Hera halogen counter light Nichia 219 retrofit

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Hera halogen counter light Nichia 219 retrofit

My house has a hoity-toity kitchen. It was featured on the cover of a Siematic catalog (Siematic translated into english means “they paid how much!!!”) There are 14 PAR20 and 5 MR16 overhead lights. I have 550 lumen/10 watt/95 CRI Sylvania UltraLED bulbs in the PAR20s and Philips Endura 10W/490 lumen/88 CRI bulbs in the MR16s.

There are also five under-cabinet Hera light fixtures with 10 watt/90 lumen/G4 halogen bulbs driven by two electronic ballasts (so I found out). Two lights under one set of cabinets and three under another. BTW, Hera translated into english means “they paid how much!!!”. (80 bucks a head and 80 bucks each for the two ballasts). These fixtures are one of the very few non-LED lights in the TechnoShack (http://budgetlightforum.com/node/9179).

The Hera fixture heads and ballast:

We can’t have that now, can we? Time for some LED retrofits… I found some rather nice G4 regulated bulbs on Ebay for dirt cheap (http://budgetlightforum.com/node/16235) so I bought some. Of course the price dropped even lower after I bought them. This should be a 30 minute mod, right? Pop out the old halogen bulbs, pop in the LEDs and we’re done… right? No freakin’ way.

New power supply and LED boards (front and back and modified with Nichia 219’s):

First you have to get out the old bulbs. Pry the heads out of the counters. No biggie. Pry of the top of the head to get to the filter glass. No biggie. Hmm, the glass is held in by a rather strong snap ring. The filter glass is also less than 1mm thick and is super-fragile (it also soaks up 25% of the light). Break a couple of them getting the snap rings off (been there, done that, 12 bucks a pop).

Ok, take out the halogen bulbs and put in the LED bulbs. Easy as pie. Turn on the switch. Buzzzzz! We’ve got light. Also a really loud buzz from the ballasts and LEDs. Electronic ballasts don’t like light loads. Those LED bulbs are only 2 watts. This was somewhat expected. So replace the ballasts with small 12V wall warts. Easy, right? No freakin’ way. The ballasts were under the cabinets on the floor. Remove the cabinet kick panel and there’s a ballast with a wire going to a terminal block with two more wires coming out of it. One to each group of lights? Replace the ballast with the wall wart, hit the switch, and buzzzz! Well, buzzzz from one group of lights and quiet from the other. Ok, we have two sets of lights, each with their own ballast.

Take off another cabinet kick panel and find the other ballast. Hmmm… ballast, but no visible terminal block. Tug on ballast wire and the terminal block drops down from behind the counters. But only two output wires are on the terminal block. Hook wall wart to the terminal block, hit switch, voila! Quiet lights. But only two of the three are lit. Oh, crap. Where’s the other wire? The counters are too deep and the space under them too short to be able to reach behind them. Double crap with a cherry on top.

Break out the Harbor Freight video inspection camera with the four foot long gooseneck. Ok, there’s the missing cable to the third light. No way to reach it, but there it is. Break out the extra-long hemostats with the curved tip. Spend 30 minutes groping and grabbing the cable. Finally, got it. Pull it down… only moves a few inches, but at last it is now visible with the naked eye. Not reachable, but visible. Break out my well thumbed copy of the “Drunken Russian Sailor’s Handbook of Curses and Swears”

Spend the next three hours working with long hemostats and the verneable Handbook to get the third wire plugged into the terminal block. Finally! All five lights are on. And quiet…

They look rather nice. But this is the high CRI Kitchen of the Gods, after all. We can do better! Dash off a bunch of bucks to Illumination Supply for some Niciha 219 4500K 92 CRI’s on 10 mm stars. Wait two days. Spend 30 minutes of quality time plucking off LEDs with the Pace Thermotweeze SMD rework tool. Attach two Nichia 219’s to each board with thermal adhesive (being VERY careful to position them so that they don’t short anything that should not be shorted on the board), let dry for a day. Wire the Nichias in series and connect to the driver output signals. Voila, 110 lumens of sweet, pure, neutral white, Nichia goodness from each head.

Beam shot with one of Gertrude and Otto Natzler’s finest:

About 10 hours total, 100 bucks, lots of bruises and aching muscles, and more curses than a gaggle of gypsies. Nothing is ever easy… Now I need to mill some new diffuser filters out of some .032” slightly frosted PETG sheet that I have…

Edited by: texaspyro on 12/14/2012 - 01:35
Chicago X
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Nice crater-glazed Natzler.

With the amount of animals in the Case de X, anything breakable that costs as much as a decent car would be first to go smash...


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Chicago X wrote:

Nice crater-glazed Natzler.

With the amount of animals in the Case de X, anything breakable that costs as much as a decent car would be first to go smash

Otto was a friend of mine… the world lost a true artisan when he died… same goes for Gertrude. Nobody could throw a better pot, and nobody comes close to Otto’s mastery of glazes.

One very nice day I had all the doors open to air out the place. A lovely little bird flew in and perched right in the middle of a shelf of exquisite little Rose Cabat feelie vases. Luckily it just pushed a couple over without sending them off into shardville… For some reason, it doesn’t seem wise to have rambunctious (or even sedate) dogs or cats around the place…

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I setup my sphere in it’s normal mode (not the mode that can handle 600,000 lumens) and did another measurement on the Nichia modded fixtures. They actually put out 140 lumens without the diffuser and 105 lumens with the glass diffuser. The PETG diffuser should be around 10% higher.

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Well, at least now we know you are certifiable.Wink The Official ATX-MM (Another Texas Maniac Modder) documents are on their way via a government agent.

I'm glad someone is all modern, up to date and using all those nice LEDs for the home. I'm still buying Incandescent bulbs and probably will never switch, not as long as I live in TX anyhow.



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