Downlighters - mains or low voltage

Andrew Gabriel wrote:

Not appalling, juts a bit inefficient.

You can, but a lot depends on what you mean by adequate...
With large spread and angled eyeball types you can do a reasonable job with about 3-6 50W units..but these are SPOTLIGHTS. They light up specific areas really well, but leave other areas somewhat in the dark. This can be a good or a bad thing depending.
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F wrote:

If you must, LV every time. The short service life and high cost of mains bulbs makes them utterly uneconomic and a pain to keep replacing.
I wold say that next to Saniflos they are the second worst load of crap ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting home improvement public. Apart from stripped pine that is..
Plenty will tell you how utterly Eco-hostile incandescent lamps of all types are, but heck its your money...
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I've got mains RO80 halogens which look like large LV lamps - I didn't want to change the fittings - and they're claimed to have a long life as well as giving a very pleasant light.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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F wrote:

Go for mains.

Ten
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Lots of comments (thanks) saying 'not downlighters' but none saying what the alternative should be...
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Frank
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F wrote:

Well, what other types of lighting are there bar downlighters?
I like uplighting, but its been given a bad name by those dreadful plaster bowl things.
NT
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On Sun, 02 Jul 2006 17:25:16 +0100 someone who may be F

Well, do give us a clue. We are not mind readers.
You need to tell us something about the kitchen. What is done in it? Are there distinct areas in the kitchen, dining area and kitchen proper...? Any particular features, perhaps an oak beam? How much use does the kitchen get? What style is the kitchen, ye olde worlde, art deco, ultra modern...? Are you looking for general lighting, lighting tasks or to illuminate some focal point? Do you want your electricity meter to spin round like a catherine wheel when you turn the lights on?
Give us a clue and you might move the discussion on.
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David Hansen, Edinburgh
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On 02/07/2006 19:47 David Hansen wrote:

I'll try.
6M long, 3M wide.
Modern.
Used for food preparation and (gasp!) cooking.
Also used for consuming meals when the two of us are by ourselves.
Need 'general' lighting plus more for preparation area?.
One short wall will have base cupboards and wall cupboards across it.
One long wall has window and door and will have sink and a gas hob with a hood above it.
Other short wall has a door and fridge on it.
Remaining long wall has a door and will have 600mm wide floor to ceiling cupboard with built-in double oven next to a 1M wide surface with no cupboards below or above and which will usually be used for food preparation and consumption. Oh, and I don't like to prepare food in the gloom!
As for the electricity meter spinning, I prefer to see what I'm doing in a decent light rather than save a couple of pence.
Hope that helps!
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Frank
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On Sun, 02 Jul 2006 20:31:37 +0100 someone who may be F
A good reason for avoiding ye olde worlde fittings in favour of things where form follows function.

For both the ideal is bright shadowless general lighting that extends to all parts of the room/work area. The best way of doing this is still with fluorescent tubes that illuminate the room evenly. Don't make them too bright, as glare is unpleasant. Select the right daylight tubes. In a room 6m x 3m I would start my calculations with three single 1.2m tubes spaced 1m, 3m and 5m from one narrow wall, going across the narrow dimension. Prismatic diffusers might be considered a little office like, though opal might just gain acceptance. Both are easy to clean, important in a kitchen. Bare tubes are not particularly pleasant.
If the Management will not allow these then fit bare tubes by the top of the cupboards, fit a baffle and paint the ceiling white to bounce the light downwards. You will need more and more powerful tubes to provide a useful level of illumination though. There is a very noticeable difference between the two sorts of lighting and your electricity meter will go round faster in this situation.
Give either scheme separate switches, especially if one end is more likely to be used for working. Ensure that the general lighting (or at least part of it) can be switched from every door.
Where there are cupboards above work areas fit the smaller fluorescent tubes under them. Compact fluorescent lights can go in cooker hood light fittings. Provide local switches under the cupboards, so water from wet hands will not run into them and they are easy to turn on and off as necessary. Fit a downlighter above the sink, with a reflector compact fluorescent bulb, controlled by a pull cord switch. These lights will counteract any shadows from the general lighting while working on a task. They can also be used if it is a bit dark outside, but not dark enough to turn the general lighting on.

For this less bright lighting is highly desirable. This might be by eyeball downlighter(s), spotlamp(s) fitted to wall or ceiling, perhaps a rise and fall lantern, aimed at the table. They are best fitted with tungsten reflector bulbs and controlled by a dimmer to vary lighting to mood. If you have a nice wooden table consider amber bulb(s) to bring out the grain. With spotlamp(s) tungsten bulbs with a silver crowned top can work very well, as they cut out glare and provide an even light.
To provide a low level of background lighting for meals fluorescent tubes above the cupboards can work well. If they also provide general lighting switching off most of these can work well.

Yes. As this lighting will be used a lot it makes sense for it to be energy efficient.

If any wall cupboards have glass doors or open fronts then low voltage halogen downlighters can look good, illuminating the contents while eating. If they are not run too often the bulbs will not blow every few minutes.
One tip with these lights is not to go for the ones with bulbs with two wires sticking out the back. The ones with SBC fittings seem to last rather better. Undoubtedly they contain the same capsules with the wires sticking out the back, but surrounding this with a proper bulb seems to do these good. An example is http://www.lightbulbs-direct.com/products_by_category.asp?ProdID 0

Ovens need somewhere to put dishes down beside them. If the general lighting does not reach this worktop another downlighter, like at the sink, will do the job. However, an ordinary switch will be fine. http://www.lightbulbs-direct.com/variant_detail.asp?var607 is the sort of bulb, brighter versions of this are available though and about 20W would probably be better.

