Saturday, January 19, 2019

18 ga Home Run Wiring Of LED Lights With A Central Distribution Panel

I present the above study to justify use of 18 AWG wires as home run from each low-power luminaire, to a central distribution control panel. 18 AWG may carry up to 16 amps, compared to actual 1 amp with luminaires 15 watts and less. 15 watts divided by 12 volts minimum (DC), is about one amp. Home run wiring, none powering more than one luminaire, offers advantage of smaller, more-flexible, less expensive wires, and freedom to place any light in a constellation  of lights operated together from a switch (single pole), or from a  switch set (3-way and 4-way switching). See that current carried will be acceptable with home-runs, even with tiny 24 ga ethernet wires from a luminaire as in Power Over Ethernet (POE) lighting. 22 ga leadwires of short length immediately connected to a luminaire may serve tiny connectors as assembled easily by children in robotics projects. We should hereafter see little need of 14 ga romex, the past usual call in residential lights wiring.

This post is continuing discussion of refined kitchen and outdoor LED lighting in my own home. My Kitchen LED Starry Sky With Constellations .

Protected and out of sighty in the attic, the lights wiring is little improved from this photo of September. 2018. Please come to accept that evolving low power,LED and OLED lighting (10 watts typical to each luminaire)  will employ a mix of wire sizes 14 ga and smaller, and will allow central conversion from AC house power or direct delivery of photovoltaic output, to luminaires and to other DC loads.

In fact, I have so far exercised only low power wiring, where 18 ga wires are placed. The home run 18 ga wires are collected at terminal blocks with push-in of bared single strand copper wire ends. The blocks are built by Phoenix Contact .and were found at Portland, Oregon store URS Electronics .

Terminal blocks first tried are configured for adhesive mounting, Phoenix ID 3273352 .
$4.63 each.

Where adhesive mounting was not secure. I have transferred mounting to DIN Rail Adapters, Phoenix ID 3274054 
$0.80 each.

Employ a 150 mm length of DIN Rail.

And, now think of better choices available.

This is a three-level DIN rail terminal block, 
Phoenix ID 3210499 .
$6.69 each.

This is a two-level DIN rail terminal block 
Phoenix ID 3002615 .
$11.51 each.

With a three-level block for each set of lights served by a jacketed home run may be labeled upon its sleeve, with power, neutral and ground leads of short length extending from sleeve. Where wiring might someday be low voltage, persist in avoiding use of ground wires. then using two-level terminal blocks.

I believe wiring innovation as tried here, is inevitable in most homes.OLED must replace all antique lighting, when it it soon becomes a consumer product of modest cost. We are done with CFL as the hope for our future of ample affordable electric light. Ordinary LEDs have never been consistently embraced and loved, and will experience less than expected service life due to breakdown of materials at least where running hot, then drifting quickly in output color. Many LEDs cheaply built with awkward conversion from AC power will need replacement, never repair. We should then be building with lighting always that is forward-compatible with OLED. I believe there are responsible people, as at US Department of Energy, who should be advising what wiring forward-compatibility consists of. Manufacturers of cables, switches, dimmers, power converters and connection panels, should already be engaged in the innovation. I offer to be a beta tester and reporter.

Watch a Phoenix Connect innovations video.

Highlights 2018 . The topics are electronics/ digital connections that already are possible. 

Let us imagine details of our better lighting future, to be offered from many suppliers and installation innovators.
Let us imagine lighting as involving many electronics suppliers like my Oregon store URS Electronics , and fewer old-bulb-selling hardware stores.

Friday, November 23, 2018

My Kitchen LED Starry Sky With Constellations

I offer a mechanical engineer and general contractor view of the evolution of imagined and commercially-offered residential LED downlighting, as seen from USA. The journey began in September 2011 with discovery of T91 in Home Depot stores. Sharing in this blog is most broadly with posts filtered by label LED Downlighting . 

From the beginning, my observation of possibilities has been with notion of LED overhead lighting as a starry sky . Pick that link for word search of this blog, and step back to some of the early history. I hope that in reading this post, you will come to share the starry sky notion, though it is not confirmed as publicly-accepted in a general search of LED downlighting as starry skies

I am privileged to have freedom to imagine and invent in my own home, and that invention is the subject of numerous posts, this blog, Label: My House .

Please see this Google Photos album as my contribution to lighting state of the art, in Fall-2018:

My Kitchen Lighting 

Here is one of the photos, 9/27/2018, sun rising as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifies in Congress, we listening with hope, myself cheered by my better new surroundings, in dimmed minimal lighting

Appreciate the virtue of the new half-bath. To the right of the bathroom plywood gray-painted wall, see a useful pantry cabinet, separated from the bathroom by a cabinet 6" wide, housing a sturdy stepladder and an ironing board. I offer new ideas to cabinet-makers and kitchen planners, as well as to lighting shoppers.

