Aurora Fire Rated Downlights: How are they Tested and How do they Work?

Some of the best fire-rated downlights, tested and approved according to the highest UK standards, are those manufactured by Aurora Lighting.

Recently they have posted a blog post concerning the requirements, the specifications, and the testing of their fire rated lights, and we deem it necessary to glean bits and pieces of very useful information for you, our customer and visitor.

Stay tuned as you read the article: the best bits are at the end!

Why do we Need Fire Rated Downlights?

First of all, why do we need to install fire rated downlights?

The Building Regulations in the UK require fire protection for certain types of premises. You can check out the Document B (fire safety, approved document, see it online here), where we see that residential homes, flats, sheltered housings, health care premises, schools, universities, student accommodations, shops, assembly and recreational buildings, etc all need to have fire protection recessed lights.

Depending on the building construction, most ceilings in houses with more than one floor needs to have fire rated lights.

What’s so Special about Fire Rated Lights?

So, what do the fire rated downlights do? If there’s a fire on a certain level of a building, the principle of the fire rated downlights is that they don’t allow the spreading of the fire to the floors or spaces above.

This means that the downlights have a special construction that blocks the spreading of the fire and, instead of weakening the fire protection of the ceiling, it “fills the hole” in the ceiling to protect the space above. Read more about the fire rated downlights here and here.

What Fire Rated Downlight do I Need?

There are different types of fire rated downlights, and there are different requirements for the various types of buildings and type of construction. The basement for instance, if it is residential, needs 30-60 minutes fire rating, while the basement in a flat or any other residential building needs 90 minutes fire protection.

What Fire Rated Downlight do I Need?

 When it comes to the ground level and above, depending on the height of the floor, in general in the residential buildings you need 60 minutes fire rated downlights, and in flats and other residential buildings you sometimes need a fire protection for up to 120 minutes.

Check out the diagram supplied by Aurora above to find out more precise details.

How do these Fittings Work and How are They Tested?

The fire rated downlights contain a special intumescent material which, in case of fire and extreme heat, expands and enlarges until it bridges the downlight can’s ventilation hole.

The maintaining of the fire resistance of the ceiling is integral when the intumescent material expands and blocks the expanding of the fire on the floor / space above the ceiling. In a nutshell, see below a picture describing this process.

The maintaining of the fire resistance of the ceiling is integral when the intumescent material expands and blocks the expanding of the fire on the floor / space above the ceiling. In a nutshell, see this picture describing this process

How does Aurora Lighting test their fire rated downlights? Check out the picture supplied by them below and see a little about the process of testing: the test furnace, inside the furnace, the ceiling construction, the installation, board the ceiling, begin the testing, test monitoring, the success of the test, and the final results – PASS!

More about process of testing the fire rated downlights: the test furnace, inside the furnace, the ceiling construction, the installation, board the ceiling, begin the testing, test monitoring, the success of the test, and the final results - PASS!

In conclusion, a big thank you to the good people at Aurora Lighting for their explanations (follow them on twitter here), and don’t forget to visit the fire rated ceiling lights section on our website at to see a complete range of fire protection downlights from Aurora.

The Best Deal for the Perfect Fluke Companion of a Professional Electrician

Yes, you have heard it right: we at Sparks have the best deal for the perfect companion from Fluke – for the professional electrician! This kit – all bundled up in the code 1654B – is not for a home user but for an electrician who needs different testers for measuring, works in more industrial or rugged environments, and has to rely on precision measuring systems for the electrical installations.

Sparks Electrical brings you the perfect gift for the modern electrician today: a Multifunction Tester, a Data Management Software for installation testing, an Earth Spike Test Kit, and a 4 piece flexible socket probe set!

What is the Perfect Companion of an Electrician?

We are not electricians, but based on what Fluke offers – according to their extended experience in both manufacturing and distribution of electrical testers and equipment – we can tell you that the perfect companion for a professional electrician today at this moment is what we call, The Fluke 1654B Multifunction Kit – Best Deal!

The needs of an electrician are many, and the tools he needs vary depending on the job. However, here are some of the things he needs regularly:

A Multifunction Installation Tester

A Multifunction Installation Tester - The Fluke 1654B multifunction installation tester builds upon the earlier 1650 series, being redesigned to meet the electrician's needs for more productive test tools. Some of its capabilities are: test smooth DC sensitive RCDs (type B), fast high current loop test, and Loop & Line Resistance-mO resolutions.

The Fluke 1654B multifunction installation tester builds upon the earlier 1650 series, being redesigned to meet the electrician’s needs for more productive test tools. Some of its capabilities are: test smooth DC sensitive RCDs (type B), fast high current loop test, and Loop & Line Resistance-mO resolutions. Read more about it here.

A Socket Probe Set

The Fluke TLK290 is a four piece flexible socket probe set composed of three flexible socket probes and one large alligator clip. It is ideal for use on motor and three phase sockets.

