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FX trans. and water feature?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by irrig8r, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    I did some lighting upgrades for a customer about 5 years back. At the time I installed a couple of lights in one of his ponds using his existing Nightscaping Powercenter. No problem.

    One of a different brand of fixtures in another pond has gone bad recently, and he'd like me to replace it.

    Since I was there last, his landscaper designer came in and made lots of changes, including some half-a**ed installations of FX fixtures (visible above ground splices and cables and other sloppiness.)

    Somehow he also talked the customer into replacing his lifetime warranty NS Powercenters with 10 yr. warranty FX Potenza X TFs. :hammerhead:

    Now, I'm not going to knock FX, but nowhere in the literature can I find any reference to using their PX with fixtures in ponds or fountains. They don't offer any underwater fixtures either.

    The fixtures I ran to the previous transformer are apparently working fine. Should I be concerned? (There are expensive koi in these ponds.)

  2. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 875

    I believe that code requires your transformer to be pool and spa rated. But I would be hesitant to put my approval on something I didn't install or that has been altered by others. I don't believe there is an issue with one tranny over another if installed properly.
  3. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    My impression was that it just had to have a plate of a certain thickness that I don't recall between the primary and secondary side..

    And (as I recall)the NS Powercenters have that, and a Pool and Spa rating isn't necessary. But I'm sure if I'm mistaken someone will correct me.

    John Higo, can you shed any light on this?
  4. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 805

    Faraday Shield
  5. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

  6. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    If this is a water feature and not a pool/spa you can use a transformer that is rated for submersible fixtures. I don't believe that FX transformers are rated for submersible fixtures and I know that they don't make a pool and spa rated transformer.
  7. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    My impression is that the NS Powercenter™ is rated for submersible fixtures.

    After all they do have that "Faraday Shield" alluded to earlier, and they do sell submersible fixtures, and have for a long time.

    However, the only thing I can find so far literature-wise on their site is the following:



    If used in water containing fish, DO NOT install copper fixtures.
    They may form copper sulfate which is poisonous to fish.

    When installing this Nightscaping® grounded underwater fixture,

    • The fixture must be installed so that it can be removed from water
    for normal maintenance and relamping.

    • The fixture’s base must be stable and/or securely fastened in

    • The splice must be above water level.

    • The Powercenter™ (transformer) used must be placed a minimum
    of 10’ from the water. And, must be supplied by a circuit
    protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

    Meanwhile, FX doesn't have a single word I can find on their site regarding submersible fixtures.
  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Gregg, I think if you check the Nightscaping Nightchat Archives you will find that Rob Dishino dealt with the whole pool / spa & water feature topic about a month or two ago, around the time that Vista announced their new ratings for transformers.

    As I understand it, the NS Powercenters are properly rated for use in water features, ponds and such, just not for pools and spas (human use).

  9. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,830

    Honestly, I don't understand why you Nightscaping guys stand behind this product as you do. I try to keep an open mind about manu's, but I have seen far too many NS systems that are falling apart. I mean no disrespect, but give me a break! NightScaping components are simply weak in their ability to withstand the elements. I have one customer that had a complete NS system installed less than 5 years ago, and it is in need of replacement. I told the customer this, and he concurs.
  10. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    And those were all brass stainless, and copper fixtures, and connected with Ace Connectors, right Chris?

    Yeah, Nightscaping has put out some junk over the years. I've said it before and I'll probably say it again.

    But the Nightscaping fixtures that I use are the ones that hold up. I stand behind what I install, and so far Nightscaping has stood behind me too.

    There are systems still in place with phosphatized steel fixtures. I think James would agree with me that these don't work long term in most environments, especially when irrigation is present.

    Some of the aluminum Nightscaping products I've run across didn't hold up well either.

    But I've rarely had a problem with their Powercenters, and the few times I have, they've backed me up on every one, including the ones where I wasn't the original installer.

    Are you gonna tell me your favorite (whoever that may be) manu. does that?

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