LED lighting is moving forward at a pace at the moment and prices are dropping quickly. 7dayshop have started stocking ‘Ecolight’ branded MR16 bulbs running at 5W. These are produced in China but are made by the Daewoo group, so at least they meet EU standards.
So, from first looks, they are the typical multi LED configuration and as the ones I’m testing are ‘warm white’ the LED’s are the typical yellow colour when not turned on. It’s also good to see that the packaging in minimal with no plastics, just recyclable card/paper. The specification of the bulb is good on paper too. They are 12V MR16 bulbs consuming 5W putting out 370lm of light (about the same as a 40W halogen). They have a 120 degree projection angle, so are good all round lights.
In line with most LED based bulbs, they are IP44 rated and A rated for energy consumption. At a hefty 50,000 hours of lifetime, they put all but the most expensive halogens into the shade. Perhaps one downside is that they are not dimmable. Not too much of a problem for me, but if you like to change the intensity of your lighting then you will need to look elsewhere.
Installation is a simple as removing the old bulb and installing a new one. Retrofitting these into an existing installation may cause you problems though. Some traditional 12V inverters don’t work at such low power consumption levels and you may need to replace them with an LED driver.
So if your MR16 LED bulbs are flickering, you will need to find a lower power constant current driver. I’ve switched to a Halolite unit, but there are plenty out there to be found. This will impact your total price as these units are not cheap, so if immediate cost saving is your goal, you may need to look to alternative forms of lighting.
The light pattern is good and unless filtered, it’s difficult to see the LED’s. The Ecolight MR16’s are bright with a warm light – something of a departure from standard halogens that seem quite cold. I’ve replaced 6 35W halogen bulbs with 6 5W LED bulbs, so my consumption levels have dropped from 210W at 12V to 30W at 12V. Quite a substantial reduction. The light levels are higher and with the new drivers installed, flicker free.
Overall, these are an excellent way to reduce the total power consumption, increase the general light levels (compared to 35W MR16 bulbs) and offer a warm light alternative to cold halogens. If your goal is to save money though – the additional cost of constant current drivers may push this to a long term cost saving measure only.