 - 3 hubs off of that of 3 - 6 fixtures wired with 16/2. Sort of a hybrid hub/daisy chain. I still try to get my "hubs" as close to 12v as possible, not because it needs it but because I do. Typically I'll have one around 11 - 12v, one around 12 - 13 and one in the 13 - 14 range. Doing it this way cuts down my 12/2 by about 30% and saves enough to be worth the effort on larger jobs (50+ fixtures).

    If I'm just doing a 6 fixture quicky, I'll do the whole thing in 16/2 and daisy chain it with 3 -4 fixtures per wire. I'm trying to do those jobs as inexpensively as possible without making compromises that will adversely effect the finished product and this is one of the compromises I can make with a good conscious.
     
  5. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,525

    As a relative newcomer to the business (1 1/2 years), I came in at a time when the use of LEDs was becoming well established. In fact, I am near exclusive use of LEDs. Still, I was influenced by the best wiring practices of halogens. I remember reading an article by Mike Gambino about the great care he takes in balancing voltage to fixtures.
    So I must admit that I am probably "wasting" wire and labor in still trying to somewhat balance voltage even though LED technology tells me it is not necessary.

    (I am using methods similar to what Bernie describes above.)
     
  6. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 875

    It is easy to find yourself getting lazy on the things we all preach (referring to my employees) when it comes to LED. I have made it a point to make my people show me in writing how they decided to layout the wiring. They know how to calculate voltage drop, etc. The tendency was to keep connecting fixtures until one or more blink/dim. There is still voltage drop and the issues that go with it, but is easier on us with the broader voltage range.

    That being said, we use 12/2 for our home runs and 16/2 for fixtures, not much change there. We just put more lights on a home run, and of course we use Lighting Shrink connectors exclusively.

    We still do the basics, that doesn't change.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
  7. Mike M

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

    Good info, thanks. I like the idea of using 12/2 and having less home runs.
     

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