LED Lighting Conversion

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by JTlikestobuild, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. JTlikestobuild

    JTlikestobuild New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    Hey All

    First post.

    My compliments to everyone who contributes to these forums. Tons of very good info.


    We are doing a reno. I wanted LED pot lights but I was told they are too expensive, non dimming and do not provide enough light. We went with 4.5" halogen instead.

    Last week I saw dimming MR15 LED replacement bulbs in a lighting store. Tried one and went back for 26 more ($24 each) when I got talking to a nice guy that said it is too bad I have halogen pot lights. He went on to say LED is great technology but I won't get the life span or the efficiency from a LED bulb in a halogen fixture.

    One reason is the halogen transformer is not made for LED. He called them drivers. One does amperage and the other voltage. He also said that just 1 Halogen transformer could run 6 to 7 LED bulbs. Essentially 4 or 6 transformers will be "on" in each room when there could be one.

    I went back to the electrician.........The wiring can be run to convert over to LED lighting. The wire that runs from the switch to the lights in each room would be run through a junction box. In the future LED transformers can be install into these junction boxes. Since the dimming LED switches are low voltage a control wire will be needed between the junction box and the switch in the room.

    What do people think?

    Thanks
    John
  2. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    Sounds like you're overcomplicating it to me. You can buy an insert that goes into a standard 6" can to run it LED. It replaces the bulb and the trim. I think they run around $30 each. If the cans have transformers built-in, you'd have to swap them out for different cans. But unless there's something I'm missing in your wiring setup, the existing wiring should be fine.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,154
    Location:
    New England
    The thing that shortens the life of LEDs is poor heat control. Some fixtures aren't great at heat dissipation and some bulbs aren't designed to be mounted pointing down or in an enclosed space (but some are). The newer bulbs are a direct replacement. They should work fine. Now, some of them don't have the spread, color temperature, or total lumens of the halogens they replace, but they aren't bad, do it for lots less electricity, and normal last much longer. Most electric utilities have an arrangement to sell bulbs at VERY significant discounts...you should check their website - you might save up to 75% over what the store charges.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    A halogen bulb per se does NOT need a transformer or driver. Some of them are low voltage, which does need a transformer, and that will not be suitable for any type of LED.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,154
    Location:
    New England
    As said, if they are line voltage, that's one thing, if they are low-voltage, that's another. Replacing a line voltage bulb with a different kind of line voltage bulb, as long as the voltage it's designed for is the same, they should work fine.

    Low voltage is a different story...could be low voltage a/c or even d/c, and the voltage can differ (not counting dimming, which would also change things).
  6. JTlikestobuild

    JTlikestobuild New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    Hi

    Thanks for the input. Everything is 12V DC.

    Talking to someone today that said the size of the halogen IC (insulated contact) untils may pose a problem with cooling. That IC LED boxes are 20-30% bigger than halogen or compact florescent IC boxes. If that is the case then as jadnashua said the LED may not last long due to heat.
  7. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    yes, if you have 12V wiring, you've got a mess of a conversion. Honestly, I'd probably stick with your halogens for now, and wait for cheaper LED technology to develop a bit more, and switch then.

    heat in those is probably going to take your nice pricey 35-50,000 hour(?) bulbs and turn them into 5-10,000 hour bulbs.
  8. JTlikestobuild

    JTlikestobuild New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    Hi

    Appologies for the misunderstanding. I'm not being clear in my explanation.

    The wiring is 14/2 for 120V AC and the pot lights are 120V. Inside each pot light fixture there is a transformers that bring the voltage down to 12V DC.

    John
  9. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    Then if you want to convert over, you'll want to put in new cans set up for standard incandescent lights. Or you can buy LED/Florescent specific ones. I've used a few of the 4" cans that hold a 2 or 4(can't remember) pin CFL, they worked pretty nicely. A standard 6" pot light ($10 at the box stores) will handle a 6" LED light adapter ($30 or less). These replace both the bulb and the trim, and have a wire that goes up and screws into the normal bulb socket.

    Or you can buy LED fixtures that install directly into the drywall, no can light needed. Not sure about IC ratings on these though, you'd want to check on that.

    All of this can be done w/o "rewiring," you'll simply need to remove the existing cans, take wire off of them, and wire it to a new can.

    You MAY (but not sure) also be able to just remove the transformer from your cans and set them up for 120V LED, but you'll limit the size of bulb you can use due to the can being smaller than it should be. I wouldn't recommend this, it will probably be as much work and money as putting in new cans, for an inferior product.
  10. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    JT, as others here have said, if you remove the transformer/halogen bulb adapter from the Pot light can and install the "normal" screw base assembly that comes with pot lights, you will be able to use the bulbs I found at Costco and posted about last week or so, They are R40 size lamps, which may require a new trim plate for the can. These bulbs were selling for only $9.99 US. I see that Costco has several club locations in Brittish Columbia, CA.

    They are dimmable, and I find their light output and color to be the same as standard incandescant flood lamps. I have removed them from my pot lights after running for an hour, and the screw base and rest of the guts which face up are not hot at all, so the manufacturer (FEIT) must have made provisions for dissipating the heat that the diode junctions generate. I have no idea how long they WILL last, but they do come with a 3 year warranty, and FEIT rates them to last about 28 years at 3 hours use a day. These bulbs are cheap enough by themselves right now, and the necessary trims and socket assemblies for them are not too expensive. as I said above, THESE ARE dimmable, using the proper dimmer, which is the type that is designed for dimmable CFLs and LED lamps.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,154
    Location:
    New England
    FWIW, modifying a light fixture would likely void it's UL or CSA listing, and should you ever have a problem, you might run into difficulties. Now, does changing the fixtures with the cost of bulbs and electricity have a payback period? Depends on how long you live there and the cost of the energy.
  12. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Jim, if the cans installed were factory made with the transformers for the Quartz bulbs, I would agrre with you 100% on the listing, but if they were standard IC rated cans that came with the standard insert with the screw base socket originally, then putting the screw base socket setup would just be restoring it to original. the thermal switch in the IC rated can does not need to be modified or removed from function. Me not knowing what the light fixtures look like that JT actually has, I am only speaking generally. MR15 an MR16 bulbs are shallow whether they are pin based or the GU? type pins.What caught my eye and interest here was that JT originally mentioned his "bulbs" are 4 1/2 inches, the approximate diameter of an R40 reflector flood.

    And of course, you are correct on the return on investment issue. Electricity costs here on Long Island, NY are very high; criminal high. But it is also a matter of being green if you want to be. At my purchase of 10 bucks a bulb this time, I am not too worried about ROI issues. At 30 bucks a pop or more, different story. I've been down the 30 buck path already, and those did not work out well at all.:)
  13. chad37

    chad37 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    orlando
    Very good point. I was reading an article the other stating how most homeowners will not see a return on their investment for some time. However, commercial business are seeing huge savings. One in particular in Orlando stated they where using 90k less watts per month with a savings of over $60,000. They estimate their ROI in just 2 years.
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