tree lghts

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Pro-Scapes, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,180

    We got a request to install some tree lights. We have not done any as of yet.

    We plan to use the cast tree lights. We are saying 8 and the client wants 4. We will altimatly get our way but we are needing some good info on them so we can plan this out well

    I know some guys say 25 ft min but there are going to be limited to about 23 ft. Which bulb and what kind of angle would you guys that do alot of them reccomend?

    What kind of photometrics can we expect at ground level with this?

    I will try and post pictures along with measurments as soon as the rain stops.

    The client has a crappy FX aluminum system now. If these tree lights work well we will most likley be replacing all of his fixtures with cast and kichler units..

    Someone managed to daisy chain 10 fixtures down eachside of his runway errr i mean driveway all in the turf and not one of them are straight and plumb.

    2 years post install the orginal installer has not cleaned a lens.... changed a bulb (homeowner changed his own bulbs) or checked connections. I popped 2 of the 3 transformers to find loose lugs and frayed wires.

    This is my first taste of our "competition" and so far im not impressed at all. The client stated he paid about 2k for the whole system which included 3 fx transformers and about 35 to 40 lights.... is this possible lol ?
     
  2. desert night light

    desert night light LawnSite Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 215

    Don't knock FX, they are one of the better manufacturers.
     
  3. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    It's hard to say how many feet. There are so many different variables. 25 feet minimum? That's a generalization that has no bearing on anything. What are you doing with these tree lights? Are you moonlighting....area lighting....spot lighting....what kind of trees....are they full trees...do they loose their leaves in the winter? These are all things I look at before even considering tree lights.
     
  4. eskerlite

    eskerlite LawnSite Member
    Posts: 222

    You want a 35 watt 40 degree spread mr-16 fmw. You can use a laser pointer during the day rested on the top of the fixture parralell to the bulb. this will give you the center of the beam. Shine onto something white on the ground. This will get you close until you can adjust at night.:rolleyes:
     
  5. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Posts: 1,206

    I love the effects of tree lights, especially when they are mounted high and projected through foliage.

    The mounting height is primarily determined by consideration of 'Direct Glare'. This is the light that projects directly into the viewers' eyes. The presence or absence of this glare, and its luminous intensity, gives an indication of 'Visual Comfort'.

    Visual Comfort can be estimated from fixture photometrics and mounting heights and angles. This data is computed to establish 'Visual Comfort Probability" (VCP), a value sometimes specified in lighting designs. VCP, however, is formulated primarily for office environments, so it's impossible to compute it for outdoor lighting.

    For tree lighting, it makes most sense to adopt a standard ensuring that bright direct light not be projected into the viewer's eye at angles less than 45 degrees. Light entering at angles greater than 45 degrees are said to enter the eye in a way that will not significantly illuminate the retina.

    To calculate fixture positioning using the 45 degree standard, imagine a right-angled triangle with its apex at the fixture and the base extending along the ground (we'll adjust for viewer height later) to the farthest point where a person is likely to 1. view the fixture, and 2. be in the light beam.

    If you draw a line from the fixture to the viewer location (sight line), the viewing angle is the angle between horizontal-to-the-ground and the sight line.

    An easy way to think of this is to put yourself in the viewers place and, with a straight arm, point towards the fixture. Your arm pointing level to the ground is 0 degrees, your arm pointing straight up is 90 degrees and your arm pointing halfway between those two positions is 45%. This is a great way to eyeball the minimum fixture height while walking the site. (A word of warning – your arm exended this way looks like a neo-nazi salute!)

    To calculate the fixture height more precisely (with a 45 degree viewing angle) is fairly easy. The distance from the viewer to the point directly beneath the fixture is equal to the height of the fixture (of course you'll need to add about 6 ft. to adjust for eye level.)

    For example, a viewer is walking along a path illuminated by a tree light. If he enters the illuminated area about 20 ft. from the tree, then the light should be positioned at least 26 ft. high.

    Here are some circumstances where lower fixture heights may be OK:

    -Tree foliage is especially heavy year-round so the intensity and time of exposure of the glare is significantly reduced.

    -Tree lights are positioned more than 45 degrees to the side of viewing. In other words, you determine that a viewer will never turn his head towards the tree.

    -You effectively reduce the intensity of the beam through use of low wattage lamps and/or lenses so the light entering the eye is not significantly brighter than other lights in the area of vision.
     
  6. desert night light

    desert night light LawnSite Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 215

    I think i've seen it all now. Trying to make something so simple seem so complex with psuedo-intellectual mumbo jumbo. Just climb in the tree, position a few fricken lights and fool around with them until the desired effect is achieved preferrably on your own or mom's house first before a customers. A response post like this reminds me of that guy from the other message site who is a legend in his own mind with fancy talk and nothing to show for it. The photos he's got posted of his own work look horrible. It's apparent he has no clue how to bring 12 volts to a lamp. He sits there and reviews and critiques equipment. Who cares what he thinks operating from a station wagon that probably sits idle in his driveway most days. What a dreamer. From his own words-The guy can't even afford to travel to go to conferences out of state, shows you how succesful he is. So much for all the intellectual speak. Just go do it. At least that's what Nike says. If the customer likes it that's all that counts. Just do it and collect a check.
     
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,180

    For thoes who asked they are mature pine trees. He just wants to add some light to an area so I am going to start with 35w 36 degrees about 20-23 ft up and go from there. If its too bright i will drop the wattage if its not wide enough i will up the spread or add fixtures.

    I was looking for a way to determine how much area the light would illuminate at any given hieght or distance...

    Say for instance a 36 degree bulb placed 23 ft up a tree at a 45 degree angle will be good for XX sq footage of light. The client is very cool and relaxed and ok with us playing with it til we get it how he wants it.

    As for knocking FX i wasnt saying FX is bad but the installers methods and choice in fixtures definatly leaves something to be desired. 2 years old and already corroding not to mention no fixture is tight in the ground.
     
  8. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    Billy, I usually use a bab with a 60 degree beam. I like the very wide flood because it does defuse the light so well. I place them as high as I can in the canopy to filter through the branches and give that moonlight effect that we all know and love. Try to keep the fixtures at 45 degrees or more to reduce glare.
     
  9. desert night light

    desert night light LawnSite Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 215

    As for knocking FX i wasnt saying FX is bad but the installers methods and choice in fixtures definatly leaves something to be desired. 2 years old and already corroding not to mention no fixture is tight in the ground.

    If that's true than you best tell FX asap. they claim on their website they have never had to replace a fixture due to corrosion. It's a wild claim.
     
  10. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    It's funny you said that Billy. We actually did two complete tear outs last week and both were FX systems that were 3 years old. I'm not going to knock FX because I've never personally used any of their products. I'm sure if the system was installed correctly then the system would have been fine, however both were installed by the same fly-by-night contractor that had no business doing lighting.
     

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