Best Practices in LED Installation?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by steveparrott, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    It's time to revise best lv lighting installation and maintenance practices to address LED systems. Let's put our heads together on this one.

    Unique LED system characteristics that may not apply to incandescent installations:
    • Extreme long life - wiring and splices must maintain integrity for at least 20 years
    • Wider range of acceptable voltages.
    • Possible presence of unintended RF interference.
    • Different failure modes for LED's compared to incandescents.

    Possible elements of new best-practice recommendations:
    • Splices to be soldered and sealed with shrink-wrap; or other equally corrosion-resistant connection used.
    • Use of tin-coated wire should be considered.
    • Daisy-Chains, T-Methods, or multiple hubs may be used. Splices should, however, be kept to a minimum.
    • Deeper trenching and conduits should be considered - given the extended period of system use (and the possibility that the homeowner will not pay for proper maintenance).
    • While there may be the temptation to use one or two wire runs for an entire system, there is some wisdom in using more wire runs in case a single home run wire is damaged. Using multiple wire runs greatly simplifies troubleshooting and prevents the entire system from going out at once.
    • Maintenance should include periodic cleaning of the LED device (especially if retrofit LED lamps are used). Accumulations of dirt and debris may degrade the LED and impair thermal transfer.
    • The installer would ideally have a footcandle/color meter to measure LED performance at time of installation. This would be used as a reference for future claims of luminance and color degradation.
    • The installer would ideally have a RF detection meter to ensure that LED devices do not interfere with household transmitters/receivers.
  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I like this one. Good idea because gardens change a lot over a long time, including roots wrapping around cable. A friend leaves conduit ends open at the ends, but always located every splice in 6" valve boxes.

    Also good.

    All great ideas Steve.
  3. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,317

    While I continue to read through the old threads, I came upon this one with only one reply to Steve's suggestion of updating best practices for LED's.

    Being a novice, I have nothing I can add but I wondered if anyone else has any
    thoughts after some months have passed from the original posting.
  4. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    We do a hybrid between hub and daisy chain. We keep shorter homeruns because you still have voltage drop issues on long runs. Just because they operate somewhere between 8-15 volts, doesn't mean you can disregard good installation practices.

    Your connections are your Achilles heel, just like any system. We use Lighting

    Foot candle meters are a great idea.

    Also using a sub-meter handheld GPS (accurate within 3 feet) to map out and locate fixtures and connections. After a few years things get buried or grown over.
  5. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,317

    Tommy, the GPS sounds like a good idea for someone like myself who doesn't like to hand draw location diagrams. Is a typical unit very expensive?

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