Here is my as-built lighting plan, with named lighting constellations.

Lights employed are:
6" Glimpse Second Generation 750 lumens, 3000°K (1 place)
6" Glimpse Third Generation (2016) 850 lumens, 3000°K (2 places)
Nicor DLS 10  830 lumens, 3000°K (7 places)
Commercial Electric 74203 500 lumens, SW switch position ~2900°K  (6 places)
6" GetInLight, First Generation 900 lumens, 3000°K (1 place)

Total: 12,160 lumens.

Of these, all are discontinued except CE 74203. The original 6" GetInLight in the bathroom is prettier and superior to an "improved" version now offered at Amazon marked "2nd Generation" on the package.

My kitchen is a lighting museum documented in my blog posts and photo albums. Who else has followed the evolution, and the disappointments of marketing failure? Where else will you see those discontinued pretty, useful lights of modest glare, superior to slim pickings in what can be found today?

The linked photo album includes photos of the achieved lighting, including the illustration of light groupings as constellations. In this, see that constellation make-up should consist of variety in size.

Here is mode Living.

Here is mode Cooking.

Here is mode Dining:

Here see all lights, about 500 Lux. This is only useful light. It is easy to live under. Of best efficiency. Not glaring. See good angled ilumination of countertops without resort to difficult under-cabinet wiring. Angled lighting matters. There is always loss of luminaire efficiency where recessed in the luminaire or confined within a can. This photo accurately depicts what you would experience standing in the kitchen. You see mainly from eye level and downward, as we and all creatures are conditioned, living under the Sun. It is important that luminaires have ample diode and lens area to avoid glare. Please read more about glare, in this blog. Search Label: Luminance Definitions . Government officials: beginning with US Department of Commerce, require that packaging labels include competitive statements of diode luminance and lens luminance.

Include here some practical details of the selection and installation of luminaires.

With a mock-up, imagine ceiling cuts 3" diameter for the brackets and luminaire mounting of CE 74203 LED disk edge lights. I wished to find lights that demanded only minimal ceiling cuts, to pass wires. The newly-found lights from Lowe's would absolutely require 4" cuts.

In fact I needed to do one installation very much like this. A 1x4 bridge of drywall edges interfered with cut-in of a junction box. Cut a 3" hole in the drywall, on the hole center, before cutting a 2 1/4" thru-hole in the 1x4.

Now, is there really anything to be saved by making a smaller hole, if a sizable hole can't be avoided?  I have developed the method with 3" holes, but it is simpler and more versatile to just cut in RACO 175 boxes now, as done here for light Position m

I dislike need to constrain lighting patterns for junction box clearance of the ceiling/ attic floor framing. I just could not find wished 4", 500 lumens LED disk lights that could be surface mounted anywhere, with only small holes for wires. I did manage installations of Nicor DLS10 in circuit Cooking. Here is a photo of this:

A Nicor DLS10 LED disk light is screwed to the ceiling below this 1x4 that bridges a drywall edge. A 1/4" hole through drywall and the 1x4 passes the luminaire DC power leads. Screw-attach the converter block in the attic, and complete AC wiring connection via 18 ga 3-wire leads to the lighting distribution panel.

Three lights at room center over the kitchen island are wired in this way.

Here is my attic completion of lights wiring, Box 2 in the diagram above, and some very efficient terminal strips. One terminal strip each for circuits 1. 2 and 3, and a fourth strip for neutral wires. My home-run leads of AC power to luminaire positions is 18 ga. I hope to demonstrate that 11 watt luminaires should no longer be fed with 14 ga romex leads. The home runs sometimes miss opportunity of daisy chains, but bring flexibility of switched light groups, and are more error-free. I have no progress toward wiring of lights as DC, but think I bring fresh experience to a methods table. I will pretty up all of this wiring before moving on to other work outside my home. 

I have mixed feelings about not carrying ground wires to the luminaires. The green wires here serve no purpose, and I think 2-wire 18 ga wiring Black/White, is better. Manufacturers do not understand the need of luminaire grounding, often making installations more difficult and unreliable. Can we just eliminate ground wires?

Pursue that decision to leave green wires not-connected. Here are the full contents of the Commercial Electric 74203 package. See a screw and a green wire in the bag. 

Here are the installation instructions, the two sides of one piece of paper.

Intentions for the green wire and screw are evident in Instructions Step 3 at top of Instructions second page.

It is intended that ground from the circuit breaker panel be applied to the luminaire mount ring. What does this achieve? Just that if a bared power lead touches the ring, there will be trouble.

I think a principal purpose of a luminaire ground wire is to serve as an installation tether, and that is not done here.

