How you can have LED Lighting all Around the House even on a Low Budget!
The Best LED Dimmers for the Dimmable LED Lights – We’re Almost There!
It’s Time to Change that Light Bulb with an LED Lamp – More Energy Efficient!
Sparks is Honoured with the Highly Commended “Best Electrical Wholesaler Website” Award
Great Light Fittings we Saw and Liked at the Lighting Show #MayDesign Series
Top 3 LED Ceiling Lights on Stock Clearance at Sparks – Best Bargains!

The Best GU10 LED Lamp on Durability, Performance, and Energy Saving (Video)

The Best Buy GU10 LED Lamp on Durability, Performance, and Energy Saving (Video)In June 2014 Integral LED was awarded by “Which?” with the “Best Buy for GU10 LED bulb” on the categories of durability, performance, and energy saving.

The tests they performed and the results they obtained can be found on their website, but one thing is certain: after a rigorous testing against many of the big name LED manufacturer brands, Which? has awarded the “Best Buy (Spotlights)” in June 2014 to the Integral LED made GU10 PAR16 5.3W 3000K non-dimmable LED lamp.

What we are talking about is a retrofit LED lamp which delivers a warm light and brightness, being the equivalent to a 50W halogen bulb (see the manufacturer announcement on their blog).

Also, this LED lamp features quad high output Everlight LEDs, has an anti-glare refractor, and is finished in aluminium and plastic with a GU10 lamp cap and a thermally efficient body. Great for both commercial use and domestic applications.

This LED light bulb is a perfect replacement for the once-efficient but now energy-wasting and quite inefficient 50W halogen lamps, and this LED lamp can help you reduce your electricity bills by up to 85% instantly.

Think about it: you can save money every month on electricity with a fast pay back of less than a year!

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Technical specifications for this Awarded LED Lamp

  • Wattage: 5.3W (equivalent to 50W halogen lamp)
  • Dimming: non-dimmable LED lamp
  • Type: GU10 PAR16 LED light bulb
  • Light color: warm white 3000K
  • Anti-glare refractor, high quad output Everlight LEDs.
  • Lumens: 350 useful lumens (370lm nominal)
  • Lumens per watt: 69.8lm/W
  • Construction: plastic and aluminium heat-sink
  • Dimensions: 52mm length, 50mm diameter
  • Mains voltage LED lamp, 50Hz
  • IP rating: IP20 rated.
  • Energy rating: A+

More specifications and technical details together with more other pictures and videos for this awarded BEST LED Spotlight in 2014 can be found via our dedicated page for this GU10LS5W LED lamp at SparksDirect.co.uk.

How to Program Varilight V-Pro dimmers to Optimize the Performance of Dimmable LED Lighting

Varilight is a very much praised and appreciated brand especially because of its great LED dimmer switches, and recently they put out some videos via their Varilight TV channel on YouTube.

Watch the video below and see the step-by-step instructions for the Varilight V-Pro dimmers – switching between trailing edge and leading edge modes, and then returning to the factory settings.

The Varilight V-Pro dimmers are set to run in trailing-edge mode (MODE 1) by default. This versatile mode is suitable for most types of lighting, including many dimmable LEDs. It is also “gentler” on the load (this is MODE 3). An alternative trailing-edge mode (MODE 3) may improve the performance of some dimmable LEDs and dimmable CFLs.

Some other lighting loads, including some types of LED lights, perform best with leading-edge control. This dimmer can also be set to run in leading edge (see MODE 2).

Changing the driving mode between trailing edge (MODE 1) and leading edge (MODE 2)

  1. Step 1. Switch on and set the dimmer knob to the MAXIMUM brightness setting (turn fully clockwise)
  2. Step 2. Turn the lights OFF and back ON three times: OFF-ON-OFF-ON-OFF-ON (leaving approx. 1 second between presses).
  3. Step 3. The lights will step up and down in brightness to show that the dimmer is in CONFIGURATION MODE, then go off.
  4. Step 4. To select MODE 2, turn the know fully anti-clockwise. The lights will flash two times. This will show that the dimmer has been set to MODE 2. The dimmer can now be operated normally in the new mode.

