Your experience w/ LEDs

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by JoeinJasper, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. JoeinJasper

    JoeinJasper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    I'm in the process of selling my first LED system, and I'm sold on the concept of retrofit lamps in my choice of fixtures. I've heard the sales pitches, and would now like to hear the end user's opinons and experieces. I also have some specific questions...
    -Has anyone used Illumicare's new mini LEDs in pathlights. Will they fit in the CopperMoon 730 series or the Volt pathlights?
    -I'm a bit confussed on bi pin sizes... JC vs g4 vs g5.3 etc...What is compatable with what?
    -Any other thoughts and experiences that you have.

    Thanks, Joe
  2. Alan B

    Alan B Sponsor
    Posts: 420

    -Illumicare's will fit all Volt Pathlights. I do not know about Coppermoon but I am pretty confident it would fit Coppermoons as well.
    -All essentially the same-- a bi pin lamp. The G4 and G5.3 refers to the pin size. G4 are a little closer together and thinner diameter metal posts, g5.3 are a little thicker. You'll generally find g4 bases on 10 & 20w bi pins and g5.3 on 35w and 50w bi pins. Volt sockets can take either type interchangeably. Ignore JC, its primarily a term used by chinese manu's and is not used much in the US.
    -all current and future Volt path/area lights are being made with an oversized glass globe to accommodate even the largest LEDS such as 1" wide x 1.75" tall LED towers (a larger version of the 18 chip towers you see by LED offering from Halco and such.
    -The metal bullet LED bi pins with the clear acrylic tops have not impressed me -- lumens too low. The 18 chip towers put out pretty close to ~15w equivalent. I have not seen the Illumicare mini LED yet.

    My biggest comments would be to make sure you get enough lumens and try to get the color temp to be somewhat close to the mr16's you'll be using.

    Good luck. Feel free to call our office if you have any questions.
  3. Hello Joe. I will try to answer all your questions here:

    The new mini-LED lamps fit into a large variety of fixtures, pathlights, flood lights, wash lights, etc. I just tried the G5.3 BiPin in the CopperMoon 730/CG fixture and it will work but you have to take the 3 thumbscrews off of the lens holder and insert it from the top of the lens. I am not sure about the standard CM 730 fixture. Please keep in mind our current line of mini LED lamps are 24mm in diameter. We are now making a new line that will be 19mm in Diameter to fit the few pathlights that require a smaller lamp.

    As for the Pin sizes: Alan is correct. My preference is for the G5.3 pins as the lamp to socket connection is better and if you are trying to fit the G4 pins into a socket that has already had a G5.3 lamp installed, you will probably have connection issues. The G5.3 does put out a bit more light than our G4 lamp.

    Our line of Miniature LED lamps are significantly brighter than the Halco's or any other line I have seen. They are all true and accurate 3000K CCT. They have unique thermal management and are fully encapsulated and potted to protect against moisture, something else the others do not offer.

    As for opinions and experience: well I am not just a "salesman" or "pitchman", I am first and foremost a lighting systems designer/installer/contractor with over 12 years of experience in the field. I designed and developed these lamps to meet the needs of outdoor lighting system contractors like myself. I use all of the products that Illumicare sells and have had great success with them.

    Any other questions by all means just ask...

    James Solecki
  4. JoeinJasper

    JoeinJasper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    Alan and James, Thanks for the quick reply and the good information. In regards to another post, that is what vendor participation is all about. Thanks.

    The project I am working on is an event facility (wedding, anniversaries, etc...). I need to light it tastefully, yet bright enough to be safe. I am thinking of down lighting the walkways from the first story eves, using the gentle splash. I can't find any photometrics on the fixture. What is the recommended spacing for down lighting from 8-10ft high? I will also be using a few path lights to mark the ends and any elevation changes in the walks.

    Will James' MR16 LED fit into a Top Dog fixture?

    I like the looks of the Volt path light, but my designer (my wife) prefers the proportions of the larger top-9in &12in- of the Copper Moon light. Do you have plans for a larger top for your path light?

    Thanks, Joe
  5. Alan B

    Alan B Sponsor
    Posts: 420

    1. James MR16 and essentially any LED MR16 will fit into the Top Dog fixture. Except for the next few weeks when you order the top dog put "need longer body for LEDs" in the order notes. All current and future Top Dogs have a slightly longer body to accommodate the slightly longer LEDs however we still have some original (shorter body versions) in stock-- thus put the note in to be sure you rec'd the longer body version.

    2. The Volt Max Spread Area Light has a large 9" in diameter shade. (thick 1" d stem that is ~23"T, brass to brass connection form shade to stem (shade is not resting on the glass like some other manu's). Glass globe pressure fitted onto o-rings seals socket and lamp. Pregreased sockets, 25' lead wire (16 AWG, tinned copper lead wire), beryllium copper sockets, new 10" Hammer Stakes included. Same day ship, lifetime warranty.

    3. For a Gentle Splash with a 20w bi pin (halogen) it will illuminate a 15' x 10' oval. Accordingly I would space 10-20' depending on ambient light and how illuminated you need the area.
  6. JoeinJasper

    JoeinJasper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    Thanks, Now all I have to do is to finish selling the job.
  7. JoeinJasper

    JoeinJasper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    As an designer/installer, do you recomend using standard techniques (hubs, Ts, wire sizes, etc...),or do you install LEDs based on their characteristics (daisy chain, wider voltage range...)? Can you save enough money on installation to help offset the intial cost?

  8. Hi Joe, let me put my designer/installer cap on here...

    I have been working with LED lamped systems going on 4 years now. At first they were hybrid (a mix of LED, Halogen, Xenon) and now almost 100% LED. Initially I thought it best to build my power systems (transformers & wire grid) as if I were using all incandescent lamps. Full sized transformers and robust secondary circuits. My thinking was that if the technology was a catastrophe, I could always just switch out the LED and go back to halogen. Last year I started to 'downsize' my transformers and used very few over 300W capacity units, resulting in some fairly significant cost savings in each zone. I still build my circuits as I always have, using 12Ga cable mainly because of the relatively low cost of 12Ga vs smaller, less commonly purchased 16Ga direct burial cable. (Bottom line is I can buy 12Ga. in bulk cheaper than I can buy 16Ga., but am thinking that this might change as more of the market seeks out the smaller Ga. cable) As for wiring methods, I would advise you to continue to use the method that you are most comfortable with and is best suited for the installation. Using LEDs does give you a lot more leeway on your wiring techniques, as they are relatively low load and accept a very wide range of input voltages.

    Now, trying to determine if you can save enough money on the installation to help offset the higher initial cost of the LED lamps is pretty hard for me to do from here. A lot will depend on the materials you use, their cost, labor rates, acceptable margins, etc. However, I can assure you that a case can be made showing that the use of LED lamps will return the initial incremental cost to the client many times over.

    Later tonight, or tomorrow, let me switch hats back to the "LED Lamp Guy" and I will post a simple cost benefit analysis that illustrates how using LED lamps will put money back into your clients pockets, while at the same time increasing your company's revenues and profitability. It is a win, win, win situation.
  9. JoeinJasper

    JoeinJasper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    Thanks James,

    I just got in from a night time consultation with the client. She currently has a system the is very weak. I think I can pull some exiting halogen fixtures that are poorly placed, and replace them with additional fixtures with LED lamps. I should be able to maintain the balance and adjust for voltage drop. By using this hybrid system, I will be able to upgrade her lights at a resonable cost to her and a reasonable profit for me.

    Thanks for the help,

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