Category Archives: Educational

EOS – The Leading Cause of LED Failures

Our friends at Brilliance LED have published a White Paper on Electrical Over Stress (EOS) and its role in LED failures. With permission from Brilliance, we are sharing this important information to help educate and inform installers of the perils of installing or changing LED lamps while the system is powered up. Best practices mandate that the transformer should be unplugged before changing or installing LEDs to any low-voltage landscape lighting system. Read the full paper below.



Electrical Over Stress


Back in the halogen and incandescent days of landscape lighting, it was a common practice by many contractors to install lamps while the system was on. This is known as a “hot plug-in”. This practice has been widely used especially if a contractor was out providing maintenance on a lighting system.


As we have evolved into the era of LED light sources, the practice of hot plugging should be avoided. The reason for this is that it is virtually impossible to be 100% sure that there will not be the slightest electrical arc when a lamp is inserted into a socket or a connection is made with live cable.  A hot plug-in can cause an “electrical over stress” (EOS) on many parts of the internal circuitry of an LED lamp or integrated fixture.


EOS can simply be described as an electrical component that is operated beyond its maximum rated electrical limit accidently or deliberately according to its rating on the specification sheet. In landscape lighting EOS can occur with a hot plug-in, a lighting strike, or a poorly made connection.


Some common signs of EOS are as follows:

  • One or more diodes out; in this case, the bonding wires inside the LED device have been broken.
  • Another sign could be a pungent burnt smell emitted from the lamp.
  • In some cases the back of the lamp may show a burn hole, especially with lightning.

EOS can also have an adverse effect on a fixture that requires a remote low voltage driver. If a driver is connected live when attached to its respective fixture, it can cause an EOS failure.


The question now is how do we change the hot plug-in install?  My suggestion would be that when performing maintenance on an older system, unplug the transformer before installing the LED lamp or integrated fixture to insure the power is off to the socket. This same method can also be used on new installations with a standard landscape lighting transformer. If you happen to be working with a smart app driven transformer, insure the remote control has the system off.  Most of the smart phone apps will allow for a simple on and off for the transformer.


Ultimately, to avoid EOS, make sure to have solid potted cable connections and no power to the fixtures upon installation. If a situation arises where lightning has caused the EOS, check to see if the homeowner’s insurance will cover lightning damages.


Kevin Smith

National Technical Support and Trainer

Brilliance LED LLC



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Garden Upgrade – 6 Tips from a Pro

4-19-10 PM Lighting.Gould, Johnathan.After.Landscape II

In a recent article in Garden Variety, an online magazine from Moffly Media, professional landscape designer Mark Hicks discusses key improvements that can turn a basic garden into a showplace. A few excerpt are below showing his thoughts on the importance of landscape lighting. A link to the complete article is at the end.

6 tips from a pro to take your garden from mediocre to magnificent.

From his office in New Canaan, Mark Hicks of Elise Landscapes & Nursery conceives some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces in Fairfield and Westchester counties. Since he founded the business in 1983, he’s designed everything from intimate gardens to sprawling estates, winning awards in the process, along with accolades from his clients and peers who champion his work, including landscapes showcased at the annual New Canaan Secret Gardens tour. We asked this design expert for his thoughts on the features that can turn a run-of-the-mill garden into something serenely spectacular.

Landscape Lighting

Hicks is a fan of landscape lighting. “It extends the effects and enjoyment of a garden, at least for as long as you keep lights on. And it’s becoming more sophisticated, with features like low-voltage LED bulbs, which use less electricity and can stand up to rough weather,” he says. Lighting is being used in more non-traditional ways, too. You can put lights in water, in columns and high up in trees, so they shine down and offer a dreamier, more romantic look than traditional uplighting.”

via Garden Variety | Stamford CT.

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Shedding Light on Sustainable Desert Gardens | The National

MRH-238LEDWhile doing research on sustainability with regards to landscape lighting, I found an interesting article on The National web site. The writer, Jane Aldersley, talks about the environmentally friendly benefits of LED lighting given the extremely low energy consumption of today’s LED technology. This was not surprising since it is well known that LED energy consumption can save upwards of 80% in energy costs when compared to traditional incandescent or halogen lighting. However, Ms. Aldersley provides a fresh view on the extended sustainability benefits of quality LED  outdoor lighting, benefits that may be even more important to environmentalists and nature lovers alike. By using quality LED outdoor lighting fixtures,  gardens and landscapes can be enhanced and plantings will be able to grow, mature, and develop over time since these fixtures will not need to be replaced every few years. Using low quality fixtures that require replacement or frequent maintenance creates ongoing problems associated with digging up the gardens, reburying cable, and disrupting the natural environment of the landscaping.

It occurred to me that Ms. Aldersley may not have been aware that to achieve the ultimate sustainable garden, the use of quality LED outdoor lights made from SOLID COPPER would provide benefits long after the 10-year window she mentions in her article. Our P.M. Lighting line of solid copper fixtures are designed to last a lifetime, not just 10 years,  and the LED components can be easily replaced when they finally do burn out. Simply stated, our fixtures will outlast any LED component and it makes sense to be able to upgrade and replace just the LEDs in the future instead of having to replace the entire fixture. LED technology will continue to improve over the next several years so why get locked in to old technology or be forced to replace your fixtures when the LEDs wear out?

