Quick question, service calls...

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by GreenLight, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    One common issue with new service customers with a pre existing lighting install that we had no hand in. Basically I have 4 new customers I picked up in the past month that were installed by an old contractor in the same neighborhood. I now simply service the system and the bulb replacements on these.

    My question is, the vast majority of these lights are t3 lamps and in almost every case the lamp doesn't have a wattage on it or it has burned off. Is their any fairly simple way to identify a wattage other than doing a full run check and then checking the numbers against the voltage drop associated with it? Thanks for the help...
  2. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    T3? Do you mean T5 Wedge base lamps or the smaller (mini wedge) T3. There is a big difference. Not many pro grade fixtures out there use the T3 wedge lamps that I have come across.

    In any case, why worry about the wattage of the original lamps? Just replace with what you think and calculate will be best. It will come down to the fixture design & placement, the ambient light from other sources, the transformer capacity and the circuity (wiring method). in T5 you are going to only have a few choices: 7w, 11/13w and 18W. I would recommend THHC Xenon lamps.
  3. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    I placed a link to the lamp I am talking about below. It's a bi pin lamp very common in all path lights etc. We call them t3's and the size up t4's, but that doesn't mean it's right. Anyhow, I was just curious really to know if there was any device or quick method for getting a wattage read out without having to trust our guys to make the a judgement call on these lamps. You are right, there are a lot of variables that would make this more of a fundamental decision, that being said on a lot of these jobs where a customer has a bulb blown, I really would like to be able to simply send one of our guys that is closest to the job over to replace it without having to trust that they are making judgement calls. If no such luck, I can do what we do with other new installs and make a chart that lays out everything to the infinite detail so that it is simplified to that extreme. Appreciate your response

  4. Terradek

    Terradek LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    Bi Pins are visually distinctive in the thickness of their pins...G4 bases are thin and are primarily used in path lights and smaller flood type fixtures. G4s come in 5w 10w and 20w...G6.35 bi pins have a thicker pin and are available in 20w,35w,50w,and 75w. So your first clue is the thickness of the pin.

    Using an amp probe on the run will give you a second clue...using the formula
    watts/volts = amps. If you know any two of these you can solve for the third...and you thought algebra was a waste of time. In this case we know volts = 12 (unless you are using a 24v tranny) and amps will be what you read on your meter...make sure your battery is fresh so that you get a good reading. This formula assumes that all lamps are burning at exactly 12v so it will only be an estimate, but you will be in the ball park. If the run has a mixture of different lamp wattages this estimate will be less useful.

    So inspect the thickness of the pin then amp probe the run. Good luck.
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    This is good unless... The landscape has matured and you think some 35's are a good choice but the original system was 20w so be sure to amp probe anyways. James did mention trans and wire capacity but I wanted to clarify this. A HUGE portion of our business is servicing a system others installed them forgot about. In our case the systems are usually lamped with 50w everywhere and we lamp them at 20 and 35 as needed and it increases the performance because the voltage is on target.

    There are some kichler fixtures I used in the past that use a t3 lamp. The bi pins with the larger pins Gerry is speaking of will fit in these fixtures. Often times unless the installer was a good contractor you will find fixtures improperly lamped to begin with. I amaze clients all the time when I relamp systems done in all 50w and they are brighter when I am done with all 20w.
  6. sprinkler guy

    sprinkler guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 223


    It might help if you posted a picture of the fixture, but regardless, Billy hit it on the head with choosing the lamp that will light it properly. Odds are pretty good it was a 20 watt. That is what several companies put in their pathway standard. If you are primarily a lawn maintenance company, and you have added lamp changes as part of your service, you're in an odd position. Most of the lighting only companies will see all of their jobs at night, whereas you might not. Something to think about if it becomes your decision which size lamp to put in the fixture during service. You might need to start making some night visits.

    As for the T3 lamp, it is a G4 base lamp. Most of the landscape supply warehouses refer to them as T3s because that is what some of the more common manufacturers call them.
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Its important to know and recognize pin size. Bi pins do come in a range of sizes
  8. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    T3 can be a bipin or a wedge. such as the g4 or the 921
    t4 is only the bigger bipin the g6.35
    s8 is A 1155 OR 1156 But I think Kichler vista and cast are the only 3 using that socket....could be wrong?
  9. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    WOW, I am surprised no one mentioned testing amperage..........You can test amperage on the fixture with the lamp in operation and know exactly what wattage it is.....

    35w pulls about 2.9-3 amps

    20w pulls about 1.7-2 amps

    10w pulls about .8-1 amp

    Your amp meter can solve just abotu any issue in terms of troubleshooting that you may run into......
  10. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Joey people have to learn how to use one first

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