Replacing Halogens with LED's

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I know there are countless articles on this topic across the web but am really getting differing views/ opinions so figured best I post here my exact issue/ set up.

Basically I have a total of 23 MR16 Halogen downlighters controlled with one dimmer for 12 and one for 11. I have decided to change them to LED's but have numerous questions/ queries. Attached are pictures of the current wiring I have. I have read about LED Drivers if you have electric low voltage transformers, which I am pretty sure I do have (see pics). But then it gets confusing as to what type I need as I have dimmers and finally the cost I should be looking at per light.

So, to replace (judging by my pictures) the halogen lights I would need to remove the white box (Transformer) with an LED Driver that is Dimmer friendly, leave the chocbox in place and just wire that to the new transformer and then the transformer into a new downlighter? Can I keep the downlighter? And should I change to GU10 whilst in the process?

Once that is sorted I wonder what bulbs I should be looking at, like them to be white as opposed to yellowy which is what my halogens give (some of them).

Hopefully makes sense!

 
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The problem is lamp manufacturers don't give details of their lamps. So we don't know if 12 volt = 12 volt max or 12 volt RMS (16 volt max) and so we get very different results for what we think are the same lamps.

So safe method is to use low voltage (230v) GU10 fitting rather than extra low voltage (12v) GU5.3 fitting.

However the round fitting you show are likely a simple transformer and will work OK with LED lamps.

The electronic unit does not show a minimum amp or watt so may work but likely will not.

With 12 volt LED lamps a DC 12 volt power supply is the safe bet. For some reason some manufacturers call them drivers although a driver should control current not volts. It is so easy there for to end up with the wrong item to me GU10 is the way to go.

Internet is a problem as MR16 refers to reflector size and GU10 and GU5.3 refers to way power is put into bulb neither refer to the voltage. In high shops MR16 are normally 12 volt and GU10 230 volt but not with internet.

Size is a problem as many LED's are 60 degree not 120 degrees found with some quartz lamps and as a result you often need more to get coverage. Also lumen does not seem to help seems many ways to measure so it's a suck and see situation.

I would never use spot lights for general lighting great for reading in bed or lighting picture on wall but to work for general lighting they need to reflect light off white surface.

I would consider surface mount lamps which will cover the hole of the spot light but give a more general light.
 
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I think that 12V halogen spots are evil hateful things. Had 18 of the feckers in my kitchen, seemed like I was forever replacing lamps, transformers or burned and melted GU5.3 holders.

In the end I ditched the halogens, swapped the holders for GU10s, added a cpc to each of the metal cases, threw away the transformers (1 per light) and fitted 230V GU10 LED lamps. I think each one is 6w and they do a better job than the 50w halogen things they replaced. Went for warm white as we initially tried one warm and one cool white to see. Wife chose the warm white but it still seems less yellow than the halogens.

I have not had to mess with a single light since changing them around 12 months ago.

If I had it my way, I would take em all out and stick a pendant at each end of the room. But the lights came with the house and the boss likes em.
 
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Many thanks to you both for the reply. Apologies for my ignorance but will try to break it down for myself! I think the consensus is gu10's which is what I thought. So that does mean I can get rid of the transformer but would mean new light fittings?

And therefore which ones would work with dimmers?

Oh and what is "CPC"?
 
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CPC is earth connection.

I don't have any experience with LEDs and dimmers as I am happy with lights that are either on or off. Never really felt the need for anything inbetween.

If you go with 230V GU10 lamps then yes, you would get rid of the transformer. The easiest way is to replace the light fittings as to re-use the ones you have for 230V will require adding an earth connection to the metal parts, changing the lampholder and any wiring within them to 230V rated flex. I managed to get some GU10 lamp holders with enough cable on them to remove all of the original wiring from the light fittings.
 
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Thanks greased monkey, will think about removing the dimmer, you make a fair point! We inherited the set up, we are looking at removing some of the lights to put a more "intimate" pendant light up above the dinner table and kitchen island on storage switches so would probably do without the dimmer.

So, could replace all the units, I am seeing them for about £9.50 each, discount for buying more than 10. And with my pictures I could wire these straight from the choc box to the new unit, remove the dimmer and install a seperate switch.

http://www.ledhut.co.uk/spot-lights/gu10-led-bulbs/gu10-fire-rated-downlight.html

Just to clarify, when you describe the wiring etc are you saying that I would need to replace my current wiring or only if I was to keep the current lights?
 
