Electricians, Were are you?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by eskerlite, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. eskerlite

    eskerlite LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    How many electricians do we have amongst us? How many of you do more low voltage than line voltage? Whats your take on Landscapers not knowing enough about electricity vs. Electricians unfamiliar with shrubs and trees and water feature textures and lighting needs? How can we work in harmony? Whos out there?
    Sean C.
    Past President AOLP
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Hi sean I hope all is well up north.

    While im not a licensed electrician and never perform line voltage work for a paying client (wired my home and my in laws home and several other friends and family call me for electrical work but never for hire) I do have a rather good understanding of electrical. Sometimes you run into a situation where line voltage is actually a good choice in lighting. Of course I install more low voltage than i reccomend line voltage.

    I do feel strongly that my background in landscaping and the green industry has helped me imensly with my lighting. It does give me a better understanding especially when lighting a new landscape that has not matured yet. Electricians around here who are asked to light a home generally place 1 or more sodium lights a distance out from the home and thats that. In middle of grass... in beds... in whatever... they dont care it seems. Some clients really love the BAM look created by line voltage fixtures. Others want soft and inviting.

    I really do want to persue my electricians license one day. Just makes me more versitile and no more waiting for someone to install an outlet for me.
  3. klkanders

    klkanders LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 849

    I also am not an electrician but have changed out fixtures, switches and outlets for myself. It has always intrigued me how it all works but unlike you i do not want to become an electrician. Line voltage scares the he** out of me but I think that's a good thing because I respect it and what it can do.

    I agree our backgrounds in landscaping and the desire to " do things the right way " will help us be proficient in low voltage lighting as well. I will be working closely with an electrician coming up soon on a lighting job using a Unique 1120 watt direct burial transformer. Another upcoming job will be installing lighting at an electrician's house (friend of the family). He will be adding outlets where needed.

    So I guess my take on your post Sean is unfortunately you are going to have the good, the bad, and the ugly (good title for a movie huh?) from both groups installing low voltage lighting. What I need to do myself is to work " in harmony " with other professionals when I come across something that is over my head to make sure its done the best possible way. Take Care!
  4. NiteTymeIlluminations

    NiteTymeIlluminations LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    I am a distributor and sell about 50% of my material to electricians and 50% to landscapers. There are hacks in both honestly. The thing that cracks me up is the electricans who won't listen to a thing I say when I try to give them advice even when they ask for it. Alot of my electrical contractors clients know that they do it better than anyone even though I don't think they do. They do it safe no doubt but there is no atricts approach, each house gets the same lights, each tree get the same amount of well lights. There is no way to say one group does a better job than the other, just deifferent.
  5. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    Sean, you know I'm an electrician but I do very little line voltage lighting. I specialize in low voltage and I like it that way. I am so busy doing this that I actually sub out my line voltage work. This allows me more time for designing and selling.

    I know from experience that electricians don't know squat about lighting design and could really care less. That said, they also don't want people working with electricity who don't know what they are doing. Most people don't realize that amps are amps and can cause problems whether 12 or 120 volt.

    I think that people who do this for a living should be tested to make sure that they know what they are doing. I strongly believe in the AOLP certification and hope that the states will look into it's merits. I know this is not going to be a popular thing with the landscapers and irrigators who pop these lights in as an "add-on", but so be it. I see way too many hack systems out there that are installed by guys who take a one day seminar and "poof" their a pro.

    What about others out there, what do you think?
  6. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Messages: 187

    Landscaper who specializes in irrigation and low voltage lighting. Never have nor will pretend to have knowledge of line juice and am quick to call my electrician to assist on any job where I question the scope of my work.

    An old saying in the region I work. Plumbers should never do irrigation and electricians never do low voltage. I have followed many a plumber but only a couple electricians. So far I would agree with the old saying ;)

    I am on the fence regarding lic. requirements for low voltage. I am however a believer that those working in the landscape industry as defined by the state should be lic. insured and bonded and should do work only within that scope. Obviously that is not the case in Southern Cal.

    And agree, training in horticulture gives me a decided advantage over those with none. No doubt about it.
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I went to preview a job last night... it was drizzeling so no clear pics.

    Installed by a very well known probably the biggest landscaper around. Incredible hardscaping work but of course no working knowledge of electricity or lighting. Did not accound for plant growth. 6-8 v at some fixtures... Thier solution to this is put in a 50w bulb in a fixture marked for 20w. Electricians staples attaching wires to trees... Yes we need regulation. But it needs to be SPECIFIC regulation regarding low voltage. Sorry to get off topic a bit but I have seen the same thing from electricians.
  8. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Messages: 187

    Would also a agree it needs to be specific regulations mainly pertaining Voltage Drop, amps fixture specs etc. Teaching and learning plants is a long process not taught in a couple hours or an afternoon.

    And Billy, it sounds like you followed a hardscaper/mason not a Landscape Contractor. We can only do hardscape when it is not the biggest piece of the pie. Understandable as confusion still exists over what an LC can do and not do. As you know masons and electricians are not at all concerned about plant material and they have been known to forget to intall sleeves and swipe them :hammerhead:
  9. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    no this guy is the largest LS contractor in my area. I have been trying to get him to sub lighting to me and he will not respond to me. I went back to the system yesterday.

    Vista system. alluminum fxtures. Highest voltage at a fixture 10.4 lowest voltage 5.3

    They had things connected to the 11v tap (never seen this) What I dont get is... 300w trans out back at 24 amps.... 600 w trans out front at 9amps on secondary. Seems they should of reveresed that. This install just made no sence at all. Some of the wire is unreplaceable.

    Another thing... electricians staples in a tree caused some rot... nothings been maintained in 5 years. 50w lamps operating at 8v in fixtures made for 20w. Now I gotta go explain to the client its going to be cheaper to install a new quality system I can warranty vs fix this system. May have a habitat project soon I can donate the vista gear too tho.
  10. eskerlite

    eskerlite LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    Looks like there are not too many electricians on this forum or not many electricians doing Low Voltage lighting.
    Sean C.

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