Replacing LED drivers

We installed two sets of suspended lights in the kitchen back in 2014. It was one of those things that we installed with every intention of “tweaking” at a later date. However, we never seemed to get around to it! On a couple of occasions we thought it could have been a little bit brighter in the kitchen.

I thought it would just be a case of changing over the light bulbs.

Screwfix stock some slightly brighter 12V LED MR16 bulbs. I thought it would just be a case of swapping the bulbs over. Simples. But no. That didn’t work. Well, it worked for one. But once all the bulbs were replaced, they all went very dim. Some of the new ones stopped working altogether!

Although the difference in the LED bulbs (4W for the old ones and 6W for the new ones) was minimal, it seem enough to tip the old LED drivers over the edge! A quick test with a volt meter showed that the LED drivers where outputting about 4-5V rather than 12V. I later wondered whether it was the defective LED drivers that was producing the dim lighting. However, by this point I had swapped all the bulbs over! I wasn’t going back!

On reflection, the old drivers were 7 years old so they hadn’t done too badly. The replacements were only £15 each on Amazon. Simply changing the drivers over fixed the issue of dim or non-working bulbs.

Replacement LED drivers
Two new LED drivers for the suspended lights in the kitchen. One driver for each row of lights. Each driver is rated to 60W, but there is only 5 lights on each row (each is around 6W each). £15 each from Amazon.
Replacement 12V MR16 bulbs from Screwfix. £8.29 each
New bulbs installed and now significantly brighter than before!!

Lighting circuits in the kitchen

With our home automation kit, each room has a number of lighting circuits.  These circuits can then be turned on and off independently.  In addition, some of the circuits can be dimmed (as long as they are connected to a central dimmer unit).

Some areas of the house have been fairly straightforward to sort out.  Others are more complex.  The kitchen is a good example of where there are multiple lighting circuits – gone are the days when there just used to be a fluorescent strip in the middle of the ceiling!

We are just sorting out all of the lighting in the kitchen and I am amazed to find that we have a total of 8 lighting circuits here.

  • Wall lights – small rectangular lights shining up and down on the reclaimed stone;
  • 2 sets of suspended wire lights – each with 4 x 5w bulbs.  The two strips are controlled independently;
  • 4 x LEDs under the breakfast bar;
  • 7 x LEDs along the canopy of the tall kitchen units;
  • 2 downlighters in the square window that separates the lounge and the kitchen;
  • an pendant light in the tall window;
  • And finally, there is a LED strip underneath the plinth of the main units.  This is DMX controlled and we will be able to change the colour and the intensity (brightness) of the LED strip.

However, we don’t need 8 switches to control 8 lights (although you could if you really wanted to!).  With the Loxone system, we can define scenes.  A scene is a predefined set of lights.  So for example, you might define an “eating” scene or a “cooking” scene.  Each of these scenes might use a different combination of lights.  Some of this we are going to have to set once we are living in the property.  The scenes should also be set when it is dark as lighting looks completely different in daylight.

These are Collingwood lights.  There are four along this wall. 1w up and 1w down.  We have used the same lights in the parapet wall in the hallway so that they line up.  These lights are hardly noticeable when they are not on.

These are Collingwood lights. There are four along this wall. 1w up and 1w down. We have used the same lights in the parapet wall in the hallway so that they line up. These lights are hardly noticeable when they are not on.

Suspended wire lighting from SLV.  This all runs on 12v and we can put up to 6 lights onto each pair of wires.  Currently we have 4 on each.

Suspended wire lighting from SLV. This all runs on 12v and we can put up to 6 lights onto each pair of wires. Currently we have 4 on each.

These LED lights were installed underneath the worktop of the breakfast bar when the kitchen units were installed.  Although installed by the kitchen fitters, these too are controlled by the Loxone kit.

These LED lights were installed underneath the worktop of the breakfast bar when the kitchen units were installed. Although installed by the kitchen fitters, these too are controlled by the Loxone kit.

Saxby LED downlights.  These are IP65 rated and could be used outdoors.  These are the same lights that we have used in the bathrooms elsewhere in the property.  Each of the lights is 1w.

Saxby LED downlights. These are IP65 rated and could be used outdoors. These are the same lights that we have used in the bathrooms elsewhere in the property. Each of the lights is 1w.

These two downlighters are in the square "window" between the kitchen and the lounge.  They need to be pushed back up into the holes, but have been left down while the decorators are still working in this area.

These two downlighters are in the square “window” between the kitchen and the lounge. They need to be pushed back up into the holes, but have been left down while the decorators are still working in this area.

A straightforward pendant light.  There will be a piece of artwork here in the long term.

A straightforward pendant light. There will be a piece of artwork here in the long term.

Lights in the kitchen

The kitchen is due to be installed next week and we are just sorting out the lighting and the final bits of decorating.

We are using Collingwood MC020-S LED up/down lights.  These are only 1W each (or rather 1W up and 1W down) and cast out an amazing about of light.

The light on the furthest left needs to be adjusted (look at the shape of the light on the ceiling), but these start to show off the texture of the reclaimed stone wall.

The light on the furthest left needs to be adjusted (look at the shape of the light on the ceiling), but these start to show off the texture of the reclaimed stone wall.

This is the view into the kitchen from  the opening in the hallway.  There will be a row of kitchen units along this wall once the kitchen is installed.

This is the view into the kitchen from the opening in the hallway. There will be a row of kitchen units along this wall once the kitchen is installed.

These are the lights that we are using on the kitchen wall as well as the parapet wall above the staircase.  The line of lights in the kitchen matches the line of lights on the parapet wall.  These are Collingwood MC020S LED up/down lights.

These are the lights that we are using on the kitchen wall as well as the parapet wall above the staircase. The line of lights in the kitchen matches the line of lights on the parapet wall. These are Collingwood MC020S LED up/down lights. You can hardly see them when they are switched off – they seem to blend into the stonework.