LV Halogens MR16 to LEDs ?

Hi all, A question in a similar area to Boicey's a few mintues ago.... I've just had a fun hour trying to figure out how to easily remove a GU 10 halogen downlighter from our kitchen ceiling after having bought some GU10 CFLs. One set of needle nosed pliers and a smashed up bulb later, I've realised that they're 'MR16 GU 5.3 fittings' with Osram Decostars in them. These seem to be low voltage. This surprised me a bit; I had thought that only mains voltage lamps were dimmable and that these were 'mains voltage'. I am obviously not an electrican :) Anyway, I'd like to replace them with LEDs. A lot of LED MR16s say that they're 'a direct replacement for my old inefficient bulbs'. Then, in the small print, they mention LED drivers versus LV transformers. Given that I didn't install the original halogens ... can I assume that each one currently has it's own transformer ? <thick question alert> - do LV halogens have to have transformers ? I assume so but would like to be sure. I was thinking of simply swapping them with some LED MR16 bulbs just in case it works OK. Given John R's reply to the Econic 3w question, I'm just wondering if it's even worth bothering as it'll cost around 30 for the room I want to experiment with and I don't want to have to install either transformers or drivers. Worth a shot ?
Thanks in advance, Keith, who previous struggled remembering which fittings were BC, SBC, ES or SES, never mind this new fangled halogen nonsense :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sorry to reply to my own post but I've just spotted some info on the kulekat website that seems to imply (a) the my current set up must use transformers and (b) that keeping one LV halogen in the circuit should overcome the need for LED drivers. Think I'm going to give that a try. I apologise if it's obvious that LV Halogens require a transformer. Up until 4 hours ago I thought I had mains voltage lighting !
Cheers, Keith
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've been keeping my eye on LED lighting for some time.
It seems that recently products have come available which are truly comparable in terms of intensity with 20W halogen
This weekend I replaced the last of 11 GU10 20W Halogen lemps in my kitchen with LED.
The lamps I used were from a supplier on eBay. Search for "48 SMD MR16" and you'll find them. The LED's have no lenses and as such the lamps are not very directional. IMO a good thing.
"Day White" looks terrible in a living room, but "Warm White" is OK (but a little less bright) and still comparable with Halogen..
In my case I needed new transformers because the old could not deal with low loads. I purchased http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/LTYT50.html and they work fine. If you're experimentally just going to install 1 or 2 LED lamps in a circuit that also has halogens then there should be no problem.
D
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Perhaps I'm just picky, but quality of light in the home is still more important to me than saving a few watt.hours of electricity. *And* the cost and life of LEDs is still not comparable to LV halogen.
--
*How much deeper would the oceans be without sponges? *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

They do. You could run them direct off mains, and the energy efficiency would go way up... but the life expectancy would be very very very short.
NT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You can assume there's one or more transformers.

Yes.
Even if they did work, the problem you'll have is that the LEDs are nowhere near as bright as your existing lamps (at least, not unless you are spending vastly more than 30 for the whole room), and they may also be a sickly blue shade, which is really bad in a kitchen.
--
Andrew Gabriel
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Low voltage (MR16) pull out: Mains (GU10) have to be turned slightly first.

Some truth in that some time back. If using ordinary transformers you needed a special dimmer due to the inductive load. Early electronic transformers couldn't be dimmed. But these days most dimmers are ok with any load - and most electronic transformers can be dimmed.

Depends what you mean by 'direct replacement' They may plug in but that's about it. They won't give the same light quality or as much.

Maybe. Can be as many as four off one.

They are LV - 12 volt - and mains is 240v. So have an educated guess. ;-)

Better to check what you do have. If you remove a fitting you can sometimes fish the 'transformer' out of the hole. If it's shared, you might have to try more than one. If it is an electronic type it may not work with LEDs. If an older true transformer it will.
--
*If you can't see my mirrors, I'm doing my hair*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
London SW

