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Old 11-22-2010, 09:22 AM   #1
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Anyone recommend good book on lighting?


Been working on our landscape since we moved in a few years ago....and getting ready to think about lighting. Leaning toward a low voltage set up...but electrical stuff is not my strength...so trying to get edumacated. Does anyone know a good book or two I could pick up to learn the basics about system configuration, lighting design considerations, etc. etc. Doesn't have to be low voltage as we're not yet 100% sure going that route.

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Old 11-24-2010, 03:57 PM   #2
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Anyone recommend good book on lighting?


If you are serious about landscape lighting, this is THE book: http://www.amazon.com/Landscape-Ligh...dp_ob_title_bk

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Old 11-24-2010, 04:03 PM   #3
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Anyone recommend good book on lighting?


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If you are serious about landscape lighting, this is THE book: http://www.amazon.com/Landscape-Ligh...dp_ob_title_bk
Thanks...I did do some Amazon searching and that one had caught my eye. appreciate the insight.
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Old 11-25-2010, 12:52 PM   #4
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Anyone recommend good book on lighting?


I follow a landscape lighting forum. This is one of the topics that interest me.

I have not looked at the suggested book. I am sure that it is very good. But suspect it may still be based upon incandescent lamps, and the methods for wiring for consistent voltage.

While many of the real artists in the business still prefer to work with halogen, I suggest that one can get a nice look with LED lamps. Depending on what you are trying to achieve from a lighting standpoint, you should consider these. They offer several advantages in my experience:

1. Longevity
2. Tolerant of a variety of voltages without change in performance. Wiring is GREATLY simplified. No loops. No daisy chains.
3. Lower power required, thus smaller wire required, smaller transformers.

In my experience, the only trick is to make a good choice of fixtures based on budget and life expectancy, and to make good connections. Those silly little spike crimp connections available with most of the less expensive fixtures will drive you crazy in a couple of years, if not sooner. Take your time, solder, cap, and seal all your connections.

The hardest part is going to be your design. Unless you know exactly where you are placing your fixtures, go with low voltage. These are easier to install, move, experiment, and remove.
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:40 PM   #5
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Anyone recommend good book on lighting?


Along with Jan Moyer's bible, I'd also recommend http://www.uniquelighting.com/education/Bookpage.html

In all honesty, lighting is best left to a professional lighting designer who lives and breathes lighting daily. The design is what makes or breaks a beautiful portrait. Buying a lighting "kit" from the box stores and shoving it in the ground is the last thing you want to do. Besides an increased fire risk, those kits will fail in a few years. Do it right the first time and contact your local outdoor lighting contractor.
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:50 PM   #6
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Anyone recommend good book on lighting?


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Along with Jan Moyer's bible, I'd also recommend http://www.uniquelighting.com/education/Bookpage.html

In all honesty, lighting is best left to a professional lighting designer who lives and breathes lighting daily. The design is what makes or breaks a beautiful portrait. Buying a lighting "kit" from the box stores and shoving it in the ground is the last thing you want to do. Besides an increased fire risk, those kits will fail in a few years. Do it right the first time and contact your local outdoor lighting contractor.
Thanks for the book recommendation.

As for the rest of it regarding "professionals"...and don't take this personally....As I rapidly close in on wrapping up my 5th decade of life...much of it spent as a DIYer...it is my opinion that in today's day and age anyone with an inclination to DIY...should. Most of the time I've used a "professional" for stuff around the house I am disappointed...often deeply. Almost always end up unhappy with the quality, the price, or both. No one will do a BETTER job at that stuff than the homeowner themselves...."some" can do AS GOOD...but you'll pay through the nose. With the resources available...not the least of which is this forum and plenty of good books...anything I truly care about I do myself...so long as I can make the time...have or get the right tools, etc. With DIY...I know it gets done right and at a price I can live with.
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:46 PM   #7
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Anyone recommend good book on lighting?


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As for the rest of it regarding "professionals"...and don't take this personally....As I rapidly close in on wrapping up my 5th decade of life...much of it spent as a DIYer...it is my opinion that in today's day and age anyone with an inclination to DIY...should.
"A man has to know his limitations". Wasn't that in some movie somewhere? Well...do you feel lucky...punk?

I am with you on this one. I think landscape lighting is actually one of the least risky adventures for those of us who like to DIY. That is the beauty of the low voltage systems.

However, in defense of professionals for this, I am guessing that the right one would be able to get great results (right fixture, placement, light color, beam spread, consistency, etc...) quicker. Landscape lighting is as much art as wiring, if not more. On the downside, my impression of the professionals is that they are unwilling to take a risk (why should I try LEDs until they are proven technology?)

For those of us willing to experiment around and work on it over a period of time, I think this is one of the GREAT projects for DIY. But piste is correct in at least one area, if not more: those kits will fail in a few years. But if you want to try one out as a design exercise, moving them around until you get them placed where you like them, replacing fixtures over time with good ones, they serve a purpose.
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Old 11-26-2010, 03:09 PM   #8
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Anyone recommend good book on lighting?


I can respect your opinion. You certainly have more "life" experience than I do. I can agree with you to a certain point regarding professionals. I service lighting systems daily that were installed by so-called professionals. I see why clients are disappointed when their installer is no where to be found when a problem arises. Perhaps these are the growing pains of this young industry. Although great strides have been made over the past ten years, low-voltage lighting is still trying to shake it's reputation for cheap, unreliable products.

Lighting is an art form that takes years of daily practice to master. The client is paying for a work of art along with my many years of knowledge and experience. When a client calls, I return each call within one hour. Included in this package is a lifetime warranty of fixtures and transformers. You simply cannot buy a better product than one with a LIFETIME warranty.

The issue I have with DIY'ers installing low-voltage lighting is that it is damaging to the industry. Homeowners go to their local box store, buy a plastic, China-made kit, and push the stakes in the ground. The resulting portrait includes hotspots, black holes, airport runways, and a general lack of flow from the driveway to the front door. In a few years, the system begins to fail. The homeowner then develops a negative attitude toward low-voltage systems. This is why I believe that DIY'ers are damaging this industry.
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:18 PM   #9
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Anyone recommend good book on lighting?


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In a few years, the system begins to fail. The homeowner then develops a negative attitude toward low-voltage systems. This is why I believe that DIY'ers are damaging this industry.
Some DIY'ers are damaging the industry. On the other hand, some DIY'ers are the leading edge of the industry (able to put the time in to try new technology), I believe.

I am with you on the art form part. There are a lot of ugly installations out there.

For those willing to spend the money to hire folks like you, I would imagine the results are spectacular.

A lifetime warranty does not necessarily guarantee a better product, but it sure give peace of mind. That is quite valuable to me.

Of all the DIY possibilities out there, I still say that this is one of the more friendly one.

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