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Cast transformer

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by irrigation lemieux, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. ccfree

    ccfree LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    Hi Steve, will you be at the Dallas show this weekend so I can test if your transformer has the biggest lugs in the industry? Looking forward to meeting you this weekend if you are there.

  2. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,173

    Sorry Steve, but I have to respectfully disagree with you. Perhaps I have an older model that I use for demos and perhaps Cast has upgraded their units since. The 900 watt unit I am using only goes to 14 volt and it is consistently under volted under load. I often have to unwire everything from the Cast transformer and hook up my Unique tranny just to get my optimum voltage to the fixtures. Even when I have 123-124 volts on the primary side. The lugs in the Journeyman unit I have are the small round ones similar to the Justin transformers.

    Just my everyday field experience with a Cast unit.

  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Tim I have never seen a Cast unit with lugs as small as the old vista or justin units. Thoes older ones were just a joke. The biggest lugs I have seen are the FX superblox which has a monster set screw.

    Mike G's trans has terminals about the same size as the MDL units but there are 2 taps per common and the half volt incriments help eliminate crowding on certain taps.
  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,173

    Hey Billy,

    The one I got came in a Cast demo kit that our company purchased in February. It is definitely not the MDL style tranny that kichler puts out. I actually like the lugs in the MDL, very spacious and easy to load. I actually had to pop the bottom plate off this cast unit just so I could wire in the runs. I just tossed the plate and don't even use it. It was crazy, no room at all for wiring that thing. With the plate off and out of the way it's ok, but I can only put about 3-12s in each lug, 4 if I really take the time and freshly strip all the wires each time. The unit I have consistently runs about .5-.7 volts under stated tap when loaded.

    I have always wanted to try Mike G's tranny. I really like the compartment layout of it. I am just not a big 1838 guy and really like the flexibility of Uniques trannies with the higher taps, juuust in case you need em. I try to limit my #10 and #8 usage anywhere I can. That stuff is crazy expensive!
  5. irrigation man

    irrigation man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    i have had a couple people tell me that when using leds on a soft start when it first comes on the lights strobe for a few minutes, went out and tried my own led on it and thats exactly what happens,not a complaint just didnt know if anyone else had seen this happening,im not saying only cast transformers do it but any with any kind of slow start seems like it might have the same affect,qwhat to you think steve have u seen or heard about this happening?
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    It happens with Any dimmable trans set up in a transition on scene with UPB too. I did a mock up of an expansion with LED's because the client was bugging me about it. I forgot I had the UPB dimmer set to come on over 5 seconds and for about 1-2 seconds it looked like mad scientist was at work.

    For halogen lamps the soft start either in that cast trans (steve sent me some to correct an inrush prob I had with them 2 yrs ago) or a UPB dimmer set to come on slow has done wonders for premature failures. Lamps last longer with them in our experience
  7. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    I want to make mention to one thing in regards to lugs. I fully understand the benfits to having a large open lug for ease of wiring. It is really nice to be able to pile a bundle of large or small wires into one hole. But like I mentioned before there is a reason that our standard Multi Matic lugs are provided with 3 smaller holes on each terminal block vs. one large and a reason why our H-Force and I-Foce untis are provided with medium size single lugs.

    Reason is just like you have different size wire nuts for different size connections the same should apply for your transformer. That big lug or blue wire nut is awesome if you have 5, 6, 7 wires but its not so great if you have 1 or 2 wires which is common. We all know arching creates heat which creats meltdowns so having one small 12ga wire in a large open hole made to handle up to 7+ wires leaves plenty of room for potential arching and meltdowns.

    Just keep that in mind before you get too excited about big huge terminal blocks or lugs. Sometimes whats easy isnt always whats best.

    And just to add to the topic, CAST units are very nice working units.
  8. indylights

    indylights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178


    Maybe they use a different transformer in their demo kit, but every transformer I have gotten from Cast has gone up to at least 15 volts and has always had the MDL style lugs, and they've always held their voltage very well, and this is going back six years. That is what my everyday field experience has been.

    Scott Maloney
    Sunflower Landscapes
  9. SamIV

    SamIV LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    Have to agree that this must be a special transformer for the demo kit the Tim is having issues with. I have Cast transformers 6 years or better in the field without a single issue. The older 1200's got a little tight with all the runs coming in but still had ample room and large taps. 900's and 600's had all the room needed and plenty and large taps to boot.

    Although Cast transformers are MDL, must be different than other MDL's as I've had to replace Kichlers's with Cast. I also purchased other MDL's from another distributor with this distributors name on it, and they could not hold voltage like the Cast. Replaced a Cast 600 watt at my house with this distributor's MDL 900 and had to step up on very tap for all runs compared to the Cast. The Cast blew it away as for holding voltage. This distributor now buys from another transformer manufacturer. As I have said in the past, " I probably would have installed a bunch of more Cast if it were not for distributor issues". They manufacture a solid product and service is hard to beat. Another great manufacturer and distributor steered me in another direction though.

    Burt Wilson
    Accent Outdoor Lighting
  10. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,582

    I've only installed 3 cast transformers (1500W) but I liked them very much, they are hefty boogers but they've done a great job, and I like the soft start option myself.

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