The bottom line is that LED technology and solid copper fixtures are the perfect combination to achieve the ultimate, truly sustainable, eco-friendly outdoor lighting system available. A few excerpts from the article and link to the site are below for your convenience.

The city gardener: Shedding light on sustainable desert gardens


“With the right low-energy LED fixtures, lighting can become a fantastically sustainable element in garden design – not only by minimising [sic] the amount of power used for illumination but also by enhancing textures, shapes and silhouettes, creating a captivating nightscape without the need for a lot of thirsty plants.”

“Aside from the gorgeous effects and low power consumption, let’s also remember another huge benefit of LED lighting – good-quality fixtures last for about 10 years without maintenance or lamp changing. Therefore, all these wonderful sustainable lighting features can remain interference-free, while the plants or materials naturally grow, age and change texture and colour. This is the beauty of using natural materials, and one of the driving forces behind the concept of sustainable design. Combine this with intelligent plant selection and the tiny power consumption of LED, and you have the potential for the ultimate sustainable desert landscape.”

Jane Aldersley is a landscape lighting specialist working exclusively with LED lighting. She has been working within the UAE landscape industry since 2007.

via The city gardener: Shedding light on sustainable desert gardens | The National.

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Landscape lighting design takes shrewd eye, technical skill

From The National Post

The intensity of color, the refinement of shadow, the synergy of shapes — such phrases are usually reserved for fine art classes or a Group of Seven tour through the Art Gallery of Ontario. But today they are the catch-phrases of a new breed of artist: the landscape lighting designer. What once was perceived as the last thought for residents after buying or building a property has now become a design priority. That is, if one wants to fit into the aesthetic zeitgeist of Toronto’s neighborhoods, which are being slowly lit up one by one.


Landscape lighting design can be described as “painting with light” — when lighting serves as more than a basic function and reinvents the outdoor space.

“No one tells Michelangelo to only use 250 colours when he really needs 300 to create a masterpiece,” says Bill Cradock, owner of Starlite Lighting Concepts. “It’s the same with landscape lighting. The most challenging thing about it is that the client may not share your vision. But it’s got to be done right.” Mr. Cradock describes his craft as “painting with light,” a talent best appreciated when the lighting serves more than a basic function and actually reinvents the outdoor space: “We cast the shadows of trees on to driveways, recreate the light of the moon or the sun, and allow a homeowner to feel as though the outside is an extension of the inside of their house.”

Scott MacKinnon of Light Emitting Design (LED) says North American cities are lagging Europe in this field. “European architecture is lit up so that pedestrians can walk through the city at night. Toronto is definitely a work in progress, but it’s a trend that’s really increased in popularity.”

Mr. MacKinnon, who used to light films, including Focus with William H. Macy, says LED bulbs open up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to illuminating outdoor spaces. “No one wants blinding floodlights at the back of the house,” Mr. MacKinnon explains. “With LED lights you can really control exactly where the light is going and there’s no ultra-violet rays or swarms of bugs because the bulbs aren’t hot.”


What determines how something is lit, however, really depends on the property, the landscape itself and the personalities of the people who live there..………

…………. And herein lies the art of lighting. “It’s just something,” Mr. Cradock says, that “you have to have a feel for.” Or maybe these artists are heeding the call to light up the darkness one household, one cottage, one poolside patio at a time.

Read the entire story and related material at the National Post by clicking on the following link:



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Outdoor Lighting Tops List of Most Popular Outdoor Living Features in ASLA Survey

15 Hot Outdoor Design Trends

Survey identifies the top three outdoor design elements, and five most popular features of each.

By Charlotte O’Malley

Outdoor living spaces for entertaining and relaxing will be in high demand during 2014, according to the Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects in January-February 2014. The survey gathered responses from 179 landscape architecture professionals across the country who specialize in residential design, and asked them to rate the expected popularity of outdoor design elements as well as popular features for each. Check out the breakdown:

ASLA Survey Snapshot

Source:American Society of Landscape Architects, 2014 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey

For complete list of most popular outdoor design features and full story,  visit 15 Hot Outdoor Design Trends – Builder Magazine.

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Landscape Lighting Offers Aesthetics, Security

By Angie Hicks of Angie’s List


There are a number of good reasons to add exterior lighting to your home. You can highlight your home’s aesthetics, from its architecture to its landscaping, as well as add curb appeal and improve its resale value.

“A lot of my customers spend quite a bit of money on a beautiful landscape plan, and they can only enjoy it during the day,” said Wayne Fisher of Metroplex Landscape Lighting in Frisco, Texas. “It’s really nice to have lights on the trees and shrubs so they can also enjoy it at night.”

