Cree Cr6 in a Lightolier

mattpeteJuly 9, 2013

Has anyone tried putting a Cree Cr6 in a 6-inch Lightolier? I saw a video where someone had installed a Sylvania Ultra RT4 into a 5-inch Lightolier, and I was wondering if someone had used the same technique with Crees and the larger 6-inch fixture. I'd prefer to use the Crees over the screw-in bulbs, as most screw-in BR40s (except for Phillips) don't have a proper BR40 light distribution (e.g. Lighting Science).

My lights are the standard white baffles (1105wh?) and are installed in IC cans upstairs (1100IC) and retrofit rings in the downstairs kitchen (1103r).

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The CR6 is intended for use with 6" cans.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 12:20AM
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Lightoliers aren't anything like Halo or Juno. Instead of having a can, which is the fixture, and then a baffle that uses torsion springs, they use a friction ring to hold a baffle/reflector.

Here are two good examples on ebay:;hash=item3f24baf87d

Here is a link that might be useful: white example

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 1:35PM
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Here is a good example of a Lightolier 1103r (non-ic remodeler). All it is is a ring that attaches to the drywall (friction holds the baffle/reflector to the ring). The socket clips to the top of the baffle/reflector. The rest of what you see in the linked image below is the junction box.

I'm thinking that the only way to get this to work would be to put the Cr6 inside the baffle/reflector.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 1:41PM
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I went to Home Depot and picked up a CR6 and CR4 (with the idea that I could return them if they didn't fit), so I'll answer my own question.

For a 5-inch (e.g. 1003r), the CR6 *almost* fits within the friction ring that holds in fixtures. Close, but no cigar. The CR4 fits within a standard 5-inch housing if you use the trim to keep it in (see Sylvania Youtube video below). It dims as low as the Halogena halogen incadescents (or at least close enough), which is far lower than the Phillips Airflux or Lighting Science GP30/GP40 bulbs (albeit a bit greenish when dimmed way low). I like the idea of a flush fixture that is airtight (I spent several weeks a few Novembers ago taping and foaming my 1000ic and 1100ic fixtures in the attiic), but all of those lumens coming from a small area is rather glarey. I think I prefer the Phillips Airflux even though it does sit flush with the fixture, rather than being recessed. Perhaps the solution is to buy a CR4 online with a specular reflector.

As for the CR6 in a Lightolier 6/7-inch 1100â¦the verdict is still out. They were rather hard to install in a spare reflector (and hard to center), and I need a socket extender since the Edison socket is not on a pigtail (like the CR4). I like the idea of an airtight light, but if Phillips can bump their Airflux BR40 up to 1100 lumens (and closer to 3000k color), I'll jump on those (the beam angle of the Lighting Science GP40 is way too wide for a BR fixture and all wrong).

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:58PM
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Isn't the socket in the can mounted on a bracket of some sort that can be removed? If so, with the socket dangling, you should easily be able to install the CR6 (without needing the old trim/baffle.)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:24PM
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Lightoliers are not built like that. There is no bracket, no wing nut, in fact no can. The reflector is the can, and the socket is attached to a cup that clips to the back of the reflector. Unlike Halos and Junos, there is not way to adjust the light up and down and the distance is fixed.

Here is a picture of a 1103r (remodeler for non-ic applications). As you can see, it's just a ring (that mounts in the drywall), a junction box, and the socket cup. Below that is a picture of the installation. For the IC version, a metal box goes over the fixture to prevent insulation from contacting it. Newer Lightolier products (Lytening) use a can similar to an H7ICAT.

At the bottom are two reflector cones (6 inch and 5-inch fixtures). The cones are smooth inside, and there is no way (6-inch) for the CREEs to grip. If you do place a CR6 inside the cone, the flange (ceiling side) overlaps perfectly with the reflector's flange, and the tip of the Edison socket ends at the top of the fixture.

You can use the removable white baffle to hold the CR4 inside the 5-inch fixtures, but the CR4 looks unnaturally small, and the ring of the CR4 overlaps the trim. Although I was impressed by the CR4's ability to dim, the Phillips Airflux was brighter.

Frankly, the only thing that impressed me about the CR6 and CR4 was their ability to dim. Unlike reviews that have stated that "hey, these are really bright!", they are not brighter than any of my current BR30s (Phillips 50-watt Halogena and Philipps 13watt Airflux).

In particular, I wanted to give the CR6 a test drive to see if I should order the 800 lumen version to replace my BR40s. But based on my 600 lumen test-drive, it's clear to me that the 800L won't be bright enough to replace my 70watt (~1200 lumen) Halogena BR40s. These will be returned to the orange store later today.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:10PM
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Ugh. It seems you are limited to BR30 replacements. FWIW, Cree is just introducing a new low-cost BR30. Dimmable, 650 lumens at 9.5 watts for $20/each. Only 80 CRI though, compared to 90+ with the CR6.

