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394 posts

Ultimate Geek

#105361 3-Jul-2012 10:19
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I have 20+ R80 downlights at home and I'm replacing them with energy saving bulbs gradually.

I have tried Philips ambiance 15W R80 CFL from bunnings, which is pathetic in terms of warming up, it would look like a 15W incandescent bulb for a good few minutes before finally lights up, and it's horrible to wait the lounge to light up when you have visitors. The tornado series are better but they don't produce R80, I use them in light fittings?wherever?I can.

I have also tried GE 15W R80 CFL from mitre 10, they lights up quicker than Philips, but the GE extends too much out of the well, some of the light are wasted on the ceiling, and amplifies any imperfections there.

What's your experience? Do you have any recommendations? P.S. both model cost me about $12 each.

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15667 posts

Uber Geek


  #650099 3-Jul-2012 15:18
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I use Philips large curly bulbs in my lounge, around 15-20W from memory. They're bright enough when they turn on, and get brighter over a minute or so. Their ones that look like old style light bulbs are much slower to warm up.

I got rid of all my downlights, my house is warmer and my power bill lower because of it. Downlights are basically just uninsulated holes. I've posted data that consumer reported a few times, they're in the home workshop forum, but in summary four downlights in a room increases your heating requirements by about 200%.

394 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #650607 4-Jul-2012 13:16
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Interesting point about downlight being an insulation black hole. My house has two levels and good insulation yet I can feel cold air from the cutout in both levels.

Another problem is that downlights seem to provide a passage for spiders and such.

Are there any drop in replacement for incadescent downlights? That provides good insulation effect?

The closest thing I could find from lighting direct is the LAB III downlight with removable reflector so that Spiral CFL could be used (instead of R80 reflectors).


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Uber Geek


  #650619 4-Jul-2012 13:33
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Sounds like you have the worst kind, completely unsealed downlights. They key is being able to insulate over them, and there are very few you can do that with. FOZZ lighting at lighting direct is the best option, they're around $90 each. I put them in my office, they work fine, but they take a while to warm up - they come on really dim, "pop" up to still dim-ish, then brighten over the next minute or so. They're fine, but not for a room where they're turned on and off often. LED lighting should start to do this soon, but it's quite directional, and you still need F rated fittings.

The ones you linked to are rubbish. No drop in replacement downlight that fits in that hole will be much of a gain. Even downlights marked "sealed" can be up to 5% open according to regulations, or so I'm told.

I took the downlights out, sealed the ceiling, put in regular lights, and insulated over the top. It'll make a decent difference to the temperature and your power bill.

394 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #650627 4-Jul-2012 13:50
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Found this in consumer website comment (possibly the one you mentioned).

the product - SD125F, looks a better drop in replacement.

Does one require certificate of compliance for the new lightings installed? I'm more cautious regarding insurance policy these days...

Interesting at one stage Labour was trying to ban incandescent bulbs completely, up till now there is still no perfect alternative choices for many light fittings... some CFL have warming up issues, and LEDs are too expensive.

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Uber Geek


  #650634 4-Jul-2012 13:57
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They're not much better, insulation can be abutted (put up to them) but not over them, making them CA rated. According to consumer (link below if you're a member) CA rated lights require between 170 and 280% more energy to keep the room at the same temperature than if there are no holes in the ceiling.

I'm not sure if they mean 170% more or 170% of, the latter would be 70% more. Either way's bad.

394 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #650639 4-Jul-2012 14:05
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Right with 4 CA fittings it requires 71% more heating Frown

I reckon that the CFL with CA fittings still better than R80 RS - even with paying an electrician to fit them.
"Replacing those six R-rated downlights with CFL-specific CA models would reduce the heating required to 3.75kW. The fittings would pay for themselves in less than a year (if the room was heated with electric heaters) or in just over two years (if using a heat-pump).

These calculations include the cost of the new fittings ($26.55 each) and $300 for an electrician to fit them."

Still wonder if certificate of compliance is required (i.e. paying an electrician rather than diy) for the simple refit...

P.s. found the SD125F retails for $36 ish

394 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #650641 4-Jul-2012 14:18
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What kind of Electrical work can I do myself?The type of Electrical work that can be undertaken without a registered electrician are listed in regulation 47 of the Electricity Regulations 1997. This includes:
  • Replacing switches, socket outlets, lamp holders, ceiling roses, water heater switches, thermostats & elements
  • Repairing light fittings
  • Moving, repairing or replacing flexible cords connected to permanently connected outlets or ceiling roses
  • Disconnecting & reconnecting permanently wired appliances
  • Moving switches, sockets & lighting outlets, but only if they are wired with tough plastic-sheathed cables
  • Installing, extending, or altering any cables (except the main cables that come from the street to your switchboard). You have to get the finished job checked & tested by a licensed electricalinspector. You cannot connect your work to the electricity supply yourself. The inspector will connect it, test it, & issue you with a Certificate of Compliance if it complies with safety requirements.
  • Fitting plugs, cord extension sockets or appliance connectors to a flexible cord
  • Replacing fuse wires & fuse cartridges
  • Repairing  Electrical appliances


Note: You are not permitted to do any work on an Electrical switchboard, apart from replacing fuse wire or fuse cartridges.


