Fixtures per run...

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by GreenLight, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    Just trying to get a general consensus of what most in here are comfortable with as far as fixtures per run. I have just started fooling around with some of the calculators out there and generally they have an allowance of 6 lights per run. Im trying to be professional now, but in my previous work with other companies we have loaded runs up with far more lights than 6.

    Example of a job in previous case

    Pool with a one sided wall that sits parallel to the pool and has 12 columns which we put 12 small bi pin 10 watt lamps on.

    We did this all in one run and basically brought the home run to the center of the wall and then T'd out into (2) 6 lamp chains going left and right.

    120 watt lamp load and somewhere around 30 watt wiring load brought the total to 150 total watts.

    We were able to get right at 12 volts on the first two lights on each chain and of course had a slight drop all the way to the end, yet still ended up around 11.2 volts on the end of each run.

    Question 1) I know this isn't ideal, but is it wrong?

    Question 2) Is 5-6 lamps generally the most everyone puts on an individual run no matter how light the wattage is?

    Thanks for your feedback!
  2. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    It would all depend on what kind of lights they are. If it were uplights, I would stick to 4-5 at the most. You never know if the homeowner, or someone else, will come along and put higher wattage lamps in the fixtures and overload your wire and/or transformer capacity.
    As far as your question about being wrong: No, it's not wrong. It's not the most desirable way to do it, but it depends on what's being lit. Personally, I wouldn't allow that kind of drop between columns (especially if they were light colored). If it is greenery or shrubs you can get away with it. But on flat, light colored surfaces the difference will be noticable.
  3. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    Thanks for your feedback Chris and you are right, im quite weary of homeowners making changes...I have been in landscaping and irrigation long enough to know they aren't afraid to run out to a controller and start pushing every button. Your advice is sound there.

    Im planning on trying to use the hubs that Joey supplies with Unique Lighting a lot in the future, but I still find myself feeling like im shortchanging the customer when I only put 5 or so 10 watt lights on a run...Im just trying to cover my bases and take the advice of the experience in here.
  4. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Like Chris said keeping the lights to 4 or 5 ensures you always have room to add to your runs. It also allows for better zoning. But as long as you know your wire ratings you can add as many lights as you would like to a Hub.
  5. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    Duly noted on the hub being able to have more than 5 leads in low wattage situations....I didn't know that.
  6. Litewerks Expert Lighting

    Litewerks Expert Lighting LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    The amount of fixtures on a run would also be determined by the transformer you are using, and the bulb wattage of course. On some BIG trees i go with 75w bulbs. In such a case you would only go 3 to 4 at most. Just my take on it.
  7. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    You must have some serious ambient light conditions (pollution) where you are Litewerks. I cannot imagine having to resort to using 75W lamps for uplighting... and I know BIG trees.

    I suppose if you were stuck in the middle of Downtown USA, and you had a 60' tall Pine that you were trying to light to the very tips of the top needles you might resort to using some high wattage AR111 fixtures...

    What type of fixtures are you using that are rated to 75W lamps?
  8. TXNSLighting

    TXNSLighting LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 6,463

    Yeh good gosh! I have never had to use anything other than 35w for any trees.
  9. Litewerks Expert Lighting

    Litewerks Expert Lighting LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    right on. to each their own. I've played around with them a lot over the last 8 or so years and i get a little dramatic at times. dont get me wrong mostly 35s and i'm sure i could have got away with 35s on most of the ones i went big on. but when i demo i always push what in my opinion looks best and sometimes thats something outside of the normal 35w 36degree bulb. the amount of light pollution definitely is a factor at times, and also just the amount of reflective light a tree might give me. like i said though to each their own.
  10. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    There is nothing wrong with experimenting with different wattages. Sometimes you may even need line voltage fixtures for some things, albeit rarely in the residential department but it does happen. The best designers are the ones that think outside of the box and may do some things that are deemed "unconventional".

    As far as quantity of lights per hub, I usually don't go more than 6 simply because that is a lot of wires to fit into an Ace connector and also any more than that and you are working beyond the specs of the wire. In your case I would probably have broken them up into 2 zones and used a true hub and not a T method. I am not saying your way is wrong; I am just a control freak and I like to have my voltages match. I feel I would be cheating the customer if I did not make the extra effort to do it "right" (just my opinion) as opposed to something I may not be compromising with to shave off a few bucks. Personally I think you are going to have trouble with the lights at the head of the T burning out constantly. It has been my experience that 10w T-3's like to live around the high 10s to low 11s for voltage and longer life.
    Good to see you participating here though and asking questions, hope to see you around more!

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