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Wannabe Geek


Topic # 150329 18-Jul-2014 20:03
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Hi all,

I've been scouring the internet for some time now to try and ascertain whether I can replace my halogen downlights with LED replacements myself legally or whether I need to hire an electrician. I understand from the electricity regs that I can replace or repair my current light fittings, which would seem to indicate that it would be legal, however I have heard it mentioned a few times now that the LED lighting may not fall under this category because they incorporate transformers?

Can anyone confirm or deny whether I can legally do this work myself?

Thanks in advance.

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  Reply # 1091734 18-Jul-2014 20:24
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We have been buying LED light buibs that you put into normal bayonet or screw in sockets, I think you can get LED downlights the same too

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  Reply # 1091747 18-Jul-2014 20:40
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We have 12v halogens in our kitchen. I just found some 12v warm white wide angle LEDs and swapped the bulbs out. No issues. Didn't need to replace the transformers that were already there.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1091755 18-Jul-2014 20:56
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Led retrofits have their own switching power supply in them. If you run them off another switcher like most electronic "transformers" you can end up with oscillations as the 2 interact with each other which can cause the first one to overheat. It's not something that is tested for as it's not an overload condition just the first power supply constantly being in starting up etc.

In short. Don't put 12v mr16 led lamps on electronic transformers.




Richard rich.ms



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1091756 18-Jul-2014 20:57
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Thanks for your replies, I'm interested in replacing the whole fitting rather than the bulb, which is what I think you both are talking about.
I want to replace the fitting so that I can put insulation straight over top, also I think the fittings are meant to last longer than the bulbs??

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  Reply # 1091765 18-Jul-2014 21:26
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yes you will need an electrician



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1091816 18-Jul-2014 22:00
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Thanks Jase, can you tell me why that is the case?

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  Reply # 1091833 18-Jul-2014 22:51
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cmon mate. Do it ya self!!

 

It's only two wires, what could go wrong?

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  Reply # 1091842 18-Jul-2014 23:16
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Nathan47: Thanks Jase, can you tell me why that is the case?

 

It will be in the legislation if correct.  They also do need to be wired in. You should probably check with a few electricians.  It won't be the same as replacing like for like either, as they are substantially different with a different rating.  Doing it yourself if you are not permitted to, could void your insurance if you have a fire caused by them. 
I have just replaced my old CFL bulbs with LED replacement bulbs, and as my downlighters are big units, there is plenty of clearance around them. Those you can do, as you are simply switching the bulb over.

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  Reply # 1091877 19-Jul-2014 08:15
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According to what is written in the wiring guide for consumers, if there is one transformer per halogen, then you can replace the fitting and transformer with an LED fitting and it's transformer.  The safety concern is in the mains wiring and keeping the fitting the same style as is already there, i.e. not changing mains wiring.  But if you have multiple halogens on one transformer (which is the norm) then you will not be able to replace it with multiple LEDs with multiple transformers as it will require adding mains wiring.  Unless you use a single transformer for all (can be done, but custom design, too hard for most people).  Or use 12V fittings.

I don't think the rules are updated/clear for this yet as it has not been an issue/question until LED fittings became readily available.  There are also holes in the rules (for many years), for example it is perfectly fine (not in my opinion) to install indoors rated/classified down light fittings in the eaves of your house as long as the fitting penetrates the ceiling cavity.  Now I ask you, how on earth do I wash my house without spraying water into the fitting...

Make sure you use certified fittings.  I can recommend http://www.qualityledlighting.co.nz/ as both great quality and locally certified and reasonably priced (I have no relation with the company, just bought 26 fittings).

Technically correct about 2 switch mode power supplies connected in series (electronic transformer + circuit in many 12V LED bulb), but seldom an issue (I'm a product design engineer).  Just try one and see if it flickers etc., then if it does replace the transformer with a (properly qualified) power supply.  Cheap Chinese bulbs do not have an electronic switching circuit, because the forward voltage of a white LED is around 3.5V so 4 in series runs well off regulated 12V DC (but not 12V AC).

I do have to add a disclaimer, at the end of the day you have to confirm legality and not just trust what people on a forum says.  Safest is to pay an electrician, but this might help so you don;t get screwed over:
http://www.med.govt.nz/energysafety/consumer/safe-living-with-electricity/getting-electrical-work-done/doing-your-own-electrical-work
http://consumerbuild.org.nz/publish/diy/diylegal-electrical.phpInterestingly according to consumerbuild you can move fittings/switches as long as it uses sheathed cables, I did not know that.




You can never have enough Volvos!


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  Reply # 1091917 19-Jul-2014 10:32
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Nathan47: Thanks for your replies, I'm interested in replacing the whole fitting rather than the bulb, which is what I think you both are talking about.
I want to replace the fitting so that I can put insulation straight over top, also I think the fittings are meant to last longer than the bulbs??


Check your insurance policy. You may find that if you do any electrical work your policy will be void, does not matter what the regulation say.
The reason for this is even if you get it inspected, there is so much dodgy work that can be hidden behind wall linings.



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  Reply # 1092587 20-Jul-2014 18:14
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Ok thanks for you help guys!

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  Reply # 1092630 20-Jul-2014 19:57
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sir1963: Check your insurance policy. You may find that if you do any electrical work your policy will be void, does not matter what the regulation say.The reason for this is even if you get it inspected, there is so much dodgy work that can be hidden behind wall linings.


Can you provide an example of such a policy?

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  Reply # 1092787 21-Jul-2014 07:28
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Bung:
sir1963: Check your insurance policy. You may find that if you do any electrical work your policy will be void, does not matter what the regulation say.The reason for this is even if you get it inspected, there is so much dodgy work that can be hidden behind wall linings.


Can you provide an example of such a policy?


No, I can just remember when is was in the news when the regulations got changed allowing home owners to do more of their own work.

As an electrician, I have seen some householders work, some was excellent, some was a fire hazard and some I am surprised the home owner is still alive !

Check the fine print of YOUR policy.

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  Reply # 1092907 21-Jul-2014 11:32
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sir1963:
No, I can just remember when is was in the news when the regulations got changed allowing home owners to do more of their own work.

As an electrician, I have seen some householders work, some was excellent, some was a fire hazard and some I am surprised the home owner is still alive !



When was that? The last major change to the Homeowner  Code of Practice came in with the need for RCDs in 2004. The previous Code was dated 1993.

As an electrician you must have also seen shoddy work done by other electricians.

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