Stones

Connecting LED driver to mains

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Having ordered a few samples online, we have settled on a cheap but impressive flat panel LED lighting for our kitchen:

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/I-LumoS-LED-RECESSED-LIGHTING-PANEL-15MM-SLIM-ROUND-SQUARE-CEILING-DOWNLIGHTS-/331607082056?var=&hash=item4d35528448:m:m9roqi3fZ_UkKwkwNZm1wlQ

 

A driver is supplied (no interference with radio on those I tested) so all that remains the final connection between driver and mains cable.  Having removed the cover from one of the drivers:

 

 

PB040023.JPG

 

the wires are soldered. I'm assuming a simple chocbox is the way to go to make and protect the final connection between the driver wires and mains cable?

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Guest Alphonsox

That's what we've used. Seems to be fine.

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I doubt that CE mark means anything other than Chinese Electronics :ph34r:

 

If it has a flying flex as it's input, is should be double insulated, as in a sheathed flex. That's glorified speaker wire there.

 

I would be tempted to replace that speaker wire with some proper 2 core sheathed mains flex and then into a choc box or wago box if it's going to be in an inaccesible location.

 

I would put one on an extended soak test to see how hot it gets.
 

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@ProDave how long would you suggest running one for as a test?

 

I can certainly try replacing the input wires with sheathed flex - it'll be an interesting test of my soldering skills.

 

If that's not going to work, is there anything else I can do, eg insulating sleeve over input wires, or is that just a recipe for disaster?

 

Annoying thing is that these lights are perfect for what we want. It really is an absolute minefield...

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The cables are rated at 600V, 3A and 105C. I would have thought they would be fine but you could sleeve them with heat shrink.

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Is it actually glorified speaker wire, or is it 230v rated stuff? Any writing on it? 

For testing, put it in a large Tupperware box and seal it in, but put it outside or do NOT leave unnatended. The unit will usually have the heat from the light adding to the running heat of the driver, so recreate that as best you can with the driver sat over the light. Much as leds are supposed to run very cool, these units do get quite warm. 

I bought these ones and they're fine. The 9w have a fantastic output.

FWIW I just made them off with Wagos straight onto the twin and earth cables :). No complaints from me, and just ordered 4 more to go in my boys ( work in progress ) attic conversion, due to the lack of head height.

These also have excellent dispersion vs standard recessed GU10 / MR16 downlights, and can be bought IP66 too with no additional recessed depth. 

Remember that, afaik, you need to supplement these with additional fire proofing measures as they're not fire rates from what I can derive. Anyone know different. ?

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Nick, thanks for recommending these lights, have you checked them for radio interference as some are really bad?

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@Nickfromwales, I don't have the driver in front of me just now, but I think out fair to say that the input and output wires are little more than bell wire - very insubstantial. I take it the ones you linked to don't have the wiring issues identified in the picture? 

 

Other question which someone may wish to answer, we have 12 lights planned for our kitchen covering a combined floor and worktop area of around 13m2. I had been thinking of 6W lights but just wondering if this would be too bright / overkill?

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Guest Alphonsox

We went through the same considerations and eventually ended up as follows :-

We have a combined kitchen diner. We have installed 12 6W panels in the kitchen area and another 8 6W panels  in the dining area on a separate circuit. The areas are roughly 20meach. This gives a good level of illumination with cold white panels. 

 

One other note on the subject of interference - The drivers supplied with our panels each give off a small amount of interference, enough to kill a radio signal if the radio is within 6" or so of the driver. I assumed this wouldn't be a problem as the radio would be a lot further away than this from any individual driver. Unfortunately the combined effect of 20 drivers is sufficient to kill a radio anywhere in the room. 

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Jeremy knew where to source drivers that didn't give radio interference, anyone know what drivers he used?, also is it worth using one driver per cct ( this is what I did in my workshop with led strips).

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Guest Alphonsox

I bought one from these people as a trial - completely silent and with screw connections for cables of your choice. They have a range of powers available but I haven't looked at driving multiple panels from a single driver as yet.

https://futureeden.co.uk/collections/constant-current-led-drivers-power-supplies

 

Worth a read as well

https://futureeden.co.uk/blogs/news/77633283-how-do-i-choose-a-constant-current-driver

 

IIRC Jeremy ended up using a constant voltage PSU with dropper resistors.

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I think the radio interference issue will depend how close you are to your local radio transmitter.

 

At the moment I am sold on using GU10 downlights with LED lamps. You just can't beat the simplicity. The only caveat being the variation between brightness and colour of different LED lamps, so the plan is to buy enough to do all lamps in the house plus a good number of spares to keep in stock.

 

The new build I have just finished wiring has all GU10's with 6W LED's and it's very bright indeed. Downlights about 2 metres apart.
 

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Guest Alphonsox
7 minutes ago, ProDave said:

I think the radio interference issue will depend how close you are to your local radio transmitter.

It will also depend on your build structure - We have foil lined insulation in the walls and that really cuts the signal strength of radio and mobile signals.

