Changing from Halogen to LED lights (dimmable)

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Mar 1, 2023
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Hope this is not too complicated a question; also I do not intend to do this work myself, I am going to employ a trained electrician.

I have a friend who has a number of halogen ceiling lights; they cost a lot to run. He wants to swap them for LED lights. He has a slightly older RAKO dimming system for these halogen lights - at the business end (the lights) there is a supply wire running to an inline transformer for each light (a pic is attached). The transformers are Primary 240v ~ 50/60Hz 0.26A and Seondary 11.4v 0.75.

Is the RAKO system adjusting the input voltage to dim the existing halogens ? (The transformers themselves don't seem to be branded RAKO units, just plain transformers - though marked 'dimmable').

Could the existing transformers be swapped for LED drivers and then the new LED bulbs be run off them - still dimmable ?

Is it possible that Philips Mater LED dimmable bulbs could simply be swapped for the halogen bulbs and the whole thing run just like it did before with the halogens (IE still dimmable etc) ?

My friend and I have both been told a number of different things about how the changeover can be effected and I would really like to understand the issues and possible solutions beofre instructing anyone further.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read and possibly help.


  • Living Room Transformers.jpg
    Living Room Transformers.jpg
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I see Philips claim these are direct replacements for halogen, however if you are after maximum energy savings, I would convert to GU10 lamps (direct mains) and change the dimmer control to one suitable for LED.
1/ Welcome to the forum...

2/ Dimming LED's is without doubt one of the regular pains-in-the-bum, for what should be a simple problem... (n):(

3/ Dimming 230v lamps is enough of a pain, without adding the extra complications trying to dim 12v lamps..

4/ Unless the lights are in a bath or shower room and within more hazardous distances from a bath or shower, then there is no reason to use 12v lamps.

5/ So first question I would ask is: "Do you really need 12v lamps?"

6/ Not all LED's can be dimmed, so you need dimmable lamps AND a dimmer switch compatible with LED's.

7/ If they are 12v LED lamps, you will also need dimmable LED drivers..

8/ some manufactures kit will not work well with other manufactures!

9/ To try and get a better grasp of the why's and wherefores.. you may be better googling "Dimming LED's"...
As it would be far more than a couple of sentences to try and explain... But here's a couple of links for starters..

However... there will certainly be other articles with further detail.....

Hope that helps..
and sort of explains why you have heard various opinions from the various people you have asked...?? :unsure:

Personally I would be in the Binky School Of Thought...
i.e. Convert to 230v GU10 fitings.. UNLESS 230v are prohibited by wiring regs in a location.

Hi Special location (?) - thanks very much for looking and taking the time to reply, much appreciated.

There is no reason to go the 12v route except that the current setup was 12v. The lamps are all in a sitting room and kitchen adjoining.

Since the whole rig is working with RAKO switches (and presumably, controllers in the ceiling ?) and is 12v. I had made a guess that there might be a way to add to what was already there (adding dimmable LED drivers and bulb holders and LED bulbs) and end up with dimmed LED lighting without scrapping the whole thing and basically starting again. RAKO stuff is extremely expensive and he inherited these with the house.

It looks to me, from what you say, that there are basically 2 choices;

1) 12v Dimmable LED's - replace the switches, drivers, bulb holders and bulbs


2) 230v Dimmable LED's - replace the switches, drivers, bulb holders and bulbs

I have looked at the two articles you linked for me, thank you very much.

Its basically going to be expensive is the message he needs to get. I suppose the energy savings are helpful.

Last question, is this forum a place you can find electricians to carry out work ?

Forgot to ask - can the existing halogen bulbs be switched for Philips Master LED's ? Would they dim ? I suspect the answer is no to both but I would like to know for sure.

Thanks again, I appreciate you taking the time to help.
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Does this friend of yours have Rako throughout the house?
The reason I ask is that it seem that Rako is a lighting system that has "Central controls" so you can not "just change parts" as you can with most household lighting.

Do the light switches look like either of these?


(The above are switches used for the Rako system)

I am only asking with the intention of getting it right first time. Usually it would be better to change 12v lamps to mains GU10's but if the house has a Rako system it would be best if it was checked for compatibility first. (Better to check before anything is done that may be incompatible)
Hi Binky, thankls for taking the time to read and respond, appreciated.

Yes the switches look like that.

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