24 v bulb prices -- ouch !!!

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    I hear 24 v bulbs are 3 X cost of 12 v ?? This will be painful for our clients on service calls. They will freak.

    I need more info on this. A 20 fixture service to replace 20 bulbs would be very costly just for the bulbs. What would we charge, 30 bucks per mr 16? And then give them a free replacement if it fails prematurely? Lord knows the bulb manu's won't back bulbs with warranties.

    I noticed in irrigation repairs that the prices for connectors, slip-fixes, pvc, drip lines, funny pipe, rotors, spray heads, and everything, literally, is dirt cheap. The profit margin for the call is very good, and it should be, for the time and digging effort.

    24 v is in the right direction to significantly reduce a lot of expensive copper wire, but not if the bulbs go up proportionately. I hear the bulbs are not better or longer- lasting to compensate for price. ??
  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I'll just throw out an opinion... and maybe some advice...

    Some manufacturers are better than others at creating a buzz... Unique has always been kind of a maverick manu. (most would say for the better... though a few of their competitors might disagree.)

    You may think that getting in on new technology or applications at the ground floor puts you at a great advantage... but only if you're also willing to take the risks...

    For instance,will 24V be widely accepted by consumers?

    Then, what about the NEC and electrical inspectors?

    And what about availability of lamps down the line...?

    Maybe a better way to stand out from your competition until you get a few years under your belt is in the level of service you provide, and the quality of your installation skills and techniques. (Note: that means no pierce point connectors, ever!!!)

    Keep current with new technology, but don't jump into everything at once. Build your business and your client base. Become the "go-to guy" for lighting in your area.

    Then play with new things as they come along, and adopt what fits.
  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    There goes all that wire savings right down the tubes.
  4. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    Well, I will just say it now: As of monday, we are switching to Intelli-System by Unique Lighting. After checking into it I believe this is the right choice for me. Here are some of the reasons:
    • Transformer runs more efficient. It can reduce your electricity use by 20%.
    • Wire is rated by amps, with a 24 volt system, you can use more bulbs on the wire while generating less amperage.
    • The window of Halogen regeneration cycle is longer. Twice as long from 1.2 volts to 2.4 volts.
    • Voltage drop with 24 volt system is half compared to 12 volt system.
    • You will be able to combine more bulbs on a run. Possibly eliminating some runs altogether, thereby saving wire.
    • Ability to use smaller wire: The use of 14/2 for home runs will cut wire cost between 35-40% on home runs.
    • The lumen output is more consistent with lower voltage loss between lamps.
    • The color rendition is more consistent with the disparity of voltage between lamps.
    • Homeowner will not have to access 24 volt bulbs, meaning they will be required to go back to the Contractor who sold the system for replacement bulbs.

    I am ordering transformers on Monday and my bulb supplier is bringing in 24 volt bulbs for me. I believe there will be par36 bulb available in about 9-10 months. All of my inventory fixtures can be relamped. I am excited about this, let me tell you.
  5. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    National Electrical Code Article 411-2 states: Lighting systems operation at 30 Volts or less. A lighting system consisting of an isolation power supply operation at 30 volts (42.2 Vpk) or less, under any load condition, with one or more secondary circuits, each limited to 25 amperes maximum, supply lighting fixtures and associated equipment identified for the use.

    Lamps are readily available, I already checked. You may have to special order them. I have arranged to have them stocked at my bulb supplier for now. I may actually start getting them from Unique directly.
  6. lowvolumejeff

    lowvolumejeff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    Hi from a newbee.

    From reading the many posts, and my own sense, seems like LED's are the future. If so, seems like some of the advantages of 24 volt are mitigated by the LED's lower wattage requirements. Wow, justy think how many 5 watt LED's can hit off one run.

    Just a thought, before you jump into 24 volt.

    Jeff (AKA Garden curmudgeon = a crusty irascible cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas )

    My ideas are strictly my own, but I am teachable and particularly interested in Moonlighting with LED's.
  7. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    oops, I meant through JDL, who gets them from Unique.
  8. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    Only Billy got the point.

    Gregg, 100% my position, of solidifying my ground-level quality installation and service, not over-doing novelties, just swinging a pick ax at the tree roots and pay my dues in the demo arena. I've chilled out on advertising gimmicks and will stick with nice images on post cards.

    However; I am developing a specific biz strategy for the smaller-needs client, where I chisel unneccessary materials off the order and maintain the profit margin.

    Typically, I had been planning a lot of "add-on" room with my selection of wires, number of hubs, and transformer size. Lots of 10 gauge cable, pigtails soldered at hubs, etc.

    If I know darn well this person ain't gonna fork over any money for future add-ons, especially to the zone I am proposing, then I will do the following:

    Reduce copper gauge as closely as possible to one at the max recommended amp load.
    T's instead of hubs where applicable.
    Smallest trans for the job (tightly under 80% max load).
    Copper fixtures.

    This enables me to offer a complete portrait for the mid-scale customer on a smaller job, who keeps trying to mastermind a small, fixed number of fixtures, like it's a lighting Haiku. I have one currently, where I was insisting on 10 fixtures or nothing, and they were creating dark holes by requesting I remove fixtures during my demo. My strategy here is not to save money, it's a plan to preserve complete portraits (or no installation).

    The 24v system is competitive, until bulb prices.
  9. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Isn't there a new NEC standard that essentially adopts UL 1838 effective sometime next year? Or was that just some rumor I heard...?
  10. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I really like that explanation/ concept.

    I am going to use it now when I talk to customers where it applies.

    (Almost as good as Chiaroscuro.)

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