Landscape Lighting – Tools of the Trade
If you have decided to add landscape lighting into your repertoire of services offered, having the right tools will make you all the more successful.
Multi Piece Screwdriver Sets
A six to ten piece screwdriver set with nonslip handles will be a great start to a landscape lighting contractor’s tool kit. Fixtures, screw terminal lamps and low voltage power supplies all have different screw head styles. A six to ten piece set should work for most brands of product.
Digital Amp Clamp Volt Meter
A digital amp clamp volt meter can help a contractor collect a lighting system’s voltage, amps, and continuity information. Using this meter along with the Ohm’s law equations will assist a technician in the field. Once you obtain your digital amp clamp volt meter, seek out a lighting or electrical professional to get an understanding of the tool’s full operation and capabilities.
Side Cutting Lineman’s Pliers With Crimp
These pliers will provide a technician some extra leverage when pulling cable through a sleeve. The side cutter is very sharp and will cut lighting cable off of the roll very easy. By using the tip of the pliers, a contractor is able to split the paired lighting cable so it can be stripped and attached to fixture cables or inserted into a transformer terminal block. The crimping tool on these pliers can be used on the appropriate cable splices.
Cable Cutters and Stripper Combinations
There are many different styles of cable cutters/strippers combinations on the market today. Most are made to strip the ends of solid cable not for stranded landscape lighting cable. However, these can be used effectively on landscape lighting cable if a technician is careful. Care for this combination tool is very important. Never cut anything but copper cable with them. Cutting bailing wire or fence wire can damage the edge.
PVC Conduit Cutters/Hacksaw
When installing a low voltage lighting system, it may be necessary to place a PVC conduit chase under a sidewalk or driveway. Use a PVC conduit cutter or hacksaw will help to successfully cut the right size chase for the job.
Measuring Wheel and Tape Measure
A measuring wheel and retractable tape measure will be necessary to help estimate cable lengths in order to calculate voltage drop to the fixtures.
When conduit chases are long, the landscape lighting cable may not pass through easily. This is due to its non-ridged flexibility. A fish tape is a roll of thin ridged steel tape with an eyelet on the end. A lighting technician can pass the fish tape from one side of the conduit to the other. The lighting cable can be tied off to the eyelet. The cable can then be pulled through the conduit from the other end. In some cases it may be necessary to lubricate the cable with a soap based lubricant.
Allen Wrench Sets
These can also be a great part of a landscape lighting tool set.
All of the above-mentioned tools will be a great asset and investment for a lighting contractor. Many manufacturers have designed specific tools to work with their fixtures. If you are using a specific manufacturer, contact the local representative for proper instruction in the use of these tools.
Always remember, “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” – Marshall McLuhan