December 21, 2017 at 8:36 pm #1394
I am going to have downlights installed in Hall, Bathroom and Kitchen. I am thinking LED ones. Is it just a case of buy some from Screwfix, or are there things to think of?December 21, 2017 at 8:37 pm #1395
if there are rooms above, you should use fire rated down lighters.December 21, 2017 at 8:38 pm #1396
The colour of the light. Cool White is a bit bluish where as warm white is more like ordinary bulbs.
I’ve been fitting Awox Bluetooth programmable bulbs into GU10 fittings. They’re longer than most LED GU10s so need a deep fitting.
There was much derision for them last time I mentioned them here but I like them. They turn on and off with the switch, but also remember the last colour and brightness programmed with a phone.December 21, 2017 at 8:39 pm #1397
Bathroom (and possibly kitchen) lights are zone rated, so depending on their proposed location, eg. in a shower or over a bath, you’ll need a suitably rated fitting.December 21, 2017 at 8:39 pm #1398
Got all the lamps changed in my house to LEDs inc downlamps when I switched my supplier to Utility Warehouse. They did this for free with a tie-in for a couple of years.December 21, 2017 at 8:40 pm #1399
Halogen lamps have had their day, LED is now the standard + they don’t get as hot and set fire/melt stuff.
Cool white is good over kitchen worktops and mirrors when you need a good light.
Downlights can be fixed or adjustable.
You can’t just fit a downlight where you want so it would be wise to get the floor boards up and see weather you have the clearance around obstacles like joists, pipes and cables.December 21, 2017 at 8:40 pm #1400
The Philips Hue GU10 bulbs are expensive but the wiring can potentially be much simpler because you can just put everything on one spur. The mains power stays on and the Hue system instructs which lights to turn on and off wirelessly. I used Hue to put an extra light in a cupboard because paying 10 quid extra for the bulb meant I didn’t have to cut a bunch of extra holes in the plasterboard to run cables for a switch and it’s kind of cool to say “Computer. Turn on the cupboard light.”
Also, some of the bulbs can change colour or hue as well as dimming. So you can have a blue light during the day and a gentler light in the evening.December 21, 2017 at 8:41 pm #1401
If you own any hole-saws it is guaranteed that the down lighter you fit will require a different size.
A wire coat hanger unwound is a godsend for threading wires between holes (as is another pair of hands to catch the end).December 21, 2017 at 8:41 pm #1402
Main things to consider are sealed unit Vs replaceable bulbs, colour and bulb angle.
Sealed units are more efficient and designed for led, last longer but cost more. I used the sealed ones in small rooms and replaceable in large rooms (where one bulb breaking is more likely to occur and I wanted to replace one at a time). Get wide bulb angle so it doesn’t feel like spots.
We had daylight bulbs in kitchen, which was great in the day as it felt natural but very harsh at night, so we swapped to warm light.December 21, 2017 at 8:43 pm #1403
Go GU10 rather thn m16.
Budget led lamps are, well, budget. I’d pay 5 to 10 quid per lamp personaly. Just cos it says dimmable doesn’t mean it’ll work with all dimmers.
There is a whole sihit storm waiting to happen with leds in the industry. They are getting better, but there is still a long way to go.December 21, 2017 at 8:43 pm #1404
Agree, the variability between different GU10s is high. I ended up with a patchwork of different leds (and those low enrgy variants that made a brief appearance before becoming obsolete) in my kitchen as I replaced each halogen bulb as and when it blew. Eventually concluded that the £4 a bulb ones from Wickes were amongst the best I’d come across and I’ve had then for a couple of years now with no problems.December 21, 2017 at 8:44 pm #1405
“There is a whole sihit storm waiting to happen with leds in the industry.”
@jimjam A bit harsh in my opinion.
I’ve been testing LED lamps for a significant player in the lighting industry on and off for about the last 4 years and the modern ones are orders of magnitudes better than the originals in terms of dimming stability. Yes there is room for improvement, especially in the surge current when used with leading edge dimmers (trailing edge is much better) and the residual voltage around the zero crossing point on some lamps, but compared to the originals at least the new ones very rarely destroy the control systems.
A useful tip is if you fit a particular type of bulb and then some time later have to replace/supplement some of them with the same type and you are unhappy with how they behave or look, complain to the manufacturer as when I have done this I have received a box of new bulbs (which considering the originals were samples, and so free, isn’t a bad deal).
If you have a specific reason for your claim, I would be like to hear about it.December 21, 2017 at 8:45 pm #1406
“I’ve been testing LED lamps for a significant player in the lighting industry on and off for about the last 4 years and the modern ones are orders of magnitudes better than the originals in terms of dimming stability. Yes there is room for improvement, especially in the surge current when used with leading edge dimmers (trailing edge is much better) and the residual voltage around the zero crossing point on some lamps, but compared to the originals at least the new ones very rarely destroy the control systems.”
