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Topic # 179408 7-Sep-2015 14:50
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Our house was built 7 years ago, lots of halogen downlights. The lounge alone has around 23 halogens. The electrician installed the lights , using Philips electronic transformers to drive them. 

In the first 4 or 5 years, we had a lot of these philips transformers just fail... probably I have replaced 20 or so.... none of the replacements failed yet. 

I phoned philips a couple of years ago asking if this was normal , and they said it wasn't and they would like to investigate further.   Of course, they didn't follow through on this. 

I was doing the rounds over the weekend fixing the latest batch of lights that were out,  and found this....




The thing could have burned down our house. I can't believe we didn't smell this. I checked, the insulation is well clear of the light fitting too. 

Not looking forward to going through the rest of the house and ripping these things out. It is probably a couple of days work as I'm not sure which ones have been replaced either. 



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56 posts

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  Reply # 1381182 7-Sep-2015 14:54
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Might be time for LED?

I wouldn't feel safe with the Halogens in your setup after seeing that.

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  Reply # 1381185 7-Sep-2015 14:54
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Might be serious enough to go direct to Energy Safety, especially as you've tried to raise issues with the product in the past.

To report a potentially unsafe product: https://www.energysafety.govt.nz/forms/product-appliance-complaint-form (alternatively ring them).

Of course, you should try to get Phillips on the phone, make sure you tell them you are reporting a potential fire hazard with their products.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1381195 7-Sep-2015 15:02
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surfisup1000: Our house was built 7 years ago, lots of halogen downlights. The lounge alone has around 23 halogens. The electrician installed the lights , using Philips electronic transformers to drive them. 

In the first 4 or 5 years, we had a lot of these philips transformers just fail... probably I have replaced 20 or so.... none of the replacements failed yet. 

I phoned philips a couple of years ago asking if this was normal , and they said it wasn't and they would like to investigate further.   Of course, they didn't follow through on this. 

I was doing the rounds over the weekend fixing the latest batch of lights that were out,  and found this....




The thing could have burned down our house. I can't believe we didn't smell this. I checked, the insulation is well clear of the light fitting too. 

Not looking forward to going through the rest of the house and ripping these things out. It is probably a couple of days work as I'm not sure which ones have been replaced either. 




That is scary, you should send your photos to Phillips. Good thing you caught that in time




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  Reply # 1381204 7-Sep-2015 15:15
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This sort of thing is fairly common. I've seen the same sort of thing on various brands of electronic transformers and LED drivers. It is also very common in electronic ballasts in fluro fitting too.

I suppose the interesting thing is how few places actually burn down because of it.


In general this is what appears to happen:
1. generally the capacitor or transformer overheats and melts the plastic housing.
2. the capacitor or transformer shorts out and takes out the circuit breaker or internal fuse.
3. At that point the fire goes out because the plastic these things are made out of is self extinguishing. The batts the thing is sitting on don't burn because they are made of glass
4. the home owner replaces the bulb because it has stopped working but it doesn't fix the problem
5. further investigation finds the burnt out transformer and it is replaced.

I know its not ideal but like I say this happens all the time... it is the reason I have heat/smoke detectors in my ceiling cavity





Matthew


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  Reply # 1381210 7-Sep-2015 15:23
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mdooher: It is also very common in electronic ballasts in fluro fitting too.



Cool Story Bro time --

I am, by original training, an electrical engineer. As part of the degree we also did the TAFE electrician's course (although they changed the rules the year before we did it such that we couldn't also get an electrician's ticket, grrrr), which was very handy. One morning we walk into the lab, first class of the day, and flip the lights on.

Bzzzzt goes a starter cap, accompanied by a small flame, and the lights go out.

In walks 'E' who was doing a Bachelor of Technology, which was just like Electrical Engineering but without any maths.

'Hey, why did the lights go off?' says E.
'Oh, the starter cap blew.'
'Yeah, but why did the lights go off?'
Me frowns... 'Because the starter cap blew.'
'Yeah, but why did the other lights go off?'
'E, do you see that cabinet on the wall?' (Pointing to the switchboard)
'Yeah?'
'Well, inside it, there is a little man who watches for a failed starter cap, and when he sees one, he turns all the other lights off too.'
E looked annoyed.









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These comments are my own and do not represent the opinions of 2degrees.


