Malibu transformer

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by starry night, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,228

    I have been asked to replace seven spotlights around an entrance to a condo development. Malibu lights. They are physically and electrically beat up.
    There is also a Malibu 300w transformer. This may be Stupid Question #325
    but give me a good reason to tell the association I shouldn't use it. It is several years old but "appears" OK. A voltage check shows it is providing 12.4v. It has an analog timer built in so someone would have to re-adjust it now and then as the seasons change.
  2. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    Well the only reason still looking good is probabily because it hasn't being exposed to the elements as the lights but if they build thier transformers (which they do) using the same quality control as the lights it wont be long before start to fail, besides I would not guaranteed my installation if they want to keep that transformer, how much more would it be to replac it? $300-400
  3. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,228

    Yes, I want to tell them I won't use it but I want to back it up with some facts.
    You are right about a new transformer. With only seven 20 watt spots, I could get by with a 200 watt transformer. No need to leave room for expansion as the sign and plantings around it are in a restricted amount of space. And I am going to suggest LEDs so I could get by with an even smaller transformer. But I still want something factual to say other than " I don't like Malibu."
  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,182

    Hey Phil,
    The last Malibu I removed (not 100% sure) but I don't recall that it is grounded. I only saw a two prong plug. Might check that, its reason enough for me to scrap it.
  5. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    I have had a few jobs were the customer wants us to add to their existing HomeDepot systems. Also when doing new install proposals, plenty of customers have questioned the prices because they see the fixtures in homedepot for so cheap. What I do is carry a few malibu lights and a malibu transformer on the truck to show the customer the difference between what is marketed to homeowners and professionals. Usually putting the products in the customers hands and let them feel the weight alone of commercial products is enough to get them to see the reasons to upgrade from Malibu. I also would not install any of my lights on a malibu system, and would make this none to the customer. Myself, I would tell them I would rather walk away from the job and not complete a proposal than to risk my reputation using such an inferior product.
  6. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    If they ask, I just state simply that I cannot stand behind the work. when I install post malibu, for 7 lights I bid new wire, fixtures, and trans is all included in the price, and I don't itemize out items.

    I do repairs on work I did not install here and there, and looking back, it is a rare thing when I am not coming back and fixing it again and again, wishing they would have just replaced it with new and right. but I am partially to blame, as I agreed to just a band aid to begin with.

    This is even true when we do blended systems with many new lights and trying to salvage many old lights. folks will say, well, I may only be here for a few years, so lets save the money. 5 years later, again, regrets.

    just don't do it.
  7. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    Once you touch a system, you own it, whether you originally installed it or not. I walk away from those all the time due to liability reasons, and I state it that way to the client. Many times they will go with a new system if you point out the facts and potential hazards of bad connections, substandard transformers and cheap fixtures. Just not worth the aggravation of call backs.
  8. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,228

    Hey Tommy, Funny that you should use that phrase. No more than a few minutes ago, I was telling my wife about an appointment I had this evening.
    And I told her that once you work on a job and use any existing components,
    "The job becomes yours."

    The woman at this appointment said "you shouldn't have to do anything but add some lights. The basics are all there done by an electrician."
    So I dug up some existing wire and found pierce-point connectors. Then I went to the transformer box. Well, it turned out to be a junction box wired with an indoor receptacle inside (not GFCI). Laying in the box and plugged into the receptacle was a little 60 VA transformer which was supposed to power about a dozen path lights. I then told her that I would have to start from scratch.

    And I told the condo association, the initial subject of this thread, that I would have to put in a more reliable transformer.

    I've learned well from you guys on the forum!

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