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Low Voltage Lighting.

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  1. #1
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    Default Low Voltage Lighting.

    G'day All,

    I'm new there and this is my virgin post.

    I am building a house and would like to use low volt down lights in the kitchen family area (and wherever else possible.) My dilema is that I do not know how to work out the optimum number and spacings for these.

    I was hoping that someone here could help.

    I have attached a floorplan for your info. Thank you in anticipation.

    Cheers chrsiv1.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    Golden Member nev25's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum

    Its not a matter of where to put them it a matter of where you are allowed to

    New strict regulations come into play the end of next month as to how far from a combustible material they are allowed to be installed

    Really need to know where ceiling joists and battens are

  3. #3
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    What if you have metal battens Nev? And does this apply to 20 watt downlights also?

  4. #4
    Senior Member MrFixIt's Avatar
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    Hi

    Just a couple of points in case you are not aware of them. Low voltage d/l are not cheaper to run than normal lights. (well 50w compared to 60w they are a smidgen cheaper)

    Usually more d/l are needed per room because the low voltage d/l are "directional" lighting and have a limited spread of light.

    They sure look good, especially if they are placed and used correctly.

    Keep in mind that there is a LARGE range of wattage and angles from which to choose. Don't just go to a store and buy the cheapest 50w lights, you can do so much better than that.

    The light output from d/l is "sharp" and very harsh lighting. It is not a soft "ambient" light that you get from the usual incandescent globe

    As far as the quantity and positioning of d/l that is to some extent a personal preference. This personal preference can also be "directed" by the furniture in the room and the furniture placement.

    As an example, I recently redecorated our main bedroom and installed new d/l. I installed ELEVEN downlights, yes, that's right ELEVEN!

    Now to put this in perspective, they are not all used at once and they serve different purposes.

    There are five d/l in a line 300mm from and parallel to one wall. Now you might think this is overkill, until I describe what and why.

    In this line there are 5x 20w d/l. These are 25mm diameter and have a white reflector. These are used as the "main" bedroom light and provides lighting somewhat similar to the original incandescent globe but still "directional". This means that the now 100w (instead of original 60w) globe light the room with a great but soft appearance - but they cost almost twice as much to run. The real gain is only in the appearance and "decor".

    The remaining SIX downlights, all 35w, not the "full" 50w, are placed in pairs on each of the remaining three walls. Two of these are used to light the contents of the built in wardrobe - good lighting here, but also necessary because of the change from the incandescent globe.

    Two other lights are placed above the dressing table for SWMBO. Now these are great for lighting the dressing table, but they are NOT practical for the real use of the dressing table where ladies attend to their appearance. The light from these lights is MUCH too direct, i.e. DOWN and cast shadows on the face, under the eyebrows, nose, lips and chin. This IS not practical for ladies to use for applying makeup

    The remaining two lights are really practical. They are placed in the ceiling above the bedhead, only 100mm from the cornice. They are directed away from the wall toward the foot of the bed. These (as intended) make great reading lights for reading in bed - even though only 35w, they are bright so beware if you install something similar and your partner wants to sleep while you read

    There are a couple of images attached, and here is a link to my downlights web page, showing what I did with d/l and the effect. The photos are a little dim because the flash was not used (it would wash out the lighting effect).

    You may also want to give some thought to installing IR sensors to turn on the lights. This has been great for a couple of my installations as you will see/read if you go to the web page.

    I am happy to answer any questions if you think I can help

    HTH
    .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 25mmdownlt4.jpg   readinglt.jpg  
    Kind Regards

    Peter

  5. #5
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    Thanks for your in depth reply Peter. As usual things are a lot more complex than what it looks like on the surface. The house is an investment property in Cairns and I think that staying with coventional fluoros is the to go.

    Ceers Chriv.

  6. #6
    Old Chippy 6K
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    Convential fluoros are definitely the go for a rental place. Good light output, cheap to install, last well and are enrgy efficient.

    Low voltage downlights are high users of energy relative to the light produced - they are just cheap to buy and relatively easy to install.

    Good results for downlights can be had using compact fluorescent lamp fittings especially in places where the lights will be on for some time each night (eg: over kitchen benches). They can't be dimmed, but I have got around this by simply adding more switches which gives more options for lighting levels without dimmers.

    LED fittings are around, but are not yet price competitive, but will get there shortly I reckon.

    But as you have concluded the good old fluoro with the new ballasts give good light output so go for them. They are better used by reflecting their light off ceilings or down walls by installing them above or behind pelmets.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloss View Post
    Convential fluoros are definitely the go for a rental place. Good light output, cheap to install, last well and are enrgy efficient.

    Low voltage downlights are high users of energy relative to the light produced - they are just cheap to buy and relatively easy to install.

    Not so when compared to CFL downlilghts... Even the manufacturers recommend a 3 CFL to 1 low voltage dichroic ratio... Tell me how that works out more energy efficient... 3x11W or 1x35W... I don't see the sense, but regulations no say you have to install at least 40% of floor area with Flourescent lamps...

    CFL's produce such a horrid light, particularly for task lighting.

  8. #8
    Old Chippy 6K
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    That's not my experience with CFC downlights. The output is fine, but I have been using 15W Compton replacements not 11W. I use them mostly where the lights will be on for more than a few minutes at a time and recommended that to others who have had them installed ie: in kitchens over benches etc or other places where they will not be simply switched on and off. They still take some time to get to full output so they are not good for toilets or there places where good instant light is needed (although I just get used to the two or three minutes warm up and use them in those places too).

    Colour selection is important too cool, daylight and warm white all have their place and shouldn't be mixed. I use more switching cable and switches so that I can adjust light levels in larger rooms in the absence of cost effective dimming solutions for CFC downlights.

    I have also replaced larger downlights using R60 & R80 type globes with reflector CFCs and they work well - again with warm up time and colour choice for the position very important.

    The newer LED (based on Luxeon and others) are getting down to more acceptable prices for committed early adopters and with oil and other energy costs likely to rise the capital cost will become less relevant.

    My post on this post was to remind people that a good old fluorescent lighting (18 or 36W or doubles etc) is cheap and effective for rental properties and in high use places in our own homes and are often overlooked. Used under cupboards for bench lighting or behind pelmets and reflected off ceilings for general lighting this is one old technology (improved with better tubes, solid state starters, reflectors etc) that should still be considered.

    For lighting as in most things good design and forethought as to 'fit for purpose' is critical.

  9. #9
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    The big thing with CFL's that nobody mentions, is the light output diminishes significantly with age of the lamp... You don't tend to notice this until you replace an old lamp and have a brand new one beaming beside another old lamp...

    You still can't beat the halogens for light efficiency, that is Watts per lumen output!!

  10. #10
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    nor for number of house fires caused

  11. #11
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    The only reason they create house fires is through pi#@ poor installation practices of electricians or worse, the diy home electrician!!

    If installed correctly, they have no more chance of an electrical fire than a CFL.

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