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  Reply # 1381214 7-Sep-2015 15:30
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SaltyNZ:
mdooher: It is also very common in electronic ballasts in fluro fitting too.



Cool Story Bro time --

I am, by original training, an electrical engineer. As part of the degree we also did the TAFE electrician's course (although they changed the rules the year before we did it such that we couldn't also get an electrician's ticket, grrrr), which was very handy. One morning we walk into the lab, first class of the day, and flip the lights on.

Bzzzzt goes a starter cap, accompanied by a small flame, and the lights go out.

In walks 'E' who was doing a Bachelor of Technology, which was just like Electrical Engineering but without any maths.

'Hey, why did the lights go off?' says E.
'Oh, the starter cap blew.'
'Yeah, but why did the lights go off?'
Me frowns... 'Because the starter cap blew.'
'Yeah, but why did the other lights go off?'
'E, do you see that cabinet on the wall?' (Pointing to the switchboard)
'Yeah?'
'Well, inside it, there is a little man who watches for a failed starter cap, and when he sees one, he turns all the other lights off too.'
E looked annoyed.

Cool story bro.



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  Reply # 1381216 7-Sep-2015 15:31
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mdooher: This sort of thing is fairly common. I've seen the same sort of thing on various brands of electronic transformers and LED drivers. It is also very common in electronic ballasts in fluro fitting too.

I suppose the interesting thing is how few places actually burn down because of it.


In general this is what appears to happen:
1. generally the capacitor or transformer overheats and melts the plastic housing.
2. the capacitor or transformer shorts out and takes out the circuit breaker or internal fuse.
3. At that point the fire goes out because the plastic these things are made out of is self extinguishing. The batts the thing is sitting on don't burn because they are made of glass
4. the home owner replaces the bulb because it has stopped working but it doesn't fix the problem
5. further investigation finds the burnt out transformer and it is replaced.

I know its not ideal but like I say this happens all the time... it is the reason I have heat/smoke detectors in my ceiling cavity




Interesting, good to know. I guess the quality of these philips ones might be a bit off as we had so many fail. None of the ones we replaced them with have failed to date. 

Have been thinking about replacing with LED's at some stage, but, a bit of a mission but the problem is our house is installed with the PDL 800 Modena Series, and they do not seem to support LED dimmer modules.... although, not really up with the latest LED tech either. 

947 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1381225 7-Sep-2015 15:44
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surfisup1000:
mdooher: This sort of thing is fairly common. I've seen the same sort of thing on various brands of electronic transformers and LED drivers. It is also very common in electronic ballasts in fluro fitting too.

I suppose the interesting thing is how few places actually burn down because of it.


In general this is what appears to happen:
1. generally the capacitor or transformer overheats and melts the plastic housing.
2. the capacitor or transformer shorts out and takes out the circuit breaker or internal fuse.
3. At that point the fire goes out because the plastic these things are made out of is self extinguishing. The batts the thing is sitting on don't burn because they are made of glass
4. the home owner replaces the bulb because it has stopped working but it doesn't fix the problem
5. further investigation finds the burnt out transformer and it is replaced.

I know its not ideal but like I say this happens all the time... it is the reason I have heat/smoke detectors in my ceiling cavity




Interesting, good to know. I guess the quality of these philips ones might be a bit off as we had so many fail. None of the ones we replaced them with have failed to date. 

Have been thinking about replacing with LED's at some stage, but, a bit of a mission but the problem is our house is installed with the PDL 800 Modena Series, and they do not seem to support LED dimmer modules.... although, not really up with the latest LED tech either. 


The normal reason for transformer failure (not the burned out ones) is overheating. This is usually caused by incorrect installation. They are supposed to be installed above the insulation, attached to something. ie not just sitting on the batts. To do that however is quite tricky, so no one ever does.

Some brands seem to cope better than others and of course the lower the current running through each one the better.  Obviously the manufacturers want the best bang for their buck so they do seem to run them quite near their limits.

Usually when the transformer gets too hot it will switch off for a few minutes before resetting. If you replace those ones as you notice it happening you should be able to keep on top of it. I use "possums" because they have big terminals and seem to be able to cope quite well with LED's as well (not as good as a proper driver, but at least the LED will run)






Matthew




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  Reply # 1381247 7-Sep-2015 16:15
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mdooher: The normal reason for transformer failure (not the burned out ones) is overheating. This is usually caused by incorrect installation. They are supposed to be installed above the insulation, attached to something. ie not just sitting on the batts. To do that however is quite tricky, so no one ever does.

