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MR16 houselights - converting to LED


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We've got halogen MR16 12v suspended cable spots in our auditorium - they're run off transformers which are in turn fed from what I think is a 2kW triac dimmer.

We're managing to keep them going with new halogen lamps as and when needed, but ultimately we need to look at LED. Changing the fixtures isn't really an option we want to look at - however, lamps, transformers and dimmers can all be replaced.

They're currently wired as 3x strings of 20 lamps - if we were to change to 5w LED that would be 3x100W; we could conceivably split the strings in the middle though making 6x50W instead.

Most of what I've been able to find out there for dimming MR16s is for d0mestic type use with a fairly standard sort of dimmer switch and using a fraction of the power we're talking about. Obviously we're after being able to dim the whole lot together - ideally we'd have some way of getting DMX into the system although that'd not essential.

How would people here do it? Are there specific dimmers/drivers or whatever? I'm getting the impression from what I'm reading that not all dimmable MR16s are created equal, but I've not really found any proper details on just how they vary. I'd just give it a go, but I'm worried that we wouldn't get a real idea of how it's going to work until we get rid of the very last halogen lamp, by which time I'll have bought and changed 60 of them!

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Hi Pritch,

You are right in that this can be tricky to get the right equipment. For most LED lamps you will need to use a trailing edge dimmer such as the Artistic Licence Sundial already suggested. It is a 4 channel unit with a capacity of 250w per channel.

With regard to the lamps, you can find a list of tested options on the Sundial web page, but outside of this I always get a test one with a transformer if I'm installing a control system. Even then, you can run in to issues when multiples are connected to a circuit.

Although they are a bit more expensive, I recommend looking at the Soraa MR16 lamp as they have good compatibility. They also have some nice options in terms of accessories but not having seen your fixture I don't know if that's relevant. I think it would make sense to replace the lamp and the transformer at the same time. I don't think you would be able to mix halogens and LEDs on the same dimming line, so maybe you can do one circuit at a time and use the halogen bits you remove as spares for anything left?

Please let me know if you need any more info,


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