Hadco Pierce Points

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. Mike M

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

    The more nasty emails I get bringing up these things, the more I will bring them up. If you want the topic to go away, ignore it.

    I'm just looking to the chaining "explosion" that is going to happen with LED's, and how it will change our wiring configurations.

    You can ignore the need for changes, and you can ignore the economic signs of bad times, and you can just let your business die a slow, fading death.

    I'm trying to adapt and survive and maintain my vision at the same time.

    I have to get a day job to pay the bills, and I plan to keep some coal in the stove for my business, and use the down time to study the crap out of all options, future trends, market changes, technology changes, tiki torches, putting greens, cutting lawns, whatever I got to study, whatever I got to do.

    That, and the fact that I bore easily, will take me to interesting directions of thought. Who cares if nine of my ideas can be argued out of, if the tenth brings success, refinement, improvement, whatever.

    You can't be afraid of exploring what seems to be bad or crazy ideas. They are just ideas.
  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I think you just like to think of us all cringing while you go around poking holes in perfectly good cable, and thinking of all the Mailbu systems we've ripped up and replaced.

  3. Mike M

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

    Regarding the Malibu line, it's not the fixture, it's the installer. They should have installed something else.

    Okay enough goofy talk, but here's a question: The ace connectors were never designed for carrying the load of your whole run. They are great for connecting extensions, and for hubs or splits. But once you start adding more than one fixture after that ace, and than use another ace on your main, and then another and another, how much loss is there through all that brass? Brass is not the best conductor.

    My assumption is that Unique already knows this, and for chaining with their 24v, they found the aluminum connectors by Paige. (If my memory is right.)

    I think the best non pierce-point connector for the chaining job would be something like those solder-filled heat shrinks that James referred us too, or at least that concept.
  4. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Mike, I don't think you can measure any detectable voltage loss through an ACE Connector. Look at the bulk of that barrel... what do you figure the wire gauge equivalency of that thing is? Even though it is brass, I would suggest the size of it negates any conductivity issues with the materials it is made from.

    Also, I don't know about you guys, but when I am using ACEs, I strip the back the insulation quite a bit, then I put the barrel over one side, then I weave the strands of the wires together, slide the barrel in place, tighten it down, heat and shrink. This way the wires inside are in contact with one another. (Tip #1001... you are most welcome!:))

    I am pretty sure Gregg has tried the new aluminum connectors by Paige and they came up short in his opinion. Perhaps he will provide us with a review here.

    The Belden Solder Seal connectors are pretty good, but they are limited in size and availability, the largest of them (yellow) can only handle a single 12Ga wire in each end.

    If you look to the Line Voltage side of the universe you will find a plethora of ACE style connectors out there. Perhaps that is where Bill Locklin got the idea in the first place, seeing how he was an EC.
  5. Mike M

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

    Line voltage circuits really don't have the big voltage drop and amp concerns, but I will take your word on the brass mass. Probably why they get so expensive.

    In an install of a long chain, I'll probably just solder and grease tube it, rather than be using all those ace connectors.

    If I go with 14 gauge home runs, those solder heat shrinks should be good for a try.

    I like the ace connector splice tip. Who said that, Gregg?
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    No Sir! That tip is 100% original "James" my friend.

    You are welcome. :)
  7. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I seem to remember writing something about that James... where was it Nightchat maybe? If you find it before I do, feel free to post it here.

    Really? A whole dang plethora?
  8. ChampionLS

    ChampionLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,066


    Okay.. I just thought I'd chime in here. I just caught this discussion while browsing around, so let me offer some advice to you all from my experience. As most of you know, there are pro's and con's to using pierce points. The biggest advantage is being able to tap into a supply circuit, without cutting the cable. On specific installations, allowing a wire loop to use conventional wire nuts may not be feasible due to space limitations, or in some cases, you may want to be able to re-locate a fixture, and not have to make more cuts.

    You all know that this method of installation can be compromised over time, due to wicking and/or not all components being weatherproof. Also, the fact that the pierced connection has a limited amount of current that can effectively pass through it.

    We, if anyone can say with confidence (having overseen thousands of thousands of fixtures distributed) that the failure rate is less than a handful a year (as technical calls received to us). I would have to personally say, that I see the tap connector as being more of a time consuming task, needing a screwdriver and lining up small components in all sorts of weather conditions, and locations, VS the failure rate.

    For those of you that don't know about Circuit cable, one of the unique properties of it, is that the insulation (UL SPT3-W) was originally designed for the pierce-point connections. The extra thick insulation not only provides durability when laying the cable in the ground, but it is also designed to be liquid tight/gas tight and self-heal when installing or removing those connectors. You all know, this will only work for a short time, depending on the conditions and the skill of the installer, before things start to corrode. There are steps you can take to further corrosion proof a tapped connection (like dabbing the connector with NYK anti-corrosive compound) before connecting it. The other reasons for the design of the tap connector is because landscapes change. With the change of the landscape, fixtures can be re-located or moved. The key is to know your installation criteria and whether you need a permanent connection, or semi-permanent connection.
  9. Mike M

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

    Well said.

    If you have a low wattage fixture which can benefit from chaining, you will realize the benefit of a pierce point connection.

    All I am trying to discuss is the possible, practical, successful way to provide an extra layer of corrosion protection, if there is one. Or to come up with a good technique.

    Some things may seem wrong to many lv lighting guys, such as fixed transformers, long chains, smaller cable, etc. But these are the liberties which technological advances provide for us.
  10. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Bingo! You just made the case for why I will continue to make permanent connections in all my systems.

    Are they really? In trial, and in fact are they really liberties that are afforded to us? OR are they only thoretically possible (as yet untested and unproven over time)?

    I will continue to use top of the line, rugged, full sized transformers, full spec. wiring systems, with permanent connections, powering up top grade fixtures and components, with great new lamp technologies installed, until such a time as I an be 100% certain of the new tech's longevity and service record. To not do so is taking on too much risk in my opinion. If anything fails in your 'underbuilt' systems Mike, you are going to go bankrupt making it right, or be run out of town on a rail, tattered reputation in tow.

    Who is right? Time will tell.

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