12 volt downlights

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    12 volt downlights

    One of my flats built in 2002 has around twenty 12 volt downlights. These are in the kitchen, living room, hall and bathrooms. Each of these has a transformer by the bulb. In the seven years I've owned the flat, I think my agents have had to replace every transformer.

    Due to the cost of the bulbs and their running cost my tenant leaves dead bulbs in around half of the fittings. (I have a bad feeling that this may even be the reason that the transformers keep burning out also.)

    Now of course this means I would have twenty holes in the ceiling if I went back to pendants.

    Has anyone found a type/make of downlights that don't constantly need expensive maintenance?

    #2
    Originally posted by JK0 View Post
    Has anyone found a type/make of downlights that don't constantly need expensive maintenance?
    Yes, it's called a 100 watt light bulb. More than enough for a kitchen. 2 x 100 watt light bulbs for more light.

    I've got them all over in this place, hall, landing, bathroom, kitchen, and the bulbs are ALWAYS blowing, so I don't replace them.

    As I have said before on here. "12 volt downlights are a waste of time, and as they are so bad at giving light, you HAVE to have 8 of the buggers in my bathroom, cos they are useless, one is not enough.

    Again because they are useless, I've got 6 in the kitchen, 4 are silly tiny spotlights hung from the ceiling, and 4 combined give off less light than a 100 watt light bulb.

    So here's a renters stance on these stupid lights.
    I make no apologies for my comments, as they are true.

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      #3
      Oh, I agree with everything you've said Ram.

      Just that if I did away with downlights, I'd have ceilings that looked like Swiss cheese.

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        #4
        What about LEDs?

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          #5
          I see no one has answered your question, but how about leaving the down lights in ( transformer disconnected ) and hang one or two 240 volt bulbs through one of the holes.
          Maybe those semi circular opaque glass bowls. and still have the downlights just for show.

          as per https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl...hting&tbm=shop

          but maybe there is something out there for you. Lets hope.

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            #6
            Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
            What about LEDs?
            Thanks JJ. I am tentatively installing LED bulbs here & there at home. These are supposed to last around ten years I believe, however the one in my downstairs loo is under 6 months old and already flickering.

            Has anyone any experience of using LED bulbs in downlights? Do they last donkey's years as we are told? Also, do they make the transformers last any longer due to not having so much work to do?

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              #7
              I have LED bulbs, LED downlights (one block, no separate bulb), and one 12V LED downlight bulb (for the shower) at home. They've been going OK for 1.5 years... I'll report back in 8.5 years

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                #8
                how about swapping out the 12v downlighters with 240v downlighters, depending on how the installation was put in you might be able to get to some 1mm/1.5mm lighting circuit cable that feed the transformers?

                better transformers might help? are they rated correctly? and as for the bulbs, if you or the tenant buy cheap bulbs, then that might also be contributing to the problem

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by MisterB View Post
                  how about swapping out the 12v downlighters with 240v downlighters, depending on how the installation was put in you might be able to get to some 1mm/1.5mm lighting circuit cable that feed the transformers?
                  Thanks MisterB. Yes, I was thinking along those lines also, but of couse then if you want LED ones, they use a capacitor to drop the voltage. I wondered if perhaps the 12 volt LED bulbs could just have maybe ten LED's in series.

                  Originally posted by MisterB View Post
                  better transformers might help? are they rated correctly? and as for the bulbs, if you or the tenant buy cheap bulbs, then that might also be contributing to the problem
                  The transformers are all electronic ones similar to this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0060HJ6I...051_TE_3p_dp_1

                  Oh, yes, I'm sure my tenant buys the cheapest bulbs he can find.

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                    #10
                    quite a cheap transformer, but it should do the job so long as its not being overloaded, I wouldn't use it to its max loading - and would the tenant know the max size of bulbs (wattage) for each downlighter?

                    for instance a 60w transformer with 4 20w bulbs is clearly an issue - but how would the tenant know? do you know the size of each transformer, which fittings it services and therefore the max size of each bulb?

                    and to be honest, you have just nudged me towards making sure I know aswell and I will prob make some sort of plan to add to the property file now to make sure I know which downlighter needs to be removed to access the transformer, what size transformer and what size bulbs (well I will if it becomes an issue) !!!

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                      #11
                      No expert, but unless such transformers are overloaded or sustain a power spike (which can happen when a bulb blows) they should last very long. They don't have moving parts, heating parts, etc.
                      So if used with LEDs they should last many years (touching wood wrt. lightning strikes, etc).

                      I've just installed a LED strip fed by such a transformer, so this is also wishful thinking on my part

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                        #12
                        Personally, I'd bin the downlighters, swap for pendants and repair the ceiling. If your reasonable at diy of course, otherwise a costly solution I suppose.

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                          #13
                          if you are thinking of repairing the ceilings etc. get a piece of plasterboard and a hole cutter. cut holes aprox the same size as the holes the downlighters are fitted into ( a set of hole cutters will cost around a tenner from toolstation/screwfix etc) cut a piece of batten about four inches longer than the diameter of the hole, and feed it through the hole, secure the batten with two plasterboard screws through the ceiling then screw the new circular piece to the batten and plaster/filler to finish,

                          it helps if you sand paper the edges of your bew circle as the paper can tend to tear and make it difficult to blend it into the existing ceiling,

                          its not difficult and you can always practice on the piece of plasterboard yo buy for the repair lol!

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                            #14
                            As above. Same way I've done it in the past.

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                              #15
                              I've had similar bad experience with downlighters in my own home; lifespan of 12V halogens has been really appalling; I've also had to change transformers sometimes too. I hate the damned things.

                              Anyway, I decided to change to LED versions a while ago, and we now have a total of 13 spread over kitchen, bathroom and ensuite. I changed them gradually starting over a period of about 2.5 years ago (for 1 'test' light in the shower), finishing at the start of 2014. I've been absolutely delighted with them so far; haven't had a single failure yet (although I would hope they'll last years longer yet). And of course I'm saving on the lecky (although it's not a cost-effectiveness issue if you're buying them for a tenanted property.

                              Caveats - if you're using 12V rather than mains versions, you usually need to change the transformers at the same time to LED-compatible models (you might get away with using the old ones but doesn't seem worth it to me).

                              The 12V and 240V models are supposed to be equally efficient and indistinguishable in practice; however my own feeling is that since the lifespan of the lamps is going to be determined almost entirely by how hot they run, it surely has to make sense to keep the hot transformer components away from the actual LED, rather than building it into the lamp.

                              There are also evidently huge numbers of cheaply made, poor quality lamps available, which I'm sure won't last as long as they should. Having researched this a bit, I bought mine from www.ledhut.co.uk, whi seem to have a pretty good rep, and I've certainly no complaints so far. (NB, if you order from them, make sure you use Quidco* as it gets you an easy 10% discount.)

                              If you're going to put LED lamps in a rental, make sure they are specifically listed as such on the inventory, as they are relatively expensive at around £6 a pop (quite a hit if a tenant decides to remove them all at the end of the tenancy!)



                              *Quidco - for anyone who isn't already a member it really is a no-brainer... for very many online retailers who subscribe to it (including LED Hut), you get a kick-back just for accessing them via the Quidco site. It's free to join (unless you want their 'premium' service).

                              If you join via this referral link:
                              http://www.quidco.com/user/233229/60053 you'll get an introductory £1 back, (and I also get £1.50, which is just your way of thanking me for providing this info! )

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