12V Lights

Here we discuss various alternative energy solutions. From converting your car to electricity to converting your home to be off the grid.
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Wed May 13, 2015 8:23 am

it is easy enough to "maak a plan" and to get some sort of emergency lighting set up for load shedding.

Doing this, without making your home look like some science experiment is a different story ..... :tongue:


Seems we are some way away from finding esthetic 12V light fittings .....


I do enjoy this site - http://www.dmcleish.com/MauiHome/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
though I would just stay with 12V ....


My warped mind is lining for an experiment where I have LED lights strips inside my normal 220V light fittings - with energy effeciency globes to keep the heat down. Will experiment with this shortly ......



A friend is thinking down a completely different line - use a manual change over switch, on the light circuit. Then feed your standard 220V light circuit via an inverter. Thus NO extra lights or wiring, just the inverter and the change over system ..... To not kill the battery this would require the most energy efficient light solutions throughout the house ......



Would love to hear YOUR approach to this. :)

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Wed May 13, 2015 8:34 am

Chris
Tony (First Geer) uses a few very nice little 3w 12v lights with a battery and a light switch in his house with a trickle charger which works very well & is reasonably priced...
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Wed May 13, 2015 8:37 am

What about just installing LED's that have an internal battery? No extra wires and they last for 4 hours, a couple of these and then no installation change. I believe they cost about R150 per globe. taking a normal 3 bed house that should equate to less than R2000 per house and 10 minutes install time.
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Wed May 13, 2015 9:06 am

Quentin, How would you then charge them again?
Remove each time to get to a charger and then replace after charging...
Then the next load shedding occurs before they are charged again, sounds like work.
You then may as well keep a few portable LED's around the house and use them as the need arises, which is what I am currently using...
I am going to go the same route as Tony in which I will use a small bike battery & trickle charger with four of of the 3w Led's which give excellent light.
1 in kitchen, 1 in bedroom, 1 in bathroom & 1 at braai area... Load shedding sorted as gas is used for cooking...
Now we only need to sort out how we can keep the garage/workshop operational during the load shedding...
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Wed May 13, 2015 9:16 am

I use my deep cycle battery with an intelligent charge and 12v LED strips in every room.

Cheapest option IMHO.
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Wed May 13, 2015 9:53 am

Haboob wrote:Quentin, How would you then charge them again?
Remove each time to get to a charger and then replace after charging...
Then the next load shedding occurs before they are charged again, sounds like work.
You then may as well keep a few portable LED's around the house and use them as the need arises, which is what I am currently using...
I am going to go the same route as Tony in which I will use a small bike battery & trickle charger with four of of the 3w Led's which give excellent light.
1 in kitchen, 1 in bedroom, 1 in bathroom & 1 at braai area... Load shedding sorted as gas is used for cooking...
Now we only need to sort out how we can keep the garage/workshop operational during the load shedding...
They charge right there in the light fittings while the current is on. If you switch them on while power is off they run off their internal battery...

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Wed May 13, 2015 10:02 am

Thabogrobler wrote:I use my deep cycle battery with an intelligent charge and 12v LED strips in every room.

Cheapest option IMHO.
I have a deep cycle with an inverter for the tv/pc.

I have already run a LED strip in the garage, with a motion sensor and time delay, so we no longer have to switch on the 220V for getting to the dirt bin etc.

I will install one off 3W downlighter where I sit at my pc in the braai room. This will provide perfect light just for the pc area ... leaving the rest of the room dark.


Further I want to use the existing 12V source to provide at least a measure of emergency lighting .... but if I can find the right solution(s) I may well spend a few cents more and get the 12V to provide the primary light in some areas of the house .....



The various circuits would then be switched via remote control. Giving a nice "clean" solution.



I am still not sure on what 12V lights to use though ...... at the moment short LED strips placed inside existing light fittings tops my option list .....



maar die forum het mos manne met BAIE ervaring ... so sien en hoor graag watter skool geld is al betaal.

Thanks, Dankie, Enkosi

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Wed May 13, 2015 10:17 am

Hi - a quick question if I may Chris...how thin can the wiring be on those 12V LED strip lights? I am currently using just a couple to light my passage straight off a small alarm type battery. Gets charged automatically while current is on and then can be used during load shed

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Wed May 13, 2015 10:27 am

ronnie wrote:Hi - a quick question if I may Chris...how thin can the wiring be on those 12V LED strip lights? I am currently using just a couple to light my passage straight off a small alarm type battery. Gets charged automatically while current is on and then can be used during load shed
Ronnie the sports begins that each person had a different idea of "strip" ... :siffler: :surrender:


In the garage I used 1,2m worth of LED strip, which is roughly 1A. Thus a very thin wire is needed.

With the short LED strips (6 or 9 leds) the wire could be even thinner ....


I am taking my "best practice" advice from the 220V arena. A typical house wiring uses 1,5mm2 wire for lights (remember this is high volts LOW amps), and 2,5mm2 wire for the plug circuits.

With 12V the volts is low and the amps much higher than what we see with 220V lighting.



All things considered I am using 2,5mm2 wire for my light circuits - WAY overkill, but for the lengths I am working maybe R50 to R100 extra on the whole project. The only problem I find is that this is a bit "stiff" where it gets soldered to the LED strip, so I have used a thinner wire for that last 20mm just to have a flexible transition.

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Wed May 13, 2015 10:30 am

Thanks...I would probably only use one or two at a time as the idea is just enough light to not fall over things....then I guess thin wiring is fine because even 12V LEDs can't be drawing much in terms of amps

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Wed May 13, 2015 11:40 am

Haboob wrote:Quentin,How would you then charge them again?
Remove each time to get to a charger and then replace after charging...