Here is a link that might be useful: New Cree bulbs

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 11:55AM
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For Lightolier owners, there might be new and radically less costly solution for retrofitting lights. Right now your choices are either the Lightolier LED retrofit kit, which is $200+ and can not be used in insulation-rated cans. In other words, it makes far more since to head down to the blue or orange store and buy a Lighting Science (Ecosmart), Feit, or Philips BR40 LED bulb instead.

But, for insulation rated fixtures (e.g. 1100aicm), Philips/Lightolier has the new CorePro Led downlights in 600 and 1000 lumens (cp630k10) and 3000k color temperature. The 600 lumen versions seem to be trickling out on eBay.

Based on their dimensions, I *think* that the roto clips of the fixture will be able to grip the sides of the light (unlike the CREE CR6, which was too narrow). If not, it might be as simple as cutting a #10 can into a 2 inch ring and inserting it between the baffle and the friction clips on the light to make it closer to the same diameter as a standard Lightolier cone.

Once these 1000 lumen version becomes available, I'll buy one and report whether or not it fits. If it does not fit, I'll try the #10 can idea (any metal ring with a 6-inch diameter should work, and I suppose he same trick could work with a CR6).

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 1:06PM
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A little more investigating shows that CREE does make a conversion sleeve that is similar to my concept (C6 and C6-LSA). The only difference is that CREE's sleeve has blades that come out of the that rest on the pan, and the pan's roto clips are rotated out of the way.

You could create something similar, and much cheaper, using 6 inch metal ductwork, a paint can with the bottom cut off, etc. It needs to (1) be big enough inside to to fit over the light, yet (2) be narrow enough for the light to grip, and (3) wide enough for the rotoclips to grip it on the outside. Essentially it would be an open metal sleeve.

Also, since the sleeve would be open at the top, as long as the light has an Edison socket, you wouldn't need that silly junction box shown in the bottom image.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 3:30PM
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I'll dealing with the exact same issue. Lightolier housings are the worst. Even the low-end cans from the big box stores have easy height/depth adjustment, several attachment points for trim kits and the hangers themselves, etc., and are so much easier to work with.

I've given up on fitting a CR6 into a 5" housing (except one, where something magnetic is holding it up in place with the outer baffle removed). For the 6" fixtures, I'm considering chopping off the three roto-clips off the Cree and trying different sizes of socket extenders until I find one (or two) that allow me to screw the CR6 in place with just the Edison socket holding it up (it isn't all that heavy, especially the newer 625 lumen models). Also considering attatching two-sided foam tape around the inside of the baffle to help hold it up, and then the inner and outer Lightolier baffles can both be removed and the socket holder can roam free; you just need some way to fasten the lamp module. Also considered extending the clips another 2" somehow so they could rest on the top of the ceiling drywall.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 9:04AM
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I've been thinking about it, and there are only really 2 good solutions if you don't want to use a LED bulb. I have no problems using LED bulbs in my non-insulated fixtures, but ICAT fixtures that are covered with 20 inches of insulation make me pauseâ¦

Anyway, here are the two solutions I've come up with. The key to each is that will allow you to change the light at a later date.

(1) Modify the light (e.g. a CR6) and keep the fixture intact. This should work for lights with friction clips, but not with torsion springs. The basic idea is to make the light as wide as a normal lightolier downlight cone (e.g. 1176wh) so that the roto clips of the Lightolier fixture can clip onto the modified light. All you need is something 6-6.25 inches wide that will sleeve over the light. It only needs to be tall enough to engage with the light's own friction clips. I think a #10 can might do the trick. I also saw some 6-to-5 inch HVAC reducers at the orange store that looked like they would do the trick (all (2) Permanently modify the Lightolier fixture by installing a Halo H750RICAT. These look like they are *just* shallow enough to fit inside an 1100ic. My only concern is that the flange at the bottom might not be wide enough the cover the hole in the ceiling. I would modify the cans by unscrewing the junction box arm, and I would also cut a hole (using tin snips) in the top large enough to use the lightolier's A19 socket. Heck, you could cut the entire top off the can if you want.

This last modification would allow you to use any lights that use torsion springs or friction clips, but you'll never be able to use Lightolier trims ever again (they cost an arm and a leg, so no loss). I think the H750RICAT go for around $10 or less.