Even more importantly, adding outdoor lights reduces the risk of injury from falling in the dark and can reduce your risk of having your home burglarized by half, according to industry statistics.

“When the house is illuminated and walkways and stairs are lit, it helps make sure people don’t fall and get hurt,” said David Perlmutter, owner of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Pittsburgh. “If people are out there looking to do harm at night, or break in, they’re usually not going in a house that has lights on it.”

There are two primary types of exterior lights — halogen and LED. Halogen lights use conventional 120-volt electricity and incandescent bulbs, and require a licensed electrician to install. Halogen typically costs less than LED, but the bulbs use more energy and don’t last as long. LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs operate off a low-voltage transformer and don’t require an electrician to install. Because they last longer and use less electricity, longer-term savings are realized more than with halogen.

“Halogen … last about 4,000 hours,” Perlmutter said. “Pretty much everything we’ve done over the past two-and-a-half years has been LED, which will be about 85 percent more energy efficient and last between 30,000 and 40,000 hours. So, you get a lifespan of 12 to 15 years out of the bulb.”

Both Perlmutter and Fisher say they often see do-it-yourself landscape lighting projects gone awry. By hiring a professional to install your exterior lighting, you can ensure you’re lighting the home in the most effective and appealing way.

“People love to put path lights on their walkway in what I call a runway-type fashion, where they have them across from each other,” Fisher said. “That’s really not the best way to do it. The best way is in a zigzag pattern, where they’re more random and not right across from each other. Another mistake we see is people will oftentimes put the lights in the wrong place, as far as shining on trees or shining on the house. They put it too close or too far away. We’ve done this so long; we know exactly where the lights should be placed to provide the most dramatic look.”

continue reading the full story below:

via Landscape Lighting Offers Aesthetics, Security by Angie Hicks on – A Syndicate Of Talent.

In case you were not aware,  P.M. Lighting is on Angie’s List so don’t forget to check out what our clients have to say about us.


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Landscape Now: 5 Tips For Landscape Lighting

Homeowners spend a considerable amount of effort, time, and expense creating their landscape gardens, patios, walks, features, and plantings, yet many times there is little thought about landscape lighting to highlight and illuminate their landscape for viewing and use when the sun goes down.


Lighting your outdoor space seems straightforward enough, right? On the contrary, there are several factors to consider in creating the best atmosphere.

With a well-designed lighting plan, your landscape can become enjoyable during the evening hours…in spring, summer, fall and even during the winter months from inside your home. With appropriately placed light sources you can achieve moonlight effects, highlights for focal points, illumination of paths and patios for safety and balanced lighting to tie in the landscape plantings, structures and lighting creating a very aesthetically pleasing landscape design. Let’s look at 5 tips to consider when designing landscape lighting and mistakes to avoid!

The Design Comes First

As with any project involving your landscape, gardens, and construction projects, it is extremely important to create a plan and design for the placement of light sources in your landscape, identify the principles of light to be used, techniques to be implemented, bulbs, fixtures, transformers, and wire needed. Although homeowners can investigate lighting and learn the basic principles, it is advised to seek out a landscape lighting designer to consult with to plan and implement major projects. Their expertise and familiarity with the intricate nature of low voltage lighting, effect of light and the numerous ways to provide the appropriate amount and intensity of light.

Goals of Landscape Lighting

The major goals of lighting are to provide security, ensure safety in the landscape, appropriate lighting for various needs and the overall aesthetics of the lighting plan. Each goal can be achieved in numerous ways, with each technique and choices affecting the overall aesthetic result of the lighting design. Although fixtures are the vehicles that hold the bulb, it is the light source (bulb) that is the most critical decision to be made by the designer.

Landscape Lighting Design Principles

Five principles of lighting design are:

  • Cohesion: the lighting plan must make visual sense to the viewer, combining the architectural, landscape, and lighting techniques into a sensible relationship with each other.
  • Depth: illumination of close and distance features will add depth to the owner’s view of the landscape, adding elements of intrigue to explore and move around the landscape.
  • Focal points: distinctive features in a landscape deserve to be highlighted…statues, pools, specimen trees, and architectural structures like arbors, gazebos, and specialty fencing.
  • Balance: There needs to be a sense of balance and proportion to the plants, structures, and features that are illuminated to create a feeling of visual congruity…areas of lighting and shadows that seem even and not unbalanced.
  • Visual comfort: Nothing is more uncomfortable for the viewer than glaring light sources, extremely bright bulbs, or misplaced fixtures. Making sure the lighting sources are comfortable for the viewer will ensure there are no distractions that will impact the effectiveness of the illumination.

Light Up Your Night!

Although creating a landscape lighting design plan and project may seem involved the result of installing lighting on your property will provide numerous opportunities to enjoy your landscape year round, ensure safety for your family and visitors and add an element of security to your home!

In my next article I will discuss the allure of water gardens in your landscape and 7 key points to consider when planning to add one to your landscape!

“Light always follows the path of the beautiful.”

Read the entire article at GoLocalProv | Real Estate | Landscape Now: 5 Tips For Landscape Lighting.


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