Then the next load shedding occurs before they are charged again, sounds like work.
You then may as well keep a few portable LED's around the house and use them as the need arises, which is what I am currently using...
I am going to go the same route as Tony in which I will use a small bike battery & trickle charger with four of of the 3w Led's which give excellent light.
1 in kitchen, 1 in bedroom, 1 in bathroom & 1 at braai area... Load shedding sorted as gas is used for cooking...
Now we only need to sort out how we can keep the garage/workshop operational during the load shedding...
No man, the globes are your 'normal globes' that you use everyday. so when the power is on the internal battery charges and when the power goes off the battery kick in for 4 hours. Then when power back on it recharges the internal battery. So you can even remove them and use them as a torch.

I shall try and get the details
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Wed May 13, 2015 7:47 pm

I wanted to change all my globes to 12 volt.
I already changed all the lights in my house to LEDs.

The total of all my lights, even those I have not used once in 5 years, is 190watt.

Now if you change all of that to 12 volt, I will still have 190 watt and it will cost me some money.

If I run that on 12 volt it means that if all lights are on (which never happens) I will draw about 16 Amps.
If I have a deep cycle battery I think that gives me 1 hour of lights.

If instead I use an inverter to power my existing 220 volt LED bulps I will need a small 400 watt inverter which is cheap and I will draw a whopping 1 Amp to run the same lights.

I always thought using an inverter for lights does not make sense until I did this calculation.

Is my calculation correct Chris?
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Wed May 13, 2015 7:48 pm

O Ja, Chris
To run LED Lights, must one use a pure - or modified sine wave inverter?
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Wed May 13, 2015 9:09 pm

My warped mind is lining for an experiment where I have LED lights strips inside my normal 220V light fittings - with energy effeciency globes to keep the heat down. Will experiment with this shortly ......
I did exactly this with varying degrees of success. What I found is that the diffusers / lamp shades of some fittings diminish the brightness of the LED strips too much - then one is sometimes a bit restricted as to how many strip modules you can accommodate inside an existing lamp.

So in some cases I fitted the LED strips outside the 'shades' where they are not "in your face" but shine upwards onto the white ceilings which reflects and lights up a room pretty well. On others I had no choice but to mount them completely independent of the existing fittings, so I made use of spacing and existing ceiling cover strips.

I have adequate lighting, even enough to read by in some rooms. Right now I'm sitting in my office with lighting supplied by two strips of 15 modules each (i.e. 90 LED's), mounted on the ceiling cover-strip on either side of the existing fluorescent light and I can read, do my bookwork etc. If I need extra lighting, I have some small strips over my work area that are concealed under the header cabinets (much like concealed lighting in a kitchen - which I also did in the kitchen). These are on a separate switch and can be turned off when not required. Similarly in the kitchen I have 3 stages of lighting depending on what is required. In the lounge I have two stages again. Not much extra work to fit the extra circuits, but it means I don't have to go the full monty all the time and this allows for a smaller PV / battery bank.

I don't use Eskom lights inside the house at all any more and I run the lights up to eight hours some nights without any issues.
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Wed May 13, 2015 9:53 pm

My next step will be to add another 'system' (panels / controller and batteries) to run my outside lights all night. Currently these are permanently 'on' but controlled by a daylight switch.
I will disconnect the current circuit from mains and feed it with 12V. The intention is to bypass the daylight switch which is a 220v unit and use the function on the controller which switches on the load as soon as the PV's stop supplying voltage, and switches off again as soon as the PV's start supplying voltage, in effect the same result as a daylight switch. For replacement lamps I will take the bayonet clasps from old fused incandescent lamps, solder my LED feeds to the terminals inside, glue a 20mm PVC conduit 'stick' into the clasp and wind the LED strip around that. Since LED's are polarity sensitive, all I have to do is to turn the lamp 180° if it doesn't work after replacement.

The existing 500W halogen flood lamps around the house (each on their own circuit and switch) will remain untouched. These are normally only used when needed. As a mains free alternative I will install a LED flood in the front and one at the back of the house (separately switched) on a fourth 'system'. Then except for my workshop (which uses eight 5ft double fluorescent fittings), all my lighting needs will be mains free.
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Thu May 14, 2015 7:00 am

pietpetoors wrote:I wanted to change all my globes to 12 volt.
I already changed all the lights in my house to LEDs.

The total of all my lights, even those I have not used once in 5 years, is 190watt.

Now if you change all of that to 12 volt, I will still have 190 watt and it will cost me some money.

If I run that on 12 volt it means that if all lights are on (which never happens) I will draw about 16 Amps.
If I have a deep cycle battery I think that gives me 1 hour of lights.

If instead I use an inverter to power my existing 220 volt LED bulps I will need a small 400 watt inverter which is cheap and I will draw a whopping 1 Amp to run the same lights.

I always thought using an inverter for lights does not make sense until I did this calculation.

Is my calculation correct Chris?

Pieter ja-nee .... :subscribed:


190W of 220V lights will draw just less than 1A on the 220V circuit.

Powering this from a battery means that after energy losses you are probably drawing 200W from the battery, ie 12V side. Now 200W at 12V means about 17A from the battery.


Thus the real impact on the battery is pratically the same if you use 12V lights or 220V lights.

But as you rightly point out - it costs a pretty penny to change everything from 220V to 12V.