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Guest Alphonsox

For completeness @JSHarris came up with the following solution :- 

 

Quote

I'm not recommending that Ebay seller, only because there are a lot of dodgy Chinese LED drivers around (I have loads, as I tried several suppliers and all their drivers created a LOT of radio interference). There's no way of knowing in advance whether the LED drivers will be OK, unfortunately. I even tried some from reputable UK electrical suppliers and they were little better (although they did give me a refund without question when I sent them back). I ended up running all my low voltage lighting from good DC power supplies, and use a very crude, but cheap and not too innefficient, way of driving these LED flat panels. They are constant current driven at high efficiency with high frequency current spikes (hence all the radio interference) from the proper drivers, but it happens that when fed from 12V through a 6.8 ohm, 2 watt, resistor the 3W panels run at more or less a constant current of 300mA from a 12V supply and the bigger 6W panels run at more or less a constant 600mA from a 24V DC supply, which is spot on. They give out loads of light and are probably amongst the most efficient LEDs I've used, far more efficient than normal down lighters, as they use very high efficiency surface mounts LEDs with some clever optics to get a nice, even light spread.

I made up some simple adapters, using in-line DC power sockets, a short lead with the resistor in and a WAGO connector box for each light, and they work very well indeed. The resistor drive cause a small amount of wasted power, around 0.6 watts per light for the 3W ones, but small enough to not to be worth losing sleep over. 

..........

I used a single 12 V (or 24 V) supply for each bank of lights, so in the kitchen/dining room, where we have two switchable sets of lights (cool white at the kitchen end, warm white at the dining end) I used three power supplies. A single 12 V supply at the warm white end, where all the lights are 3 W ones and a 12 V and 24 V supply at the kitchen end, where there is a mix of mainly 3 W panels, but with two of the larger 6 W panels over the hob area in the centre. I switch the mains to the supplies, and used high quality DC supplies (still made in China, but the ones with decent RFI suppression). I also over-rated the power supplies by a big factor, and they run barely warm to the touch, so I'm happy with them being up in the ceiling space (I just cleared the acoustic insulation well away from them, so they work in a bigger air space).

I was going to switch at 12V, but none of the domestic switch manufacturers would supply a DC rating for their switches. Clearly they'd need to be derated from their AC switch rating when switching DC, but I couldn't get any definitive figure for this. As I'm switching close to 4 A at DC on at least one bank of lights, I'm getting too close to what I think the AC switches will be rated to handle (I suspect 3A is as much as a normal AC wall light switch will handle with good reliability at DC). 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Alphonsox said:

We went through the same considerations and eventually ended up as follows :-

We have a combined kitchen diner. We have installed 12 6W panels in the kitchen area and another 8 6W panels  in the dining area on a separate circuit. The areas are roughly 20meach. This gives a good level of illumination with cold white panels. 

 

One other note on the subject of interference - The drivers supplied with our panels each give off a small amount of interference, enough to kill a radio signal if the radio is within 6" or so of the driver. I assumed this wouldn't be a problem as the radio would be a lot further away than this from any individual driver. Unfortunately the combined effect of 20 drivers is sufficient to kill a radio anywhere in the room. 

 

That's very helpful, thanks. Are the drivers that came with your panels similar to the photograph?

 

I've just had a look at the link @Nickfromwales posted, the driver looks the same, down to the same unsheathed input wires.

 

Useful to remind ourselves of what JSH did but ideally it would be good to be able to use something off the shelf without having to faff around.

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Guest Alphonsox

The drivers that came with the panels were identical right down to the cheap wires (mine are white) . The driver I sourced from Futureeden was completely different with screw down terminals and a more "solid" feel. 

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@Alphonsox Are you planning to get a replacement driver for each panel or are you hoping to run multiple panels from one driver?

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Guest Alphonsox

I've yet to do the calculations or compare prices but I think I could run 4 panels from a single driver. At the moment I'm just happy to have the lights on, changing the drivers out is a low priority task - the radio can sit in the next room.

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So have you done anything at all other than connect using the supplied drivers using a choc box or similar?

 

Just checked mine, and as Peter says, the wires are rated 600V, 3A and 105C

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Guest Alphonsox

All I've done is wire up the supplied drivers and panels with choc boxes. It was only the next day I realised the radio was no longer working.

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Is radio interference the (main) reason you plan to swap them out?

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Guest Alphonsox
18 minutes ago, Stones said:

Is radio interference the (main) reason you plan to swap them out?

 

Yes - I don't see too much of a problem with the wiring. Dave is correct in that the mains wires should be double insulated but they are sat well out of harms way in the kitchen ceiling. I can't see any big issues.

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On 5 December 2016 at 17:40, Stones said:

I've just had a look at the link @Nickfromwales posted, the driver looks the same, down to the same unsheathed input wires.

Hmmm. Seems that inconsistency may be a supplier problem too. 

The ones I got ( 9w ) as follows...

image.jpg

image.jpg

image.jpg

Very handy twist to lock connectors to separate lamp from driver. 

image.jpg

Cord grip kind of provided by the orange cable clamp / cover

image.jpg

Cable has writing and a CE mark and an SAA number which I googled briefly and got this. 

IMG_5157.PNG

Long and short, the cable is certified and cosha for mains use ;)

I had 3 of these running in a tiny bathroom. ( 1100mm x 3000mm ) and my DAB didn't blink when switching on / off and I'd foil lined the room with PIR sheets. 

I'd use these again in a heartbeat. 

Oh, and 6 for £40 delivered.

Tres bien x2

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Just thought back and the 6w ones deffo did come with unsheathed input cables. 

Why the hell didn't they just supply these drivers with those lights?!? 

 

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