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The wiring I was referring to is the wiring inside the light fitting, if they are currently 12V units, the internal wiring may not be rated for mains use. If you are replacing the fittings then no need to worry.

With new light fittings, I would just take the T&E from the connector block in your last picture and put that straight into the connector block on the new fitting.

There are much cheaper fittings, but it depends if you need the fire rated.
http://m.screwfix.com/p/lap-fixed-r...ight-polished-chrome-240v/39914?filtered=true
 
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Excellent, cheers. Two questions.....

1) what is t&e?

2) is it not best to get fire rated ones? Then again I imagine the heat led ones project is a lot less than halogen so no need?

Edit: the one you suggested, is that really it?? As in, literally wire that in and can put the gu10 led bulb in?? Obviously without a dimmer etc.
 
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1) what is t&e?
http://www.diynot.com/wiki/Electrics:flatpvccables


2) is it not best to get fire rated ones? Then again I imagine the heat led ones project is a lot less than halogen so no need?
"Fire rated" lights are ones which contain intumescent components which swell up when there's a fire so as to delay the spread of the fire through the light.

You don't need them unless you're in a flat, or have more than 2 floors - basically if the ceiling needs to be a fire compartment barrier. If you are worried about large holes in your ceiling then go out into your hallway, stand at the foot of the stairs and look up - you'll find a hole much larger than anything your lights have made.

Being fire rated says nothing about how hot the lights themselves get and it does not mean that they can have insulation piled over the top of them. Yes, LED lamps produce less heat than incandescents, but they are extremely intolerant of what they do produce, and it has to be got rid of. You must follow the makers recommendation on clearances.
 
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How far do you want to go OP?

We all agree dump the transformers and fittings.

You could change the dimmers to switches or to dimmers suitable to working with the total load of the new LED lights on each dimmer.

As for the light fittings you can go and spend £20 (£10 + £10) on each replacement GU10 + decent lamp.

Or you could buy the extra powerful LED lights at £26 such as

LTFRD12OW.JPG



You could then fit wider lens units say 70 deg and would end up with less units needed. I find 6 LED lite units tend to cover 10 GU10 positions worth of light.
 
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Basically I have a total of 23 MR16 Halogen downlighters
Completely, utterly, barking mad.

That's only 1 less than the total number of wall and ceiling lights I have in my entire (3-bed semi) house.

Blimey. I can think off the top of my head that I've got a total of 43 across two bathrooms, a kitchen/ diner, a play room and a bedroom. The rest all have pendants. But as I said, this was all inherited when we moved in. Am reducing the kitchen ones with this led upgrade.
 
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1) what is t&e?
http://www.diynot.com/wiki/Electrics:flatpvccables


2) is it not best to get fire rated ones? Then again I imagine the heat led ones project is a lot less than halogen so no need?
"Fire rated" lights are ones which contain intumescent components which swell up when there's a fire so as to delay the spread of the fire through the light.

You don't need them unless you're in a flat, or have more than 2 floors - basically if the ceiling needs to be a fire compartment barrier. If you are worried about large holes in your ceiling then go out into your hallway, stand at the foot of the stairs and look up - you'll find a hole much larger than anything your lights have made.

Being fire rated says nothing about how hot the lights themselves get and it does not mean that they can have insulation piled over the top of them. Yes, LED lamps produce less heat than incandescents, but they are extremely intolerant of what they do produce, and it has to be got rid of. You must follow the makers recommendation on clearances.

Cheers for the t and e bit, thought it was something along those lines.

Think possibly there was/ is a reason the ones installed were fire proof so maybe should stick with that.
 
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How far do you want to go OP?

We all agree dump the transformers and fittings.

You could change the dimmers to switches or to dimmers suitable to working with the total load of the new LED lights on each dimmer.

As for the light fittings you can go and spend £20 (£10 + £10) on each replacement GU10 + decent lamp.

Or you could buy the extra powerful LED lights at £26 such as

LTFRD12OW.JPG



You could then fit wider lens units say 70 deg and would end up with less units needed. I find 6 LED lite units tend to cover 10 GU10 positions worth of light.

I'm thinking the basic £10 fire rated ones, on switches not dimmers is the way forward for me, but then could replace the switches to dimmers if once installed we prefer.
 
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