15667 posts

Uber Geek


  #650652 4-Jul-2012 14:45
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You will improve things, but I don't really see any point doing half the job.

I always pay an electrician, mostly for insurance reasons - I don't want any house claim to be denied because I tried to save $200 and did some dodgy wiring.

I have an older house, but well insulated. I have a 10kw heat pump for the living and sleeping area and a 7kw for the dining area (overkill for dining). Their 3.75kw figure is dreaming unless you have a very modern, well insulated house. Even my Dads house which is well built and 10 years old is pretty cold, it doesn't have a heating system built in, just one electric fireplace which isn't really very effective.

1923 posts

Uber Geek

  #650674 4-Jul-2012 15:16
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I use a mix of the Philips R80 types and some LED lamps.

Found the Philips R80's to be the most compact (in terms of how they looked and protruded in the fittings). The LED lamps look more like conventional bulbs, so they're ok in the fittings.
The nature of their construction means their light is directed downwards (or away from the socket end).

Advantage of using both for me; LED's are instant on so suit spaces you walk in and out of or where you'll be turning them on and off during the evening (I probably leave them on more now in say the corridor/hallway though). Using the CFL's in the living areas where they tend only to go on and off once an evening. I also have LED's in any side/table lamps.

Sure theres a short warming time with CFL's but with the mix of lighting I have (LED table lamps) it's not an issue to wait for that if I need them on.

2909 posts

Uber Geek


  #650856 4-Jul-2012 19:47
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If you are looking at replacing down lights you should also be aware that the electrical regulations have changed on 10 May. There are now effectively 4 types of acceptable fitting that can be installed in a residential situation, unless you are doing a direct like for like replacement. They are CA 80 (CA rated to 80 degrees), CA 135 (CA rated to 135 degrees), IC (Insulation Covered) or IC-F. These are the only types of down light that can be legally installed in a new installation.

The old F-hat classification is no longer legal to install unless it has a suitable new rating. Please don't recommend these to people as unless it has been re-certified as this is not a legal installation.

Also you should select a downlight that is suitable for the type of insulation you have. You can't cover or abut a downlight that will get hotter than the insulation you are using is rated for.

If you do not know what you are doing you can cause a fire and you will not be insured if you do the install yourself. As always with electrical work this is key and if you do not know what to do don't attempt the work.

The doc below gives a pretty good summary.

271 posts

Ultimate Geek

Technical Solutions Aust

  #651158 5-Jul-2012 10:51
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hangon: What kind of Electrical work can I do myself?The type of Electrical work that can be undertaken without a registered electrician are listed in regulation 47 of the Electricity Regulations 1997. This includes:


Just one problem.... the electricty regulations were replaced in 2010.

You need to refer to the Electricty Safety Regulations 2010 (reprint 10 nov 2011)

Things have changed a little:

394 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #651185 5-Jul-2012 11:23
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Thanks all. P.S. the new regulation is actually clearer. 

64 Exemption for domestic electrical wiring work(2)For the purposes of section 79(1)(a) of the Act, the domestic electrical wiring work that an owner of premises may do is as follows:
  • (a)work on a domestic installation that has a maximum demand at or below 80 amperes single phase, or 50 amperes per phase in multi-phase, and is within the work described in any of paragraphs (b) to (f):
  • (b)installing, extending, and altering subcircuits (including submains), but only if—
    • (i)the person does not enter (whether directly, or by holding any material or equipment, or otherwise) any enclosure where live conductors are likely to be present; and
    • (ii)the work is tested and certified in accordance with Part 2 of AS/NZS 3000, before being connected to a power supply, by a person authorised to inspect mains work:
  • (c)removing and replacing any of the following kinds of fittings, but only if the work does not involve work on any switchboard:
    • (i)switches, socket-outlets, and light fittings:
    • (ii)permanent connection units, ceiling roses, cord-grip lampholders, and flexible cords connected to any of them:
    • (iii)batten holders:
    • (iv)water heater switches:
    • (v)thermostats:
    • (vi)elements:
  • (d)removing and replacing fuse links:
  • (e)connecting and disconnecting fixed-wired appliances:
  • (f)relocating existing switches, socket-outlets, and lighting outlets that are supplied with electricity by tough plastic-sheathed cables.
Compare: SR 1997/60 r 47

394 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #651194 5-Jul-2012 11:42
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It looks the new downlight regulation, while making sense, can be a little confusing for consumers. Many websites and brochures don't yet have updated the rating.

The superlux SD125F/SD100F are stated as CA 80 which I might use for ground floor drop in replacement first.

For upper floor I would look for the IC or IC-F rated and then maybe have a ceiling insulation top up, provided the sparky and insulation guys are aware of the new regulations - talked to one couple of weeks ago and he didn't mention the change.

394 posts

Ultimate Geek

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