PS - I am adding a 12V circuit, primarily for emergency lighting, but trying to see to what extent this could become the primary light in some areas ..... thus another load-shed expense .... :slap:



In terms of battery "time". 17A x 3 hours = 51A.h. A such a standard deepcycle will provide almost 3 hours worth of light, based on your 190W, before dropping past the 50% SOC.

More realistically :
- 12W in the braai room for 4 hours = 4A.h
- 24W in the kitchen for about 2 hours = 4A.h
- toilet etc ... maybe 1A.h

Thus only about 5A.h per night. This is less than a 10% cycle on the deep cycle, which means about 5 000 cycles for the battery life.


PPS - tying into the light circuit and adding a change over switch could be easy, or an absolute pain ... depending on your house layout ..... DB in the garage and this is as easy as it gets. DB in tiled and fitted kitchen and it suddenly becomes "tricky" !


PPPS - PLEASE take care to use this info correctly. Pieter has changed his lights to get down to 190W. ONE old three way light fitting with 3x60W globes is already 180W !!! In most instances homes with older light fittings would have a lighting load of 60 to 240W PER ROOM. Trying to feed these hungry lights from a battery aint going to end well.
Last edited by ChrisF on Thu May 14, 2015 7:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Thu May 14, 2015 7:12 am

Mud Dog wrote:
My warped mind is lining for an experiment where I have LED lights strips inside my normal 220V light fittings - with energy effeciency globes to keep the heat down. Will experiment with this shortly ......
I did exactly this with varying degrees of success. What I found is that the diffusers / lamp shades of some fittings diminish the brightness of the LED strips too much - then one is sometimes a bit restricted as to how many strip modules you can accommodate inside an existing lamp.

So in some cases I fitted the LED strips outside the 'shades' where they are not "in your face" but shine upwards onto the white ceilings which reflects and lights up a room pretty well. On others I had no choice but to mount them completely independent of the existing fittings, so I made use of spacing and existing ceiling cover strips.

I have adequate lighting, even enough to read by in some rooms. Right now I'm sitting in my office with lighting supplied by two strips of 15 modules each (i.e. 90 LED's), mounted on the ceiling cover-strip on either side of the existing fluorescent light and I can read, do my bookwork etc. If I need extra lighting, I have some small strips over my work area that are concealed under the header cabinets (much like concealed lighting in a kitchen - which I also did in the kitchen). These are on a separate switch and can be turned off when not required. Similarly in the kitchen I have 3 stages of lighting depending on what is required. In the lounge I have two stages again. Not much extra work to fit the extra circuits, but it means I don't have to go the full monty all the time and this allows for a smaller PV / battery bank.

I don't use Eskom lights inside the house at all any more and I run the lights up to eight hours some nights without any issues.
Andy I was soldering and soldering last night - putting LED strips into light fittings (tested on two fittings).

Without the light cover the LED is bright and glary. Add the cover and there is just enough light for emergency purposes :slap: :naah:

Second unit I added a LOT of LED strips and was soldering for what felt like hours .... more light, but for some unknown reason I am just not comfortable with this fitting


I was using the 4W/m LED strips. Think I should rather go and buy the 14W/m strips .... and start all over ...



Andy I would love to see some pics of how you mounted/fitted the various LED strips.


PS - I bought a 4-zone remote controlled switching unit to be able to switch the various 12V light zones in the house :) Should make the final wiring and controls a tad easier.

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Thu May 14, 2015 1:50 pm

I'll try stick some pics up later. ;-)
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Thu May 14, 2015 2:13 pm

DANKIE :cooldude:



silly me, SHOULD have known better !! .... bought some lights from a "lighting store", and a role of LED strip .... Let me put it mildly - 4x4Direct is MUCH cheaper !!!!!!!!!! Bought another 5m from 4x4Direct, en soos altyd nog n sak vol goed .... :tongue: :lmao:

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Thu May 14, 2015 9:27 pm

ChrisF wrote:DANKIE :cooldude:



silly me, SHOULD have known better !! .... bought some lights from a "lighting store", and a role of LED strip .... Let me put it mildly - 4x4Direct is MUCH cheaper !!!!!!!!!! Bought another 5m from 4x4Direct, en soos altyd nog n sak vol goed .... :tongue: :lmao:
You and me both!! Just placed an order for 2 x 20W flood lights, four more PV panels and a whole bunch of other stuff I want to need! :D:
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Thu May 14, 2015 9:32 pm

You cant be finished yet
Look at this nice deal we got :thumbup:
http://www.4x4direct.co.za/led-house-li ... -p-280.htm
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Fri May 15, 2015 4:43 am

:laugh2: The two 20W will do just fine, George. :D:
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Fri May 15, 2015 6:59 am

OK Chris, .... some pics as promised. All strips used were 5mm 5050 SMD bright white LED strips from 4x4Direct

I won't ask for you to excuse the state of my home - it's 65yrs old, lived in and used! :D:
These were taken in the day without flash ....

Here my thinking was that there is no space inside the fitting and it would be better to bounce the light off the ceilings, so I mounted the strips on top of the 'cross members'.
IMG_0541.JPG
IMG_0542.JPG

In the bathroom and toilet it was impractical to try mount them inside the fitting, also not enough space for the number of modules needed, so they were fitted to the cover strips.
IMG_0543.JPG
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IMG_0544.JPG

Also taken during the day but curtains closed. These I fitted inside the shade .... I should perhaps have added another 2 modules ...
IMG_0545.JPG

A passageway in daylight ...
IMG_0548.JPG

Kitchen ceiling in daylight .....
IMG_0549.JPG
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Lounge ceiling ......
IMG_0550.JPG

Then just for interest sake I took these in the evening (it was already dark outside) and again, no flash was used. The amount of illumination seen is very realistic .... it is that bright.

