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VIDEO | MR16 Well Light Installation Guide

July 15, 2020 September 9th, 2020 No Comments

Summary: This instructional landscape lighting video shows how to install VOLT® MR16 well lights and discusses the best uses for these fixtures.

Video transcript:

Today, we want to talk about how to install the Brass Bully well light. The Brass Bully is a great little light. It also comes with three different tops other than the one that I’m showing you right here. So we want to take a few minutes and just go over how each individual top can best be utilized as well as how to install it properly.

The Brass Bully is a great recessed uplight for illuminating architecture. We’ll begin this installation by carefully raking back the mulch from the surface of the digging area where the light will be placed. When positioning the Brass Bully uplight, plant material can play a factor. However for best results, try to center the fixture evenly between the outside edge of the wall and a windowsill. Then from the center of the wall, measure back approximately 12 inches from the wall and place a flag or a marker of some kind in the ground. This is going to be the center of our light fixture.

OK, let’s get this light installed. The first step we need to do is to excavate the hole where it’s going to be placed. I prefer to use a post hole digger for this because it’s just a little bit easier; it makes a little cleaner hole and it’s just easier to get the dirt out of the bottom. If you’re like me and you happen to live in an area with heavy clay soil that retains moisture, you’re going to want to dig your hole to a depth of at least 10 to 12 inches deep. When using recessed in-ground fixtures, it’s always a good idea to try to mitigate water from around the light. I like to use pea gravel to give the water a place to run off to quickly. I will then set the fixture on the pea gravel and fill around it, making sure I leave at least two to three inches of the fixture sticking out above the ground. Continue moving pea gravel around the fixture until it is firmly packed into place. You can now spread your mulch back around the fixture and because we left the fixture standing about two to three inches out of the ground it will now sit level in the mulch.

Now I’m going to give you a tip if you want to install this light like the pros. What you’re going to need is a piece of black PVC or white PVC pipe – it’s 4 inch outside diameter, and it’s about 10 to 12 inches long. The key point of this is that you’ll feed the wire down through the pipe and the body of the light sits right inside. The benefit of this is that when this is in the ground, the light is going to sit nice and flush and steady, and it’ll never get knocked out of position. That’s the beauty of it. Four-inch OD pipe. Get it Home Depot, Lowe’s – pretty much any garden center. So if you want to do it like the pros, here you go

We will locate and excavate for the fixtures we did before – only this time we’re going to tuck the cable feeding power to light inside the sleeve and place it in the hole. It’s important to make sure that the top of the sleeve pipe is standing a good 3 inches above the surrounding soil so we have room for mulch. Now let’s get some of that pea gravel; we want to back-fill and pack it around the pipe sleeve to stabilize it and to lock it into place. Use a small torpedo level to roughly level the sleeve pipe in place. It doesn’t need to be perfect at this point. Connect to fixture to the lead wire that is inside the sleeve and tuck everything back inside. You can now test fit the fixture to the sleeve height. Here’s a profile view to show you the height of the sleeve pipe and how well the Brass Bully nestles inside.

With the fixture in place, I like to add just a touch of soil around the fixture and tamp it into place firmly. Even if this fixture accidentally gets kicked or bumped, it will not get moved out of place. Because the tamping we did may have moved the sleeve pipe slightly out of place, we need to do a final check for level and slightly adjust as necessary. With the fixture standing a good 3 inches out of the ground, it’ll now sit level with the mulch when we back-fill.

All that is left is to install the lamp. With the screws loosened, remove the brass top and rubber seal below it together, being careful not to get any dirt or grit on the gasket seal. Insert your choice of lamp. I’m using a 3 watt 60 degrees LED. The socket of the Brass Bully rests on a swing assembly that allows you to adjust the angle at which the lamp shines. For architecture like this, though, pointing straight up is the best. Don’t angle the lamp towards the wall at all.

While you have the fixture open, it’s a good idea to take a screwdriver and just make sure that the screws are firmly set that hold the socket assembly in place. I can now replace the top back on the fixture. It’s very important to be sure that the seal between the fixture body and the top rubber gasket seal is free of grit and dirt. Line up the screws over their holes and begin to gently screw them down in a place about three-quarters of the way. You’re going to use an alternating or opposing pattern so that the top gets screwed down evenly. Use a screwdriver to manually snug them into place. There is absolutely no need to over-tighten the screws.

As you can see, the Brass Bully does a wonderful job at even illumination from the bottom of the wall all the way to the top. As I said there’s four types of Brass Bully MR16 fixtures. The one that you saw us install was the Shielded model. This particular one right here is the Open model, which is used for general uplighting when glare is not really a concern, such as when it is placed behind plant material. Use the Shielded model when direct glare is a concern. The next selection is the Brass Bully Grate, which is typically used in uplighting situations that typically need to handle the abuse and wear of foot traffic. These are typically set in concrete or pavers. Our last selection is a Brass Bully Beacon, which is used for Illuminating horizontal surfaces such as sidewalks and docks. The top of the fixture has a white coating that is designed to reflect the lighting of the powerful MR16 lamp and project it across a flat surface. When installing the Brass Bully Beacon, there’s one important tip to keep in mind: it is a good idea to aim the lamps slightly back toward the white reflector. This parabolic feature of the Brass Bully Beacon will scoop up the light and will send it out the front. If regular path lights are not really your thing and you desire a more low-profile way to illuminate your walkway, give the Brass Bully Beacon a try. I think you’ll be pleased.

Well, that’s going to wrap up this segment on the Brass Bully fixture. Hopefully by now, you’re a little more confident about how to install this fixture correctly. If you have any questions about how to install this or any other VOLT® products, please give us a call at (813) 978-3700.

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