Some brands seem to cope better than others and of course the lower the current running through each one the better.  Obviously the manufacturers want the best bang for their buck so they do seem to run them quite near their limits.

Usually when the transformer gets too hot it will switch off for a few minutes before resetting. If you replace those ones as you notice it happening you should be able to keep on top of it. I use "possums" because they have big terminals and seem to be able to cope quite well with LED's as well (not as good as a proper driver, but at least the LED will run)




Ours is a multistory house, and the one in question is between the 2nd/3rd floors and was just sitting on plasterboard next to a wooden beam. The had electrician cleared the insulation away (we have insulation in internal walls/ceilings). 

I see what you mean about them cutting in/out. 

These are the ones you refer to?

http://www.nzlightingltd.co.nz/shop/Transformers+12+volt+Halogen/2022.html

Cheers




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  Reply # 1381248 7-Sep-2015 16:23
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surfisup1000:
mdooher: The normal reason for transformer failure (not the burned out ones) is overheating. This is usually caused by incorrect installation. They are supposed to be installed above the insulation, attached to something. ie not just sitting on the batts. To do that however is quite tricky, so no one ever does.

Some brands seem to cope better than others and of course the lower the current running through each one the better.  Obviously the manufacturers want the best bang for their buck so they do seem to run them quite near their limits.

Usually when the transformer gets too hot it will switch off for a few minutes before resetting. If you replace those ones as you notice it happening you should be able to keep on top of it. I use "possums" because they have big terminals and seem to be able to cope quite well with LED's as well (not as good as a proper driver, but at least the LED will run)




Ours is a multistory house, and the one in question is between the 2nd/3rd floors and was just sitting on plasterboard next to a wooden beam. The had electrician cleared the insulation away (we have insulation in internal walls/ceilings). 

I see what you mean about them cutting in/out. 

These are the ones you refer to?

http://www.nzlightingltd.co.nz/shop/Transformers+12+volt+Halogen/2022.html

Cheers





Actually I recently  changed to these:

 

http://www.halcyonlights.co.nz/products/interior-lighting/control-gear/0-70w-electronic-transformer/

 

They work right down to 0W so are perfect for LED as well, about $10+ from memory... and they are a lovely colour tongue-out




Matthew




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  Reply # 1381252 7-Sep-2015 16:43
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mdooher:
surfisup1000:
mdooher: The normal reason for transformer failure (not the burned out ones) is overheating. This is usually caused by incorrect installation. They are supposed to be installed above the insulation, attached to something. ie not just sitting on the batts. To do that however is quite tricky, so no one ever does.

Some brands seem to cope better than others and of course the lower the current running through each one the better.  Obviously the manufacturers want the best bang for their buck so they do seem to run them quite near their limits.

Usually when the transformer gets too hot it will switch off for a few minutes before resetting. If you replace those ones as you notice it happening you should be able to keep on top of it. I use "possums" because they have big terminals and seem to be able to cope quite well with LED's as well (not as good as a proper driver, but at least the LED will run)




Ours is a multistory house, and the one in question is between the 2nd/3rd floors and was just sitting on plasterboard next to a wooden beam. The had electrician cleared the insulation away (we have insulation in internal walls/ceilings). 

I see what you mean about them cutting in/out. 

These are the ones you refer to?

http://www.nzlightingltd.co.nz/shop/Transformers+12+volt+Halogen/2022.html

Cheers





Actually I recently  changed to these:
http://www.halcyonlights.co.nz/products/interior-lighting/control-gear/0-70w-electronic-transformer/ They work right down to 0W so are perfect for LED as well, about $10+ from memory... and they are a lovely colour tongue-out



Will do some research to see if compatible with our PDL dimmers, thanks.  

Ideally we can replace with LEDS as the halogens fail.   I wonder if you can have a mixture of halogens and LED's running of the same dimmer too.  

Google will be my friend :)

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  Reply # 1381254 7-Sep-2015 16:46
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surfisup1000:
mdooher:
surfisup1000:
mdooher: The normal reason for transformer failure (not the burned out ones) is overheating. This is usually caused by incorrect installation. They are supposed to be installed above the insulation, attached to something. ie not just sitting on the batts. To do that however is quite tricky, so no one ever does.

