How do you attach wire and fixtures to living surfaces?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Tomwilllight, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    I use the same method on palms. Just longer screws sometimes, depending on the species.
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    we have used the copper tubing in the ground to keep roots away from the wires . no issues yet.
  3. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    You guys have me helped tremendously. I think we covered attaching wire very well. Several of you also touched on mounting lights. Unique and Cast mounts were mentioned positively.

    I would like to focus on mounting the lights now.

    I know there are a number of other mounting systems out there. Whose mount do you use?

    Do they mount directly to the tree or do they "Stand Off." What do you like about the unit(s) you use? Are they easy to mount, easy to focus, durable, are they expensive/reasonable.

    Thanks again guys. You have been a giant help to me.
  4. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    My client's CT licensed Electrician powered a tree-mounted Metal Halide "Basketball light" with UF cable without sleeving it properly. Certainly this is a violation of the NEC Code and the Electrical Inspector noted it. The Electrician is dealing with that violation.

    The next part of the story is very involved and I'll skip most of it. The essence of the long part of the story is that the inspector told me over the phone that I must sleeve all my 12/2 LV wire attached to trees to a height of 8'.

    I have never had to do that before. Sleeve at the base of the tree to protect from string trimers, yes, but not a sleeve up 8'. Below is my report to my client. Is my understanding of NEC section 411 right or wrong?

    "I then made the mistake of asking your (my client's) question about the low-voltage lighting; he (the inspector) had NOT mentioned it during our discussion of NEC Code violation. I asked him if there is any electrical code reason we could not mount low-voltage lighting in trees that are on the client's property... He said NO... then... he thought a few moments and said "but you should sleeve it so it cannot be harmed."

    That was the type of off-the-cuff interpretation that I've tried to avoid. Section 411-5 of the NEC Code states that power less than 30 volts does not require a ground and allows the use of BARE (uninsulated) connectors in your home. The most important purpose of a ground and insulation is to protect against life endangering electrical shock should the wire become damaged. Because Low Volt does not pose a risk to human health and the NEC does not REQUIRE a ground, MOST inspectors will accept unsleeved low-voltage power BECAUSE the NEC does not require a ground. Their logic should be "If the voltage does not require a ground, it cannot hurt you if damaged and is not a risk to human health. Therefore sleeve is unnecessary and the homeowner should be spared the additional expense of installing sleeves."

    Does my interpretation of 411-5 match your understanding and practice?

    Do any of you sleeve low-voltage wire up a tree? If you do, how do you attach the sleeves to the tree?

    Thanks, Tom
  5. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    I dont see anywhere in Article 411 that it says you have to run sleeve or conduit for any LV wireing. I know somewhere it states that wireing running under sidewalks and drives must be in conduit but nothing when running up trees.

    I would ask the inspector for more insight as to where in the NEC that it refers to this rule. This is the first I have heard of it although it does seem to make sense.
  6. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    I know that our local codes require that my lights and irrigation have separate sleeves under sidewalks and driveways. Well... I'm sure they prohibit my wire running through the SAME sleeve as irrigation. What I don't know is if I have to run direct burial wire through sleeves or if it is just a GOOD IDEA when crossing hard scape.

    I always ask for 3 sleeves. 1 for irrigation, 1 for me and 1 to replace the one that got crushed.

    Thanks Joey,

  7. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    yeah as far as I can see after reading through the NEC again today is that no where in article 411 does it address LV wire in conduit. I will see if I can get Nate to chime in on this.
  8. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Is it his own design or can you name a source?

    All very good points Billy.
  9. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Funny, but too true.

    I usually spec one at the top and another at bottom of a driveway (if I intend to run there) and front walkways, and then too and from each enclosed planters in patios or pool decks.

    I've always used shared sleeves for LV lighting, irrigation wire and drip irrigation tubing if I needed to. Especially in patios.
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    You would have to ask Mike about that Gregg. Im not sure if he desiged it or if he had borrowed the idea for his tree light but it does make very good sence. You should email him about it.

    Someone had messaged me about my comment about slack at the base. I am well aware trees grow from the tops but I leave slack at the base for a couple of reasons.

    A) it provides me a service point should rodents or varminds decide to make a buffet out of my wire and I need a point in which to splice a new wire into the lead.

    B) it allows for growth of the base of the trunk and easier relocation of my wire run should roots begin to grab it or if it needs to be relocated for any other growth.

    C) In just a couple of years it has proved useful in some of our faster growing species of pine.

    I think the best idea is to know the growth habits of the trees you are working with.

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