MR16 can replacement

clinresgaMarch 9, 2014

I am a total lighting newbie, so forgive me if I'm asking dumb questions. Our home office was remodeled about 13-14 years ago. For lighting, there were nine Eurofase TERE-00 3'' recessed MR16 halogen cans installed. They are now failing: specifically, the two-pin sockets appear to be wearing out or corroding so that they do not make reliable contact with the bulb pins. A local handiman replaced the sockets by just wiring new ones in, but the heat from the bulbs has caused the wire nuts to crack and fall off. So, unless someone knows a better way to fix the sockets, I guess I'm looking at replacing the entire fixture?

If so, my question is whether there are alternatives (presumably, LED) to the halogens. What little I know suggests that MR16 LED replacements are tricky, with compatibility issues with the transformers, heat issues, etc. I'd rather not have to rewire the entire ceiling for line voltage, so if you were in my shoes would you:

Put in all-new LED fixtures? If so, what kind would work in the existing cutouts?

Stick with the same fixtures but use a retrofit LED bulb?

Or is that enough of a hassle that I should just go with replacement halogens?

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You might already have line voltage wiring.

Check if your existing lights have a built-in power supply with line voltage input.

Were the lights installed as retrofit ie- holes were cut in the ceiling and the lights installed from below?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:12PM
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Sorry for delay in response! They were installed as part of a rather comprehensive redo. I'm pretty sure we're limited to low voltage as there's a transformer in the basement.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 7:25PM
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If the installed cans are the following

They use line voltage for each can.
See the bullet point which says "Power supply should be 120 Volt AC."

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 1:24AM
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Something like the following may work for you

You could pick up a GU5.3 LED bulb (50W equivalent) to try.

Until recently, the 50W equivalents were not really as bright as the 50W halogen bulbs. YMMV.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 1:29AM
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davidtay: if I can find a way to keep the existing cans, then these would definitely be worth a try. The existing halogens are very bright and I suspect I could live with a few less lumens.

And, you are making a pretty strong case that these are indeed retrofitted cans running off 120V. I presume that would mean that each can has its own transformer stepping voltage down to 12V? Would these be compatible with the LED bulbs?

And finally, if there is line voltage in the ceiling, and the existing fixtures are shot, what would you think to replace them with?

Thanks for being so patient!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:43PM
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Each can has a power supply from the specification sheet.

The easiest route would be to try out a GU 5.3 LED bulb.

If you envisage using only 2" or 3" light fixtures, you could use miniature recessed lighting from waclighting and other vendors.
Typical cost per unit could range from $100 - $200.

Another option would be to use 4" can lights (retrofit cans) - unit cost ~ $50 - $60

All are installed as retrofits.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:05AM
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OK, got it. My electrician thinks he can just clip out the old sockets and install new ones. If that works, then the GU 5.3 LED's would be what I'll try. If not, I'll look at the options you listed. And thanks a ton for sticking with this through all the dumb questions!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:00PM
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You should use porcelain wire-nuts in that application if you would like to use the current setup.

Here is a link that might be useful: Porcelain wire nuts

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 12:23PM
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Suggest switching to LEDs. There are a lot of them available that are quite bright. I used the Philips 10w MR16s that Home Depot stocks, and have been quite happy with them. Some are the older 435 lumen version and a couple are the current 500 lumen version. All replaced 50w halogens. In my situation, with 'wall washing' cans, the LED bulbs actually look better than the halogen ones.

If I were to do it over again, I would also look at the Cree LM16 and various Soraa models.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 8:50PM
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Soraa Vivid 2 the best MR16s on the market now. 95 CRI, and lots of choices in color temperature and beam spread. Some even have replaceable adjustment filters for color, beam spread, and antiglare. They're all available in line- or low-voltage.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 3:32AM
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I had to replace all of my MR16 50W halogens with CREE LED that i got from , like i put in another post about 7-8 month of use and no issues so far, they only consume 4W of light and output 50W, i got them in warm white so it still has that same halogen look and feel.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 9:57AM
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