Looking in at bathroom / toilet ....
IMG_0551.JPG

Kitchen scullery area with 'concealed' lighting on as well .... (exception! ... excuse the dishes, we had just prepped dinner)
IMG_0552.JPG

Kitchen with 'under counter' concealed lights on as well ...
IMG_0553.JPG

With just the kitchen scullery area lights on (we often just leave those on alone when the kitchen is not being used and it gives enough light just to 'pop in' for a snack or drink.
IMG_0557.JPG

That passage area .....
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The lounge again ...
IMG_0555.JPG
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My office is a room that was converted from an old garage a long time back and needs repainting. The ceiling is still a poorly reflective cream colour (I've just never had the time to do it).
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Actually, this is the only pic that does not realistically show the level of light, perhaps because of the darker coloured paint. In reality I can read with that light.
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Fri May 15, 2015 9:35 am

That looks good and looks like alot of light.
I am thinking of doing somthing similar. How many leds per strip are you using?

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Fri May 15, 2015 11:03 am

Couple of Q's,

What wire did you use to connect them?
How far is the battery away?

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Fri May 15, 2015 11:32 am

Nice Andy, I like that.
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Fri May 15, 2015 1:40 pm

Thanks Pieter, and thanks for supplying the PV panels at such good prices!! :thumbup: :thumbup:

In answer to questions above ....


Led strips are made up of modules having 3 diode packs per module (each pack has 3 individual diodes embedded), you cannot divide a module - it won't work, so the minimum you can use is 3 "LED's" and step it up in multiples of 3.

The number of modules that I used varied by my requirements or was dictated by the availability of space to fit them.

In the order of the pics as they appear above ....

2 arm fitting, 3 modules per arm = 6 modules (walk-in cupboards / dressing room
3 arm fitting, 3 modules per arm = 9 modules (bedroom)
2 x strips of 3 modules (ceiling) = 6 modules (toilet)
2 x strips of 3 modules (ceiling) = 6 modules (bathroom)
5 x modules enclosed in fitting = 5 modules (bedroom)
1 x module under each bottom shelf and two separate modules above ledge = 4 modules (passage)
2 single modules + 6 double modules = 14 modules (kitchen ceiling light)
[From night pics, thus not in the pic order] 5 x single modules concealed = 5 modules (kitchen scullery area)
[From night pics, thus not in the pic order] 7 x single modules = 7 modules (kitchen under counter lights)
4 x 2 modules + 4 x 6 modules = 32 modules (lounge ... 8 / 24 modules on separate switches)

Not shown is spare bedroom with 6 x modules

Total = 100 modules (300 LED's) @ 6000mA draw (i.e. 6 amps)
Total wattage = 72W

This system is run by 2 x 80W PV panels from 4x4Direct, a 20A controller supplying 2 x 102ah medium cycle batteries in parallel.
Wiring from panels to controller / batteries = 2.5 illumination cable (5 metres)
Wiring into roof = 2.5 illumination cable (6 metres on 10A fuse) splitting into 2 legs of about 2½ metres each. This in effect gives 3 take-off points. Wiring from the take-offs to the individual switches (12 of them) and to the LED positions is 0.7mm ripcord (none of these runs is longer than 2½ metres). The short connections from each module-set up into the ceiling is white bell-wire which is thin and not glaring to the eye if exposed, they are short 'pig-tails' varying from 300mm (most of them) to about 750mm long. Not sure, but it's about 0.3mm.

The wiring is overkill because of the small draw, but I went that route to minimise voltage drops.
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Fri May 15, 2015 1:46 pm

The PV's and batteries are also overkill if one calculates the amp hours, one PV and one battery could be sufficient but I don't want to be stuck if I want to add extra lights and also the batteries have less drainage daily, stay fuller which is better for battery life and in winter the charge times are reduced while consumption times are longer.
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Fri May 15, 2015 3:14 pm

I've been using a Uniontech 12V downlighter lamp (120 deg) for camping the last few years; now in the house for load shedding on my deep cycle...can't remember when last I charged the battery.

Plan is to use normal downlighter fittings in the ceiling on a seperate 12v circuit like Chris mentioned with a normal gate remote. For starters 1 in the bathroom, 2 in the kitchen and 1 in the lounge.

Maybe ditch the remote and use one of my Raspi's and a cell phone app to switch lamps individually or even those remote jobbies they sell at Builders (can't remember if the Rx unit can be wired to 12V though; has a built in power supply that works off 220V)

The challenge with converting any system to run 220V or 12V is the switching unless one uses an inverter or UPS, but the current draw on the batt side is way too high

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Fri May 15, 2015 6:22 pm

Andy thank you for sharing your system with us.


My system is taking shape day by day :)


Our house is a classic modern small three bedroomed house, then the braai room, and then the double garage.


The battery is housed in the garage.

From here I run two circuits -

- 1,2m LED strip in the garage with a motion sensor. This is a LOT of light !! :cooldude: No more need to switch on the 180W setup each time we pop into the garage. And we cant forget the 180W system in the ON position for hours on end .... (ander storie daai)
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- the second circuit feeds a set of LED strips inside a dome light and one 4W down lighter where I work on my computer.
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These strips were tested with a 7Ah 12V battery. Perfect ambient light, just not enough to read at. I copied the same layout for most of the lights in the house.



