Changing Halogen Ceiling Lights to LED


Postby Jim.h » Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:42 pm

I am thinking about changing out my halogen ceiling lights for Led but I am a bit confused with different blogs I have read and I would appreciate some help.
I have about 30 halogens in total fitted in my kitchen and bathroom and so it will be pretty expensive to replace them and so it will take a long time for me to recover any energy saving.
Can I plug a new LED directly into the old halogen holder and .........
Can the new LED be wired directly to the mains using a LED lamp holder or do I need to have an electronic transformer or driver
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Postby Mr White » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:52 pm

It depends on what you have now as to what you can do next, and as you have not said what you have now..............

Like halogen lamps there are two types of LED lamp (Not counting the colour temperature and wattage)

There are 12v and there are 230v lamps

If you have 12v halogen lamps then you will also have a "transformer" for either each lamp, or each group of lamps. (No rule as such, each installation is different) If you have this set up then you will have to change all the transformers to "Drivers" as halogen lamps run on A.C. and LED lamps run on D.C. Also "Transformers" have a minimum wattage before they will work, this is too high for the wattage of LED lamps.

If you have 230v (mains) halogen lamps, then you can buy Mains LED lamps (The driver is in the base of each lamp) and just change them over.

If you have 12v Halogen lamps, it may be more economical to change the complete fitting to accept mains LED lamps. You can not put a 12v lamp in a 230v fitting as they are designed not to fit (saves them going bang)

The 12v lamps are called MR16 (The lamp has two thin wire "prongs")
The 230v lamps are called GU10 (The lamp has 2 sturdy "posts")
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Postby Jim.h » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:05 pm

Thank you Mr White...... I have 12 volt 50 w halogens at the moment so ...... should I remove the transformers from the system and connect 240 v ac LED lamp holders to the tails from the mains (that once connected to the transformers) ....seems fairly straight forward if I have understood you correctly
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Postby Mr White » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:31 pm

If it were me, I would change the complete fitting. (Less hassle, and you know it will work)

MR16 lamps are held in place by a "circlip" where as a GU10 is held in place by the lamp holder itself.

There is also the consideration that mains lamps will require an earth (unless they are double insulated) where as 12v lamps do not require an earth.

If you do opt for the GU10s you will also no longer need the transformers.
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Postby ericmark » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:15 am

I have 12 volt G5.3 MR16 fittings in my bathroom powered from a transformer, it was a simple case of replacing the quartz lamp with a 12 volt 50 Hz LED lamp.

However many extra low voltage MR16 G5.3 lamps are not supplied from transformers, but use electronic transformers, which are really switched mode power supplies, these typically at 35 - 105 VA which means they will work between those two figures, and also the output is often in the kHz range, as a result often a limit to about of cable you can use and often the LED does not use enough power to be within the minimum or 35 VA.

There is also a possibility fitting diodes to these can turn them into radio transmitters, and many of the LED bulbs are marked 50 Hz which means to be sure they will work you need a transformer not an electronic transformer.

MR16 = multi faceted reflector 16/8th of an inch across. i.e. 2 inches. So both G5.3 pins used with 12 volt and GU10 bayonet used with 230 volt are both MR16 lamps. However often 12 volt are called MR16 and 230 volt GU10. Bit like writing FM and MW on a radio one refers to modulation type, the other frequency, should say VHF and MW or FM and AM but often mixed, same with bulbs.

So 12 volt LED MR16 replacement are mainly 50 Hz, but you can get DC versions often 10 - 30 volt mainly designed for caravans and boats, the latter must have a DC supply, although those marked 50 Hz should have an AC supply they will often work OK with DC.

LED's themselves are current dependent, and they always have a driver which limits current, however in the main this is built into the lamp, so we only need to control voltage. However for some unknown reason the lighting industry seem to call 12 volt DC power supplies drivers, so you have real drivers often rated something like 320 mA where all lamps are connected in series, and simple 12 volt power supplies also with the name driver written on them. Many people I know do use 12 volt DC power supplies to power 12 volt MR16 replacements, but since often marked 50 Hz really should use a transformer.

There are two reasons for using 12 volt quartz lamps rather than 230 volt, one is because where they are used requires extra low voltage as in bathrooms, the other was the filament was thicker so lasted longer, moving to LED they latter reason has gone, so in a kitchen I would consider moving over to 230 volt versions the GU10 lamp.

However 2 inches is not very big, and with cooling fins they are not even 2 inches, so to light a room the spot light needs to shine onto a white surface which will reflect and spread the light, small wattage LED GU10 works well, 2 to 4 watt as a reading lamp next to bed is great, but 7 watt will only light the room if reflected off white wall or ceiling.

LED lights can be made quite thin, so there is no need for them to be let into the ceiling, so a 2 inch light can be replaced with a 4 inch light without need to either fill in hole or make hole bigger, and 4 inches will light the area with 7 or 10 watt without needing to reflect the light. There are also those which do let into ceiling.

I would consider using larger diameter lights with LED. My kitchen has 28W of lighting, my sons half the size has 42W of lighting but when I went to set his boiler I needed a torch, lumen counting only works if you get a good spread of light.
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Postby collectors » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:08 am

If of any help, i have a 7x2.7met kitchen & have 11 x 7 watt LED megerman lamps with a 4000K colour. "Good light for a kitchen" Remember also to check the lamps are dimmable if you want this facility as quite often the non dimmable lamps are cheaper. I found the 4000k lamps nice & bright considering i have wood cabinets & wood flooring, so need the lights on even in the day if working in the kitchen. These lamps would be fine else ware if on dimmers as when dimmed the light gets softer in colour. At the time, my lamps were about £10 each, but i see a philips 7 watt the other day for £6.12 each.
Philips High Lumens 7W MasterLED Spot GU10 LED
Not sure why the forum wont let me post a url link.?????
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Postby ericmark » Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:40 am

LED's are current devices, so in the bulb there needs to be some thing to convert it from current to voltage. With some DC units they use a switch mode power supply and as a result you get 100 lumen per watt, however since the switch mode power supply will allow 10 to 30 volts, often these lamps will not dim.

Much cheaper method is for 12 volt a resistor and for 230 volt a capacitor, with approx 3 volt across an LED common for 12 volt to have 3 LED's and a resistor in series, or multiples there of, very common to see 9 LED's in a lamp.

So 3 LED's at 100 lumen per watt but a resistor at zero lumen per watt adds up to 75 lumen per watt, so in essence a dimmable LED is not as efficient as a non dimmable type.

Also dimming switches and wifi switches need power to work, and also cables to switches will through capacitive and inductive coupling allow some current to flow, so bulbs often have a leak resistor, without this often the light will flash when turned off. So with AC units the lumen per watt is also affected by this leak resistor. So 10 LED bulbs at 5 watt are not as efficient as 5 at 10W because of the leakage current of each lamp.

EU rules say it has to say if non dimmable, so nothing on the lamp means it will dim, it has to say if it does not.

The worst are strips of LED's these can be as low as 25 lumen per watt, LED's are both used as decoration and lighting, the former can be very inefficient.

I have moved to LED except for fluorescent tubes in kitchen, not because they use less power, but because they don't fail as often.
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