In This Email: Led-Zip's Nick Bainton goes through downlights extensively  View online
Downlights are probably the most commonly used light fitting in nearly all modern homes, so I thought that it would be helpful to write a detailed piece entirely dedicated to them.
The old Halogen lamps mainly came in two forms, the low voltage 12V AC MR16 type (two sharp pointed pins on the base, shown below left) and the high voltage 240V AC GU10 type (two mushroom shaped pins, push and twist, shown below right).
MR16 base
GU10 base
The MR16 started off as the brighter of the two lamps, at around 800 lumens (light output) using 50 Watts, with the GU10 coming in at around 500 lumens using the same amount of power. In today's market the newest LED versions of both these lamps perform at the same level and it is for this reason that we would recommend that you convert to the GU10 type.

We recommend converting to GU10 lamps because they do not require a separate transformer to power them. This means that there is one less component to fail, especially if you're reusing the old existing AC transformers that are probably nearing the end of their life. These old transformers may not like the low wattage LED which can cause problems when it comes to dimming.

It's quite a simple job to convert, although this should be done by a qualified electrician as this will involve removing the old transformer and replacing the lampholder.
LED Lighting is now a well proven technology and everyone is changing from the older, power hungry lighting to the new, energy efficient LED. LEDs use up to 80% less energy than traditional halogens and last up to 40 times longer. This means you'll be going through far fewer bulbs and saving money on your energy bill, with the same light output that you're used to.
LED Downlights in situ
1. When buying the new LED lamps you should ideally go for the best that you can afford with a reputable name and a good warranty period, which I consider at least two years.
2. Check the lumen output (lm), a minimum of 400lm is a good benchmark.
3. Check the lighting colour, this may be stated in degrees Kelvin. (6000K = Cool White, 3000K = Warm White)
4. If you are using dimmer switches check that the lamp is dimmable, the cheaper ones often are not. You may need to convert your dimmer switch to a low wattage LED compatible one, we can help you with this.
The alternative is to buy a complete LED downlight module. These are generally a brighter option and have good dimming curves without any flicker. The ones to look out for use a COB (Chip On Board) LED which offer a single light source without multiple individual LEDs and are virtually indistinguishable from the halogen lamps. They will be fire rated and often IP rated as well (necessary for bathrooms) as they will be a complete fitting. 
Fixed complete downlight module
Adjustable complete downlight module
This is your chance to select the bezel colour of your choice and determine whether a fixed downlight (above left) or an adjustable downlight (above right), which is often described as gimballed, is required. This is a more expensive option than a replacement lamp but what you get is a better all round performance and longer lifetimes.

If you decide to go down this route then you will need to check the hole size in your ceiling and make a note of it, so that when it comes to selecting a new fitting you know which size you will require to fit.
If in any doubt, pop in to see us and we can go through all the options explained above, offer our expertise and show you samples of each to help make your choice easier. Advice and estimates are free and a visit carries with it no obligation whatsoever.

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1312-1314 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH10 7AL
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