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Thread: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

  1. #1

    Default High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    Hi all,

    I just installed 18 low voltage retrofit pot lights that take MR16 bulbs. For now I've got cheap halogens in them, as I wanted to get the cans installed first and then try various different bulb options before committing to replacing them all.

    Now, I understand that Soraa is the gold standard for this type of application, but up here in Canada I'm looking at around $40 per bulb from an Ebay seller, or $60 from a distributor.

    While I'm willing to pay $800-1200 for the bulbs if it's absolutely necessary, at a calculated $170/yr operating cost for halogens, that's one hell of a long payback time.

    Is there any more reasonable option from another manufacturer that'd give me at least a fighting chance at getting something acceptable? I'm looking for 50W equivalents, 2700k.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jason

  2. #2
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    Which model, exactly? There's some Vivids on eBay now $180/10.

    Keep in mind that 12V Halogen lamps are closer to 3000K. 2700K will be relatively warm-looking.

    SM16-09-36D-927-03 3rd Genaration 65w Replacement 10pcs.
    Jim

  3. #3

    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    Quote Originally Posted by brickbat View Post
    Which model, exactly? There's some Vivids on eBay now $180/10.

    Keep in mind that 12V Halogen lamps are closer to 3000K. 2700K will be relatively warm-looking.

    SM16-09-36D-927-03 3rd Genaration 65w Replacement 10pcs.
    That's fantastic! This works for me. One question though: these are 65w equivalent, will I still be able to dim these down low?

    Thanks again
    Jason

    Edit: these are 25 degree spots, which are probably too narrow for my 8' ceiling and 4' between lights. I'm using them in a living room.

    Edit again: 36 degree.... Looking into it.
    Last edited by doctor__big; 09-25-2017 at 05:20 PM.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    Right - they are 36 degree. (are you sure about the 2700K thing? - worth double checking, IMO)

    Yes, they dim, but you have to have the 'right' power supply/dimmer to do it. I don't know what you have, but the do differ from halogen in dimming characteristics.
    Jim

  5. #5

    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    Quote Originally Posted by brickbat View Post
    Right - they are 36 degree. (are you sure about the 2700K thing? - worth double checking, IMO)

    Yes, they dim, but you have to have the 'right' power supply/dimmer to do it. I don't know what you have, but the do differ from halogen in dimming characteristics.
    I downloaded colour temp meter app to my android phone and measured my halogens. At full blast they're dead on 3000k, so that's what I'll get. Found a seller who has a lot of 10 x 3k/36degree/7.5w for $75, some without boxes. That's exactly what I need, so I took a chance.

    Thanks for the help
    Jason

  6. #6
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    Vivid or Brilliant? Vivid is 90+ CRI, Brilliant is 80. Brilliant is more efficient, though...

    Either way, that's a super price!
    Jim

  7. #7

    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    Quote Originally Posted by brickbat View Post
    Vivid or Brilliant? Vivid is 90+ CRI, Brilliant is 80. Brilliant is more efficient, though...

    Either way, that's a super price!
    Vivid according to the listing!

  8. #8

    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    Quote Originally Posted by brickbat View Post
    Vivid or Brilliant? Vivid is 90+ CRI, Brilliant is 80. Brilliant is more efficient, though...

    Either way, that's a super price!
    The seller had five more lamps for $39, so I bought those too. I need 13, so this means I'll have two spares.

    I'm comfortable spending around $150 including shipping for this exercise, as I am somewhat skeptical about whether I'll like this light as much as halogens. I do like the yellow tone of halogens when they dim, and I'm aware that LEDs don't do that, and also that LEDs don't dim as far down as halogens, so $150 isn't that much to risk. At full pop, I was extremely reluctant.

    I'll respond back after I receive and install them.

    Thanks for all the help.
    Jason

  9. #9

    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    I installed all 13 of the lamps this weekend and was very underwhelmed with the look. Harsh and stark. The Colour Temp Meter reads a consistent 4100-4300K on all of them. Just to be sure I re-calibrated the app with a halogen MR16 in another room, and that reads 3050k, so I'm reasonably confident in the accuracy.

    I contacted the seller, but I'm not hopeful.

    Sigh. I guess I'll re-install the halogens.

    Edit: I'm attaching a photo of the markings on the side of one of the lamps. I can't cross reference with any of soraa's numbers. Any ideas?




    Edit again: looks like I ordered Brilliant instead of Vivid. I could have sworn I double checked the listing. Still doesn't explain the >4k colour temperature though.
    Jason
    Last edited by doctor__big; 10-09-2017 at 08:30 AM.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    eBay will side with you. Just file a 'not as described case'. The buyer HAS to refund you. Unless he sold the items as "not-working, for parts" you'll prevail.

    Soraa VIVID lamps are great, and indistinguishable from halogen MR16's. I've never bought any of the Brilliants.
    Jim

  11. #11

    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    I guess - but I don't want to be a prick. I bought Brilliant, so that's my issue. And the 830 in the part number matches up with 3K Brilliant. What I'm puzzled by is the fact that these things measure just over 4k. That's my area of concern. Any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Jason

  12. #12
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    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    Not sure what you mean by harsh and stark re the look of the lights. I've been around plenty of 80 CRI LED lamps and, at least to my eye, at 3000K, their tint is darn near impossible to tell from incandescent halogen. That said, the 80 CRI lamps do impart a color bias in some things, particularly natural wood. At least that's what I've seen.

    If your color temp meter is just a smart phone app, I'd bet that's the problem. I see no way it could properly deal with the broad variety of spectral distributions. OTOH, if you have a 'real' color temp meter, accurately calibrated, you have a case to send these back without being a prick. 4000K is the same as the old 'cool white' fluorescent, and I do have a Soraa Vivid at 4000K, and that's exactly what it looks like.
    Jim

  13. #13

    Default Re: High CRI MR16s that won't break the bank

    Quote Originally Posted by brickbat View Post
    Not sure what you mean by harsh and stark re the look of the lights. I've been around plenty of 80 CRI LED lamps and, at least to my eye, at 3000K, their tint is darn near impossible to tell from incandescent halogen. That said, the 80 CRI lamps do impart a color bias in some things, particularly natural wood. At least that's what I've seen.

    If your color temp meter is just a smart phone app, I'd bet that's the problem. I see no way it could properly deal with the broad variety of spectral distributions. OTOH, if you have a 'real' color temp meter, accurately calibrated, you have a case to send these back without being a prick. 4000K is the same as the old 'cool white' fluorescent, and I do have a Soraa Vivid at 4000K, and that's exactly what it looks like.
    Yes, I'm using an app on my Note 4. It nails the temperature of halogen MR16s at 3k, and also a couple of phillips GU10 LEDs in another room that it also reads as 3k.

    There's no way I could live with the appearance of those Soraas. I was instantly unhappy with the look. I'm thinking it was harsh and stark due to the temperature, which I noticed even before I measured it.

    As of now, I'm very leery of investing more money in Vivids, as - on top of the other bother - both the wife and I sorely missed the yellow-on-dimming of the current halogens, plus we like to have the light very dim at times, which I couldn't achieve with the LEDs.

    I think I'll sit with the halogens for a while longer. Thanks for all the help

    Jason

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