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Where are they now?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by NightScenes, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    I'm not planning to pass on any time soon, thank God. Kichler is my main line. I also use Hadco, FX and vista. There are alot of companies out there and I am waiting to see what Frog lights has to offer. As far as Kichler warranty, it is a bench warranty, meaning that you take it to your distributor and they replace it then. I have had only 1 problem with a Kichler transformer, it was a 15PR1200SS which is the stainless steel 1200 watt model. It had a bad cercuit breaker in it, so I called my distributor and they braught me a new one.
    That has been the only problem I have had with any of their equipment.
  2. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Posts: 2,702


    could you touch on the advantages/disadvantages of the hub system that unique employs vs. what everyone else is doing?
  3. klkanders

    klkanders LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 848

    Good question as I might attend one of their Seminars in the twin cities next month. Paul does Unique have a good Seminar?
  4. DMAN

    DMAN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    I am gathering as much info on lighting that I can this winter. I just joined LVLIA after reading your info on them. I noticed that you and the lvlia dvocate the use of multi-tap transformers with the UL1838 listing. Does this limitation with the available 12-15v taps inhibit your designs? If not, how do you manage situations with the extra long wire runs? Do you run into many of these problems with residential designs? There are now a ton of high volt trans. out there without the 1838 listing however it seems every on else is pushing them. I noticed that you used a 1200 watt trans in this post. Any tips or suggestions on transformers would be of great help.

  5. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    The hub system is fine if you only use ground fixtures (I do alot of moonlighting) and they are all the same distance from the hub. Now, that could also mean, the same amount of the same guage wire from the hub. The hub in one central location for a connection is a pretty good thing, as long as you have a VERY good connection. If there is any problem with the connection, there could be alot of heat and you know where that could lead. Here's a real problem for me and it's not even technical. My biggest expense is labor. The most labor intensive part of an installation is covering the cables. Why would I want to cover a seperate wire for every fixture on every job? If it's a project with 30 fixtures, I not only have to cover the home runs but I also have another 30 lines to cover. My labor cost just tripled at least!!
    That's just a couple of things. I also am not a fan of Unique. I was thinking about going through their course until I found out that I would HAVE to purchase their transformer to take the course. That, to me, is not a course, it is a sales gimmick.
  6. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    Welcome, will you be at the LVLIA conference? To answer your question about transformers. UL1838 "The UL Standard for Safety for
    Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Systems" specifies that a system cannot exceed 15v. The reason being, that a person will usually not suffer any effects from 15v or less. You can hold both ends of the line and not feel a thing. If you go over 15v, people can be effected. Since UL1838 is the standard, it is the only way that I will go.

    As for compensating for voltage drop, I can upsize the wire, use less fixtures per run, use lower wattage fixtures, use an in-line booster or set another transformer. I have a couple of projects that are on three acres and use 3-1200 transformers. On one run, on one of these projects, I had to use #8 wire and an in-line booster. That was fun, but it came out great!!
  7. klkanders

    klkanders LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 848

    Good Info! Are u serious u have to purchase a transformer to attend a Unique Seminar? If thats true I agree with u. Have u attended many seminars? Which Ones?
  8. SamIV

    SamIV LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 324

    Not to put a negative tone on what Paul advocates, but I favor the hub method of wiring. With the hub method, all fixtures have the same voltage to each lamp. Very easy and quick to check all voltages on each run. You need to purchase fixtures with the extended leads though. To make a great connection, you should solder them and this is only one connection per run all centrally located and each marked per run here and at the transformer. Extremely easy to service. You still have to bury the main run to each fixture so burying each fixture lead really does not take too much more time.

    You have to look at your project and use which method will work the best in each situation though. Such as a boat dock using hockey puck type fixtures. It would be to labor intensive to conceal and fasten each 25 foot lead to the dock, so I would recommend looping or T or center fed method. I use the loop method quite often. Try to say away from daisy chaining, but this is also subjective to the situation. Paul is very comfortable using his method as I am with mine. You just need to do the most professional installation you can. If you don't your service levels will increase, and profits decrease. I prefer proper installs over call-backs.

    Getting back to your Unique seminar. You will learn something from each seminar you attend, especially if you are new to this field. Some of the seminars end up being sales seminars for the respective company as Paul stated. If you have a chance to attend a Hadco seminar, I recommend them highly. I attended a 4 day seminar at their plant in Texas a few years ago, and not one day did they try to sell their product. Also recommend the Cast seminar, but this is a little sales itchy also.

    Accent Outdoor Lighting
  9. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    You may want to check about the Unique seminar. It's been awhile since I was interested in their seminar, they may have changed it. I do remember that when I found out that I had to make purchases of their equipment in order to participate, I was no longer interested in their merchandise.

    I have been to the Kichler Kollage in Ohio, a seminar in Plano, TX, the LVLIA conference in Scottsdale, AZ as well as all of the discussions that I have with other designers all over the country. The thing I liked about the Kichler hands on seminar is that they were not pushing their product on the customers.
  10. klkanders

    klkanders LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 848

    Thanks Sam and Paul!
    Being up here in no-mans land as far as landscape lighting there are not many seminars close. I will be in Texas in early june for a wedding. When I looked at Hadco they showed nothing upcoming....maybe a flaw on their website. Does anyone know if they do indeed have anything coming up.
    Thanks guys!

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