To return the dimmer to MODE 1, follow the same procedure again. The light will flash once. This will show the dimmer has returned to MODE 1.

Changing the driving mode between trailing edge (MODE 1) and alternative trailing edge (MODE 3)

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  1. Step 1. Switch on and set the dimmer knob to the MAXIMUM brightness setting (turn fully clockwise).
  2. Step 2. Turn the lights OFF and back ON three times: OFF-ON-OFF-ON-OFF-ON (leaving approx. 1 second between presses).
  3. Step 3. The lights will step up and down in brightness to show that the dimmer is in CONFIGURATION MODE, then go off.
  4. Step 4. To select MODE 3, turn the know fully anti-clockwise then fully clockwise. The lights will flash three times. This will show that the dimmer has been set to MODE 3. The dimmer can now be operated normally in the new mode.

To return the dimmer to MODE 1, follow the same procedure again. The light will flash once. This will show the dimmer has returned to MODE 1.

Adjusting the minimum brightness

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The minimum brightness setting of the Varilight V-Pro dimmer can be adjusted to achieve the optimum dimming range for a particular load. If your lights are flickering when they are dimmed to a low level, you can increase the minimum brightness of the dimmer, which may prevent this from happening.

If the lights are brighter than you would like when the dimmer is set to minimum, you can try reducing the minimum brightness setting of the dimmer.

  1. Step 1. Switch on and set the dimmer knob to the MINIMUM brightness setting (turn fully anti-clockwise).
  2. Step 2. Turn the lights OFF and back ON three times: OFF-ON-OFF-ON-OFF-ON (leaving approx. 1 second between presses).
  3. Step 3. The lights will step up and down in brightness to show that the dimmer is in CONFIGURATION MODE, then go off.
  4. Step 4. Turn the knob fully clockwise. As soon as the lights come on, start to adjust the minimum brightness, then leave at the desired level. After 3 seconds, the new setting will be saved.
  5. Step 5. Now continue to use the dimmer as normal, with the new minimum brightness.

Resetting the Varilight V-Pro LED Dimmer

How can we reset the dimmer? The dimmer can be reset to its factory settings, and this will restore the driving mode to trailing edge (MODE 1) and default minimum brightness setting.

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  1. Step 1. Switch on and set the dimmer knob to the MAXIMUM brightness setting (turn fully clockwise).
  2. Step 2. Turn the lights OFF and back ON three times: OFF-ON-OFF-ON-OFF-ON (leaving approx. 1 second between presses).
  3. Step 3. The lights will step up and down in brightness to show that the dimmer is in CONFIGURATION MODE, then go off.
  4. Step 4. Turn the lights OFF and back ON three times: OFF-ON-OFF-ON-OFF-ON (leaving approx. 1 second between presses). The light will come ON and dim down to OFF indicating a successful factory reset. Then the light will flash once showing the dimmer has returned to default MODE 1 (trailing edge). The dimmer can now be operated normally in the new mode.

More about the Green-I Energy Saving PIR Sensors, Dimmers, and Timer Switches

CP Electronics - Intelligent Energy ControlWith 40 years of experience of producing Energy Saving Controls for lighting, heating, and ventilation, CP Electronics has the green-i range of stylish movement sensors, control systems, switches, and timers, allowing you to easily take control of your energy usage by providing simple and effective control solutions.

They boast of being the UK’s no. 1 lighting controls, with a wide experience and a great R & D department composed of engineers who work daily on new ideas and new technologies that are incorporated into their energy saving products.

There are different areas to look at in order to save the energy, and so you need:

  • Ceiling PIR sensors – automatically turn the lights ON or OFF when you enter or leave the room
  • Wall Mounted PIR sensors, Timers, and dimmers
  • A very simple lighting connection unit, the Vitesse Modular range.

Lighting control comes to the forefront of the specifier and builder’s mind when they consider a building, but unfortunately the general public is not yet aware of the benefits and potential of these energy saving devices.