For the house lighting we will run a 2,5 or 4mm2 wire from the garage to the house - same as Andy, way over kill. But I want to keep the volt drop to an absolute minimum.

In the house the wire goes to a "switching station". Here it is setup, tested and programmed, ready for installation in the roof. It will be mounted just above the trap door for ease of maintenance -
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Temp LED's just for testing and programming the system. Installation should now truly be a breeze.



The actual lighting in the house -
- two bedrooms - dome lights with LED strips similar to the braai room (third bedroom wont get 12V lighting)
- Lounge - as above
- en-suite and the bathroom gets bathroom lights with a flat base, to accommodate LED strips.
- kitchen - a three foot dual tube flourescent fitting got "upgraded" :siffler:
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DSCN2260 (Small).JPG
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.

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Fri May 15, 2015 7:44 pm

Nice going so far, Chris! :thumbup: (Don't forget a fuse between the battery and your switching station. :D: )

The voltage drop thing was also bothering me a bit, hence the heavy wiring. Granted the cable run makes a difference but with one leg at only 6m and the other two at 8½m from the battery, I think I might have been a bit overly concerned.

I would imagine that almost everyone that has ordered a roll of LED strip from Pieter, will have connected it up to a 12V battery of sorts with those thin test wires that come attached to the inner end .... and those wires are THINNER THAN ME!! :D:

I did a test with one of the rolls at one point .... unrolled the full length, connected a 7ah battery and then looped one end back to the other to compare and see if the lighting was any dimmer at the furthest end. They were the same brightness, and that's 100 modules connected in parallel (300 LED's).

But ja, I still feel happier having done it the way I did. ;-)

I'm curious to see what the result will be once I change my 220V outside lighting into a 12V circuit. The wiring used was normal 1.5mm twin & earth for lights. The lights around the back, sides and front shouldn't be a problem but the ones along the driveway might just be ..... there are two that are on about a 12m run from the house, one at about 24m and another two that are about 38m away (at the gate).

I was mulling over the idea to make it a 24V system, but not sure that the LED strips can handle it. :think:
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Sat May 16, 2015 4:58 pm

Murphy conspires with eskom .... :tease:

So after days of prep-work my LED's are mounted in the various rooms, the switching station is tested and programmed.

All that remains is to run the power to the switching station, and then to each light.



and 8pm on Friday night the power goes off .....



at least the battery-inverter setup WORKS and we could watch tv in the dark :tease: :dance1:




Neighbour started his genny. 10pm the power comes back on .... 23:45 the neighbours genny was still running .... not sure when it finally ran out of fuel. :lmao:



So today the power was run from the garage to the house roof. About to mount the switching station ..... then I will get my neighbour to use one of his younger chaps to crawl through the roof space to wrap up the installation :siffler: :siffler:

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Tue May 19, 2015 2:32 am

not sure if this post belongs here, or in the other thread .... :siffler:



We have a nice clip on power meter, and have been testing a range of different items in and around the house. Afterall, if you want to go the inverter route it is important to understand what is actually happening with the eskom electrons in your home ... :subscribed:


And thus a friend borrowed the equipment and started testing the items in his house .... two youngsters in a modern house in Durbanville .... modern house with all the modern mod-cons .....


And finally the cosmetic beauty of downligthers FADED !! :shock2: :slap:


Kitchen - 8x50W downlighters
Lounge - 8x50W downlighters
Bedroom - jip, another 8x50W downlighters

Typical winter night the open plan kitchen lounge will have 16x50W burning from 17:00 to 22:00 .... and another hour or two for the 8x50W in the bedroom. Now add another one hour for these lights in the morning. That is a tidy 6kW.h PER DAY, just for a few lights !!! That does not even include the other lights in the house ....


Now compare this to a larger house with THREE people - electric stove (that gets USED), solar geyser, energy efficient lighting - average power use of 10kW.h per day for the complete house.



it is simply insane to have 1,2kW worth of lights for three rooms !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


OPTIONS ??????

Using 12V downlighters - now each 50W unit could be replaced with 4W ...... it would take a bit of re-look to ensure you have the correct light levels where you need it, but it is realistic to expect the 1 200 W to reduce to a mere 100W



have to wonder just how much power could be saved if this type of gross wastage is stopped ..... appart from eskom's gross incompetence, to what extent can WE solve the load shedding issue by looking at our own consumption ? no wait, eskom is the enemy, never ever should we admit that we may be part of the problem .... :tease: :slap: :surrender:




PS - when we bought our home the braai area had the classic three light on a disc type unit. Thus 3x60W ... and so I got used to burning 180W night after night for 7 years .... and now I am sitting here with a single 4W 12V downlighter providing perfect light on the area where I sit with the PC. Another 8,4W worth of LED strips provide enough ambient light for the room. and this runs of a battery, charge by solar, .... thats 1,44kW.h per day, or R65 per month saved, for one single room. At least I did change all the home lights to energy efficient globes when we moved in, still a few cents to be saved by going LED in these rooms .....

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Tue May 19, 2015 8:45 am

Yip, from before I started with solar we were typically using an average of 880KW per month. Now we are already down to the 600KW mark and counting.

Once I am done I estimate that we will be somewhere in the region of about 200KW monthly which would be about a two thirds reduction. Much of this will have been achieved with PV while the remaining bulk will be achieved with geyser efficiency (also solar).

