It seems everybody who manufactures LED floodlights makes the same basic pain-in-the-arse mistakes... with the exception of Timeguard...


I’ve had to install three LED floodlights this past week, and frankly I’m tired of coming across the same issues whenever I’m up a ladder bolting one to the wall. Thankfully, Timeguard UK are one manufacturer who have got it right. Let’s compare the troublesome with the Timeguard to see why they are now my go-to brand of choice when it comes to LED floodlights.


Oh, and by the way, if you can't be bothered to read all about it, I cover all this in a YouTube review at the end of the article, so pull up the popcorn and you can watch that instead!


Oversized bracket holes.


Depending on the size of the floodlight, I’m going to be attaching it to the wall with one or two 5.5mm wall plugs and an appropriately sized screw. So why do manufacturers insist on brackets with screw holes up to 10mm in size?

largebracketWhat silly size of screw do they think I'll be using?


Do they think I’m going to drill a hole that big into the client’s brickwork and use some kind of heavy duty anchor bolt to secure it? No; of course not. Why on earth would I? The weight and wind loading will never be such that an anchor fixing or coach bolt is required to keep it in place. So to every floodlight job I need to come armed with washers to reduce the size of the bracket fixing hole. If I forget or I find the van is short on washer stock, then that light ain’t going on the wall.


Pain in the arse factor: 6.2/10


Timeguard floodlights come with sensible bracket holes that will accommodate a 4mm-gauge screw with no additional washer required.

smallbracketThe way it should be.

 


Pre-wired cable.


I don’t understand why LED floodlights come off-the-shelf with a bit of pre-wired rubber flex attached. Halogen floodlights never had such, they always had an IP enclosure with a screw connector block inside.

prewiredStupid short pre-wired flex.

 

The flex supplied on pre-wired floodlights is often too short to be useful. If you’re going straight through the wall to a fused spur directly behind then it just about works, otherwise you’re left installing an external junction box which is extra hassle and expense. One LED flood supplied to me by one of my wholesalers barely had enough flex to even clear the back of the light which is damn near useless. DIY installers are likely not going to be diligent enough to fix a proper IP rated junction enclosure, and it’s unwelcome extra faff for the trade installers.


Pain in the arse factor: 7.1/10


Timeguard floodlights have the traditional IP enclosure and connector block arrangement allowing the installer to get the feed cable terminated exactly how they want it and without any ugly external junctioning nonsense. Replacing an existing light with the cable already there? Simple, just terminate the existing cable straight onto the thing. Installing a new feed? Simple, just wire it to length and terminate it straight onto the thing. Why do other manufacturers think I’d appreciate 40cm of rubber cable being pre-wired onto their light?

terminalblockTimeguard have a nice roomy IP box with screw terminals, as seen on halogen models since the dawn of time.

 


Bracket bolts.


The trouble with all floodlights is that you have to remove the bracket to get it affixed to the wall, then reattach the floodlight to the bracket.

bracketThis ain't going on the wall while the bracket remains attached.

So you’re up a ladder trying to get the M5/M6 bolts back in with a fiddly adjustable spanner, but there’s also a washer and a spring washer to battle with.

m5boltM5/M6 bolt with spring washer one side and ordinary washer the other side of the bracket.

You know one or more component is going to get dropped into the flowerbed below, and of course it never just lands below the ladder, instead it bounces into a black hole somewhere never to be seen again. The bolts and washers are usually not ferrous either so you can’t even secure them with a magnet while up the ladder, or use a magnet to find them amongst the soil or bark chippings when you do drop them. Why can’t the design incorporate a bracket that doesn’t require removal in order to be installed?


Pain in the arse factor: 9.4/10


Timeguard floodlights are also guilty of the crime of requiring the bracket to be separated for installation and then reattached when precariously balanced on a ladder, however they have three advantages to other manufacturers:

detachedinbox1. The bracket is supplied unattached in the box so you don’t have to waste time removing it.

screws
2. Screws are used, not bolts, so a screwdriver is required rather than an adjustable spanner or socket set. For your average sparkie, a screwdriver is more readily to hand, and when up a ladder it’s easier to manipulate.

captive
3. The screws are captive on the bracket so there’s little chance of them dropping off into a flowerbed, down a drain or into that mysterious black hole where they’ll never be seen again.

 


Single cable entry.


Let’s say you’ve installed one sensor and want to daisy chain two lights. A pre-wired light or one with a single cable entry will require external junctioning. Probably a rare issue, but when you have it...


Pain in the arse factor: 4.4/10


Timeguard LED floods have two cable entry glands, so daisy chaining or connecting external switches or sensors is a breeze.

cableentry
Two cable entry points, one each side, both with cord grips. Marvellous!


Now you may think this blog post is sponsored by Timeguard UK, and it sure does read like an advert for them, but I’ve no affiliation or contact with them. They don’t even seem to have a meaningful presence on Twitter, so they’re not going to notice me promoting my blog any time soon. Personally I’m just sick of battling with products that appear to be designed by people who’ve never put any thought into installing them. When a product comes along which is better by design for the installer, then it deserves to be praised.


So fellow installers, I call upon you to vote with your wallets and switch to Timeguard in preference to other manufacturers who don’t listen or don’t care about those of us who have to actually fit their products. After all, who needs a pain in the arse when they’re up a ladder?


Oh, and if you do work for Timeguard and you want to thank me with some free gifts for taking the time out to pen this article, then I wouldn’t actually have a problem with that!