/ GU10 downlights in a bathroom

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Martin W on 16 Sep 2017
I currently have 4xMR16 downlights in the bathroom, run from a transformer-compatible dimmer switch. I'd like to be able to ditch the halogen bulbs for LED, but it looks like this would require new LED+dimmer compatible transformers, which seem quite costly.

I was wondering whether it might be simpler to switch the fittings to GU10 and just have an LED-compatible dimmer switch. But I'm just not sure whether having 230v GU10 fittings in the bathroom ceiling is permissible. The fittings are over the bath and the washbasin. The ceiling is normal height. The LED bulbs would likely draw no more than ~30W in total on full brightness.

Would this be OK?
elsewhere on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Martin W: j
Bathrooms have different zones for mains electrics, over sink and bath at normal height sounds like zone 1 so most risky and more expensive fittings.

dimmable led transformers are less than 20 quid which sounds cheaper than replacing 12v wiring and fittings with 240v waterproof versions for that.


Kevster - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Martin W:

Of course if you have a ceiling above 2.25m you could fit any old light fitting above the shower.

Just get some new fittings. Ip rated ones. either GU10 or dedicated LED fittings - they have a great IP rating generally. Fire rated is also intelligent - its your house, and you who's asleep when the flames spread. Also the fire rated can will help the LED lamps have some all important air space to keep cool when nestled in all that insulation you have in your ceiling void.
Spend a few quid on decent lamps, dont be suprised when cheap Ikea ones, are, well, cheap.

The question isn't "what can I get away with" more "what is the most suitable solution for this environment"
marsbar - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Martin W:

You can get IP65 rated GU10 fittings.
They are suitable for all bathroom zones.

We have led bulbs with a normal dimmer, it is ok, but flickers at certain points.
wintertree - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Martin W:

This doesn't answer your question at all, but...

Rather than a dimmer switch you could move with the time and get some "smart bulbs". Awox for example do some Bluetooth colour and brightness controllable GU10 bulbs.

Actually it sort of relates to your question as depending on where it goes a dimmer switch could be a problem in the bathroom for regs. A decent mobile phone is waterproof though so you can even control the lights from in the bath - or from your smart watch.
Post edited at 20:12
pec on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to wintertree:

> A decent mobile phone is waterproof though so you can even control the lights from in the bath - or from your smart watch. >

How might visitors turn the lights on and off, or yourself when your phone is on charge elsewhere etc.etc.? What you describe is one of the most gratuitously unnecessary applications of technology I've ever heard of. What's wrong with a f***ing switch by the door?

wintertree - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to pec:

> How might visitors turn the lights on and off

With the light switch.

> or yourself when your phone is on charge elsewhere etc.etc.?

With the light switch.

The company that makes them gave it more than 2 seconds thought. Going in to normal light fittings they still have a switch. It still turns them on and off. They just remember the last colour and brightness they were set to.

> What you describe is one of the most gratuitously unnecessary applications of technology I've ever heard of. What's wrong with a f***ing switch by the door?

To play devil's advocate....

Actually quite a lot is wrong. Re wiring our house from scratch I estimated that I would have to use a switch to turn my LED lights off 16 hours a day for over five years to save enough electricity to pay for the cost of the extra cable, the wall box, the switch, the time of the person hacking holes in the walls, the time of the plasterer and the decorators.

(Edit: As in - if we just hard wired the lights on without any switches it would have cost us less for the first five years than if we added switches and turned them off, balancing the parts and trades cost of fitting switches against the electricity cost.)

Think about the sheer quantity of manufactured material - copper wire and plastic shearing and the like - required to add a switch to a light circuit. Then think about a tiny Bluetooth microchip smaller than a grain of rice. Which is the gratuitous approach?

One day light switches will be consigned to the dustbin of history - person aware lights, intelligent lights, voice activated lights.
Post edited at 22:26
pec on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to wintertree:
Why would you need to go to all that expense just to eliminate a dimmer switch? Just put a dimmer switch on the wall where the normal switch used to be and then everybody can use it, phone or not. There's no extra cable or hacking of walls etc.
The way you described it sounded like you were dispensing with a switch altogether.

The OP already has downlighters, switches and wiring in situ. He just needs to swap the downlighters, bypassing the transformers and swap the switch. There is no major work or mess involved, no replastering or decorating needed and minimal use of resources. If saving those minimal resources was that important he'd just stick with what he'd got now.
Post edited at 22:38
wintertree - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to pec:

> The way you described it sounded like you were dispensing with a switch altogether.

I could have been clearer there. If due to proximity to water (or just because it's common) you have a ceiling pull cord switch, fitting a dimmer switch is going to be non trivial.
Lusk - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to wintertree:

> One day light switches will be consigned to the dustbin of history - person aware lights, intelligent lights, voice activated lights.

