Building a new house and want good lights

I’m in the process of getting a new house built, and one of the drawbacks of living in a very backward country is the fact that there are very, very few high CRI lights available and the ones that are available sell for exponentially more than they are worth. In the kitchen especially I want some neutral colour but high CRI lights like the 219B SW45K, SST20 4000K, 519A, LHD351 etc. We use 230V AC. The electrician (we can’t change, the house is part of a home + land package deal) is completely unwilling to consider anything that’s not a locally sourced, crappy, and hellishly expensive light, and at the specialist lighting stores I’ve been to, the staff are in outright denial that high CRI is even available for any less than the equivalent of $US500 for a simple pendant light. When I tell them about the emitters I get from Simon @ Convoy, they look at me like I’m on some kind of drugs. It’s very, very frustrating.

I’m not at all comfortable playing around with AC but I’m pretty good with a soldering iron considering I solder something almost every day and have built plenty of flashlights and DC powered house lights that I run off CC CV buck/boost/buck-boost converters. What would be the best option for a nicely integrated system that is “built in” to the house so I don’t have visible wiring all over the place? Something the electrician is willing to install…Maybe I can ask him to install a driver and then I can do the DC side of things. I’m not sure, any advice would be appreciated.

Well, how “sketchy” are you willing to get?

If you’re willing to go with a custom installation and are willing to pay a nice amount of money, you could actually make your own lights with DC drivers and some big ass high CRI 100W COBs.

Can you get Soraa bulbs?

See what you can get, then worry about the fixtures to match.

Just have the electrician wire up the house and then install your own lights from Aliexpress. It’s remarkably easy - much easier than modding lights for example.

It should be easy to find 80CRI+ from this list:

90CRI+ will be harder but still possible. China also uses 230V AC so all the drivers should work nicely.

I spent less than 200 USD for all the lights in a newly remodeled 120 square meter apartment near Shenzhen, China. The lights have been on a lot for the last 2 years and none of them have gone out or have become noticeably dimmer.

It seems like this electrician has not been keeping up to date in his own profession which is a shame. Or perhaps he is receiving a kickback.

I am an increasing fan of using standard bayonet or Edison screw fittings where possible and just getting led globes for them. Super easy to change bulbs later on. Saves no end of hassle and later expense if custom pendants or fixtures break later on.

All depends on the style of your house etc. However, in terms of cost effective upgrades or repairs later any fitting that takes standard lamps is super effective.

Edit: if you do get / need downlights,try to get the electrician to install standard sockets in the ceiling space for the drivers. This way replacing them is super simple - you just need new drivers that have a standard plug on the 240v side. Worst case get the drivers you want and take the whole lot to an electrician and ask them to wire plugs on.

But yeah, we are in NZ also and I’ve been super happy with our fittings + led bulbs option.

The first thing you need to do is set the light points and switch settings.

If you are going to use external driver fixtures, then you need a place to hide it. It can be inside a false ceiling or in a central driver box. You can also hide them inside furniture or above the ceiling, but replacement is more difficult. There are drivers with dimmer, CCT control, compatible with automation systems.

I believe your electrician is not capable of handling these technologies. Considering this, the best solution would be to ask him to do the wiring to the light points (leave some wire left). You can buy the cheapest e27 sockets you can find. After your house is ready, you do the lighting project yourself.

The simplest way is to buy ready-to-use luminaires with an in-fixture driver. Another very versatile way is using LED strips inside aluminum profiles. They produce very diffused lighting. You can find high quality LED strips on aliexpress (from Auxmer for example). You can also build your own e27 bulbs with COB led.

In my kitchen, I use a LED profile for the countertop and an e27 bulb (built by me) for the rest of the environment. I’ll try to find some Bridgelux thrive COBs to build the next ones.

i vote for this!

no custom DC drivers, naked LEDS etc

it isn;t worth that when you can get decent bulbs

Take what they will give you and make changes after you get the home.

I converted my home to all LED about 5 years ago. When possible I used existing fixtures and added LED conversions to what was there already. The house is now better lit and far nicer compared to those horrible CFL bulbs pushed by our local utility (subsidized for environmental reasons). It will take years to recoup the cost for converting even buying fixtures directly from China at much reduced prices compared to what was available nearby. Still, I would do it again.

If the electrician wires in any dimmers, make sure they are LED compatible. They are a more expensive than ones commonly used for incandescent or CFL lamps. When you buy fixtures for dimmer circuits be sure they are listed as dimmable. Many universal voltage LED fixtures (85-240V AC) are not dimmable because the LED driver inside the lamp is incompatible with any dimmer. I’ve even had China based eBay seller send me dimmers they claimed as LED compatible only to find out they were useless and stamped “incandescent only” on the front of the dimmer case.

Use halogen, they are the best.

Both of these are correct assumptions. Very common here unfortunately.

Are 95CRI E26 lights accepted here? :smiley:

To the OP if you need downlights these are available locally:

I contacted them and they use Citizen COB apparently 90-97 CRI.

Opinions/experiences with Citizen?

EDIT looks like good stuff:

Philips hue?

Don’t put very high voltage lamps/bulbs if you are unsure about your electrical system or if you don’t have the proper fire system.

GE refresh and relax HD bulbs, both over 90 CRI

I put dimmers on every lamp and mix the bulbs

For a large room, I use 4 way sockets but use only 3 bulbs (100 Watt Equivalent)
2 relax + 1 refresh = proper color temp with up to 300 Watt incandescent equivalence but uses only 50 watts

Avoid the reveal bulbs like the plague (Total Garbage)

Home depot stopped selling GE bulbs but they are still available at Amazon and Target

Make sure you get the HD bulbs though
The other GE bulbs have lower CRI

Don’t put very high voltage lamps/bulbs if you are unsure about your electrical system or if you don’t have the proper fire system. Hight tension lamps can cause a fire inside of your electric system. Pay attention to voltage and prices of the lamps/bulbs/. And if you are planning to replace and add additional lighting points to your system, I recommend you visit the tsl website for solid pricing options for anti-fire systems. I have been working with them a lot. They helped me set the fire system in our office and my summer house in Florida.

These are an excellent choice for low voltage ceiling LED flush down lighting with CRI options and unique nightlight feature. I have these installed and love them.

Check this out on Amazon
Commercial Electric 6 in. Selectable Integrated LED Recessed Trim Can Light with Night Light Feature 5 CCT 670 Lumens Dimmable (4 Pack)

To much misinformation about high voltage LED lamps. Not a problem for the ones installed in your home.

You are confusing the AC voltage source with the DC operating voltage for the LED. House voltage in the US is 120V AC except for some appliances that require a lot of amps so use 240V. Most of the remainder of the world uses 240V AC for the entire house. All of the LED bulbs and fixtures in my home operate on 120V to supply the LED driver. Some of my fixtures use a universal driver and will operate on any AC source from 85 to 240V AC. There is no high voltage involved anywhere.

Individual LEDs require 1.2 to 3.6 V DC, depending on the color of the LED. Therefore all LEDs are low voltage. Your lamp or bulb is going to have an LED driver in it that converts AC to DC and delivers the right voltage or current. There are constant voltage drivers and constant current drivers. Even the largest lamp array in my garage only uses a single 50W 12V DC driver.