That is why the low running costs of fluorescent lighting are ideal. Turning on as much light as necessary becomes second nature without worrying that it will cost a lot.

It is more than couple of pence, covering the ceiling with little downlighters can costs hundreds of pounds a year in electricity.
Kitchens with dining rooms are amongst the most difficult rooms to light. A bulb in the middle is rarely the right approach, neither is covering the ceiling with little halogen downlighters all wired to one switch. They need flexible lighting, tailored to the precise layout and uses.
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David Hansen, Edinburgh
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My usual tips on fluorescent tube colour selection are... If you are mixing with filament lighting, then you need the same colour temperature, i.e. 2700K tubes, or you will see a noticable colour temperature difference between the two. Otherwise pick 2700K or 3500K tubes based on the lighting level you are designing for. 2700K will look more correct at lighting levels common in the rest of your house. However, people often want a higher lighting levels in kitchens, in which case 3500K will look OK. Don't be tempted to go for higher colour temperatures -- they will look anaemic at indoor artificial lighting levels. Midday sun may well be 6500K, but unless you cover your whole ceiling with fluorescent tubes to achieve the same lighting level as midday sun, 6500K tubes will simply look blue, and the lack of red will have a bad effect on colour of food in particular.
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Andrew Gabriel

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I've got downlighters over the work surfaces which don't have cupboards above them and they give excellent concentrated light. Those with worktops above have got fluorescents mounted under the cupboards and running their full length. General lighting is by a pendant over the breakfast room part table. Both the pendant and florries are dimmable. But I must admit to not being overtly concerned about efficient use of electricity for lighting - I'd rather have what I want and make sure it's turned off when not needed.
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Probably because it's been covered loads of times before, as was said in an earlier response.
I've done several kitchens and done the lighting in even more. One scheme which invariably works well is to use the cupboards for the lighting. Task lighting for the worktops goes under the wall cupboards, immediately behind the pelmet if you have one. General room lighting can go on top of the cupboards to bounce off a brilliant while ceiling and generate an excellent coverage with no glare and no shadows. Worktops with no wall cupboard above (sinks are common case) can be lit with either specifically positioned downlighters, or a wall mounted uplighter to light the ceiling directly above, or a hanging fitting (I would not do this over a sink).
Switch the general lighting and task lighting separately, which enables the lighting to easily be adjusted for different uses and levels of natural light.
If you are rewiring the kitchen, I would suggest providing Klik lighting sockets above and below each run of wall cupboards for the lights, which can then be plugged in. A central ceiling light in a kitchen is remarkably useless for lighting (unless it's over an island). You might want to retain it for a decorative (low power) light, or remove it. (In one case, the wiring for it became a point for an emergency light only.)
The one kitchen I've been involved with where the lighting is a disaster is one where the occupant insisted on spot lamps inspite of my warnings to the contrary. The general lighting level is terrible and fails into shadows just where you are working at a worksurface. To get a good lighting level in a 6m x 3m kitchen using halogen downlighters would probably require 500-1000W depending on floor reflectivity. 1000W of lighting could cost you over 500/year to run depending on usage pattern and would require a new lighting circuit.
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Andrew Gabriel

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On 02 Jul 2006 21:28:57 GMT someone who may be snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote this:-

Indeed. I have seen this triumph of "looks" over useability too. I blame the "do your house up" television programmes, where the "designers" seem to know little or nothing about designing lighting and would probably reject the ideas of those who do.
In one kitchen, perhaps 4m x 7m, general illumination is provided by 720W of reflector spotlights, on a common circuit. Brightness is fine, but not energy conserving.
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David Hansen, Edinburgh
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On 02/07/2006 22:28 Andrew Gabriel wrote:

I've Googled, but failed...

Another Google failure.
Anything like 'Link Light Fluorescent Fittings' from TLC - http://tinyurl.com/n2oae (http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Lighting_Menu_Index/Kitchen_Lighting/Kitchen_and_Under_Cupboard/index.html )
Thanks for the other detailed advice.
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Well, googling on klik lighting sockets gives first 6 matches all relevant. However, finding a good picture of the architrave socket (part S26) I used was a little harder...
http://www.electrika.co.uk/products/itemdetail.asp?MANU 00&CE&DE&EC and the plug: http://www.electrika.co.uk/products/itemdetail.asp?MANU 00&CE&DD&EA

(http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Lighting_Menu_Index/Kitchen_Lighting/Kitchen_and_Under_Cupboard/index.html )
No.
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My kitchen comes in at approx. 6 by 3 as discussed else where, and the guestimate I used was to draw round a bulb on a 1:20 scale drawing of the floor space, this gives unlucky 13 (650W) so will probably fit 12 and and another light fitting over the table ( 3 circuits) in room plus no wall cupboard
so we are opting for 12 gimballed down lighters (CFL were discounted after much discussion in trade lighting shop)
You can now get LV with integral transformers are these worth using or should I stick with mains voltage.

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Mark

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