Real life lighting tests

What is three phase electrics? how do I wire a patchbay? ask all your techo questions here.

Moderator: Aaronw

Posts: 107
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 11:02 am
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Real life lighting tests

Post by adam »

Here in Australia our government has decided to save the planet by outlawing incandescent light globes. :roll:

I got tired of suppliers having no idea about Variacs and their ability to dim various the types of lighting still available here, so I did my own testing.

The Variac I used is a 240-270v 2 amp "Dimmer Dot" variable autotransformer, which is actually an Indian product rebadged and sold by Australian Rectifiers ( It was $120 plus shipping which seems like a pretty good price. It's big and heavy though, slightly too deep to fit into a 90mm wall cavity. Electrical noise was tested very unscientifically using a beat-up old Yamaha Pacifica single coil electric guitar. I tested the 3 main types of GU10 globes which are commonly available in our local generic-home-depot-hardware-house-store.

Standard 40 watt halogen GU10 - about $3 each
Dims evenly throughout the entire range of the Variac, from slight glow at 0% on the variac to full light at 100% No acoustic or electrical noise detected. Nice warm natural light. Runs very hot. I have some of these in the house on regular dimmers (hey it was like that when I moved in!) and they have an audible buzz when not at 100%.

"Dimmable" 11 watt Compact Fluorescent Lamp - $30 each
At 0% on the Variac, shows about 50% of it's maximum brightness. At 50% on the variac, reached 100% of it's brighness. Turning the variac from 50% to 100% made no noticeable difference. No acoustic or electrical noise detected. Virtually no heat. Even though it was a "warm white" globe, the light is fairly cold & grey. At maximum brightness, it was probably only about 75% as bright as the halogen.
When turned on with the variac below about 25%, it flickers like an old-style fluorescent tube. Certainly not dimmable as advertised, with a variac. Perhaps they're designed to work with triac dimmers, but as we all know that would generate all kinds of electrical noise.

2 watt LED GU10 - $30 each
This one contains about a dozen white LEDs. Interestingly, was the same brightness regardless of the variac setting. It gave off an awful, ugly light in the usual LED way, which started to drain my will to live. A bit less bright than the CFL.

Hopes this helps someone, information is very hard to come by on this topic. I'm still leaning towards the halogens and sticking with the variac, but it concerns me that if the government outlaws halogens, I'm stuffed.
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:44 am
Location: NSW Australia

Re: Real life lighting tests

Post by SquarePants »

Gday Adam,
Interesting post.
In my build, I decided on 240v(mains) "GU10" type 10W "cool white" LED's.
I have no dimmers, but have 8 lights switchable in twos. I find this a versatile enough setup.
"Cool white" is stronger than "warm white". I find it pleasant enough.
VERY expensive, but hopefully the price will come down by the time they need replacing. One died after a couple of days and my supplier replaced it. Another dropped 2M to the floor when I was fiddling with it and was fine! (Thank... goodness!).
So, yeah, no experience with dimmers sorry, but switchable "zones" works for me.
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:44 am
Location: Foley, AL

Re: Real life lighting tests

Post by Teflon »

I've been thinking about lighting a lot lately. This is very helpful. Thank you.
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:07 pm

Re: Real life lighting tests

Post by Alexander71 »

I have Standard 40 watt halogen GU10 and I can't really complain, I would never use LED though - my brother have them and I just can't stand it for some odd reason.

I love to SPAM THE FORUM and THEREFORE WILL GET BANNED if I try that again.
Post Reply