ACTEW Free LED Downlight Bulb Installation
Currently ACTEW have a deal installing LED bulbs for free, just saw it in the house rules ad break. It will be interesting to see how this goes as we have had nothing but problems with LED downlight bulbs/globes. To the point where we do not replace just the bulbs in downlights, we remove the entire old downlight + transformer and replace with a completely new sealed LED downlight light kit. I will go over the issues we have been having later on.
Just some of the different old downlight transformers we have removed
Interested in bulbs/globes
I had an idea something like this was coming as it was only last year I had a call from ACTEW seeing if I would like to meet up as they were interested in seeing what our business was about. The meeting went well, they were primarily interested in what lights we were using, any problems we have come across, how much the LED lights we use cost and how many lights we could replace in a day.
The LED lights we use didn’t really work for what they wanted as we were using the some of the best LED lights on the market. ACTEW was also only interested in bulbs/globes as the price was much more affordable at around the $2.00 mark. Where as a M-elec LED downlight kit costs anywhere upwards of $40. For us we aim to solve lighting problems, improve the overall lighting installation and complete upgrades are the only way to reach this standard for the long term.
Bulb replacement is the easiest with a gu10 type bulb where the electronics are hidden inside, so not existing transformer compatibility issues (see below image *1). The MR16 bulbs however, need to work with the existing transformer and this is where we have had a lot of compatibility issues. Sometimes dimmers can give you trouble but worst comes to worst you can disconnect the dimmer and the flicker will be gone.
9W 550lm GU10 LED bulb *1
Popular sealed LED downlight kits
The main issues we came across when replacing LED bulbs happened generally when clients had bought their own LED bulbs and just wanted us to install them. They would flicker slightly or flash non stop and this could be fixed generally by installing a OSRAM Redback transformer (Image below *2).
The next issue we would have, was with dimming the bulbs. A lot of cheap $1 LED bulbs do not have the extra electronics needed to dim smoothly. So if a dimmer is on that switch all the lights would flicker or just not turn on. The easiest way to fix this was to disconnect the dimmers. I don’t recommend this especially when you can get free LED bulbs from ACTEW! but they sell for around $1 on ebay. I just want to confirm, I do not recommend buying lights from ebay.
The new LED bulbs?
The other issue we had, was with a motion sensor not picking up the small load on the circuit and the lights just would not turn on. We ended up not being able to use the bulbs supplied by the clients and just replaced with new complete downlight kits. The new lights were 10 times brighter and in my ‘biased’ opinion were a lot better. They also cost more and unfortunately were not free.
I am planning on getting a few bulbs from ACTEW to do some tests and see what dimmers work best, the brightness and if they work on common transformers. I would still take ACTEW up on the free LED bulb/globe replacement because… well, they are free and see how they go. Then, if you ever feel like you want more light or just want to seal the holes into your roof space we will be here to help:)
If I was organising to get the replacement, two good questions I would ask about the free LED bulb replacement would be –
1. What is the lumen output of the new LED bulbs? Halogen 50W bulbs have a lumen output of around 800 lumens anything under 650 lumens is noticeably dimmer.
2. Are the bulbs dimmable? This is important as non dimmable bulbs will flicker.
See what they say. If anyone reads this blog and has had the free replacement done I would like to hear how it went send me an email at email@example.com. In the meantime I will try and get my hands on a FREE bulb and do some tests on it and get back to you as soon as possible.
Thanks for reading.
PS. Overall I think this is a great move for ACTEW as it will drastically reduce the bills of many households. I just hope the quality of the bulbs is high as problem lights may tarnish LED lights. Some manufactures are producing extremely high quality lights, that will last years and years and it’s a shame when I hear people say LED lights are rubbish. If you are in the market do your research, check the manufacturer is a member of the Lighting Council of Australia and you will ensure a quality product.