Gauge: 10 vs. 12

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,947

    Most arguments for transformers with taps above 15 include the benefits of longer runs. However, what about typical runs that aren't so long, but simply using the higher taps to keep wire gauge smaller?

    I ran some numbers, and it appears the extra cost of a multap transformer above 15 is pretty close to the wire savings on medium sized jobs (couple runs above 100, etc.).

    So for the sake of argument, let's say it all breaks even between trans and wire costs. Well, the labor saved would be significant, since pulling wire from a 12 gauge spool and placing it in the trench would be much easier than the 10 gauge.

    Seems to make sense, just pay attention to amp load capacity on the wire.
  2. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Posts: 1,196

    Don't forget energy conservation with #10/2.
  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Your over thinking this again. If your sales point is high effeciency then use the 10ga. Its a sales point but you need to charge accordingly.

    There really is VERY little difference in burying a 12ga and 10ga. Keep expansion in mind when running 12ga tho. If your loading like 150w on it and see a place you could upsell a few lights you may wanna run the 10.
  4. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    This comes down to preference. You can do just as good of a job using 12ga as 10ga. Your wire costs are cheaper w/ 12ga, it is also lighter and easier to work with. Your max wattage is 192w or 16amps on a 12ga cable vs 288w and 24amps on 10ga so you can pile a few more ligths on the 10ga which is the only real beenfit in my opinion. I think you should use 12ga as your primary cable but have a spool of 10ga for those special situations. But again it is preference, some guys live and die by bigger wire.
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    both wires have their time and place. use the apropriate cable in the correct situation.

    Using hubs its not hard to put 192w on a line in a hurry if your uplighting tall trees.

    The cost savings of 12ga fades QUICKLY when you have to run an aditional line not to mention the added cost of doing simple add ons in the future when your wire is close to max.
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Just a thought... What if we took all of the energy and time we spend worrying about "cost savings" and "efficiencies" and applied that instead to marketing, design and sales? I mean really... on a large sophisticated lighting system, who is going to notice the difference between using 300m of 12/2 or 250m of 10/2 or 400m of 12/2 (or whatever, its a hypothetical so dont analyse it to death). Is everyone out there really being this worried over the incremental cost of a few meters of wire?

    Something to ponder....
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    No because on larger projects I use a measuring wheel to estimate my wire usage very quickly and price thoes projects accordingly. This protects me and the homeowner. I dont want to short myself and im one of the few contractors who feels bad if they over charge for something.
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    back on his post about ripping people off and stuff... I dont mind service work. Sure tracking down someone elses snafus can be crappy work but its also super educating and usually not all that hard if you stop and think a bit.

    I would have to say at LEAST 65% of my work comes from servicing others mistakes. I love new installs and clean canvases to paint as much as any of you but as a proffesional and someone who prides myself on service I will take all the service calls.

    If the $500 is what you needed to make the repair worth your time and what you needed to make to cover your profit and overhead then thats what you should charge.
  9. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,830

    That's the point Billy! It cost the customer $500 to make it worth my time, but it really screws them. How would you feel if I charged you $500 to change a socket? I truly feel bad when I have to do this to someone, but I have to in order to cover myself.
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I would think you should of made it a point to sell her a bette system or reinstall hers with new fixtures you can service and warranty for her since joe blow is not around anymore. If she refuses and it uses up 500 dollars of your time then so be it. If you did it just because it grated on your nerve and you took it out on the client then shame on you.

    and... for 500 you should not have changed the socket. What you should of done is replaced it with a new fixture and been done with it vs running all around looking for some oddball socket.

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