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Thread: Low voltage wiring

  1. #1
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Default Low voltage wiring

    Since the EU and a lot of other countries will be banning the incandescent bulb by 2012. The main alternatives are mains LED or low voltage halogens and LED lights.
    So this got me thinking if low voltage lighting is the way forward, how are people designing this into their homes. And how are they getting the low voltage to the lights.
    From what I can see there are three real options: transformers installed at the lighting point (so you keep your existing mains wiring) or a very large one at the consumer unit and run from this cable to the various lighting points, or a transformer for each lighting point also in the consumer unit ( would make for a big consumer unit).
    Then the next thing what voltage do you go for 12V ac or dc.
    What are other people's ideas and opinions on this.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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    Automated Home Guru jpdw's Avatar
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    Intersting thread !

    To my mind, the best solution would probably be low-ish voltage for distribution (24? 48?), maybe still a.c. With small final step-down done in the "fitting". The possibilities for efficient lighting & control are huge.

    However, I suspect the requirement to rip-and-replace will mean things will stick with 240vac lighting circuits and larger-than-necessary "bulbs" containing all the necessary electronics, like the current crop of GU10 LEDs 'bulb'
    Last edited by jpdw; 4th August 2009 at 10:24 PM.
    Jon

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    *If* you are going for a completely new build or re-wiring, someone recommended star wiring as a default. In this case I would use a big 12/24/48v DC unit, since LEDs are DC anyway. One big one is always cheaper/more efficient than many small ones.

    The biggest problem is that incandescent lights are so much warmer than LEDs, which have a cold feel to them.

    Unless someone has found the right combination of white and amber LEDs?

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    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Presumably fluorescent will still be permitted, comapct or otherwise, so I'm not sure it signals the end of 240V just yet...

    If forced to go LV then AC would keep the cable sizes down and either a bridge rectifier built into the lamps, or a separate one local to the fitting to feed that with DC.

    2012 isn't far away is it!

    Cheers,

    Tim.

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    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Like most legalese documents the EU directive on banning bulbs is a little hazy when it comes to certain areas. By 2016 basically any light that has a C energy rating or below will be banned. The actual wording is "taken out of circulation".
    And as for fluorescent tube lighting there is normally an LED version.
    Quote Originally Posted by Creagan View Post
    The biggest problem is that incandescent lights are so much warmer than LEDs, which have a cold feel to them.

    Unless someone has found the right combination of white and amber LEDs?
    These are available now. We have recently installed some into a classroom.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

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    Ah, but is the lights something you would install in your own home?

    I purchase a few lights some time ago, and they made us look like we were zombies, cold and very dead.

    I must admit, it was a few years back, maybe things have moved on?

    Definitely something to look into though...

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    Automated Home Guru jpdw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    If forced to go LV then AC would keep the cable sizes down
    ... which would save copper & be slightly cheaper.
    Jon

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    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creagan View Post
    Ah, but is the lights something you would install in your own home?

    I purchase a few lights some time ago, and they made us look like we were zombies, cold and very dead.

    I must admit, it was a few years back, maybe things have moved on?

    Definitely something to look into though...
    Yes I have installed them in my house. They have replaced all the outside lights. And we have a couple inside. The inside ones have replaced normal 40w incandescent bulbs. And when we redo the kitchen in a couple of months time they will be in there as well. (will post photos) At the moment at home we only replace with LED when the original bulb has blown.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

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    Automated Home Guru Nad's Avatar
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    Toscal, have you found a suitable LED replacement for a 50W halogen bulb? I've been looking for a while now and haven't found anything yet.

    Thanks.

  10. #10
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    Mornin' all!

    Hello everyone - new here. I found this site while googling for cable for my lighting project & it seems like it could be useful.

    I am renovating a house in Stoke-on-Trent which, due to the dire state of the housing market at the moment, I'm going to rent out to students, (it's close to the colleges).

    For economy and low maintenance, I'm going with all LED lighting except for outdoor PIR floods. I've ordered some samples of LED MR10 lamps and intend to lash them up in the various rooms to see how many lamps I'll need in each.

    As this is a 'new build', I'm going with a centralized system to keep costs down. A switch-mode PS and a couple of sealed lead-acid batts in the equipment room, (used to be the pantry, will supply 24V DC to a couple of 'ring-mains', one one on each floor. I will need some odd gubbins in there - shottky diodes, trickle-charge, boost-charge etc, but that's for later. At the moment, I have to get the wiring put in because my builder is forging ahead at an amazing rate, (yes - it surprised me as well).

    All the 12V lamps will need to be in pairs which is not a problem since at least 2 lamps will be needed anyway to deliver sufficient light and room coverage. The lamps are 'passive, (ie. contain only series strings of LEDs with only small resistors to balance out the currrent amongst the strings), and so I see no problem with wiring a couple of lamps in series.

    I am going to install a 5A 'ring-main' on each floor. To build this, I need DC cable - red and black inner insulation. I was searching for such cable when I found this site.

    Anyone know where I can get cable like this? The Focus/B&Q/Homebase/Wickes set only seem to want to supply mains cable

    I'm also searching for a switching dimmer chip for a couple of the rooms. Most of those I've found want a PWM input whereas I just want a pot on the switch plate

    Any other advice/experience/hints/snags/criticisms/beer would be gratefully received.

    Rgds,
    Martin

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