Some brands seem to cope better than others and of course the lower the current running through each one the better.  Obviously the manufacturers want the best bang for their buck so they do seem to run them quite near their limits.

Usually when the transformer gets too hot it will switch off for a few minutes before resetting. If you replace those ones as you notice it happening you should be able to keep on top of it. I use "possums" because they have big terminals and seem to be able to cope quite well with LED's as well (not as good as a proper driver, but at least the LED will run)




Ours is a multistory house, and the one in question is between the 2nd/3rd floors and was just sitting on plasterboard next to a wooden beam. The had electrician cleared the insulation away (we have insulation in internal walls/ceilings). 

I see what you mean about them cutting in/out. 

These are the ones you refer to?

http://www.nzlightingltd.co.nz/shop/Transformers+12+volt+Halogen/2022.html

Cheers





Actually I recently  changed to these:
http://www.halcyonlights.co.nz/products/interior-lighting/control-gear/0-70w-electronic-transformer/ They work right down to 0W so are perfect for LED as well, about $10+ from memory... and they are a lovely colour tongue-out



Will do some research to see if compatible with our PDL dimmers, thanks.  

Ideally we can replace with LEDS as the halogens fail.   I wonder if you can have a mixture of halogens and LED's running of the same dimmer too.  

Google will be my friend :)


You can, but you will find the dimming rate is different for the LEDs and halogens... also remember when you dim LEDs the colour doesn't change. With Halogens they get more yellow so you get that nice warm feel.  Dimming LEDs just makes it..well...dimmer




Matthew


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  Reply # 1382020 8-Sep-2015 20:29
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Actually I recently  changed to these:
http://www.halcyonlights.co.nz/products/interior-lighting/control-gear/0-70w-electronic-transformer/ They work right down to 0W so are perfect for LED as well, about $10+ from memory... and they are a lovely colour tongue-out


That transformer is 12V AC - is that really suitable for LED? I thought they needed 12V DC.

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  Reply # 1382030 8-Sep-2015 20:49
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SaltyNZ:
mdooher: It is also very common in electronic ballasts in fluro fitting too.



Cool Story Bro time --

I am, by original training, an electrical engineer. As part of the degree we also did the TAFE electrician's course (although they changed the rules the year before we did it such that we couldn't also get an electrician's ticket, grrrr), which was very handy. One morning we walk into the lab, first class of the day, and flip the lights on.

Bzzzzt goes a starter cap, accompanied by a small flame, and the lights go out.

In walks 'E' who was doing a Bachelor of Technology, which was just like Electrical Engineering but without any maths.

'Hey, why did the lights go off?' says E.
'Oh, the starter cap blew.'
'Yeah, but why did the lights go off?'
Me frowns... 'Because the starter cap blew.'
'Yeah, but why did the other lights go off?'
'E, do you see that cabinet on the wall?' (Pointing to the switchboard)
'Yeah?'
'Well, inside it, there is a little man who watches for a failed starter cap, and when he sees one, he turns all the other lights off too.'
E looked annoyed.

Circuit protection is there to protect the wiring, not the attached devices. Yes, a short circuit will probably operate the circuit protection, but that isn't a guarantee.

mdooher is right on the money, and I'm sorry to say you have proven that the rule change was for the best.
I had a boss who was an electrical engineer with the sparky ticket. He was a very clever man, but if we caught him with tools, we'd confiscate them.




Location: Dunedin

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  Reply # 1382157 9-Sep-2015 07:01
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Circuit protection is there to protect the wiring, not the attached devices. Yes, a short circuit will probably operate the circuit protection, but that isn't a guarantee.

mdooher is right on the money, and I'm sorry to say you have proven that the rule change was for the best.
I had a boss who was an electrical engineer with the sparky ticket. He was a very clever man, but if we caught him with tools, we'd confiscate them.


I never said anything about what the circuit breaker was for, merely that it tripped, and so all the lights that were connected to it went off, not just the one with the broken capacitor. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

I'm well aware of the purpose of circuit breakers, and indeed that that's why we use circuit breakers these days in preference to the old wire fuses in domestic situations. Not because they are more convenient, but because a circuit breaker is calibrated to trip right on the rated maximum. A fuse wire could happily allow a reasonable overload for a long time, starting a fire elsewhere as the wiring overheats. 




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