The Fluke TLK290 is a four piece flexible socket probe set composed of three flexible socket probes and one large alligator clip. It is ideal for use on motor and three phase sockets.

Excellent Software for the Appliance Testing

In the Best Deal for the Multifunction Kit you also have the Fluke DMS 0100/INST, the data management software ideal for installations testing. The professional electricians know what we're talking about, and they smile right now!

In the Best Deal for the Multifunction Kit you also have the Fluke DMS 0100/INST, the data management software ideal for installations testing. The professional electricians know what we’re talking about, and they smile right now!

The Earth Spike Test kit

In order to test the resistance of the earth rods you need the Fluke ES165X Earth Spike Test Kit - which is is bundled up in this amazing deal. It comes complete with auxiliary earth probes, test connection leads and crocodile clips, together with a purpose-made carry case.

In order to test the resistance of the earth rods you need the Fluke ES165X Earth Spike Test Kit – which is is bundled up in this amazing deal. It comes complete with auxiliary earth probes, test connection leads and crocodile clips, together with a purpose-made carry case.

All these are bundled up for an amazing deal at Sparks – check out the price on the website here, and you will not believer your eyes! Yes, Fluke wants to sell this multifunction tester (and so they throw all kinds of goodies in there) – but this is one of the Best Multifunction Installation Tester! Believe us, this is really true!

And the price… is so much better than anything we or anyone else ever had before! So why don’t you guys check out the best deal for the perfect Fluke Companion of a professional electrician – at Sparks!

Danlers is Helping You Select the Appropriate PIR Occupancy Switch

Winners of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for Innovation in 2010, Danlers Ltd is a family owned UK company which designs and manufactures electronic energy saving lighting controls for the past 20 years or so.

Their R&D team are continually working on developing next generation products in the lighting control industry, facing the well-known challenge of the influx of newer technologies of LED lights and other digital technologies. Tony Kay (the executive chairman) says,

DANLERS commitment to reliability, simplicity and our UK manufacturing heritage is at the heart of why customers like our products.

Helping You Select the Right PIR Switch

If you browse our website or any online store with PIR switches, you tend to either be confused or not be clear about which switch you need.

We apologize for the inconvenience of not yet having a precise page where we can present the below information, but for now we would like to at least post on our blog some ideas and information that may help you choose the right PIR occupancy switch.

It is very important to consult with your electrician, first of all, and secondly to know what you’re buying. Here are some categories or criteria of choosing a PIR occupancy switch:

Ceiling Mounted PIR Switches with 360 degrees Detection Zone

Ceiling Mounted PIR Switches with 360 degrees Detection Zone

As per the diagram above, Danlers has a wide range of ceiling mounted PIR occupancy switches which have a 360 degrees detection zone. They can be either flush mounted (in false ceilings or plasterboard ceilings), or surface mounted (having a small projection from the ceiling). Also, they can be hard wired or plug & socket.

Ceiling Mounted PIR Switches with 120 degrees detection angle or low range directional narrow beamCeiling Mounted PIR Switches with 120 degrees detection angle or low range directional narrow beam

Besides the PIR occupancy detector switches with a full 360 degree detection zone you can have the surface mounted plug an
d socket CEDR + CESO (120 degrees directional detection angle) or the CEDR 6PLR + CESO (with a long range directional narrow beam).

Wall Mounted PIR Switches with 120 Degrees Detection AngleWall Mounted PIR Switches with 120 Degrees Detection Angle

If you need a wall mounted PIR switch with a plaster depth wall box (16mm), there’s the WACE PIR and WAPIR needing or not needing neutral wire respectively. They both have a 120 degrees detection angle.

Where Do People Use PIR Switches?

The PIR switches are becoming very common both at home and in the office, since they have a time lag switch incorporated which automatically turns ON or OFF the lights when activated, dealing once and for all with the problem of “I forgot the lights ON!”

This means you can use PIR switches and time lag switches in places like the living room, the bedroom, in offices, factories, schools, workshops, factories, hotels, canteens, staff rooms, corridors, stairwells, changing rooms, students accommodation, toilet blocks, military accommodation, etc.

And you can buy them at some of the most affordable prices via, Time Lag Switches, and, Occupancy Detector Switches, on our website.

Note: the pictures are screenshots of the official Danlers Selecting the appropriate PIR occupancy switch page found here.

Where do People Prefer to Install the Lutron Grafik Eye 3000 System?

The Lutron Grafik Eye 3000 is one of the most popular and most affordable single room lighting control solutions, allowing you to create “lighting scenes” as needed! Many businesses use it in a commercial environments like restaurants, bars, pubs, conference venues, meeting rooms, offices, etc.

Where do People Prefer to Install the Lutron Grafik Eye 3000 System?

