LightingShrink - Medford Lakes, New Jersey 08055

Landscape Lighting Connection Comparisons

Comparing and Testing of Direct Burial Landscape and Garden Stranded Wire Lighting Connections using The LightingShrink Process.

Landscape Lighting Connector Type: Press/Pinch Connectors.
Results- We have found the pinch/pierce points that bite into the jacket that surrounds the stranded copper wire not substantial enough to carry current /electricity for more than few seasons and you just cannot not be sure they are tight and water proof.

Landscape Lighting Connector Type: Screw Connections.
Results- In our experience this type of connection is best used in a solid wire (one wire/conductor not stranded wire) application where you want the screw to bite into the wire. We have found loose screws and if you try and turn the screws as tight as you should to make sure your wire contact is tight-the soft copper strands of wire that make up low voltage stranded wire were being cut and the barrels were splitting apart! Plus,the tiny screws were tedious in trying to avoid stripping and dropping. Then you still have to find a Heat Shrink blend that does not fail over time. Finally, if you are going to use this type of connector anyway be sure to use a manufacturer that's using the correct conductive metal.

Landscape Lighting Connector Type: Plain/Grease/Gel Filled Wire Nuts.
Results- We thought they had promise when they first came out. The challenge was we never knew if they were really tight and when the Grease/Gel gets in between the strands this appeared to cause connection conductivity issues then consequently heat issues.
Plus, connections of this type were getting pulled apart by tree roots and other trades pulling on wires making room for plantings or other construction.

Landscape Lighting Connector Type: Plain/Grease/Gel filled Wires Nuts then Packed/Wrapped in Tubes to help with Tension and Waterproofing.
Results- Same experience that was answered in the last question, even if we guessed right and made the connection tight, the tube housing never seemed to hold up over time, especially in different soils and the tubes really had trouble dealing with the sun, if the connection popped to the surface- which happened fairly often.

Landscape Lighting Connector Type: Crimping simple Copper Ferrules then pack in Tube.
We initially liked this idea, but found the Copper ferrules/connectors tedious to deal with and non-reliably tight, especially if you had multiply wires in the same connection. We found the Tin Coated Copper Butt Connectors much more mechanically sound and repeatable. This together with the Ratcheting, non- releasing until tight crimper, just took the inconsistency out of it for us!. Plus, you can rest the barrel connector in the jaws of the crimper while you are getting the wires together.
Simply put- The tubes used for waterproofing seemed bulky, inconsistent and unprofessional for us- when compared to a more streamed lined connection.

Landscape Lighting Connector Type: Soldering Connections.
Results- Soldering is a good connection, but still needs to be water proofed - LightingShrink actually shares the same page in Chapter 10 in "The Landscape Lighting Book" written by Janet Lennox Moyer where this option is discussed.
We ultimately decided that a ratcheting crimping tool gave us the consistent wire contact, which is really what solder did for us as well, but we did not need to carry the solder pot around the gardens. Then we just needed to find and prove the best Heat Shrink blend which makes up LightingShrink.

Landscape Lighting Connector Type: Heat Shrink with Solder/Butt Connectors in One.
Results- We liked these in concept, but found the Heat Shrink would cut/tear (see photo of hairline crack and rusting color connection) and when you applied the proper force for a tight connection and the tubes would randomly split apart while heating.

Landscape Lighting Connector Type: Mic Connections or Plugs with a Screw in Type End.
Results- We have thought through these connections and found the concept tempting, but primarily novel (they could possibly be used temporarily for lighting smaller spaces like ponds or smaller lots). The challenge is most better lighting fixtures are built to last 10-15 years and beyond, so this means fixtures will be in the garden among roots and burrowing animals and maintenance people!
So basically said-as plantings grow, lighting effects need to change and a good deal of lighting fixtures will need to be moved and with this style of lighting connection you can't easily make a repair to a damaged line. You also can not cut a wire where needed to extend a line or install a lighting fixture– you have to dig or even open up posts or built structures to find previous connection points and put in a sort of "splitter".

Screw Tap or Spring Tab Connections/ Hubs ...
Results- During new service requests we have found low voltage melting terminals. This photo is a clear example of the tremendous amount of arcing/heat generated when connections are loose and not hidden by any type of connection waterproofing . We have learned/ recommend tightening lugs at transformers periodically.
We are not ultimately sure how to check for initial tightness and ongoing tightness with Spring Tab type, Connections/Hubs, so for that reason they are not a longer term professional solution.

Comparison Conclusion:
Ultimately, a professional Connections needs the versatility to be installed anywhere along a cable. This is not only key for a clean installation that doesn’t waste wire, but for ongoing maintenance as fixtures need to be repaired and ultimately moved.
LightingShrink’s Waterproof and Reliably Tight Connections with proven Heat Shrink blend are professional and solves the emerging problem of loose, melting and burning connections with zero call backs!
Using LightingShrink allowed us to take at least the “What connection to specify/use” out of the equation of running a Design, Installation and Lighting Maintenance business.