Saturday, May 17, 2014

Nicor DLS, An Important New LED Plate Light

In simple and pretty packaging!

Here is a new and improved imitation of 6" Glimpse LED plate lights. Improved? Yes. This light behaves perfectly on a Cooper DAL06P dimmer. No hum. Dims to 10% or less, where Glimpse bottoms out at about 20%. Starts every time from a dimmed setting, where dimmed Glimpse typically fails to start about 20% of the time.

Imitation only, and a compliment of Glimpse design. Every mold and feature are new. So-close imitation, it is a test whether Glimpse had any patent protections.

I discovered this in a mailed catalog from e-conolite. Here is their catalog page:

I eagerly ordered one at that $39.99 price. I needed to know whether this might share weakness of the first-version 6" Glimpse, which also had a power conversion block mounting in the junction box. Here DC leads to the luminaire are strong and long stranded wire, safely separated by twist connectors, to have freedom in the junction box wiring. Glimpse had a fragile quick-connect at the luminare backside and other wiring which might tug apart irreparably.

Box contents: these parts and an instruction sheet. For a usual can light retrofit, just screw in the A19 plug, join the AC quick-connect, and pull up with springs. For fit on a 4" junction box it is much harder.

Under a trim ring, find two screws engaging the springs and a mounting bracket. Three screws will free the lens, allowing a peek inside.

The diode board is clean, with its labeling on the circuit side. The DC leads are securely strain-relieved.

There is no separate AC pigtail. One must snip off the A19 plug and competently strip the leads. The pigtail in this photo is from a large box full of Glimpse parts, that one may collect as an installer.

I will test the junction box installation, in a can light patch-out kit. The wired junction box feeds through the can light hole and is aligned with 1/2" drywall by two screws into 1 5/8" lengths of scrap 2x4.

What to do with the green lead with lug end? I want the lead to attach the luminaire to the ceiling while I connect DC wires. Here the green lead lug is at the point of a desired ground screw on the luminaire body. A 10-32 tapped hole in aluminum is easy, and worthwhile for a demonstration. I ask that the manufacturer add these screws in future production.

There is no consensus of what such green leads are for. They will almost always dangle in a can light retrofit. Sylvania 70732 has no such lead. Some might cut the lug off here and wire to power ground. Why? I see no more important use than as tethering convenience to protect the DC leads.

Here I have the luminaire tethered by the added ground screw, and by joined DC leads. Tension should be in the green lead. Manufacturer: don't make the green lead with lug end, too long.

Please imagine this as a condition where a home owner is painting ceilings. Electrical connections should be left alone, not threatened. The restraining wire will be greatly appreciated.

The DC lead retention grommet must align with this quadrant of the power block.

Luminaire mounting screws must align precisely with the bracket. Here a screw has failed to penetrate hard Densarmor drywall, bending the bracket out of alignment.

A practiced installer will pre-drill for mounting screws. If ceiling is plaster or tile, drilling of holes is mandatory.

As with Glimpse lights, the luminaire aligns tightly with the ceiling unless there is heavy uneven texture, coiled wires interfere, or the junction box protrudes from the ceiling. Note the diameter of a drywall plug to patch out a 7 1/4" can light hole, is within the luminaire rim. I try to make a perfect patch with texture match using flexible grout , but that may not matter.

Here is excessive  texture match perfection in a can light patch, a random art, upon a ring of bare Densarmor drywall. This is a usual achievement, done easily in two or three quick spatula passes over an hour. This RACO 175 box will be sealed air-tight all-around.


Here is a brightness comparison on my test stand, vs. 6" Glimpse.

Despite claimed lumens difference, I find these equal. Perfect color equivalence, too. I trust the Glimpse 750 lumens number. The Nicor DLS should then be rated 750 lumens too. For both, I call Brightness Number (750/450*B4) = B6.7. The equivalent incandescent bulb is 100 watts *750/450 = 167 watts, not the box-claimed 60 watts. What forces manufacturers to so-badly under-rate LED plate lights? This is very harmful. The box does not make energy savings claims, so further error is avoided.

At lowest setting of Cooper DAL06P dimmer, the Glimpse is perhaps 20% of full bright, and the Nicor DLS 10%. The Nicor DLS will be a much better night light.

At 6/10/2014, add direct evidence in side-by-side comparison, against the package label statement, "60 watt equivalent". I see that delivered illumination from the Nicor DLS is greater than that of a 60 watt incandescent, by nearly times-three.

Here, dim to the lowest setting of a Cooper DAL06P dimmer.The DLS is quite pretty at about 10% of full brightness. The incandescent on the same dimmer is far less bright and ugly, a very unsuitable night light.

Here are two beautiful Nicor DLS over a spa. The Nicor DLS replace 6" Glimpse that look exactly the same, but had annoying buzzing as wired with a dimmer. The Nicor DLS behave perfectly in a circuit with an ordinary dimmer. No hum. They dial down to no light without change of color. Why would anyone think "downlights" should be recessed? These are beautiful jewels, far more useful than a grain-of-sand similar investment in pearls.

Here is a nearly-completed kitchen remodel with five Nicor DLS LED lights set on RACO 175 junction boxes. I think this is much prettier than still-predominant placement of recessed lighting as silly incandescent bulbs hacked-up in cans.

Four new light positions were chosen by trial, temporarily wiring as surface DC strings from a single AC to DC converter block in the microwave-duct cabinet.

This is progress toward our Residential LED Lighting future . But, Nicor thoughtlessly (I accuse) discontinued these lights in Spring, 2015. Distribution had been almost exclusively through e-conolite mail-order/ online sales. Gone there now without a trace . So sad. So mean. No thought to advise the path to our future. At Amazon , on 8/23/2015 I find one, used, at $40 with free shipping, and I find my full-of-praise review.

Nicor directs us to Nicor DLS56 and DLS4 lights that have different virtues. Please see my kind review of DLS4 . There I also mention DLS56, finding it just a better version, from the same factory in China, as the derailed seemingly-identical Sylvania 75094 at Lowe's stores. Derailed, I call it, because this is a defective replacement of much-praised Sylvania 70732 . Until Sylvania and Lowe's admit and fix their error, and maybe forever after, buy the Nicor DLS56, say at Thomson Electric .

 Readers of this post, for example in Tel Aviv this day and inspiring this expanded post, should help find means to bring back something like Nicor DLS 10/ 6" Glimpse, a 750 lumens light good for eight-foot ceilings. Please know that Nicor DLS56/ Sylvania 70732 Mod3 at 900 lumens, is too bright on an eight-foot ceiling. Check the math: 900 * (9/10, squared) is 730 lumens. At same pitch on a ceiling, the 900 lumens light is for nine-foot ceilings. Of what value then is the Nicor DLS4 replacement, at 671 lumens? Use it on eight-foot ceilings, but at closer pitch, quite a job in an existing finished room with present hard-wiring methods. Find DLS4 too bright in a closet or over a shower, where I prefer 450 lumens.