down light q's

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. Mike M

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

    I noticed some of my downlighting falls just slightly short of a solid strike when illuminating sago palms. The sago is dark green, non-translucent, and not reflective. Low and wide, downlighting them is by far better than uplighting.

    If anyone can recommend a fixture that might give me more punch I would appreciate it. I hesitate to try 50 watt mr-16's, but maybe if I find a good fixture to house them and use filters to spread and diffuse them a little.

    I use Lunars mostly and the cast tree-lights, but I have to check if they are rated for 50 watts. Just curious if anyone has experience with bigger guns for downlighting.
     
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    What lamp are you using mike. If you are trying to spot light and highlight just the sago you probably need a narrower lamp which would also make it see a bit brighter. I did some sagos from about 25 ft up with lunars and a 20w 12 degree lamp and they look good. There are 2 area lights not far from the sago to light up the bedding areas.

    Sounds to me like you are washing the whole area or you have a crapload of ambient light.
     
  3. Mike M

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

    I aimed the light to include some coverage on annuals and perennials in the pine straw beds. I see your point, I could tighten the beam and put some path lights in to help fill the dark spots in the beds. But I like to conceal my light sources and do away with paths as much as possible.

    Billy, did you ever downlight beds with a 50 watt and diffuse it with a filter? I never tried it, wondering if it would look to washed out.
     
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    No never used a 50w in beds. Just have not seen the need really. Well I take that back. One project I proposed would have used 50 watts but that was with a crapload of ambient light. I have used 50w WFL lamps in some BK shastas mounted above a colonial style porch. It was dark brick and they wanted it fully washed in light. Worked well.

    Why not consider multiple downlights in your application if you can do it without them seeming too noticable. a couple to wash beds and a bit brighter to highlight the sago ? You could even mount the sago light a bit lower if its nearly verticle.
     
  5. Mike M

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

    I've had up to three lunars hanging on the same trunk to hit the beds right, which is why I was hoping to find another way. The sagos are such light eaters.

    I still haven't read the cut-sheet to see if the lunar (or the Cast tree light) is rated for 50 watts.
     
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    i got a blister that peeled off 2 layers of skim from dropping a hot 35w lamp on my ankle when downsizing it to 20w. Thats 35w... do you really think you want something even hotter than that in a smaller fixture than a coppermoon cm125 ??? Bolted to something combustible ?

    Lunars are 35w max. I think there is like 10 fixtures total of them I have at 35w. It must be our low ambient light around here. 8 of thoes were at 40 ft up and 2 of them were competing with the metal halide street lights
     
  7. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Posts: 1,184

    Mike, the CAST Tree Light is UL rated for 50W. While it gets hot, it's not hot enough to combust wood - UL assigns wattage ratings based upon fire-safe fixture body temperature.
     
  8. Mike M

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

    Thanks, Steve.

    I know that photographers often use a green filter on indoor plants, for the same problem. The sago does well in shaded areas because it is designed by nature to absorb as much light as possible. Maybe in the future a greenish LED would work.

    Billy, I bring a pot holder or a towel when changing bulbs & aiming.
     
  9. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I use a towel or gloves. I dropped the lamp this time tho and right on the ball of my ankle.

    Steve, Does bronze shed heat better than brass ? I realize both the cast mount and the Unique unibracket offer a good degree of seperation from the tree itself so it would probably be fine but what I would be a bit more worried about is any accumulation that happened to fall on top of the fixture. I have cleaned dry pine straw off the top of fixtures in the past and even a birds nest.
     
  10. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,109

    Mike if you need more punch don't jump to a 50 watt lamp. Get yourself some Ushio, 20watt BBFs. They are a 24 degree spread and the center beam candle power will absolutely blow you away. Much more output than and ESX or even most of everything in the 50-75 watt range. It is all about the optics and refraction angles. This is a great little lamp and you won't exceed your ratings on the fixtures.
     

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