There are two different types of ways to design wiring in Landscape Lighting. One method usually called, “Hub” or “Spider Splicing” has a big advantage over the other method known as “Daisy Chaining.” The hub method, illustrated below, consists of a run going to a central meeting point for all the lights connected to that particular run. The wire going to each fixture is then the same length to each fixture, even if this means burying extra wire beneath the fixture. This lets the designer know that each light will have the same voltage on that run and the color temperature of each light will be the same. The life span of the lamp should also be longer and the wear on each lamp more consistent. From a service standpoint once, one lamp goes out on that run the other are likely to burn out as well. The first lamp wearing out is a good indicator for the homeowner to replace all the lamps at once. The disadvantage to this method is it takes more time from a design perspective and might take a little more time to install.
The second method that is popular with quite a few contractors is “daisy chaining.” This method one wire runs to the farthest away light fixture and any other lighting fixtures are connected along the run at the easiest point. The reason this is popular is because it saves on wire and is easier to plan and install than a “hub” wiring system. The problem with this is that the voltages across the fixtures can vary by several volts. This is particularly annoying to homeowners because the uneven wear on the lamps cause the rates of burning out to vary by a larger amount than the “hub” system. When the first bulb burns out it could mean that the other need replacing or the others might last much longer since they have less voltage. Second is that if line up a long wall or fence the color temperatures will be different because of the uneven voltages. In the Twin Cities with our varied temperatures throughout the year, voltages on long runs can vary by up to one volt between summer and winter. This makes it important to set the voltage in accordance to the season and design the system so it allows for a change in voltage. ”Daisy chaining” makes this task much more difficult because swings in voltage either up or down will dramatically decrease life expectancy of the lamps.
The hub method in all respects is superior to the daisy chain method. The only person who it might not be advantageous for is the contractor or installer. It is much easier to cut corners using daisy chaining than it is with a hub. In the past, most landscape lighting systems were designed with a daisy chain method. Now the industry has begun focusing more on service and maintenance, the hub method has been gaining in popularity. Green Acres only installs landscape lighting using a hub method and we believe the extra time taken creates a higher quality finished product.