Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Living with downlighters, just

I am really developing a dislike of downlighters. We put a shedload of them into our kitchen during a refit in 2002: 14 to be precise, to accompany 4 that were already there. Today, I replaced 7 of these GU10 halogen bulbs, which had all blown. And this was the second time I had made a replacement bulb sweep. I think I have now replaced 16 bulbs in four years. They are said to last 4,000 hours each. Maybe they have, maybe they haven’t, but it seems to me that the average lifespan of these bulbs is much less than that.

And the physical act of replacing the GU10 bulbs is also really deeply unsatisfying. It’s a bit like something you might read up on in the bad sex guide. If you’ve ever used the Dutch cap as your preferred method of contraception, you’ll feel right at home changing over GU10 bulbs, because the simple mechanics of male-to-female insertion somehow becomes both time-consuming and difficult to understand. Sexy it isn’t.

First you have to unhitch a C-shape wire with a couple of protruding bits, which hold the bulbs in place within the bezel, which is what they call the silver bit you see surrounding the bulbs; sometimes the wire just pops out, often it’s quite resistant. You can easily end up wrestling with the blighter for ages until it suddenly comes loose and falls to the floor. Then the bulb hangs down limply from the hole in the ceiling from two low-voltage cables. Next you have to yank the bulb away from these wires. No pleasing clicks or turns here, just tug and hope. The replacement bulbs, which cost around £2.50 each, have two tiny little pins which have to be inserted into two holes in a circular plate, which sometimes comes adrift. If the circular plate has gone, you just have to guess where these two pins go. You push, you wangle, you push a bit more, it isn’t really in place correctly but you think it will do. There is certainly no satisfying click to tell you you are home. You just have to assume that it’s in. Then push the bulb back into the ceiling and then replace the horrible C-shaped wire clip in the bezel.

If you’ve got it right, the light comes on when you hit the switch. If not, then you’ll probably be landed with an unwanted pregnancy.


Blogger Andrew said...

1)When changing, use toilet tissue to avoid putting sweat and body oils on the bulb, will stop incresed surface heating.
2)If dimming is not required change to LED GU10 bulbs MAINS downlighter, an electrician will be required if you have dimmers, transformers or need to re wire in any way. Though costly, costing £10 each, but lasting 50000 hours and using 10% of the power. No hassle good for the enviroment.
3) Vent ceiling cavity to decrease working temp. this if possible will help, (LED produce hardly any heat)
4) reduce from a 50W to a 35W bulb, again reducing heat.

6:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an electrician and have been called back to where i installed some of these GU10 50w and 35w have checked for voltave dips loose connections etc but the problem seems to be the bulbs have tried philips GE and home base bulbs all blow after a short period of time there have been told to try Osram GU10 and failing that the fluorescent 11w same as 35w halogen

4:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Came across this post while I was freaking out over the stupidity of anyone creating a light fixture that requires one to keep some sort of suction thing to replace the bulbs, with, no doubt, the intention that we might just lose the suction thing, freak out, throw the whole fixture away and buy a new one which according to legislation in the 50's 'will build the economy.'
But alas, I came across this post, couldn't quit laughing, phoned my friends to read it to them, .. thus reducing my stress level, which in turn resulted in having the brilliant idea of using duct tape on fingers to act as the suction cup. Eventually it worked, and I still have the light fixture.
Thanks! You are hysterical!

5:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just had a really bad experience with GU10 50W lamps. Having installed 12 in an office ceiling. I used clay flower pots to house them, which I thought was a pretty good idea, as this kept the fibreglas insulation at bay and provided an air vent through the flowerpot hole, which was then vented again by drilling 1" holes through the attic floor.

4 of the damn bulbs have given up after minimal life ie probably only 100 hours. I put it down to cheap sourcing and decided to find an alternative to Homebase.

I was horrified when, last night, a bulb exploded. It fired red hot molten glass into the carpet below, burning deep into the pile. Luckily no-one was standing beneath this when it happened, otherwise it could have been lethal!

Has anyone had similar experience. Is the remedy to reduce wattage to 35W or even seek redress from Homebase?

2:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a twat! Hasn't anybody told you that flowerpots are not intended for light bulbs but Spring Bulbs?

2:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Harbor Breeze ceiling fan that came with GU10 50 watt bulbs. The first 3 bulbs went out within days. The second set lasted about 6 months. One of those bulbs suddenly exploded this week, sending glass everywhere. About one hour after replacing that bulb, I noticed that two of the bulbs (one old, and the new one) were actually bulging out where they used to be flat. I haven't figured that one out yet, as the third bulb is still flat.

5:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey "anonymous" potty mouth. You're the tw@t.

6:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Yeh, I replaced several GU10's in my rented flat ceiling, one evening the glass front of one the bulbs just dropped out onto the floor (carpet), next week another fell out and smashed on the kitchen floor (nice). I queried it with the manufacturer (london Lamp Co) who deduced a 'bad batch' and sent me some others which have so far been OK. Different story for the bathroom GU490 IP65 downlighters, nigh on impossible to dismantle and change bulb all seized solid and with the chrome plating flaked off with sharp edges - nightmare design !

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