Bare copper wires connected to ground present real danger in needless proximity to AC line voltage. Ground connections to line-voltage devices in junction boxes should thus be with insulated green wire. Ground wires in line voltage cables should more-commonly be insulated. Ground wires in low-voltage cables should not be not required if serving no purpose.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Review, HALO SMD4R6930WH and SMD6R6930WH, New at Lowe's Stores

I have not found cause, for about one year, to shop for LED lights at Lowe's stores. The Adventures of Sylvania 900 lumens 3000°K lighting  ended badly. There were failed transitions to Utilitech 0752125 , and to Utilitech 0831957

In September 2018, I find these:
Online with no image yet, at $24.98 .
700 lumens at 9.7 watts, box claim on left side panel.

Online at $24.98 :
758 lumens at 9.63 watts. box claim at left side panel.

Find 4" Glimpse 3000°K 450 lumens at my comparison stand LHS. Install SMD4R6930WH 3000°K 700 lumens at stand RHS. 

At full power. Find comparable color temperature, and the 700/450 brightness difference expected.

In place of the 4" Glimpse at stand LHS, swap in the big SMD6R6930WH 3000°K, 758 lumens.

The SMD4R6930WH at RHS and the SMD6R6930WH at LHS should not be distinguishable with a 758/700 brightness ratio. Do see a fuzzy shadow of the bigger light.

Bring in a Commercial Electric 74203 at stand LHS, swapping to replace the SMD6R6930WH. The 74203 from Home Depot were on sale recently at $8.99 half-price, and I bought a carton. From these I will install six this day 9/24, in my new kitchen ceiling. Learn what I can, to support this decision.

This comparison is very surprising and supportive of my plans for the day. The claimed-500 lumens light at LHS is brighter than the claimed-700 lumens light at RHS, and the 3000° color temperature comparison is excellent.  I have been concerned the 74203 might be more-yellow than wished.

Here I question what view at my test stand is best for comparisons. Added room detail seems helpful.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Greenlite BR30 LED One Dollar Each

I found a large pile of these as check-out candy at my hardware store yesterday. $1 each. Not the bad stuff found at most stores. So, I bought one. These Greenlite BR30 cost $5.99 plus shipping, if purchased directly from the manufacturer . I think big-box stores still sell only 2700°K and 4000°K LED floods.

I have a higher purpose in acting as a reporter, weighed where I have no can lights.. I'm still waiting to serve a customer with a house-full of can lights loaded with dim and ugly 65 watt incandescent flood bulbs. The cans don't readily accept retrofit kits. Some cans are in the attic floor, and I must tolerate them. I have a reserve of Maxlite BR30 850 lumens, 3000°K for the job. They cost $4 each, thought a bargain. Will I use them?

Here I have the Greenlite BR30 at stage right on my comparison stand. At stage left, 4" Glimpse 450 lumens 3000°K. Dimmed maximum, where the Greenlight is not a good night light. There is one room light on overhead, Nicor DLS10.

There is nothing surprising in this comparison, dimmer set to full power. Greenlite brighter by ratio 670/450, 49%. Same color temperature.

Replace the Glimpse LED, with an old 65 watt incandescent flood bulb.

The incandescent flood at LHS is quite crummy compared to the Greenlite LED. Perhaps the same brightness.

Now place Maxlite BR30 at stand LHS. Place Greenlite BR30 at stand RHS.

This is another not-surprising comparison, the Maxlite brighter by ratio 850/670, 27%. Which should one choose? Go with the cheaper Greenlite where replacing 65 watt incandescent floods, if you don't want greater room illumination. Perhaps find less savings than expected if going-dimmer. My Kill-A-Watt meter shows 11 watt draw for the Greenlite 670 lumens. It shows 13 watt draw for the 850 lumens Maxlite. The power draw ratio is 13/11, difference 18%.

At LHS, Philips EcoVantage "100 Watt Bulb", 72 watts, 1490 lumens, Made In Mexico. At RHS, Greenlite 8 watt BR30 LED, 670 lumens, 3000°K. The Greenlite in a can gives about 50% better directional-downward room illumination, than a crummy old 100 watt bulb.

Reset my comparison stand with 9 watt 4" Glimpse 3000°K at LHS. Set the old 65 watt incandescent at RHS.  See that where the 4" Glimpse and a 100 watt incandescent have equal task illumination, Glimpse is equal too, to the 65 watt incandescent flood, though with  much better color rendition.

We must do more to celebrate the insight that point source lighting is stupid; good only as decor. And the greatest stupidity is where we replace a point-source incandescent  bulb, with a directional flood aimed perpendicular to a task. LED bulbs don't always replace incandescent bulbs with best gain of efficiency. LED bulbs are built over-powered by about 50%, to work OK when pointed upward in a table lamp or when placed horizontal in a ceiling bulb-holder, wasting 30% to 50% of the consumed power.

I hope my customer/ friend with all the badly-loaded cans, will accept the $4 Maxlites. He won't regret it. If you can get a dollar-deal, go for it.