Monday, April 11, 2011

Remote Control Dimmable Colour Changing LED Downlights

Well that is quite a mouthful, when compared to 'halogen downlights'. With halogen downlights being so popular in Australia, we thought it a good idea to introduce some of you, to the new LED LIGHTING. This form of technology is now able to replace most lights, in the Aussie home. What we will quickly discuss here, is the LED light as a form of halogen replacement.

Can LEDs Be Dimmed?

Yes they can but not with a standard incandescent dimmer. You will need an electronic dimmer. There are at least three ways a dimmer can be installed, into an LED downlighting system.

  • Similar to an incandescent system, where there is a wall fitted dimmer control.
  • Where the dimmer control is remote activated and sited in the roof cavity.
  • The LED light comes with the dimmer built into the globe and is remotely controlled.

Dimmers can be wired to dim a single LED downlight, or a large array.

Do LEDs Come In More Than One Colour?

Firstly we will cover the shades of white that a LED can come in. Unlike incandescent light globes, that were always warm white, the LED can come in warm or cool white, or just white. In fact LEDs can come in any colour. A new exciting feature of LED lighting is, colour changing. Illustrated above is a 3 watt MR16 12 volt halogen replacement. Whilst only 3 watts, it would not be the best choice to read under, but can be used to change the mood of any room. The remote control, offering colour changing sequences, fixed colours and dimming.

Can I Just Install The LED Halogen Replacements?

Whilst you may be able to get the LED to trigger if you did, there are somethings you need to be aware of:

  • Some transformers may damage the LED halogen replacement.
  • You may need to install specifically designed LED light transformers.
  • Your old transformer is designed to trigger under high wattage. LED's are low wattage.
  • The LEDs will not dim with existing incandescent or halogen dimmers.

It is important to be aware of the above, as damage to the new LED lighting could occur. We would suggest you speak to your local light shop about your existing installation, regarding the suitability of transformers and dimmers.


For more information on our LED downlight investigation, see our LED DOWNLIGHT COMPARISON TESTS.

We will be reporting on other forms of LED lighting for Aussie homes soon. Subscribe to the Aussie Home Energy blog, to stay informed.

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

Why Do Home Energy Monitors Maximise Electricity Savings?

Studies by energy providers, monitor manufacturers and independent parties on home energy reduction, have proven a householders ability to stay on top of home electricity costs, is made a lot easier when immediate feedback on home electricity usage, is supplied on an easy to read in-home display.

These studies showing that homes now have the ability, to save as much as 15% to 20% or more, off their electricity usages costs, when a home electricity monitor is installed!

Without this 24/7 feedback, householders often slip back into old habits, or tend to assume they can do no more, in their attempts to bring the home electricity bill back under control.

With no feedback on electricity usage in the home, it's difficult to see what savings are going to be made during any home energy reduction attempts, until the next electricity bill arrives! Of course by then it is too late and if the changes saved you little, it has in fact cost you dearly.

With a 24/7 home electricity monitor installed in your home, there's always going to be the possibility, for future electricity reductions via your increased awareness, or via input from others. A home energy reduction system that easily proves all suggestions in real-time.

Feedback from our home electricity monitor clients, is constantly reporting of newly found savings. These savings further educating the householder on home electricity usage and costs, creating the desire for more savings to be discovered.

Which is what we at Aussie Home Energy, would say helps us greatly in our quest to help as many Australians homes, become aware and educated on home electricity costs.

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Waterproofing Your Home Energy Monitor's Transmitter

So Why Would You Want To Waterproof Your Home Electricity Monitor's Transmitter?

Well when you're looking at monitoring electricity generated by your Solar PV, you may be faced with the problem of having to site your home electricity monitor's transmitter, out in the weather. Knowing at the same time, the transmitter is not waterproof!

So What Can You Do To Waterproof Your Transmitter?

Well a common solution is to wrap the transmitter in plastic bags and tape. The only problem being here, is this solution could be very temporary for many reasons, resulting in a damaged transmitter.

We have found a simple solution, that eliminates those plastic bags and at the same time provides a 100% waterproof solution. The transmitter is placed inside it's own waterproof plastic box. Such a box is available from Jaycar Electronics and is suitable for both the Current Cost ENVI & ENVIR Home Electricity Monitor's transmitters. The Jaycar Electronic's part number being HB6402, costing AUD $19.95. The box comes with a waterproof seal in the lid and strong clips to keep it tightly closed.

With a little invention it would not be too hard, to drill a hole in either side of the box and during any solar PV installation, pass the cable from the solar array through the box. This would allow for the current clamp to be inside the box as well. If you decide to look into this option, you may need to choose a larger box.

Whilst working with the idea of waterproofing the Current Cost transmitter, we noticed that our test transmitter's range was considerably extended, whilst outside of  the metal powerbox. In fact we extended the range of the transmitter [by line of sight] to over it's maximum of 100 metres.

After considerable testing of the Current Cost's transmitter's range, whilst in the metal clad powerbox, we found the range to be around 32 metres. Once outside of the powerbox and in the plastic box, the range was extended by a staggering 82 metres to a total of 112 metres. We noted the stronger signal allowed us to monitor the electricity usage, at areas inside and out of the home, where previously we had no signal.

Our tests were run twice with a portable battery supply powering the monitor. This allowing for very accurate signal patterns to be created around the home at six second intervals. This interval being the transmitter's transmit sequence.


What we ended up doing after this finding, was to install the transmitter permanently outside of the metal powerbox. We aligned the holes both in the back of the plastic box with those on top of the powerbox. The holes between the two, being sealed with a plastic ferule and locknut and added sealant.

If your powerbox is open to the elements, then a decision to mount the plastic box on the top, side or bottom of the powerbox will have to be made. One that provides the best waterproof solution.

So for only $20 you now have a waterproof solution to monitoring your alternative energy source and keeping your home energy monitor's transmitter range to it's maximum.

Further information on the home electricity monitors capabilities can be found on our website Aussie Home Energy.
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