@bill Arguably, dimming LEDs using conventional dimmers is an unnecessary complication. There’s a switching power supply in the LED bulb anyway so why not use ZigBee to control it and do the dimming and other controls inside the bulb.
My guess is the next transition will be drastically simpler wiring for lighting. You can get rid off all the switches, dimmers and a lot of cable if you just string all the lights on one or two spurs or rings and you also get a far more detailed level of control. If I was wiring a new house that I expected to live in for a long time I’d not bother with light switches in every room.December 21, 2017 at 8:46 pm #1407
When having a house fully rewired I estimated we’d have to turn the LED lights in a room *off* for 16 hours a day for 7 years to recover the cost of the chasing/drilling/wires/boxes/switches/re-decorating needing to fit the switches to turn them off… Cheaper and using an all-inclusive model it’s probablt more environmentally friendly to hard wire them on.
Even using wireless switches made to look like conventional light switches could save a fortune on a whole whose rewire. They should be able to harvest all the power they need from a small PV module on the faceplate.
MR16 smart bulbs are making improved remote controlled garden lighting vastly simpler than the current setup.
An extra square mm of microchip in the bulbs power converter electronics is basically free once the design costs are paid off. Compare that to the massive amount of stuff currently used to turn a light on/off.
“Illuminate”. “Deluminate”.December 21, 2017 at 8:47 pm #1408
“Arguably, dimming LEDs using conventional dimmers is an unnecessary complication. There’s a switching power supply in the LED bulb anyway so why not use ZigBee to control it and do the dimming and other controls inside the bulb.”
Working in the R&D dept of a lighting company and being allowed/encouraged to take the tech home and play with it, personally I can’t see any problem with the humble lightswitch. You can put a microprocessor in it to select the ‘Scene’ but basically it’s still a button on the wall.
Zigbee/Android app’s are great sometimes, but most of the time I can’t be arsed to get my phone to link to the network, select the app and then select the area, to adjust the lighting level when I can tap a button on the wall as I walk past it after grabbing a beer.
If I rewired my house, every room (and maybe the sub groups within it) would be wired to a separate channel on a central controller that could be controlled wirelessly or via the faceplate connected to it.
Not or, but either.
P.S. How much more complicated does that become if you have to control each bulb independently?December 21, 2017 at 8:49 pm #1409
“Working in the R&D dept of a lighting company and being allowed/encouraged to take the tech home and play with it, personally I can’t see any problem with the humble lightswitch. You can put a microprocessor in it to select the ‘Scene’ but basically it’s still a button on the wall.”
@guy With Hue there’s a lot of different controls: motion/proximity, a remote thing you can leave on the wall like a lightswitch or detach and put it anywhere convenient and a clickable switch that gets energy from being pushed so doesn’t need a battery. You can also use your phone, an iWatch or best of all Alexa. Our hall lights are on proximity, the bedroom has a remote stuck near the door like a conventional switch and the cupboard light doesn’t have a switch at all we just use voice control. Voice control is awesome for the bedroom so you can have the lights on dim and soft yellow when you are watching Netflix and just say “Computer turn off the bedroom lights” when you want to sleep. There’s no need for a bedside light with its own cable and switch.
“Zigbee/Android app’s are great sometimes, but most of the time I can’t be arsed to get my phone to link to the network, select the app and then select the area, to adjust the lighting level when I can tap a button on the wall as I walk past it after grabbing a beer.”
I don’t think anybody does. Maybe with an iWatch but voice control via Alexa is far more convenient. The Hue remotes are good too.
“P.S. How much more complicated does that become if you have to control each bulb independently?”
You don’t have to if you don’t want to. Personally I’ve not bothered but I could see myself setting up specific scenes at some point for common activities like watching a movie on TV. At the moment it’s just room by room. Maybe I’ll have a command to switch off all the lights in the house so nothing gets forgotten when I go out at some point.
I don’t want to oversell, Hue is not quite there yet and it is too expensive but I think systems like Hue are the future.December 21, 2017 at 8:49 pm #1410
I’d agree leds are better, but I still think they have a way to go.
Besides the hertz/cycle speed issues, colour temperatures and rendering often being distasteful, dimming issues and the start up currents. Oh, life expectancy and that which is claimed by manufacturers, problems with physical temperature and longevity. Need I go on? I realise these are all issues which can be changed but they are nothing but a nusiance when you buy a product from the wholesaler – and then get called back cos it’s all a shower of poo. Can you guess I’m a sparks?
Wiring will change, so will technology. So which wiring will be future proof?
