Where buy high quality low voltage landscape lights ?

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I have used 12 volt landscape lights for about seven years. During this time, I have used various light fixtures from Home Depot and Lowe's. Some seem pretty low quality, some appear pretty decent at first. But, they all leak after a few years.
I have also tried more "upscale" lights from a lighting dealer, costing in the range of $90 per fixture. They also leak after a few years. I see NO difference in quality of the "upscale" fixtures at $90 than what I buy at the big box stores at $15 each. No difference whatsoever. (Generally speaking, I am a believer in the saying that you get what you pay for. This does not appear to be the case with low voltage landscape lights).
Do any of you have experience with the long term use of low voltage landscape lights, and have you found decent fixtures with good seals, so that they don't leak after a few years ? If so, what brand/ store / etc would you suggest that I try ??
Thanks for any comments or advice !!
James
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Every brand I've ever used is junk. Most of the line voltage landscape fixtures are garbage as well. The only possible exceptions are the very expensive bronze ones make by Hadco or Kim. I've tried resin and plastic, cast aluminum etc. None hold up over time, and those with bayonet and MR sockets crap out the quickest

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I've got a set of those cheap plastic lights with the clip in 4v bulbs here at my place in MI... had no trouble with them in the 4 years I've been here, and they were in before I got them... Judging by how many layers of mulch the wires are under, I'd say they've been running strong for 10 years now. The caps come off the top, water and snow fall in, but, it all drains out the bottom so the light doesn't have standing water.
my 2 cents
Dave
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Yes, yes, I will look for those:
"I've got a set of those cheap plastic lights with the clip in 4v bulbs"
Think I could find these at Home Depot ??
James
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hey, all sarcasim aside, I just mentioned that for whatever it might be worth to someone else reading this thread later. I looked at my timer box, and it looks like they are malibu lights
cheap, yes, from the borg, yes, what you were asking about, no. but, like I said, just my 2 cents.
http://www.malibulights.com/malibu-wheretobuy.php
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Go for the highest IP rating you can find is about all you can do.
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What leaks, isnt the bulb in the bottom facing up. Wont water drip out, so a leak wont matter.
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*I get asked about low voltage lighting by my customers every once in a while. I advise them against it. I'm in New Jersey and the weather conditions are not optimal for that stuff. The connectors corrode or fall apart. The lights don't hold up well. Landscapers abuse them. Homeowners step on them. The ones low to the ground get covered with leaves. The one at the end of the line are dimmer than the beginning.
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[ -- snip -- ]
The one

Not if you wire them up properly --
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Have you considered LED (light emitting diode) lights? Google "white LED Lights". Incandescent lights only only produce 5-10% light the remainder being heat and it is the latter that causes fixture failure. With leds there need not be any such fixtures. If you can live with red lights, red LEDs are even cheaper.
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"Alan" wrote

I think it depends on how much light one needs and for what purpose. I've not seen any low voltage garden lamps that give off much light and they certainly don't throw light any appreciable distance, they're typically used for minimally illuminating walkways. I also used low voltage lamps but I didn't like that they needed wiring and they also leaked. For six years now I've been using solar lights, they emit enough light to illuminate walkways. Even on cloudy days they recharge enough so that they give off light well past the wee hours when no one should be walking about anyway. The only time solar lamps won't recharge is when snow accumulates on the solar panels, but then the snow itself reflects more than adequate light for walking about, and it's a simple matter to brush snow off the panels. For security lighting neither low voltage or solar lighting is sufficient, for that one should have hard wired flood/spot lights with motion detectors. I've been using the same solar lamps for more than six years now, they still operate good as new and the lamp's appearance is as good as new. And eventually when the rechargeable battery pack fails it can easily be replaced, and for like $6. And there are now solar lamps that do emit enough light to illuminate relatively large areas and/or throw light a distance sufficient for a flag atop a pole. I'm sold on solar lighting, I would never again consider low voltage lights. I've already decided to buy a set of solar lights for my outdoor Christmas tree... no more 150' extention cord.
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yes. this is the way we are going. we even have some solar LED lights that are really surprising in that they have been outside all winter for 2 years now and havent replaced the battery. The light is not BRIGHT like you can read from it, but we just want subtle lighting. Ingrid
On Mon, 8 Jun 2009 05:42:49 -0400, "Alan" <you're got to be joking> wrote:

Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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One box of 4 that I bought very cheap, says right on the box that the solar powered batteries cannot be replaced. Lasted for 2 years. No evidence of water intrusion. Lights: LEDs. Lights hang down, not pointed up. No way for water to affect them unless you have more than 8" of standing water.
Tried them again in a box of 6, even cheaper this time. No battery replacement disclaimer. Similar design. 1/2 price sale, I'm buying another box for when these fail. Just connect the top section to the current assembly already in the ground, all working again.
That's my advice. Buy them while on sale, and buy more than one set for your application.
--
Dave



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on 6/8/2009 7:36 AM (ET) Dioclese wrote the following:

I don't think the OP is talking about solar powered lights. However I was in HD or Lowes last week and I saw solar powered lights that said the batteries are regular AA rechargeables. The problem I've had with solar powered lights is that the solar panel plastic turns milky and gets hairline cracks. I've gone so far as to buff the lenses and coated them with Future floor finish, but it doesn't last..
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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I've had the same issue, as well as the plastic stakes being softer than the ground that they're pushed into (and the soil in my yard is very soft indeed.)
I would love to find a good quality light, either solar, low voltage, whatever that could be relied upon to last more than a year or two.
nate
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I have had no problems with the Malibu Metal low voltage series for 18 months now. Cast aluminum construction seems to hold up just fine.
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"willshak" wrote:

It was only a week ago and you don't know if you were in Home Depot or Lowe's... something is terribly amiss with your perceptive ability. Sounds more like you futzed with buffing and coating your lamp's solar panels when new out of the box, thinking you'd improve them, instead you destroyed them. Mine have been operating perfectly for nearly seven years and show no crazing or opaqueness whatsoever, and the only cleaning they get is from when it rains.
This photo was taken like a week ago, my solar panels look exactly like when brand new:
http://i43.tinypic.com/2ivuhz.jpg
Btw, anyone know the name of that plant, I would appreciate it, I can't remember and the tag is lost.
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on 6/8/2009 12:24 PM (ET) brooklyn1 wrote the following:

If you must know, I wasn't looking to buy patio lights, but I was passing through the aisles where they were displayed. I was in both stores that day and they are within sight of each other..

You don't remember the name of the plant that you planted on your property, and you criticized my memory?
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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I never said I planted it, was there when I moved here. I've seen that plant at a local nursery but don't remember the name, of the plant, I know the name of the nursery. The original owner had little copper tags by many of the plants, that one is missing or may never have been. That plant could have been planted shortly after that deck was built, some twenty six years ago, not six days ago. Btw, I've been separating and planting pieces in unprotected areas, so far the deer and rabbits don't eat it.
This is the solar lamp I bought from Lowe's on 11/11/03, still works perfectly. I paid $35 for a set of two. I wouldn't coat the solar panels with anything as it may act like a sun screen one applies against sunburn, blocking the rays that recharge the batteries... I'd think modern auto waxes do contain a sunscreen to protect paint finishes.... clearly says any modification voids the warranty. It's very easy to replace the batteries, so far I'm still using the original batteries. Don't buy any B & D cordless vacuum, costs as much to change the battery pack as to buy a new unit.
Malibu makes cheaper (plastic) solar lights too, they also make low voltage lights, but these are made very substantially of cast aluminum and beautifully finished, I got the ones with the pewter finish: http://www.malibulights.com/index.php?action=subcategory&did=2&cid=5&sid &pid=LZ14001
When I bought them it was simply an impulse purchase, I did no research, they just looked nice and the price was right. Initially I wanted solar lights for markers at the foot of my driveway but soon realized it wouldn't be such a good idea as anyone passing could make off with them, so I put them in back at my deck.
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on 6/9/2009 10:47 AM (ET) brooklyn1 wrote the following:

I never said I buffed and coated the panels 'out of the box'. The buffing and coating was done after they clouded over, as an experiment, like buffing plastic headlights when they cloud up, to see if they would regain their operation. They did for a while.

http://www.malibulights.com/index.php?action=subcategory&did=2&cid=5&sid &pid=LZ14001
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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