If you visit our showroom we have a beautiful display of the wide range of Green-I energy saving devices from CP Electronics. The products come in a clam shell, which allow the customers to visually see the product and, on the back of the product, the diagrams and explanations show what the product actually does.

To understand what Green-I devices you need for your home or office in order to save the energy, there’s a brochure explaining what each and every device does, which you can pick up in our showroom. In short, this range has:

  • Ceiling PIR – can be installed on the ceiling in the store rooms, small offices, small rooms, etc, and they automatically switch ON the lights when presence is detected, and then turn the lights OFF when no one is in the room.
  • Wall PIRs – they fit a normal light switch, same size, being an easy and convenient replacement for the wall PIR switches.
  • Time delay switches – they retrofit into a normal light switch and start saving energy immediately.

Read more about the Green-I range from CP Electronics you can read our previous articles on the blog like: save energy with Green-I, Advanced Switch Technology, Energy Saving Replacement Like-for-Like, and, Save Money and Energy with Green-I.

How you can have LED Lighting all Around the House even on a Low Budget!

The LED lights are no longer merely a fancy light-emitting diodes solution for coloured lighting or indicators on electrical devices and appliances; the LED technology is evolving to the point that today you can safely have LED lights all around the house, and this even with a low budget!

LED Light Fittings at Sparks - a wide collection of LED lights and LED lamps

As seen above, we at Sparks we have a dedicated section that compiles most of the LED lights and LED fittings that we do at the moment, and even at a glance you will be amazed at the wide range of light fittings available that either use or can take LED light bulbs!

LED Lighting All Around the House – even with a Low Budget!

If you are like most of us, you would like to have LED lights (since they are both energy saving and “the new thing”) all around the house, and, if possible, these lights should also be dimmable.

And we know this because MOST of our customers ask us via email, website, phone, chat, twitter, and in person something like this, I want a LED light that is dimmable – do you have any? Of course we do :) and we will continue to bring them in as long as the are high quality, serviceable, replaceable, and with an excellent feedback.

And the greatest thing about the LED lights is that their price is going lower and lower, even though they incorporate the latest LED technology! Here are some of the LED lights you could install all around the house without having to bleed money or have a heart attack when you see the price:

Indoor LED Lighting

The wide range of LED Lights for interior lighting includes LED wall lights, ceiling lights, table lights, undershelf lights, bathroom lights, table lights, bedside lights, etc.

ELAN-LED downlight, dimmable, available in White, Chrome, and NickelFor example, the ELAN-LED range of LED downlights is a great solution for dimmable downlights offering a neutral white or a warm white light and coming in white, chrome, or nickel finish. And if you want to change the bezel of this fitting, you can easily do so with the available brass, black, or chrome bezels available, both in a round and in a square version.

Moving to the pendant lights, the Firstlight 8613 bar pendants and most of the high quality pendants can use a LED light bulb, many of which are also dimmable.

For a nice concealed lighting we would recommend the USLED range of LED undershelf strip lights – nice looking under-shelf strip lights for anywhere in the house (except the bathroom). In the bathroom you can either use some IP44 rated wall or ceiling lights which take LED, and above the mirror the OMLED10 will definitely save you both money and energy.

Do you want to have a bedside table lamp or an LED spot light with a flexible head mounted on the wall by the bed? There’s a wide range of bedroom LED lights, from LED table lamps to children lamps, bedside lamps, reading lamps, etc. You should definitely check out the NX326 Mento LED light.

Outdoor LED Lighting

Outdoor LED flood light in White or BlackSay “good bye” to the high wattage and high energy consumption halogen flood lights and “Hello” to the energy saving LED flood lights!

Whether you want to light up the building facade or make sure unwanted visitors are surprised by the PIR-triggered light beam, the LED flood lights are now more affordable and useful than ever.

For a more concealed lighting and highlighting outdoors you can safely use the many LED strip lights for outdoor. They come in warm white, cool white, or even in RGB color changing if you prefer this, and some of them can be even remotely controlled.

LED outdoor wall light: the Astro Lighting Puzzle LED lightFor a more fancy rectangular wall mounted LED fitting you should take a look at the Astro Lighting Puzzle AX0931 LED light – it will puzzle both you and your guests as you can hardly see where the light source is!