Not to be disregarded is a change in mindset that focuses on energy saving, like not opening fridges / freezers unnecessarily or for unnecessarily long intervals (much like you would do when camping), turning of grid powered lights when not required, planning your cooking regime, showering instead of bathing and using the cold water to wash hands instead of hot just because it's there, .... the list goes on and most house holds can save a KW or two with energy conciousness alone.
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Tue May 19, 2015 8:29 pm

and phase has come on-line ... :yahoo: :dance1: :cooldude:


you will remember that I used the classic two light dome, and then fitted the hi-bright 14W/m LED strips from 4x4Direct -
DSCN2265 (Small).JPG
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6x2 LED strips
DSCN2267 (Small).JPG
DSCN2267 (Small).JPG (43.84 KiB) Viewed 3239 times

For the braai room I installed a 4W LED down lighter straight above my PC work area, then the dome light to the side for general light for the room (have to fix the ceiling where I moved the old light) -
DSCN2273 (Small).JPG
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This is what the light looks like. I love the nice even effect it gives :) -
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And THIS is what it looks like in the dark of night -
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Simply so much better than the 220V light. Better lighting where I sit, and nice even light in the room :cooldude: :cooldude: :cooldude:



HOPING the rest of the rooms comes out as nice, and effective.

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Tue May 19, 2015 9:10 pm

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: Looking good!! ;-)
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Thu May 21, 2015 2:22 pm

That is a super cool idea, well done Chris!
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Thu May 21, 2015 3:07 pm

and to add insult to injury we finished the last wiring in the roof last night - DURING load shedding ! :slap: :surrender:


Braai room - CHECK ! :cooldude: (6x2LED strips + 4W downlighter)

Lounge - CHECK !! :cooldude: :cooldude: (3x3 LED strips - enough light without being too bright)

Kitchen - DOUBLE CHECK !!!!! :cooldude: (you saw the angle iron bracket with the 1m length of LED strip - SAME light, just whighter, than the 2x3' flourescent tubes)

Main bed room and en-suite - Check :cooldude: (light level is almost on the low side to read .... will see if I add downlighters, probably just use the bedlamps for that minute in the morning)

Second bed room and main bathroom - absolutely perfect :cooldude: :cooldude: :cooldude: :cooldude:


third bedroom must feel horibly neglected :tease: :tease:



if I can shake this darned flu I will be on the roof this weekend mounting the PV panel.



I really should send eskom a letter thanking them for pushing me to become independant of them :siffler: :lmao:


next is a PV geyser retrofit, and a gas cooker top

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Fri May 22, 2015 8:15 am

I had a guy from Annecto energy knock on my door yesterday.

He said that they have a plan to make us totally independent from Eskom
buy installing PV pannels on the roof, changing the geyser element and hooking
it up to the geyser, changing all the lights to LED lights and give the batteries
+-5 of them for R1 600 a month for 60 months.

After the period of 60 months the system is ours.

Do any of you know them?
Will it be a wise choice to go with them, or do it ourselves like most of you guys
do here on the forum?

The PV panels are the new type that not only uses the sun rays, but also the UV rays
to charge the system.

That is what the salesman said.

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Fri May 22, 2015 8:46 am

Ask them to indicate in writing how they deal with the SSEG application . . .

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Fri May 22, 2015 9:02 am

Will do.

But other than that, is it a good way to go about changing to solar completely?

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Fri May 22, 2015 11:06 am

Chris, Tell me more about that receiver unit of yours?
I've seen the single channel variety with the bi-stable state feature but not this one...

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Fri May 22, 2015 11:39 am

Stef wrote:Chris, Tell me more about that receiver unit of yours?
I've seen the single channel variety with the bi-stable state feature but not this one...
Our local "security electronics store" sells the units. I actually went to buy the ET remote and receiver unit, but this only has up to 3 channels.

I asked if they had a 4 channel unit and was given this unit - will check at home for the brand name and model number ....

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Fri May 22, 2015 11:56 am

4x4BEES wrote:Will do.

But other than that, is it a good way to go about changing to solar completely?
Yes - in an ideal world I would do it.

NO - the way the City of Cape Town is doing it, it will cost you best part of a R 100 000 to get PARTIALLY off the grid, and looking at a normal single phase 60A house hold you may possibly save R 100 to R 200 a month on your electrical bill - this is if you go on the SSEG with payback system. and this is with NO battery backup.

Now add a few batteries to get past load shedding and your costs increase further, with no more savings to you.

Now consider going SSEG with no feedback to the grid, and larger batteries .... your costs are now between R 150 000 and R 200 00 !! And thanks to our lovely rules in the Cape you may NOT generate more than 3,5kW, thus you cant ever get "off" the grid .... so for all your expenses you have now saved a maximum of R 700 per month.



Thus far ONE "house" has done this - this was actually more a small holding with a large three phase supply .... the exact same basics costs applied to this "house" that apply to you and I, except this person typically had three to four times the electrical bill. Thus the minimum monthly costs are not as bad for this large consumer.



Under the current rules I wont link my solar/pv to the house wiring, thus legal.


Pool runs 99,9% of pv :)

house lights 98% of pv - second circuit totally separate from the house wiring. R7k to R9k total cost.

small inverter for either the tv or pc - add another 2k ... and as it is in no way linked to the house wiring it can be done legally, by a sparky.

geyser - I am going the pv route, purely because I cant fit a solar hot water panel close to my geyser, and running 30m of wiring has less losses. will run the wiring this week, panels and element retrofit in a month or three ....

hob (cooker top) - want to go gas - not expecting a real financial benefit, but we dont have to plan around load shedding ....


I will have 1,5kW worth of PV panels on the roof after this, and hopefully a gas stove.


would be interesting to SEE the real reduction in electricity usage once all the changes have been done.