Mechanical switches are basic, but this makes them future proof too. I’ve tried getting parts for smart switching which is “old” and that is not easy.December 21, 2017 at 8:51 pm #1411
Thanks for your great tips..
My guess is that the system with minimal wiring – just a spur which is always live – will be future proof. The control system isn’t a fixed fitting installed in the wall it’s just bits of replaceable consumer electronics??December 21, 2017 at 8:52 pm #1412
The problem is technology like this doesn’t last, it’s here today gone tomorrow making way for the next new thing. When your phone app suddenly won’t run with the new OS update or the weather service your heating requires goes down crashing the ‘thermostat’ and the company that made it has moved onto bigger things what then… I’m not saying tech like this will not proliferate, it will but I think we should be very wary of investing too much in hardware tied to web services and software that in all likelihood will not outlast the physical layer it controls.December 21, 2017 at 8:53 pm #1413
I look forward to nanotechnology allowing the creation of technology of great beauty – perhaps some selection of glassy globes which combine strong photovoltaic action with a controllable high energy storage and light emission matrix of materials. Just take one of the size and brightness required to where you need it and start it glowing with a gesture, gestures also controlling colour and brightness. Self contained and not dependent on other technologies, like magic.December 21, 2017 at 8:53 pm #1414
those who mentioned ‘smart’ lighting:
I was somewhat attracted to the Alexa / Hue etc. options particularly for (I assume) being able to control the lights over the internet when I’m not at home, similarly heating – coming home early, turn it on so it’s warm on return.
My concerns though were about, for example, an assumption that a bulb in a normal light fitting would then need the wall switch to be ‘on’ all the time, even when the smart control has the light turned off. So what if for example the kids get up early and want the light on – can they not turn the light on with the switch without using my phone via the app?
In the end it all seemed like an expensive potential source of hassle, so I’m sticking with mk1 finger control.December 21, 2017 at 8:54 pm #1415
“My concerns though were about, for example, an assumption that a bulb in a normal light fitting would then need the wall switch to be ‘on’ all the time, even when the smart control has the light turned off. So what if for example the kids get up early and want the light on – can they not turn the light on with the switch without using my phone via the app?”
@peter If they switch the light off, then on again with the mains switch it will come on. It forgets the state the Hue system has put it in when the mains power goes off.
The old mains switches are actually a real nuisance if you have a family member that insists on using them because if they switch the bulb off with the mains there’s no way for Hue to switch it back on again and if you’ve got the dim/tone setting the way you want it in the Hue system and someone switches it on with the mains it comes up full brightness.
Using the phone app to control Hue is a pain in the arse. Far too much trouble to get the phone out, and open an app, voice control via Siri is also fairly rubbish, it is nothing like as good at picking up an instruction from across the room as Alexa. Alexa is good and the Hue switches are good. They have one that looks like a conventional dimmer switch which you can mount on the wall but it’s just a frame for the actual ‘remote control’ which pulls out and you can take anywhere in the room.December 21, 2017 at 8:55 pm #1416
You can buy light switches to go with Philips Hue. I’ve got them in my home office and the kitchen.
My home office has 3 lamps and one of them is behind my desk and when its on normally it looks like a nuclear explosion on the video conference – so I just have a ‘conference call’ setting where that lamp dims down to a point wher it doesn’t look silly. A small thing, but an example of making life just a little better.
Often I forget to turn the lights out at night too, so it’s handy to just shout to Google to do it as I’m going to bed.
For the kitchen, we got brand new LED GU10s in 6 recessed spots when we got the kitchen redone 3 years ago. Depsite the electrician telling us they were dimmable, they never really did.
I replaced them with Phillips hue, and not only do they dim, but I can change the colour temperature easily so nice and bright in the morning, or when cooking, but soft and warm, or really dimmed down when watching TV (it’s an open plan kitchen/lounge).
With the Phillips dimmer switch you can on/off/dim and also cycle through the colour ‘scenes’ easily without having to use Google/Alexa or phone.
Again, none of this is essential, but is a nice to have.December 21, 2017 at 8:56 pm #1417
Don’t buy cheap ones, they flicker and have terrible light quality. Though they vary, so maybe buy one, try it, then buy more if you like it.
Colour temperature as some said:-
– Warm white is a yellowish colour, similar to regular tungsten halogen ones (about 2500 Kelvin)
– Cool white is (usually) a pure white, like office fluorescents (about 3500 Kelvin)
– Daylight white is a “cloudy day” type colour, quite blue-grey (4500 Kelvin up) and in my view quite unpleasant
Some manufacturers seem to call cool white natural white and daylight white cool white, so worth looking at the Kelvin rating.
For brightness look at the wattage equivalent and assume it’s on the poor side – I can never remember lumen figures!
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