Thanks Dave, I'm still undecided but all the help from this group means I can at least go into it knowing enough to pre-empt any issues :) In another post you mention the quality of light, which I agree is important. However, I've become positively phobic about turning the downlighters on in the house due to perceived cost but I know that's just me being silly :)
Cheers, Keith
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well, MR16 20w seem subjectively to give just about the same amount of light as 50w ones. Or rather not a dramatic reduction. So 5 of those is only the same as a 100w GLS bulb in running costs. A neighbour commented on the 8 lighting my ground floor hallway - saying it was nice but what about the running costs. She has two 100 watt pendant lamps and was surprised to be told they cost more to run...
--
*A person who smiles in the face of adversity probably has a scapegoat *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
London SW

Hi again Dave, Thanks for the info about the 20W which I've coincidentally ordered 10 of today, together with another 10 35W lights for good measure. It was before I saw your post, honest ;) I might sprinkle a few of the cheaper LEDs (10, gulp) in a bathroom where I couldn't give a damn about the light levels; just to experiment.
Thanks once again, Keith
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

if you want to save money/energy you'd do better to fit concealed fluorescnt uplighting, and change the halogen bulbs for 5 watters. http://wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php?title=Fluorescent_Lighting
NT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You might want to try one first, not only are they not as bright as halogen they have poor colour and often far narrower beams than GU10 so you get pools of anaemic light just where you don't need them and darkness where you do.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If it were me, I'd take out all the fittings and transformer(s), replace with mains wiring, and fit GU10 fittings and LED bulbs (GU10 LED lamps can be had for about a fiver each now).
But before doing so, buy a couple of GU10 fittings and lamps, do a temporary lash-up and see if you're happy with the colour and the amount of light (especially at night time).
Halogen GU10s tend to have quite a wide spread of light and the LED versions have a narrower beam. This may not matter if the ceiling is fairly high and they are bright enough for you.
Saw a toilet at Manchester airport fitted with GU10 LEDs. Although the installers had tried to compensate for the poor light output by installing a lot of them, the result was truly dismal; you could barely see and the light was an offputting shade of blue.
--
(\__/)
(='.'=) Bunny says Windows 7 is Vi$ta reloaded.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
writes

Blue lighting in public toilets is very common.
It stops the druggies finding the veins.
Adam
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And just how are you meant to fly Ryanair without a fix?
--
*You! Off my planet!

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I experimented with one mains LED - bought from Lidl. Blew up in a spectacular fashion after a few months. Wasn't cheap, either.
--
*I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If your looking to acheive energy savings that don`t cost more than they save, domestic lighting is pretty low on the payback scale.
As you have already discovered LV Halogen has an excellent lifespan, its sounds like first time you have ever had to attempt to change lamps. I have LV MR16s that are well past their 10th birthday , in daily use. Be assured that you have the best light quality and efficiency currently available for the application.
Afraid 30 is unlikely to buy anything LED sufficient to act as a halogen replacement for a whole room.
GU10 in any form is a complete waste of time, money and resources.
Putting your computer to sleep when its idle will save more energy than retrofitting lighting with this weeks fad.
Adam
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

If your looking to acheive energy savings that don`t cost more than they save, domestic lighting is pretty low on the payback scale.
As you have already discovered LV Halogen has an excellent lifespan, its sounds like first time you have ever had to attempt to change lamps. I have LV MR16s that are well past their 10th birthday , in daily use. Be assured that you have the best light quality and efficiency currently available for the application.
Afraid 30 is unlikely to buy anything LED sufficient to act as a halogen replacement for a whole room.
GU10 in any form is a complete waste of time, money and resources.
Putting your computer to sleep when its idle will save more energy than retrofitting lighting with this weeks fad.
Adam
--
Hi Adam,
You're correct about the life of the LV Halogens. In fact, none of them
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hi all, Just a follow up to my original post. I've discovered each of my downlighters has it's own transformer. So much for using one halogen to up the power that the transformer is required to deliver, this would only work with multiple bulbs per transformer. However, a number of LEDs claim that they can work with existing transformers, rather than LED drivers, but with half the expected bulb life. So, I took the plunge ... I replaced 3 spots upstairs directly with LEDs. The LEDs come on, look OK and don't flicker .... however, my bedroom radio now suffers terrible interference. Now to figure out how to stop that ....
Cheers, Keith
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

0.1uF capacitor in series with 1 ohm resistor, fitted to the LV feed. It'll work best near LED or transformer, try both to find out which.
NT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.