I have no idea why your bulbs are blowing up :-)

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by BrandonV, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,627

    Had a fellow landscaper flag my maintenance crew down last weekend wanting some "emergency" lighting repair done for a home that is more of a holiday house. Of course I wasn't in the area that day but went by the next, because frankly I believe if you only use a house 5 times a year, when you're day it should be perfect. Anyways I'd never been there but it was a nightmare on all fronts. I replaced about 25 bulbs all together, mind you this involved finding those bulbs and scorched connectors/fixtures they were housed in. I changed the bulbs but informed the HO that these wouldn't last long... guess why? The property had I installed it would have 3 transformers tops they had 9 900W transformers!!! everything was daisy-chained and the fixtures were averaging 16-17w @ the lamp. This is unfortunately the typical install in our area, people go to the supply houses and the guys at the counter sell them the product and the idea of how easy it is, and eventually someone's house gets burnt down.

  2. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    You are correct. I have seen it a few times even in my tiny town. They go to JDL and over night they are in the lighting biz. Gotta love it.
  3. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I always struggle over whether to rebulb jobs when things are so haywire. I am seeing a few redo jobs lately, and when am I going to go to a job that was done right? It seems all have either horribly low voltage everywhere, or if they have discovered multi-tap, and they think it is for heavy loads and huge daisy chains. 9 volts here, 16 volts near the trans. same wire. And they don't want to fix anything, but add a dozen fixtures or so. you try to lead them to the light, but then the cost is double what they paid the other guy.
  4. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,627

    well on this particular project I've called the manager and asked her to turn things off, and also that I'm recusing myself of any liability. It always worries me when you work on a shoddy system (lights, irrigation or whatever) because some lawyer someday might tie you to the project when things go wrong.
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Smart plan Brandon. Last person who touches it "owns it".

    I would also submit a detailed written report of your findings to the owner and keep a copy for your records.
  6. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Awesome advice. I explain this every time I get a tech call regarding this subject. Once you touch the system it now becomes your problem!

    In response to something David eluded too and I hear from time to time from other customers who are worried about the distributors and manus teaching lighting......

    Don't blame distributors and manufacturers for guys who hack a system in. More times than not these guys were going to do the lighting anyway and if they didn't get it form JDL they would have ordered it online from an online wholesaler. Its not the Distributors or the Manufacturers fault for trying to lead the guy in the right direction.

    For a bright guy learning low voltage lighting is fairly simple in comparison to other trades. Of course techniques and design education can take years to perfect but overall with a volt meter, amp probe, and a good hands on seminar or on site assistance, you can gain the tools necessary to go out and install a working and safe system that will last.

    Its a case by case argument I understand, and sure there are guys who are doing lighting that shouldn't. Maybe they went to a one day class and got a certificate and now they think they are pro, I am not saying those guys aren't out there but you cant generalize it. I know some very good and successful lighting companies who started by attending a seminar and perfected their trade by setting up lots of demos and installing lots of jobs over the years. Everyone has to start somewhere.

    On that note, I hate seeing a daisy chained, Under/Over Volted, wire nutted, aluminum corroded system as much as the next guy!
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    If we remotly touch service or work on a system that is sub standard it is clearly noted on the invoice.

    Brandon get a new meter than reads in tenths or even 100ths

    at 16 to 17v I wouldnt have even lamped it. Sometimes you cant tell what it will be til you do. You should have also lowered the taps since you already touched it.
  8. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    I will not work on another's system/mess other than rip it out and do it right.

    The best money an installer can spend is on a quality meter and Cast's CTESTMR16 Voltage Tester.

  9. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I use that very same tester all the time Tom. I took the liberty of cutting the socket off one of the leads and attaching them right to a set of meter test leads. No more fumbeling with the meter trying to stick the leads in a socket while balancing a lamp thats getting hot.
  10. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    Great idea Billy!!! Where are my wire cutters?


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