Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by TheHotShotKid, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. TheHotShotKid

    TheHotShotKid LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 169

    Are they all that they are reported to be?

    Do you care if your transformer , cable and or fixtures carry their designation or are you resentful that you must pay a premium for those products that have been tested and approved ?

    What do you say?
  2. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    UL listings are very meaningful. When a manufacturer takes the time, effort and expense to comply with these standards, you can have confidence that the products are safe ('safe' is the key word). UL listings won't guarantee performance, durability or longevity but they do let you know that the proper materials were used to prevent fire or electrocution (under normal operating conditions and when installed properly).
  3. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    I found this thread from 2006. I bring it back because recently I have been flooded with calls in regards to the UL and ETL ul listing approvals. The calls range from inspectors in regards to Pool and Spa and fixture listings to consumers wondering if our units are ok to use because they have an ETL not a UL logo.

    I know we have discussed this but I know there are lots of new readers here so I figured I would revive this topic to say that ETL and UL are like Ford and Chevy in terms of doing the same thing. They both test and approve according to UL standards i.e. UL1838, UL506, UL1563, UL2108, etc.....

    Again I am getting calls from people who are being notified by their inspectors that they need to be installing products that are ETL/UL Listed. By installing a product that is not listed or approved you are putting yourself and your project at risk. Make sure all of your products are either listed, approved, or pending approval before installing!!


  4. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    I'm gonna bust your chops here Joey because you brought it up. How could someone feel comfortable installing something that was pending approval? What if the approval never came through and you had already installed a bunch of it?
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I'm with Chris... Pending approval doesn't mean much to me either. I understand that it is in the tube so to speak, pending approval, but that doesnt mean anything to an electrical inspector, insurance company, or a picky client around here.

    Also, you have to be careful with UL ULc ETL & cETL approvals/certifications. Just because you see a ULc sticker on a product DO NOT assume that everything is fine. The product MUST be approved for the purpose for which it is installed. It is no fun installing a UL listed transformer in a Landscape Lighting or "garden lighting' application only to find out later that the unit is not approved for that application. (See Below)

    Just because a manufacturer submits their product for testing to a UL or ETL or CSA standard, and receives that approval, don't assume that it has been tested to the proper standard for its application!

    There has been a lot posted on this topic here, go back and search through posts in Oct, Nov, Dec of 2007 for more.

    Low Voltage Lighting Systems
    UL 2108

    1 Scope
    1.1 These requirements apply to low voltage lighting systems and components intended for permanent installation and for use in locations in accordance with the National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA 70, Article 411.

    1.2 These requirements cover:
    a) Low voltage lighting power units and luminaires;
    b) Low-voltage exposed conductor lighting systems; and
    c) Class 2 low voltage lighting systems.

    1.2 revised effective October 15, 2008
    1.3 These requirements do not cover low-voltage lighting systems and luminaires covered by other standards such as, but not limited to, the Standard for Portable Electric Luminaires, UL 153, the Standard for Track Lighting Systems, UL 1574, the Standard for Luminaires, UL 1598, the Standard for Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Systems, UL 1838, low voltage lighting systems that operate at over 25 amperes, or low voltage luminaires with integral power supplies.

    Specialty Transformers
    UL 506

    1 Scope
    1.1 These requirements cover air-cooled transformers and reactors for general use, and ignition transformers for use with gas burners and oil burners. Transformers incorporating overcurrent or over-temperature protective devices, transient voltage surge protectors, or power factor correction capacitors are also covered by these requirements. These transformers are intended to be used in accordance with the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70.

    1.1 revised effective November 1, 2002
    1.2 These requirements do not cover liquid-immersed transformers, variable voltage autotransformers, transformers having a nominal primary rating of more than 600 volts, transformers having overvoltage taps rated over 660 volts, cord and plug connected transformers (other than gas-tube-sign transformers), garden light transformers, voltage regulators, swimming pool and spa transformers, or other special types of transformers covered in requirements for other electrical devices or appliances.

    Take one of the transformers you are currently using, turn it over, find the approvals sticker, read the thing, write down what standard it has been tested to, Google that number as in "ul 2108" and carefully read the scope of that listing. Amazing what you can learn.
  6. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    I can agree there gentlemen. Pending aproval can be a bit sketchy. I can tell you from a manufacturers standpoint that sometimes ETL and UL are on their own schedule so the approval process may take longer than you want it too. Legally as long as the manufacturer states the product is NOT yet listed they can still sell it, but they need to be up front when inquired upon. The installer then assumes responsibility for installing those products should anything happen.

    A pending Aproval may be a little more worrysome when you are discussing a Transformer but a fixture that is similar in design to others that is pending approval, unless that fixture is a real POS more than likely it will obtain that approval. But I cannot argue you guys.

    My point was that I am seeing more and more inspectors becoming savy to the products going in on new construction and remodel projects. Obviously there are a lot of company's out there who are selling products with no listing or approval at all. I was not trying to beat the dead horse here with another UL/ETL argument, James and I have been down this road and disagree in areas of which there is no need to get back into. My intention is for some of the newer members and readers to be aware, that is it.
  7. Terradek

    Terradek LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    For both new and experienced Pros,

    The Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals (AOLP) has been involved in this discussion for several years and is currently working with Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and hopefully soon with the National Fire Protection Association who develops and publishes the National Electrical Code (NFPA/NEC). Our intent is to help clarify some of the confusion that exists with regard to this topic. I am the current AOLP representative to the UL 1838 and UL 2108 Standards Technical Panel.

    One way to think about all of this is; UL develops product manufacturing standards and product testing procedures, period. They are focused on things like what materials to use, how the product should be constructed and how to test products to insure that they are safe for thier "intended use". ETL and other "testing" companies provide lab facilities and technical consultant services to manufacturers who wish to have thier products tested to UL standards. If you are a manufacturer you can choose to use ETL or others to do the physical testing and compliance review of your product, but ETL and other testing companies must always use the relevent UL standard for the product being reviewed. Because UL developed the standards and testing procedures, products will always be listed to a "UL" standard be it the US Standard or the Canadian Standard. What all this means is that UL does not always do the actual product review or testing (though it will for a price), it means only that the Manufacturer and testing company must use the relevent UL standard for the product being listed. So any product that is ETL listed to a UL standard is a valid listing.

    How the product is used and installed crosses over into the sandbox of the other player in all of this, the NFPA/NEC. Just recently the AOLP has applied for membership to the NFPA/NEC Code Making Panel for Article 411 which is the applicable code section in NEC for our profession. We hope to hear about our request for membership after thier next meeting in July. The reason for our involvement is to help to define how we may use the various products that are in the market and are currently listed under many different UL standards. There are many "lighting" products in the market that have UL listings of one type or another but are not listed under the UL 1838, "Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Systems" standard. What we would like to do is to help develop "use and installation" code so that we will know when, if at all, non- UL 1838 products can be used in the installation of our projects.

    As you can tell from this, we are in the very early stages of getting any of this clarified. At present a good business strategy is to use products that carry UL listings, be they tested by ETL or others. Use the Standards of Installation that the AOLP has developed as a guide and most importantly comply with any local regulations and license requirements that may apply in your area.

    Gerry De La Vega
    AOLP Board of Directors
    CLVLT #0404
  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Nice Post Gerry... very informative and encouraging! Thanks.
  9. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I was about to ask Chris not to stir all that mess up again, but you handled it well James.
  10. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    Didn't get to see the post, but thanks for handling it.

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