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Hydrel headache

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by irrig8r, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Back to work today after just a few sporadic days following healing from hand surgery, the holidays, the passing of my father and days of torrential rain.

    This customer is a well-to-do retired banker, and I'm there three to five times a year with irrigation repairs and lighting maintenance.

    I was there last in the fall when I replaced a buck-and-boost transformer that was acting up with a 500W Nightscaping Powercenter, and divided up some runs from their original configuration to make things more efficient.

    At the time we looked at a couple of his Hydrel in-grade uplights that weren't working. Smashed lenses and water intrusion was the main issue. That led to sockets that needed replacing, and I proposed we just replace the inner bodies of two units.

    The customer wanted the originals, even when I suggested I could use a Nightscaping Vermeer and get him a lifetime warranty. He went down and placed the order himself through an outfit simply called Electrical Distributors here in town...

    I saw a copy of his invoice on the computer screen there today... $530/ ea. for the Hydrel 2798. Since these fixtures were special order they are not returnable, and the customer waited 3 months for them.

    They made him order the whole fixture, not just replacement parts, so it came with an extra thick ABS sleeve, a heavy brass junction box (with 8 ground screws inside), conduit, grate assembly and fixture body.... BUT NO CORD!

    Anyway, it requires some kind of waterproof connector/ cable, changed from the original design. (Additionally, the fixture body looks like cast aluminum, and is very light weight compared to the original cast brass.)

    The hot sales gal at the distributor is supposed to get back to me with whether it was syupposed to ship together or what the deal is.

    Meanwhile, please take a look at the photos comparing the two, and if anyone knows, please tell me where I can get the special cable/ fitting.





  2. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Hey Gregg, have you tried contacting Hydrel directly and asking about the female connector that will attach to the new fixture? Im sure they have a part number for it.

    My distributors Manager, who has contributed here in the past, has a pretty strong connection to Hydrel (family member works there). If you dont get any help direct from the Hydrel support line, then let me know and I will hook you up with John's contact info.

    You might also want to quickly scan through Hubbell's catalog... you might stumble across the right connector.

    Too bad the client didnt go with the Vermeers... he would have saveed a some dough and no headaches either.

  3. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Taken from Hydrels website

    Q: How much cord do I need to specify with my underwater fixture?
    A: Base mounted underwater fixtures must be specified with a minimum 10' cord length, with longer lengths available in 5' increments. National Electric Code (ARTICLE 680-51.(e)) allows you to have 10 ft (3.05 m) of exposed cord in a fountain. For niche mounted fountains and swimming pool fixtures, fixtures must be specified with a minimum 35' cord length, with longer lengths available in 5' increments.

    I would say you have to order the cord. Supply house didn't think about that most likely. But maybe you are not using these underwater. I have no past experience with Hydrel so I dont have much to offer you.

    On a side note if it wasn't a water light why does it have 3 prongs?
  4. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    It's a fixture designed for use in fountains, but is also used in-grade. Old one (see photo) had an integral cord. Client wasn't told he needed one.
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    This is a prime example of why clients shouldnt be ordering materials. When they do errors are made and result in headaches and such.
  6. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I agree, but this is not a distributor I normally deal with.... and I didn't want the headaches or end up stuck with a fixture I couldn't return if they changed the specs (which they apparently did.) He had gotten other things for his house through them, and so I told him to have at it if he felt like it (he's retired and has the time.)

    BTW, I found out that my regular distributors (even Ewing) buy from these guys too, and that I can probably get some items through them at a better price going direct. I just have to explore what kind of minimum order requirements they have, etc....
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Its amazing what you can save going to the proper source. Buying things like liquid flux at a local electronices store saves me half there. Same thing on soldering chips.

    Sometimes its just not worth it to go elsewhere to save a few bucks tho.
  8. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Here's an update.

    BTW, it was actually last May when I came across the problem. I asked about these then, but somehow had different part numbers.


    I did other work at their place in the fall...

    Anyway, the power cords run $45 each for these, and as I understand it, that's with 10 ft. of cable.

    So, my conclusion is that in the 15 years or so since these were originally installed, other brands have come a long way to fill the niche that this used to... is there any reason anyone would still use these in grade given all the other choices available?

    If the customer had listened to my suggestion of a Nightscaping Vermeer, it would have been a win-win.... more $$ for me and savings for him at the same time.
  9. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Sometimes they are just as stubborn as the rest of us Gregg. Also why change sometime that works? 15 years......he got his moneys worth

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