And if you are not convinced yet, we would like to invite you to visit the LED lighting section on our website where you can see more, read more, and choose the best LED light fitting that you need.

If you’re from around London and you would like to see how the LED downlights, wall lights, strip lights, etc look like, you can pay us a visit in Archway at our Lighting Showroom – we’re open daily from 8.00am to 5.00pm, and on Saturday from 8.30am to 2.00pm.

The Best LED Dimmers for the Dimmable LED Lights – We’re Almost There!

More and more of our customers are preferring the LED lights to the halogen or fluorescent lights, and most of those looking for LED lights want to dim them. Using an LED light bulb is energy saving enough, and dimming it will make it even more energy saving.

The LED lights and LED light bulbs are being constantly developed and improved, with more and more “dimmable LED lights” available on the market from reputable manufacturers.

However, there seems to be a problem when it comes to dimming the LED lights: who does LED dimmers that would work across the different existing LED lights that can be dimmed?

Some of the Best Manufacturers of LED Dimmers are…

There are at least three main manufacturers we distribute that can offer effective LED light dimmers:

Varilight came out with their V-Pro Eclique range of LED dimmers, offering one or more touch LED dimmers on a flat plate for remote dimming the LED lightsVarilight came out with their V-Pro Eclique range of LED dimmers, offering one or more touch LED dimmers on a flat plate for remote dimming the LED lights. They come with a tactile touch button with a blue LED glow surrounding it, and they pride of dimming mains voltage, ESL’s, GU10, and almost all low voltage applications, as well as most good quality dimmable LEDs.

The V-Pro Eclique 1G – 4G (both the master and the slave units) are flying off the shelf, since many people prefer to have a high quality LED dimmer that allows you to dim the lights both from one location or from multiple locations. The question is: will this work with ALL the dimmable LED ights out there?

MK Electric also has a wide range of new LED dimmers for a wide variety of LED lampsMK Electric also has a wide range of new LED dimmers for a wide variety of LED lamps, assuring us they offer a reliable dimming solution and allowing us to create an ambiance for comfortable surroundings. You can have either a standalone regular 1 Gang or 2 Gang rotary dimmers or as a MK grid dimmer, both compatible with tungsten filament lamps, low voltage halogen lamps, and dimmable LED lamps.

With a load of 4W – 70W (300W/240VA), these MK LED dimmers can take maximum 10 lamps per circuit and have an intelligent load protection that will prevent lamp wattage exceeding the rating of the dimmer.

Danlers offers a few LED dimmers and LED dimmer units such as DPDLEDDanlers offers a few LED dimmers and LED dimmer units such as DPDLED. They are compatible with many dimmable LED lamps and LED light fittings and are ideal to retrofit onto many existing wall plates (or they can be fitted onto original equipment manufacturers own plates).

Taking a load of max. 250W, the LED dimmer with rotary dimming control and push ON/OFF switching can be used in both 1-way and 2-way switching circuits, and the adjustable spindle on the back of the product allows you to specify the minimum dim level (to help eliminate lamp instability).

LED Dimmers – We’re Almost There!

Looking at the technical specifications of all these LED dimmers we can all agree that we are almost there when it comes to LED dimming. There are many dimmable LED light and LED light bulbs, and there are quite a few LED dimmers made by reputable manufacturers.

However, when someone asks us, What LED dimmer should I buy? – we don’t have an exact answer YET. The most recommended thing to do at the moment is to check with the LED lights manufacturer’s specifications and see which LED dimmers and brands they recommend.

Some LED lights don’t work with some LED dimmers, while some LED dimmers work only with some LED lights. Always read the specifications. Always check with the LED lighting manufacturer.

We are almost there. We’re almost at the point of no return, where ALL the dimmable LED lights will work with ALL the LED dimmers. Until then….read the specifications!

Question: what do you guys think? Which work with what? What’s the situation with the LED dimmers and the dimmable LED Lights? What is your experience? Leave us a comment below.