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Fri May 22, 2015 12:53 pm

ChrisF wrote:
Stef wrote:Chris, Tell me more about that receiver unit of yours?
I've seen the single channel variety with the bi-stable state feature but not this one...
Our local "security electronics store" sells the units. I actually went to buy the ET remote and receiver unit, but this only has up to 3 channels.

I asked if they had a 4 channel unit and was given this unit - will check at home for the brand name and model number ....
Looks like a neat package :thumbup:

My alarm system has programmable outputs that can be triggered from the remote...contemplating using that for switching the 12v lights...AND alarm systems are excluded from COC's :twisted:

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Fri May 22, 2015 1:59 pm

Stef wrote:
ChrisF wrote:
Stef wrote:Chris, Tell me more about that receiver unit of yours?
I've seen the single channel variety with the bi-stable state feature but not this one...
Our local "security electronics store" sells the units. I actually went to buy the ET remote and receiver unit, but this only has up to 3 channels.

I asked if they had a 4 channel unit and was given this unit - will check at home for the brand name and model number ....
Looks like a neat package :thumbup:

My alarm system has programmable outputs that can be triggered from the remote...contemplating using that for switching the 12v lights...AND alarm systems are excluded from COC's :twisted:
These are nothing more than "negative switching" relays, typically used in alarm systems.

In fact, this units can be programmed to handle a couple of THOUSAND remotes - just like gate remotes in large complexes ....



the truly nice thing is that if you go away on holiday you can give one of your remotes to your neighbour - he can now switch your lights without ever getting into your home :)

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Fri May 22, 2015 2:44 pm

My house has concrete slab ceilings on both floors so this double system won't work for me.

I finally decided to join the 12 Volt crowd and will convert all my lights to 12 Volt.

I am going to have special 12 volt GU10 lamps made so I can change my downlighters to 12 volt without having to change the fittings.

They will be exactly the same as my current 5Watt COB downlights, so who would be interested in taking some?.
In order to have them specially made in 12 volt I must take 200.

For the LED tubes, I will dissemble them and see if I can just take out the driver, otherwise I will stick 12 V LED Strip over the current PC board.

I only have one outside flood light, and that one is easy, just swop the 220 volt LED flood with a 12 Volt LED flood.

Oh ye ja and by 2 June I should have 12 Volt Bayonet and Screw in type LED bulbs.
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Fri May 22, 2015 3:41 pm

ChrisF wrote:
These are nothing more than "negative switching" relays, typically used in alarm systems.

In fact, this units can be programmed to handle a couple of THOUSAND remotes - just like gate remotes in large complexes ....
Hence why they are used in alarm systems...some insurance companies prefer systems where the Rx unit is integrated into the main board of the system so that the logs would reflect which remote deactivated the system as opposed to a separate Rx wired onto a zone input. Each remote has a unique serial number which is "learned" by the RX unit. the transmision of codes also makes combo keys possible so one would not necessarily require a multi channel tx/rx pair.

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Fri May 22, 2015 5:57 pm

Stef wrote:
ChrisF wrote:
These are nothing more than "negative switching" relays, typically used in alarm systems.

In fact, this units can be programmed to handle a couple of THOUSAND remotes - just like gate remotes in large complexes ....
Hence why they are used in alarm systems...some insurance companies prefer systems where the Rx unit is integrated into the main board of the system so that the logs would reflect which remote deactivated the system as opposed to a separate Rx wired onto a zone input. Each remote has a unique serial number which is "learned" by the RX unit. the transmision of codes also makes combo keys possible so one would not necessarily require a multi channel tx/rx pair.
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Fri May 22, 2015 9:27 pm

pietpetoors wrote:My house has concrete slab ceilings on both floors so this double system won't work for me.

I finally decided to join the 12 Volt crowd and will convert all my lights to 12 Volt.

I am going to have special 12 volt GU10 lamps made so I can change my downlighters to 12 volt without having to change the fittings.

They will be exactly the same as my current 5Watt COB downlights, so who would be interested in taking some?.
In order to have them specially made in 12 volt I must take 200.

For the LED tubes, I will dissemble them and see if I can just take out the driver, otherwise I will stick 12 V LED Strip over the current PC board.

I only have one outside flood light, and that one is easy, just swop the 220 volt LED flood with a 12 Volt LED flood.

Oh ye ja and by 2 June I should have 12 Volt Bayonet and Screw in type LED bulbs.
The way to go! :thumbup:

I'm very interested in the 12V bayonet fitting lamps, I've actually started making my own by using the bayonet cap from fused incandescent bulbs. How many watts will they be? The one's I'm making will draw between 0.7 and 0.9 amps each, i.e. 8½W and 11W respectively.
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Fri May 22, 2015 9:47 pm

My Business partner was recently in China on a business trip and a visit to the Hytera radio factory for a week. He brought back an incandescent-shaped globe with an ES screw fitting, rated at 4w but this thing gives a lovely warm white (I absolutely hate cool white and will not buy a CW globe ever!) glow, easily equivalent to the old 75w incandescent bulbs. The light is uniform over the whole room and I will definitely replace every globe in my house with this sort of light. They are available in 2w, 4w or 6w. Apart from being very efficient, they are very easy on one's eyes.


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Sat May 23, 2015 12:44 am

Now see! If I had known that I would be able to get LED 'bulbs' like that I could have saved myself some trouble. On the other hand. I might have saved myself a few rand making my own. :D:

If you'd like to do something similar, here's what I did ....

