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shopping list for controllable spotlights?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by Ciqala, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. Ciqala

    Ciqala
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    hi guys.

    having been forced to push ahead with decorating my bedroom/soon to be home cinema i am no longer able to have wall mounted lighting as planned (the walls just been painted :( ). so to console myself i thought i'd go for some ceiling mounted spotlights with some home automation gadetry instead (based on reasoning it's easier i imagine to drop in a few lights through from the loft than channel into walls, re plaster and paint again)

    what i'm after is at most 6 recessed spotlights that will be wired into the mains lighting ring (i.e. the same one as the current pendulum light fitting). i'd like to replace the single gang wall switch with one that has dimmable controls and infra red to allow me to control it from in bed (lazy git :) ). i'd prefer not to have to do any additional wiring in the switch box and would like to keep the lighting wiring simple as possible too.

    given the above can anybody help me with the following bits...

    1. what type of spotlights are best suited? i hear low-voltage buzz when dimmed. i know nothing about lights so any advice on type/wattage etc are welcome. obviously they would have to be lights that matched the dimming solution which leads to q.2 :)

    2. which dimming switch/interface? i've seen names like lutron and helvar banded about the forums while i've read up on this (or at least tried). my budget is low (ideally under £100 but can go over if needed to acheive what i want).


    any guidance would be much appreciated.

    ta
    Ciqala.
     
  2. andythepole

    andythepole
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    Hi there, you are right as some 12v downlighters cause buzzing, it's the transformer you get that will buzz, not the lights, but sometimes you can also get a light switch (dimmer) that will buzz when not on full brightness settings, I'm not sure which do and don't so if you get one that does, you'll just have to take it back.
    You can get downlighters that are 240v (mains) so you don't have the transformer to buzz so that’s better.
    Be warned, because of new IEE regulations if you do put in new lighting things, you are meant to have a fully qualified electrician check them, which is a real pain. You also have to encase every connection you make in a specially designed chock-box, which is just a plastic case which you put the block connection in side and then screw shut, clamping everything inside. You also have to buy fire hats for each of the downlighters you install, which can cost up to £20 each, this is because when you stick a hole in the ceiling, you are effectively breaking the 30 minute fire barrier that plasterboard provides, so this has to be made up for by sticking ceramic wool hats on top, which are a pain to fit and cost a fortune.
    As far as the wiring diagram is concerned, you should find somewhere online that would match up with your existing setup, which should be relatively standard. Remote dimmers from Varilight have a rating up to 600watts with some and they look ok, for under £25 from TLC (including the remote) and can also learn to be used with any remote you already have.
    I'd look fore some books on regulations (they have all just changed again recently) and a few books on wiring diagrams, that should give you an idea about where to start, I'd recommend TLC as a company to buy things from, they are very cheap and have a good delivery service. If in doubt, find a friend of a friend of a friend who can check what you do.
    Hope this helps, it's a bit scary jumping into this sort of thing the first time, but it's not too bad after that.

    :)
     
  3. Ciqala

    Ciqala
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    cheers for the info andy.

    i was under the impression changing lighting wasnt covered by the new regs unless it was in a danger area such as a bathroom. so i'll make sure to read up on them before hand.

    as for the wiring side i'll be leaving it up to someone a little more experienced like my grandad.

    as for the downlight covers, are these required in residential applications? the wording on the tlc site would appear to hint these are to cover commercial fire regs. the room these are going in is a bedroom so the loft is all thats above it. if they are then its something i'll have to factor into my costs when deciding what to buy.

    cheers
    Ciq.
     
  4. Ciqala

    Ciqala
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    well i've gone for the varilight single gang remote dimmer for a stopgap to dim a normal bulb while i look into the lighting regs etc.

    thanks again for your input andy. :)
     

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