But there are two places where you would have never thought this system can be used, and today we will tell you why.

Grafik Eye 3000 – Not Only for Commercial Venues

If you love certain lighting scenarios at home and you don’t mind investing a little (not much) in it, you will notice that the Grafik Eye 3000 will not empty your bank account. Rather, it will revolutionize the room in your home where you install it. Really!

We have several customers who installed this system and they are extremely happy with its settings.

Bottom line is, the Lutron Grafik Eye 3000 system is NOT only for businesses or commercial environment – it can also be installed at home, and it will help you adjust the mood and set the atmosphere as you desire!

Here’s what Lutron says concerning the Domestic Installation of the Grafik Eye 3000,

Preset scenes and programmable fade times create a true movie theater experience with smooth transition between lighting scenes. GRAFIK Eye 3000 integrates with audio/video, home automation systems, controllable shades, and projection screens available from other manufacturers.

Two Places You Never Thought You Could Install Grafik Eye 3000

We asked our consultants over the counter in our showroom, What are Two Rooms at Home that People Install the Grafik Eye 3000 in? Without a pause to think about it, they all confirmed – the living room and the kitchen! It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

When you are cooking, you need a certain kind of light in the kitchen, and when you’re eating around the table or just reading something, you need a different setting.

In a similar way, in the living room you do NOT need all the lights on at the same time, and turning some ON while making sure others are OFF is such a pain!

In a similar way, in the living room you do NOT need all the lights on at the same time, and turning some ON while making sure others are OFF is such a pain!

Why not set some scenes like: watching a movie scene, reading a book scene, guests scene, etc…? Grafik Eye 3000 can create a dramatic environment while drastically reducing the energy expenses in your own kitchen or living room!

How does this System Work?

Full technical specs and details about how to install and set up the Lutron Grafik Eye 3000 can be found online at Sparks, but in brief, you can create certain scenes both for your room or for a whole house lighting system.

You can create paths of lights from one principle living space to another, set up different lighting for food preparation or evening dining for two, etc at the touch of a button on the main control panel, which switches to the set up scene.

You can define and preset the lighting scenes for multiple uses – in a very simple way! Then, you can control all the lights in the room (or the house) without remembering the settings – either at the click of a button or via the wireless infrared remote control.

Tip: The most recommended systems are the 2 zone or 4 zone Grafik Eye 3000 – check them out!

Where do You prefer to install the Grafik Eye 3000 System? Or, where Will You Install it after you Buy it? Let us know in the comments.

Pictures credit: Lutron site here and here.

Two Dimplex Portable Heaters Excellent for Any Season of the Year

Some people say, The winter is gone – turn off that heater! And they really mean it – at work, in the car, and at home, they turn off the heater! But others – and we are also among these others – still need some heating elements in addition to the lovely natural sunlight we enjoy from time to time here in England…

Portable Heating – a Flexible Heating Solution

For those who spend much time at home or are tied to a particular space in the office, it is not so easy to rely only on the central heating – even though sometimes it can be programmed and set to heat up particular rooms only.

Sometimes you just need some quick heating for 20-30 minutes, or maybe from time to time during the day you need heating.

A wall-mounted and high-electricity-consuming heater is not the solution; rather, what you need is a portable heater. They can be either wall-mounted or they can be freestanding (to be moved as needed).

Two Excellent Portable Dimplex Heaters

There are all kinds of portable heaters available at Sparks, but today we would like to recommend two specific Dimplex portable heaters.

Take a look at them, read at their technical specifications, check out their price, and if you’re not decided yet, why not give us a call :) or email us for more details.

Oil Filled Radiator with Timer

Dimplex OFX 1.5kW is an oil-filled radiator coming fitted with an energy regulator thermostat, being suitable both for home and office use.

Dimplex OFX 1.5kW is an oil-filled radiator coming fitted with an energy regulator thermostat, being suitable both for home and office use.

This kind of heaters provide a balance of convected and radiant heat – just like a conventional radiator – but with the added advantage of a “plug-in” portability. Excellent solution for long term, with a safe design  reliable and not drying the air.

Dimplex Contrast Portable Heater

The Dimplex DXC20 is probably one of the most popular convector heaters, being ideal for use in any room of the house (except the bathroom) where there is no heating or where you need some quick heating right away.

The Dimplex DXC20 is probably one of the most popular convector heaters, being ideal for use in any room of the house (except the bathroom) where there is no heating or where you need some quick heating right away.

This particular model is “for moving around”, since it is freestanding using a regular 240V supply. The unique forward facing grille is specifically designed for enhanced heat throw.

Since these heaters are can be operated independently from the central heating, they can be turned OFF when they are not needed and ON when you need them.

Believe me, you will sometimes need quick heating in a certain room or around the desk in the office. And then you will remember the friendly advice offered to you by Sparks Direct