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12v MR16 vs 220v GU10


jjmoodley
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Hi, I'm new to the forum as I'm just starting out on a journey to be better prepaid for load shedding. My first step is to create better lighting and I'm thinking of using MR16 (GU5.3) downlights connected directly to a 12v battery which I'll keep charged. I can also go with GU10 lights but this would require me to run a small inverter.

Advantages of MR16 for me is that it's less cost (no inverter required) and much cheaper cables to run through the house which will not be connected to the existing wiring in anyway therefore not requiring COC. One disadvantage I can see is that MR16 bulbs are not as available as GU10 so this may not be the best long term decision.

Would like to know if I'm missing anything and get some advice on which way to go from anyone who may have already gone down this road and already learnt some lessons. Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

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The MR16 would be more like little spot lights thus close to what you'll get from a torch or you would have to install quite a few to light a room or 2 with quite a big battery then. Rather go for something like a 12v strip light they run quite well off a battery.

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1 hour ago, jjmoodley said:

One disadvantage I can see is that MR16 bulbs are not as available as GU10 so this may not be the best long term decision

In my experience MR16 is indeed becoming harder to buy. I can still find them at our local "Eagle lighting", but the hardware stores have stopped selling them, they only sell GU10 now.

If you intend installing such a lighting system in your house, remember that DC cabling must be separate from the AC cabling. You cannot put your 12V cabling through the existing conduit, and any switches would have to be DC rated. If your intent is to keep it a separate system, then just remember to fuse the cabling for safety, and you can run with MR16 until they become impossible to find.

One other possibility... GU10s have a built-in power supply that drops the voltage from 230V. They don't need a actual 230V to work. They will often work just fine with anything above 80V. Since they all have small switch mode power supplies in them, and the very first thing an SMPS does is to convert the input to DC... you could also just use a boost converter to turn your 12V into 90V (ish) and power your GU10s with that. I'd suggest experimenting a bit first. Something like this. Still seems like a waste, but it will be a lot more efficient compared to a full AC/DC round trip.

But... honestly... I'd get me some strip lamps from this guy. I've dealt with him multiple times, and his 99.94% positive feedback rate is well deserved.

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Thanks for the advice, I'm now convinced MR16 is not the way to go. Strip lights are good, actually have a few but finding a nice spot for them in all rooms if you don't have the ceiling for them is not that easy.

Most of my lights at the moment are low wattage LED or CFL bulbs so may be best to just get a small inverter to power them. Risk here is I'll be messing with the existing wiring which I guess I will have to do at some point.

Back to the drawing board for me...

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On 2020/09/07 at 4:00 PM, jjmoodley said:

 better prepaid for load shedding. My first step is to create better lighting and I'm thinking of using MR16 (GU5.3) downlights connected directly to a 12v battery which I'll keep charged.

If going the route of having it permanently installed and not planning on having everything on DC I would think planning for an inverter based backup system from the start is more likely to avoid duplication of wire/switched etc.?

If wanting to go 12V, aimed at occasional load shedding and to have some light (i.e. not exactly doing vascular surgery quality light) then a 12v work light (or two) positioned to reflect off a wall and/or ceiling can give a decent amount of light without having to rewire the entire house. Something like this (I use one each on my garage door openers and they make it a fair bit easier to reverse into the garage on a dark rainy night compared to the half dead firefly quality light from the supplied incandescent bulb.... the ones I installed 3 years (?) ago work multiple times a day - granted not for hours at a time... but have not given issues yet).

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On 2020/09/07 at 4:00 PM, jjmoodley said:

Hi, I'm new to the forum as I'm just starting out on a journey to be better prepaid for load shedding. My first step is to create better lighting and I'm thinking of using MR16 (GU5.3) downlights connected directly to a 12v battery which I'll keep charged. I can also go with GU10 lights but this would require me to run a small inverter.

Advantages of MR16 for me is that it's less cost (no inverter required) and much cheaper cables to run through the house which will not be connected to the existing wiring in anyway therefore not requiring COC. One disadvantage I can see is that MR16 bulbs are not as available as GU10 so this may not be the best long term decision.

Would like to know if I'm missing anything and get some advice on which way to go from anyone who may have already gone down this road and already learnt some lessons. Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

Hi jjmoodley
 

I see I am a little late joining this conversation, but your plan to use MR16 led downlights was exactly what I did around 6 years ago in my old house. I had a 180w solar panel, a cheap 20A pwm controller and a 200Ah deep cycle battery. The led lights were only 5w each, but very bright. So bright that I only needed two in each room, except the lounge and open plan kitchen which had four lights. It worked very well as my start to going solar.
I recently moved and left it all there. The system is still in the house and as I understand it, everything still works perfectly. 

I now have a much bigger solar system and don’t need to go that route in my new house, but it was a perfect start to my solar journey.

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