The image below shows one of the new Corepros overlaid with a Lightolier fixture. There is a chance, unlike the CR6, that it might fit inside the Lightolier cone. It also looks like it just might be wide enough to engage in the Lightolier rotoclips. If not, then it give you some idea how a simple metal sleeve over the light (option #1) would make everything work.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 1:29PM
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I'm considering solution #1, but how would you fasten the cylindrical HVAC duct or whatever to the bottom ring? Keeping the outer Lightolier cone (that holds the socket in place) seems to defeat the purpose, since the socket will still be too high. Also, the outer rim of the CR6 barely covers up the integral bezel of the outer Lightlier cone.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 5:56AM
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Lee76: solution #1 would be to toss out the cone and replace it with a sleeve. The friction ring (the Lightolier clips) would grip the sleeve. The cheapest thing to experiment with might be 6-inch HVAC tube (but I'm not sure how stable it would be, but it would be a cheap experiment). I'd put the sleeve on the CR6 first, make sure you have a nice stable fit, screw the socket onto the CR6, and then push the entire thing into the Lightolier fixture.

Edit: I think the picture I added might have been misleading. It was only there to show the size of the CP630k compared to the cone.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 7:04AM
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Here is my experiment trying to adapt a Philips/Lightolier Corepro cp630k10 to a standard Lightolier. This technique should also work with CREE CR6 and other systems that use friction springs/claws. Also, for the record, the light pictured here is feather-weight.

For an adapter, I picked up a 6-to-5 inch HVAC reducer from Home Depot (~$7), as that seemed the quickest way to experiment. The logic is that standard Lightolier fixtures are expecting a 6-6.5 inch cylinder to grasp on the outside, and CorePro and CREE lights are expecting to grip a 6-6.5 inch cylinder from the inside. So, why not make a sleeve that fits around light?

Shown below is a picture of what I've done. The end results (which I'm not showing ) are so-so: the light doesn't fit flush against the ceiling. That's probably because there are now two points of failure instead of one. Also, the cp630k10 has a slightly smaller diameter than the trim it replaces, which ends up revealing an ugly part of the ceiling that was never painted.

It's definitely worth experimenting with. Ultimately the best method would probably be to either firmly attach the light to the sleeve (using glue or screws) OR to use a Juno or Halo remodeler. Both of those will have expanding clips that prevent the sleeve, er, remodeler can, from pulling down from the ceiling, but Lightolier uses larger than standard holes, and I'm not sure if their lips are wide enough to grip the ceiling from below.

Of course, if Phillips/Lightolier would simply come out with an affordable light that fit their millions of installed fixtures, life would be much simpler.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 7:46PM
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Pardon me if I'm misunderstanding your situation, but wouldn't it be simpler (and cheaper) to just replace your old Lightolier cans with new ones that will fit the CR6 retrofits? This is what I was considering:

Here is a link that might be useful: Commercial Electric 6 in Aluminum IC Remodel Housing

This post was edited by snowdaddyo on Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 16:35

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:33PM
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I gave up on trying to install a CR6 in a Lightolier and instead bought these Feit Electric BR30 bulbs (823920) that Costco sells for $6 (!) in my area with Energy Star utility rebates (it's $13 in other areas - still cheap). As good as the CR6 imo - 93+ CRI, brighter (750 lumens vs 625), dims well. Very wide and even light pattern. They easily retrofit in 5" cans; for 6" cans at most you'll want a new trim baffle if you were using BR40 or PAR38 bulbs previously. They're light is indistingible from incandescent floodlamps to my eyes. Only complaint is that they're a bit glaring if you look up at them, although that's true of incandescent BR30s too. That and a very brief delay before they turn on.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 3:30AM
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snowdaddyo: ugh, no way would that be cheaper! First each one of those cans would add $10 to the price, on top of the price of a Cr6. On top of that, I'd have to climb into the attic, dig through 20 inches of insulation, and remove the old Lightolier boxes (1100ic).

This post was edited by mattpete on Fri, May 16, 14 at 9:27

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 3:33PM
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I went with these instead: ~$30, 1200 lumens (vs. 625k), 3000k color (closer to what I prefer) vs. 2700k for the Home Depot CR6:

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Creative Br40

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 3:39PM
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I bought a high-CRI Green Creative BR30 (2700K) and was quite impressed. I wouldn't buy another only because the Costco/Feit bulb I posted above is nearly as good and much less expensive; its only comparitive disadvantage is that there's a slight delay before it turns on. The Green Creative turns on immediately. I bought their omnidirectional (A19) high-CRI bulb too to try it out but it's backordered from the online place I bought from.

I was just at Costco and they now have the 93+ CRI LED floodlamps in all three common sizes (BR20, BR30, BR40), all 2700 K, and all very affordable. I've bought them all and continue to highly recommend them They also have PAR30 and PAR38 40-degree LED spotlamps, also 93+ CRI but 3000K which I haven't tried because I need a wider beam. The PAR38 is rated for outdoor wet locations; I wonder how well they work with automatic motion sensors, ambient light sensors, or X10 automatic switches - I've had trouble using LEDs in outdoor lighting controlled by any of those, often refusing to turn on or flickering dimly.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:32PM
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mattpete: Sorry, I must have misunderstood your setup. Based on your earlier postings, it sounded like you had remodel housings in the ones downstairs.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:05PM
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