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LED Downlights - What voltage?


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I have been thinking of changing my downlighters to LED now for some time, but have left it due to the cost and quality.

 

Lately the LED cost have come down a bit and you do get Cool white, Warm white and Daylight colours now as well.

Currently I have 12V 35W Osram IR coated downlights. The light colour and output is amazing.

They have been running without fail for the past 5 years! Yes, in 5 years I did not have to replace a single globe.

 

Compared to some of my CCFL lights that I have to replace about once a year :(

So much for CCFL life.

 

LED installers/suppliers now tell my I have to convert my downlighters now to 220V to take advantage of the LED's.

 

So my question is why is 220V LED's better than 12V LED's?

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My house is also filled with the 12V/50W units & each light has its own transformer (recessed into the concrete ceiling). Gives a beatiful light :)

 

I have replaced some with 12V LEDs - easy straight swop out.

But makes more sense taking the transformers out & going to 220V units. (Transformers are another couple of Watts of losses?)

 

Problem that I have is that all of my lights are on electronic dimmers.

If the load goes too low (too many LEDs) the electronic dimmer cannot extinguish fully. So I normally keep one or two 50W bulbs in the cicruit for the time being...

 

(Only seen the warm white which are a good colour - I would imagine the daylight even closer in light colour to the incadecent?)

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Most LED's run at about 3V so even the 12V have a small transformer built in them so you might as well get the 220V ones it will save you the cost of a transformer.

In my bedroom I have 12V 3 Watt LED's which are connected to a dimmer

I'm sure you can also get 220V dimmable  LED's

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Hello all.

Yes, 220v is better, as said before, Try to cut out every watt that you can.

There are the dimmable type LED lights, They however do require a special type of dimmer. I am currently busy with a supplier as alot of rooms have 3-4 lights, And the load is to little for the dimmer. With the fact that the LED's are alot brighter now than before.people wanna dim it.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi Mike,

Try Hardy Engelbreght on 079 368 2205.

He helped me find the right LED's to work in my house. He is also based in Kuilsrivier.

 

Just for the record, I replaced only my kitchen downlighters with LED, as this is the room where the lights stays on nearly 24/7.

I did not want to change my sockets, so went 12V on the LED's.

The LED's is 6W, but my electronic transformer did not really like them, so I had to go old school with a standard wirewound transformer.

Now both globes said 60degree angle, but the LED's is giving a more spread beam, and the light output is lower than the 35W halogen.

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I have practically my whole house changed to 5W LED lamps. The house already had 12V downlighters installed when we bought it, with the boring old magnetic transformers, so I just stuck with that. When I swapped the first ones, it was the ones in the kitchen, it cost R135 per lamp (Uniontech), and calculated repayment period was on the other side of 2 years. They have since come down to around R100 per lamp (Afrison, Uniontech), and calculated repayment is now around 10 months (because I use enough power that I pay R1.73 per unit for the top end).

 

I have since found two more reasons why changing to LED downlights, if you already have downlights, is the way to go. The first issue I had, and I suspect this is only an issue with the 12V variety, is that the pins on the back of the lamp seems to carbon up over time, likely because of a less-than-perfect connection or because the lamps get so hot. Over time, they stop working, not because there is anything wrong with the lamp, but because the connection goes bad. Removing the lamp, wiggling the connector about, and re-installing fixes it... until next week. TBH, I am not really surprised. 50W at 12V, that's just over 4 Ampere, no wonder the connectors on the back is such a weak spot. Swapping it out for the 5W LED solves that problem completely.

 

The second issue I found, in this house at least, is that whoever installed it had little regard for roof rafters. If they drilled into a roof rafter, they simply removed part of the rafter to make space. While this is not a structural issue (there is enough left to comfortably hold the ceiling up), it should be noted that the halogen downlights get hot enough to discolour wood, in other words, I consider this a fire hazard. Swapping them for LEDs makes me sleep a little better.

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  • 1 year later...

So really really old post resurected here, but since one of my uniontech lamps have failed and I took it apart. One of the three LEDs failed. Not bad, I have around 15 of these lamps so one failure isn't bad. The driver circuit is especially interesting. It is NOT just a resistor or two, or just serie-ing up enough LEDs to deal with the voltage (check out youtube for some "spectacular" chinese deals in this regard)... they have an actual buck-converter circuit in the back for a more efficient conversion down to the lower voltage. I wrote up a small review on it:

 

http://izak.github.io/2015/08/12/uniontech-mr16-downlight/

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  • 4 weeks later...

We're running 12v dc LED lights in the house and I don't know why I ever had CFL's in the first place. We've gone for 12v dc because of our solar set-up that we currently have. We have the cool white in our dining room area and kitchen and warm white in the TV area. 