Take a fused incandescent bulb, put it in a plastic bag or into the empty box of the replaced bulb and break it carefully in a vice. That way the glass shards are already contained for disposal. 'Clean up' the edges of the cap (glass pieces) either in the same vice or with a pliers being careful not to distort the cap. Ideally you want to keep the centre glass section intact, since this makes connection easier and in addition, all the bulbs have a fuse in there which you re-use, making your home-made light a little safer. What you should have is something like this ....
IMG_0573.JPG

But that one was fused inside the centre section, and if you're short of old bulbs like I was, then you have to use it anyway by breaking out the centre section altogether .....
IMG_0575.JPG
.... and then drilling out the contacts with about a 1mm drill bit to solder your connection straight to the contacts. (Do this from above so that you don't break the drill bit by misjudging the positions of the internal holes, thus forcing the bit to the side as it breaks through.)
IMG_0574.JPG
If you managed to keep the centre glass with fuse intact, clean off all the bits of filament and the filament supports, leaving just the two supply legs. Cut these legs right back so that they cannot bend in and short out. Solder the pigtail connection to these legs.
IMG_0572.JPG

A piece of 32mm PVC pipe fits over the bayonet cap nicely if you heat it up a bit to stretch over, and when it cools it shrinks fast tightly - no glue required. Not too late to mention, but the cap has a small flared edge which should be ground off before soldering the pigtails on, (just in case you manage to break the centre glass, you don't have to take it all apart and drill out the contacts). The LED strips from 4x4Direct wind around the 32mm pipe almost exactly at two modules per winding - perfect size. I cut mine at about 80mm which allows for a maximum of 7½ windings (15 modules).
IMG_0578.JPG

Fitted over the cap with heat .....
IMG_0579.JPG

Then I slipped a 20mm length of 6mm heat shrink (also from 4x4direct) over the pigtail and soldered the length of LED strip to the pigtail.
IMG_0580.JPG
.... and then shrink it.
IMG_0581.JPG

Although LED's are polarity sensitive, you don't need to worry about that with a bayonet cap - if it doesn't work you just rotate the 'bulb' by 180°. If however you do this with an Edison screw cap then polarity is important. Usually the live (or positive "+") is connected to the centre pin, and then you have to connect the strip accordingly.

Tuck the pigtail into the tube and wind the strip onto it.
IMG_0582.JPG

This one was one of the smaller wattage ones that I did (only 12 modules) and you can see that There's still place for more without making the unit too long and then it doesn't fit inside the shade.
I tested this one and it's pretty bright, but a lot of that brightness is lost if the lamp has a coloured or opaque shade. What I also found is that as expected, the coiled strip builds up more heat than one that's outstretched. However, it's not that hot that the PVC cannot handle it (I ran it for over an hour inside an enclosed fitting) but the glue strip on the other hand did not like the tightness of the coil or the PVC and started lifting on the ends. A little contact adhesive solved that problem.

I'm happy that they'll work well for my needs. ;-)
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Sat May 23, 2015 7:15 am

Andy that is just awesome.Great job:thumbup:
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Sat May 23, 2015 11:44 am

Looks good Andy, would be interested in knowing if they LEDS heat up at all?

This is the type that I am using - totally brilliant!

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Other shapes & sizes also available:

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Website here:

http://www.eslightbulbs.com/products/led-filament-bulb


Pieter, I sent this info to you on March 25th, not sure if you ever received it (your gmail address)?


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Sat May 23, 2015 8:13 pm

Those are great bulbs!! :thumbup: Yes, the LED's do heat up a bit, especially with them being so close together, but it's not so bad that you cannot hold it or that it will deform the PVC. ;-)
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Life is like a jar of Jalapeño peppers ... what you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow.
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Tue May 26, 2015 2:15 pm

Eric, the LEDs heat up, but even after been on for some hours you can still touch and hold it in your hand. Guess it is below 40 degrees celcius.

Those filament globes are the very best I have tested so far.
It outshine the rest by far.
I have some samples in my house and they are great.

Unfortunately still a bit expensive and so far I could not find a supplier who are willing to do them in 12 volt for me. But I am working on it, who knows, maybe my next batch will be filament globes.
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Tue May 26, 2015 3:12 pm

Family_Dog wrote:this thing gives a lovely warm white (I absolutely hate cool white and will not buy a CW globe ever!) glow, easily equivalent to the old 75w incandescent bulbs. The light is uniform over the whole room and I will definitely replace every globe in my house with this sort of light.

I found that the UnionTech 120 deg beam angle has the same effect; only other 12V 120deg ones I've seen was Verbatim (like the blank CD's) at BWH. Do not believe the salesman at the Ellies stand...their 12V led downlighters are not 120deg

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Wed May 27, 2015 8:48 pm

Stef you will love my new downlights.
I have tested many downlights over the past 3 years and these are in my opinion even better than the old tungsten type.
When my stock arrive I will send you a sample, I ordered some extras.
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Wed May 27, 2015 10:09 pm

pietpetoors wrote:Stef you will love my new downlights.
I have tested many downlights over the past 3 years and these are in my opinion even better than the old tungsten type.
When my stock arrive I will send you a sample, I ordered some extras.
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Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:12 am

I received some 12 Volt lamps for the house.
They use the normal E27 screw in and B22 Bayonet fittings.

6 watt warm white, 12 volt DC.
http://www.4x4direct.co.za/led-house-li ... -p-165.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
and
http://www.4x4direct.co.za/led-house-li ... -p-308.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
E27-7watt.jpg
12 volt bulb for house
E27-7watt.jpg (30.61 KiB) Viewed 3103 times
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