Bathroom lighting and recessed LED fixtures

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Old 03-13-11, 11:15 PM
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Bathroom lighting and recessed LED fixtures

Greetings,

I am in the process of remodeling a bathroom. I had envisioned putting two recessed lights over the tub/shower combination. But I realized that a person relaxing in the soaking tub may have to look directly at the lights over the tub.

It may be that a different approach is in order, but I’ll relate the results of my search for a solution in the hopes that I can benefit from the feedback. It seems to me that the lights over the tub can be lower power (mood lighting as opposed to task lighting). If the lights can be aimed, they can be pointed towards the wall running the length of the tub so they are not directly in the eyes of the person in the tub. Also, my wife requests small fixtures (4” with 3” preferred). I found a 3” trim that uses a MR16 bulb that swivels at
3" Reflector Trim Illuminator | usalight.com

Note that the lens is mostly frosted, but has a clear circle in the middle. I called the distributor to confirm that what appears to be a circle of clear glass is not in fact a hole. I found that there is no hole and the fixture is shower-rated. I assume that the light passing through the clear center portion would be aimed according to how the bulb is oriented. Some of the light will, of course, hit the frosted portion of the lens and scatter.

For a halogen MR16, I need a low-voltage housing to get 12VAC. However, since I want low power, maybe an LED MR16 would be feasible. In that case, I’d prefer not to operate the LED MR16 on 12VAC so that it will not strobe at 120Hz. I could get a stand-alone LED 12VDC power supply, but can it be located in the attic? I see various temperature ratings for such LED supplies. I always get IC-rated housings, but in this case if the fixture is entirely low-voltage and has a 5W LED, the rating may not be needed. In any case, I want airtight housings. So can I get a standard 3” housing to accept the 3” trim that I found? Is it possible (and safe, and within code) to put a LED power supply inside the housing?

As I said, I suppose there are some lighting design issues here the discussion of which could side-step the technical questions above. Help in that area is welcome. But I’m still curious about the building up the LED fixtures as I described. Please feel free to use technical terms as you craft your replies; I should be able to understand them.
 
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Old 03-14-11, 04:11 AM
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Welcome to the forums! The trim you mention would be a good one. But I think you may be "overthinking" this. You could always use a dimmer for the light control and reduce glare in the face of a bather. Or some really cool sunglasses . Having the dimmer would allow brighter light for a quick shower, but reduced light for "mood" or for soaking. Is the area above the shower accessible? The housing for the led would come manufactured with a transformer. Or you could buy the newer led's I saw at big orange the other day that screw into a regular light socket. $49 each
 
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Old 03-14-11, 05:11 AM
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It sounds lke you would be modifying the recessed itself to allow the addion of the LED drivers etc. This would void the UL listing for the fixture and should not be done.

I like Larrys idea of the dimmer. I have not used any of the smaller LED options on a recessed yet.
 
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Old 03-15-11, 09:34 PM
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thanks and more about LED

Thank you for the replies.

chandler, I agree about the dimmer.
pcboss, that is exactly the type of code information I need.


If I was to use DC to power an LED lamp, and the LED poser supply was not in the housing, then only low voltage would be in the housing. But then I have a new question - where will code allow me to place the LED supply itself?

I have another question regarding LEDs. If a typical electronic dimmer is used, the voltage out of the dimmer is equal to line voltage for only a fraction of each half-cycle, that fraction being smaller for less light, or 1 for full illumination. But LEDs are capable of adjusting their light output to zero almost instantly, so LEDs dimmed by this method could exhibit some severe strobing. (This is in contrast to incandescent bulbs which remain hot over the brief periods of no voltage and hence average the illumination.) The LED strobing may not bother some people, but I think it bothers me.

I can envision some circuit that allows a LED to be dimmed but results in a varying DC across the LED. But as pcboss pointed out, there is a danger in using diy circuitry. Does anyone know of existing hardware that accomplished dimming of LEDs and strobe-free operation?

Tom
 
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Old 03-16-11, 05:08 AM
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Generally you can't dim led's without a strobe effect. Disco shower, maybe. Your water is getting cold while you overthink this. Install a line voltage light on a dimmer protected by a gfci, and enjoy!
 
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Old 03-18-11, 03:30 PM
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result

Well, I ordered low-voltage housings (with transformer included), and will try low-wattage halogen MR-16 at first without a dimmer.

If I need a dimmer, I'll get one rated for the transformer load. I found out that they call these "magnetic dimmers" even thought the dimmer itself is not magnetic. It just means it is rated for the inductive load of a (magnetic) transformer.


Did I mention that the tub is still in the living room? I'll work on that while waiting for the fixtures.


Tom
 
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Old 03-25-11, 11:55 AM
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update

Just so you know, the fixture I linked to in a previous post
3" Reflector Trim Illuminator | usalight.com
is NOT a shower trim, the glass does in fact have a hole in it,
even thought the vendor said it does not.

Vendor will accept return.

But now I'm again searching for a shower trim that allows some degree of directivity.

Tom
 
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