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volt max spread and fatboy review

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by David Gretzmier, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    Volt came out with a new hat for their pathlights and I gave 6 of them a test run this week. also, I tried out the new fatboy spot light and had a few thoughts on it as well.

    anyone not familiar with Volt paths can have this quick run down-aprox 22" stem, bubble glass bulb cover with silicone o-rings, pre-greased socket with clamps ( excellent "click") , 25 foot tinned lead wire, and normally comes with aprox 10 inch stake. normal Volt path lights have 7 inch china hat or cone head.

    I have only ordered the bronze finish at this point, but they are available in shiny copper as well.

    The new max spread hat for the paths is a 9 inch hat that allows a larger lit circle than the smaller hats I have used previously from Volt. If you hate to see the source on a path, go with Volt, but of course, with a near impossible to see source, you get a fairly small lit circle, maybe 8-12 feet diameter, or only 4-6 foot from the base. looking at the new ones tonight I can say the spread is closer to 18 foot diameter, or closer to 9 feet from the path. these paths were slightly elevated from the driveway, but you could achieve the same or larger lit circle with a an available 6 inch riser if you wished. on this job without riser, still does a pretty good job of hiding the source. I used 35 watt bulbs on these, and while a bit bright for my taste, it was exactly what the homeowner wanted. a 20 watt would provide good light for most younger eyes.

    although I did not ask for it, Alan went ahead and sent me with these paths what appears to be the largest stakes I have ever used for landscape lighting. They were about 15 inches long, and about 3-3 1/2 inches diameter, and very impressive. like the smaller stakes, it also has the top access slot for enabling you to wire the light in, hammering the stake in , then threading the wire though and just screw tight. I used a large oak mallet I made for timber framing, and it worked fine. to be truthful, unless you have sandy soil, for 22 inch paths these are a bit overkill, and harder to get paths perfectly true and plumb. But if you plan to use a riser, I would reccomend getting the larger stake.

    Overall I am pleased with the effects of the paths, they are very sturdy and I can reccomend the max spread hat along with the traditional Volt stem for contractors.

    The fatboy is a lower cost light that I thought I would try as well. although this light is leaps and bounds better than any consumer grade spot I have tested, it is not a commercial grade product, except maybe on the lower end. alan sent me a "tank" to sample along with the shipment, and the difference in the weight between the two is night and day. I would say the "tank": and also their "top dog" light easily outweigh the fatboy 2-1, maybe 3-1.

    But, I can say that the socket on the fatboy was pregreased, and had a good click, and the finish was nice on the light. It does have a thick silicone o-ring, but it slides around. with the bubble lens and decent shroud, and 25 foot tinned wire, it is a decent light. It has a silicone plug for the wire entance on the stake threads, but all the ones I had had a hole in the bottom of the light, along with the wires from the knuckle into the socket are not internally sealed. so not water resistant, and I had trouble with the threads on the knuckle on 3 of the 12. stake threads were missing on one. time will tell, but this fixture feels like a 5-8 year fixture. to add life I went though and siliconed ( 100% silicone 2 caulk ) the bottom hole, and also the inside bottom at the wire entrance, and added 3m grease to the silicone o-ring to give it extra waterproofness.

    given the light weight and water issues, I do not reccomend the fatboy to contractors.

    but for diy folks reading this review, you will find that this fatboy fixture is better than anything low voltage you can purchase at Lowes, Home depot or any department store. so I can reccomend it for consumers. but I would still modify it as I did for maximum life.
  2. Alan B

    Alan B Sponsor
    Male, from tampa, fl
    Messages: 446


    Thanks for the candid review, I think it was pretty fair.

    The Max Spread Path/Area Light is large 22"T x 9"W with a 1" diameter stem. Great as is, but is specifically proportioned to go well with risers all the way to 46"T overall height. Risers on this fixture are for illuminating larger areas or on jobs where you want to light longer paths and areas but with fewer fixtures -- you can illuminate a 22'+ diameter area when the fixture is matched with a 6" extension riser (~16' with no riser). Many find that even though its one of our higher priced area lights, it reduces overall fixture cost because you need fewer fixtures.

    The cradle is adjustable so you can change illumination area a little -- more importantly you can hide direct viewing of lamp on elevated installations.

    Full specs here
    Brass/bronze: http://www.landscapelightingworld.com/landscape-path-lights-p/330.htm
    Solid Copper: http://www.landscapelightingworld.com/copper-garden-light-path-lighting-p/330-c.htm



    Fat Boy is made under the LLW brand not Volt. Volt fixtures are cast brass and carry a lifetime warranty. We needed some sheet brass fixtures to reach a price point Volt can't reach --thus the LLW sheet brass fixtures that carry a 10 yr no questions asked warranty. To me its a no-brainer to move up to the heavier weight Volt fixtures.
    Fat Boy: http://www.landscapelightingworld.com/Garden-Lighting-p/150.htm
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011

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