05 Nov Hiring a landscape lighting installer, You’d better due your homework !
by Mike Gambino
Its a damp rainy Friday night , got soaked midday working in the rain. Came home took a shower kicked back to relax. Read some of the message boards and this post just hit me square in the jaw. I will post it here and comment below.
“Hi guys. I installed 10 LED bullet lights at a clients house. I used a ………. 300W transformer, 10 bullet lights with 3W LED MR16 bulbs in each and 12-2 wire. The problem is that the 2 first lights are working fine, then the next one on the line is very weak, and the ones after that dont work at all. Everything worked great for a week and then this happened. The first light is 30 feet from the box. It is registering only 11.1 volts. I have the transformer on 15V tap by the way. The weak one is the third one on the line. Roughly 80-100 feet down the wire from the box. It is only pulling 6.5 volts. The last one on the line is 400 feet of wire from the box and is only pulling 4 volts. When I checked the transformer with the meter, I tested the 15volt tap. It only showed 14. Each tap was one less volt than it should be. Is the box my problem? This is my first LED project. Any help would be great. Thanks”
Now this is coming from a supposed landscape lighting specialist or at least the company name states so at the bottom of the message.
This just emphasizes everything that is wrong with this industry.
The system engineering described is that of a rank amateur however there are clearly other problems beyond that. The person states its their first LED system installation however I would argue that its probably their first low voltage landscape lighting system installation period.
How does someone who has a total lack of understanding of low voltage engineering even land a project in the first place?
Is it the contractors fault?
Is it the homeowners fault for not doing their due diligence and checking him out before hiring him to totally botch the job?
Or is it the fault of the manufacturers sales representative or product distributor where he bought the materials from who encouraged him to enter the low voltage lighting business because he could make a lot of money? The streets are paved with gold?
He said he is consistently dogged by manufacturer sales reps and the distributors of their products on how easy it is to offer LED lighting as a huge add on profit center to their main business which is landscaping.
I know of a landscaper who has bragged to me about installing 50 LED lights in a straight daisy chain on a single cable run from the transformer and how much of a killing they make on it.
Do they offer maintenance on that system?
Do they get referrals from that system?
Is the property owner delighted with that system?
I seriously doubt it.
Really? Does any of this do it all for you approach ultimately result in producing a passionate, quality lighting design/installer who will go on to make the industry proud?
This is nothing new as its been going on for many years. The low voltage landscape lighting business is cut throat dog eat dog highly competitive and some will do anything including offering monetary kick backs, spiffs and special deals to those who specify their products.
I’ve often been asked why I have produced for me my own proprietary lighting materials.
One of the main reasons is so I don’t have to swim in this sespool and support this self defeating system.
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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