Okay, I hope no one out there would mind a little venting! But who dreams up these cheesy light fixtures! That's a broad stroke but it covers many light fixtures in general, from the terrible, shallow flourescent troughers with tombstones that break anytime you change a light to expensive (very!) lights that we all have to work with which are so poorly engineered. Many of my other sparky brothers feel that "fixturin" can be the worst part of a job. We contend that whoever designs these things should be required to install them once! Okay, thanks, now I feel better.
This brings up a good point. I see fixtures, especially where an Interior Decorator is involved that will not cover any standard boxes or install with standard hardware. There's always a battle explaining to them that fixtures need boxes and just because someone can put wires in something doesn't mean that an Electrician can (legally) or will install it.
OK, I gotta jump in this one, Bill started it. I'm wiring a restaurant in the District of Columbia, gonna be a fancy, high brow place specializing in Quiche (Far as I know today, I still pronounce it Kwit-chee, like I did for them, I'm pretty sure I was a thorn in their side)
They make some fixtures, from parts found in a hardware store, and WICKER flower baskets. They were ripping mad when I told them, "I can't hang that s**t". I explained why to them.
They hung some plywood on the front of the store, I go up to them and tell them I know the bldg inspector is NOT going to allow this because it has no fire rating stamp on it.
They pretty much ignored me because I made them hang their own fixtures and they did not like me anymore.
The day the electrical inspector and bldg inspector show up at the same time, I kinda hang back to see. No I had said nothing to either of them, but knew them both and was not worried about them finding these things.
The electrical inspector calls me over and begins reaming me for hanging non approved fixtures as I explain to him I did not hang them. The bldg inspector is reaming them for the plywood at the same time.
They proceed to take a Bic lighter....no joke here, and try to light the materials. Because it did not immediately burst into flames they told the AHJ's it was fireproof. I shook my head and walked into the alley behind the store. This was in the 70's, I was a lot younger, and let them get away with things they would not now, especially since I am the AHJ.
Don't feel too sorry for these 3, their fathers were all extremely high power men, the three had just left some Ivy league college and their daddies decided to set them up in business, they had never built anything. Don't really know what became of any of them.
The owner of a forge asked me how to legally pursue marketability of his home made wrought iron fixtures. He had no electrical knowledge whatsoever, yet had wired many himself. Some types were not able to mount to any box we would use, hanging by a hook over the box like a picture.
I informed him he would need to probably fix this,( among other things I noted to him) and apply for a Listing
He finally found someone to pass it as is...
The moral? much junk on the market IMO, will be listed by one or another NRTL, we bring it on ourselves.......
[This message has been edited by sparky (edited 02-06-2002).]
I just looked at a couple of sconces that had a "canopy" depth of about 1/4". The swivel-type strap was offset 1/2" from the mounting strap. To install the sconces with the supplied swivel strap would have resulted in the sconce sitting 1/4" off the wall. I'm glad I looked at it first.
I'm spending my second day today replacing 12 "luminaires" that were imported from Italy. The first time around, they came wrong (no US lamp available), but architect wanted them hung anyway. (took a guy 3 days) All instructions are in Italian. I only got 6 done in a day yesterday. About $450 each,(no UL) when they're done they look like a beer glass with a bulb inside, hung from a piece of aircraft cable. I've been getting pictures of expensive sconces in high end office lobbies that I wouldn't put in my garage. Usually they're accompanied by "art" that looks like somebody framed a painter's rag. Elegance? Reminds me of the story of the Emperor's New Clothes But mommy, it's just a Painter's rag.
I see another opportunity here (although I can hear rebuttals forthcoming too)...
Couldn't the electricians and those 'in the know' about code, installation requirements, and safety considerations actually design some fixtures that include the features that YOU all need, plus accommodate and incorporate the artistic and current trends that you've seen recently?
I know you may not have time. Or money. Or artistic flair perhaps. But, you have the technical know-how and I suspect that if you offered a comparably priced object d'art that illuminates the same space that a trashy or poorly-made fixture would, the consumer would probably pick yours since the safety features and the installation costs would be more favorable. I know a few people who have designed a product or improved a design and made an advance in the quality of what's available by doing so.
As an alternate approach, I think that some consumers would rather have your list of 'best or better' fixtures and the matrix of features or reasons that qualify the fixtures for your list (installation ease, match up of fixture to boxes, superior safety features, availability of lamps, etc.) so they could be 'in the know' about options that matter when they're making selections. Many are swayed by the 'pretty pictures' alone, drawn by a designer who is probably trying to make a visual statement above all else.
[This message has been edited by BuggabooBren (edited 02-06-2002).]
(although I can hear rebuttals forthcoming too)...
One self inflicted detriment seems to be this Law , which as Ross P. warned , has created a 'huge sucking sound' of manufacturing sector out of the country.
Fueled by simple economics, this means most 'luminares' made elsewhere. A driving factor is the asthetic appeal , which constitutes a luminares marketability far and away over compatibility, longevity, and even it's basic function. [thread highjack]Obviously, being that all of today's fixtures are NFG for pre-1985 wiring, and thus the majority of the population, respect to our trades concerns should be rather apparent.[/thread highjack]
The end result is those big orange places beating out the competition via goods made in countries i can't even spell, much less desire to stand behind....
Then ask yourself this, when the common denominator of quality dips , what do the NRTL's do? Who do they work for? Who cuts them the check?
They proceed to take a Bic lighter....no joke here, and try to light the materials.
uh...ya..sure, fine ...... ( insert pix of white coat lab guys) So whadda I do? I DON"T buy anything I don't personally specify, If the customer wishes to choose luminares ,(face it, Mama rules in residential work here)I will require cut sheets or communication with the lighting shop/ supplier beforehand. Basically, all you need do is say you will not stand behind any non-American make/model. I make a point of stating this to my customers....