What, like PIR sensors and the like?
Yeah, they'll be great in a bedroom when your trying to get to sleep, you roll over and the sodding light comes on!
Or will your super tech be able to detect that one is trying to get to sleep?

Switches, doomed they are, doomed.
1
Robert Durran - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to wintertree:

> One day light switches will be consigned to the dustbin of history - person aware lights, intelligent lights, voice activated lights.

Sounds not much further down the line than the lights in my car. F**cking annoying. Why can't I just turn the f**cking things on when I want them on and off when I want them off (and know that they will then stay f**cking off). The dickheads who design this shit should be f**cking shot. Hopefully I'll be f**cking dead before it's the norm in houses too.

Lusk - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

I can tell you're looking forward to owning your first driverless car.
'Car, I want to go to <somewhere>' ...
pec on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Sounds not much further down the line than the lights in my car. F**cking annoying. Why can't I just turn the f**cking things on when I want them on and off when I want them off (and know that they will then stay f**cking off). The dickheads who design this shit should be f**cking shot. Hopefully I'll be f**cking dead before it's the norm in houses too. >

And don't get me started on rain sensing wipers.

Martin W on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

> Bathrooms have different zones for mains electrics, over sink and bath at normal height sounds like zone 1 so most risky and more expensive fittings.

> dimmable led transformers are less than 20 quid which sounds cheaper than replacing 12v wiring and fittings with 240v waterproof versions for that.

Thanks for that clear and concise information, just what I needed to know.

For some reason the current MR16 installation has a transformer for each bulb (unlikely to be anything to do with cable run length, it's not a large bathroom). I'll have another look for a dimmable LED transformer that can do all four together.

In reply to comments from others:

There's no shower in the area where the MR16 downlights are.

I am not trying to "get away" with anything, I just wanted to know what the regs were.

I've tried LED MR16s with the current dimmer and transformers and they flicker like the Blackpool illuminations. It was that that led me to discover the complications involved with dimmable LED bulbs. LED bulbs that are a straight swap fitting-wise for incandescents are great, but the retailers really ought to be a bit more up front about the other things that need to be taken in to account if you have a dimmer switch, rather than just labelling LED bulbs as "dimmable" and leaving the customer to find out that they don't work. Turns out that our bathroom dimmer switch (an MK Grid dimmer outside the bathroom door - the other switch is an on-off for the steam light in the shower) is rated down to 40W. Four LED bulbs will only pull 32W. So, new dimmer switch needed, and transformer to match as well.

Smart bulbs don't interest me at all. I can't conceive of any circumstances in which it would be more convenient to control my lights from my mobile phone (which lives in my office when I'm at home, not the sitting room or the bathroom) than from a wall switch. Sorry.

And finally, at the risk of drifting miles off topic: my car has automatic headlights and rain sensing wipers. I find that they work surprisingly well. However, it's trivially easy for me to override them if/when I need to, by adjusting the headlight switch or wiper stalk. But then, my car is seven years old. Do more recent cars not have these kind of simple overrides?
icnoble on 17 Sep 2017
pec on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to Martin W:
> And finally, at the risk of drifting miles off topic: my car has automatic headlights and rain sensing wipers. I find that they work surprisingly well. However, it's trivially easy for me to override them if/when I need to, by adjusting the headlight switch or wiper stalk. But then, my car is seven years old. Do more recent cars not have these kind of simple overrides? >

Perhaps the overides are actually a more recent addition to address the complaints of people driving earlier models?
The car I've driven with automatic headlights would periodically turn itself back into auto mode when I'd turned it off requiring me to trawl through the manual to find out how to turn it off again.
There was no overide for the automatic wipers which were guaranteed to always wipe too quickly or too slowly (or sometimes forget they were supposed to wipe at all). The only way an intermittent wipe at the correct speed could be achieved was for me to flick the lever each time I wanted it to wipe.
My current car on the other hand, has a manually controlled variable speed intermittent wipe which works perfectly because it isn't controlled by a computer.

(I did say don't get me started on rain sensing wipers)
Post edited at 17:13
wintertree - on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to Martin W:

Glad you've got a plan. If you change your mind...

> Smart bulbs don't interest me at all. I can't conceive of any circumstances in which it would be more convenient to control my lights from my mobile phone (which lives in my office when I'm at home, not the sitting room or the bathroom) than from a wall switch. Sorry.

Sounds like you need a Smart Watch for home!
Martin W on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to wintertree:

I actually cannot conceive of any circumstance in which I would find a smart watch useful. I did buy one when they were starting to become all the rage. Fortunately, with the help of a certain well-known auction site, I was able to recoup most of what I paid for it after spending about a week failing to discover what on earth it was supposed to be doing for me that was useful.

Having fat fingers and presbyopia probably didn't help.
wintertree - on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to Martin W:

> Having fat fingers and presbyopia probably didn't help.

Smart Contact Lenses? Not quite a thing yet...

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