Using GU10 energy saving lights

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It's barely home automation but I've been experimenting with GU10 CFL energy saving light bulbs in the bathroom. After some extensive googling for reviews (not many) I settled on the Megaman brand and got a bunch to put into the bathroom - the thinking was that with 5 x 50W halogen it might be worthwhile.

The first issue was that they didn't fit the luminaires properly. The castings have a lip and clip retention for normal GU10 bulbs and this just wouldn't work, however, I found that by straightening out the clip I could get the Megaman's in and then the clips provided sufficient friction to hold them in.

The bathroom obviously sees a variation of visit times for obvious reasons, although now that I have finished the new glazed door there is less false triggering from the landing. It will be interesting to see how the CFLs stand up the rate of switching. It would be nice if long term stats for both cycling and total on-time could be produced by Cortex, but I guess it could be doable by processing the logs.

The CFLs are not compatible with dimming, but I don't think we ever got into bathroom dimming anyway. A brief experiment convinced me that dimmed downlighters do not actually create an interesting ambiance, a lighting scheme based around more direct illumination at lower level would be better, so no great loss there. My theory that dim night-time illumination would be a good idea was also vetoed by SWMBO.

The light generated by the CFLs is, of course, different from the previous warm mains halogens. These CFLs were described as "warm white", but at first instance it seemed quite cold in comparison. However, I have certainly got used to it, and it is actually much closer to daylight I think.

Switch on/warm-up time is dependent on how warm the bulbs are and how recently they have been on. The roof construction means that they are relatively cold, and they so have a pronounced "soft-start" from cold - several seconds at least, as you can see below:

After several seconds

I have considered replacing one tactical light bulb with a normal GU10 for instant illumination of essential utilities, but it's not a major problem. An LED GU10 would be more in keeping with the power saving theme ... if I had twin lighting circuits I guess one could switch from one to the other, but I assume LEDs are more likely to be the long term bet.

I also tried twin LED GU10s (single high power LEDs, not the 22 small LED types). I quite liked the light, but there was not enough of it to illuminate the mirror properly, so these have been reassigned to a reading lamp, where they are very satisfactory. Really the mirror lighting should be diffused lighting either side of the mirror.

Given the warnings about forthcoming regulations to eliminate incandescents (maybe) it seems use of CFLs and/or LEDs may be forced on us. This has led me to reconsider whether to fit dimmers in many cases, since dimmer compatibility is going to be an issue with CFLs and probably LEDs for some while yet.

At this point I am still unconvinced by the arguments of the outright ban proponents. CFLs are not suitable replacements in many cases and LEDs do not yet have sufficient output. In my case, where lights are switched on when necessary and turned off again automatically and rapidly, it seems that there are other far more significant consumers of energy in the home.

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This page contains a single entry by David published on January 2, 2008 6:26 PM.

Emulating a toggle action with a Macro was the previous entry in this blog.

Heating Control is the next entry in this blog.

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