 

We went with Eurolux and I actually had some faulty ones (lights were flickering) Chamberlain's wouldn't take them back, but I contacted Eurolux and they refunded straight off the bat. Globes are about R40 each. 

 

 

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  • 4 years later...

This is a very old post and it seems to re-surface every couple of years, so back it is again. The other night when we had load shedding I realized an additional load of about 220W on the inverter display above what I was expecting, started checking through the house on whats causing this. Most lights inside and outside was on so I didn’t expect it to be lights, until I found four bathroom 12V/50W down lighters that were left on. They were drawing more current than all my other LED lights together. I guess I’ll be converting them soon to led 220V/3W but am afraid of loosing that beautiful effect it gives the bathroom. Maybe I’ll just leave them and put up a notice use “candle’s only” during load shedding🙂

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6 hours ago, Gerrie said:

This is a very old post and it seems to re-surface every couple of years, so back it is again. The other night when we had load shedding I realized an additional load of about 220W on the inverter display above what I was expecting, started checking through the house on whats causing this. Most lights inside and outside was on so I didn’t expect it to be lights, until I found four bathroom 12V/50W down lighters that were left on. They were drawing more current than all my other LED lights together. I guess I’ll be converting them soon to led 220V/3W but am afraid of loosing that beautiful effect it gives the bathroom. Maybe I’ll just leave them and put up a notice use “candle’s only” during load shedding🙂

I've been using the Qualitel bulbs and can set them to any colour I want. They need to be controlled through wifi though; for other small LED bulbs I only buy the warm white versions; I hate the cool white effect of LED lighting in general.

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47 minutes ago, introverter said:

(apologies to all physics majors, enthusiasts etc. etc. and those easily distracted by off-topic posts) 😈

yeah... a light year is distance, not time... 🙂

I think the official term is to "necro" the post. Then again, I've always wanted to do a Spongebob insert weird voice "X years later" thing 🙂

 

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59 minutes ago, plonkster said:

yeah... a light year is distance , not time*... 🙂

maybe relative to a leap year it could also be a normal year... 🤔 aaahhh a normal year...would be nice to have one of those again..🤪

* we are not getting into the math of time it will take to travel 4 light years..

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2020/09/11 at 5:20 AM, Gerrie said:

This is a very old post and it seems to re-surface every couple of years, so back it is again. The other night when we had load shedding I realized an additional load of about 220W on the inverter display above what I was expecting, started checking through the house on whats causing this. Most lights inside and outside was on so I didn’t expect it to be lights, until I found four bathroom 12V/50W down lighters that were left on. They were drawing more current than all my other LED lights together. I guess I’ll be converting them soon to led 220V/3W but am afraid of loosing that beautiful effect it gives the bathroom. Maybe I’ll just leave them and put up a notice use “candle’s only” during load shedding🙂

I'm also resurrecting this thread but not by 4 years 🙂

I have / had mostly 12V downlights in my house and got tired of replacing transformers all the time some of which were in really difficult to reach places in my ceiling, I was also always under the assumption that they used a lot less power than standard light bulbs, boy was I wrong! I did a test a few months ago and flipped the switch to my entertainment area which has about 10 of these 12V downlights and was astonished to see that it drew 500w!! They're on a dimmer and draw came down to about 200W when they were dimmed (so perhaps dim the bathroom lights).

Anyway, I laid out the cash for new dimmable LED bulbs and fittings where needed and replaced almost all of the 12V downlights, it made a significant difference to my consumption, I think all in I have about 40 downlights and have replaced 30 of them.

In terms of lighting I've noticed no difference in my bathroom between the 12V's I had before and the new LED warm white bulbs, if anything I prefer the LED lighting. 

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On 2020/09/11 at 5:20 AM, Gerrie said:

This is a very old post and it seems to re-surface every couple of years, so back it is again. The other night when we had load shedding I realized an additional load of about 220W on the inverter display above what I was expecting, started checking through the house on whats causing this. Most lights inside and outside was on so I didn’t expect it to be lights, until I found four bathroom 12V/50W down lighters that were left on. They were drawing more current than all my other LED lights together. I guess I’ll be converting them soon to led 220V/3W but am afraid of loosing that beautiful effect it gives the bathroom. Maybe I’ll just leave them and put up a notice use “candle’s only” during load shedding🙂

That 'beautiful effect' you refer to actually has some truth. An incandescent light is the closest we have to a pure 'black body' light source. If you heat a black body up until it emits light it will be a light source that emits a perfect emission of light (i.e. all the wavelengths needed)

This is a bit lost on me I must confess but if you're looking on the 'bright side' :)

 

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