Downlights upgrade

Hi fellas,

Need to pick the hive brain for some advice

I have quite a few Dow lights in my apartment. MR16 style 12V with about 30% not working due to a dud transformer after ~10 years. I want to swap those to LED lights for power saving and dimmable function but not quite sure what the best way to approach it is. Will involve an electrician to install for compliance, the question is on most VALUE for money equipment to get. My cutout is 85mm and that doesn’t fit anything I’ve looked at so far.

Any advice is appreciated



    If you want to get updated you can get some 90mm led down lights that will be dimmable. Will last much longer than halogen.
    Will need a sparky to install them as they'll likely change over to a plug base in the roof.

    In terms of value, would obviously be cheaper not to do this and do replace your current lights but depends exactly what you're after

    • +2 votes

      Agree with this post. Get sparky to increase the size of the cutout and change the existing to a plug base. That way, in future, if you need to swap out a fitting, you can DIY because sparky has already fitted them off compliantly. It will cost more in the short term but be better value in the long term.

      You can then get whatever type of downlight you like - some even have switchable colour temperature from the light switch itself (no mucking around with switches on the fitting):

      In case you don't know what a plug base is, it's basically a switchless power point - see:


    You could take up this offer


    Upgrade to smart GU10s or 90mm bulbs.


    Which state are you in? (Some have rebates for this right?)


    What are peoples thoughts on getting the rated LEDs that can have insulation laid over the top? Tech was out about 3 years ago, but is it still too soon? The savings you should be able to make from heating/cooling bill reductions should be huge because most people have zero insulation in the roof where downlights are present.


      Bit of a generalisation. House I'm in at the moment has downlights and insulation.They just put a cover around the lights so that the heat from halogens didn't burn the insulation.

      There is no reason you can't have both, you should look at getting it done.


        i bought a heap of teracotta pots from bunnings and placed them over the led downlight (MR16) and then fitted insulation. The pot keeps the insulation away from touching and helps minimise the heat loss into the roof.


          As long as they are leds, I wouldn't see a problem. But I definitely wouldn't do that for halogens unless the heat can escape easily.


      If the remainder of the ceiling is insulated the savings won’t be a lot, unless you are in an extreme environment, like the snowfields or the desert.


        I don't get this theory that is repeated a lot. You have holes in your ceiling like swiss cheese, I think insulating those holes is going to me a big difference in thermal retention no matter what the climate.


          How many lights have you got? What is the percentage of the ceiling area that is affected by the lights, maybe 1-2%. Sure, old school halogens weren’t real good because they are often also ventilated, even LED ones that are not suitable for insulation are sealed now because they create so much less heat.

          The climate I live in, like many aussies is fairly mild meaning I don’t really need heating or cooling very much, hence spending extra dollars on special lights is going to take a lot longer to recoup.

          Don’t get me wrong , I’m all for saving costs and receiving energy consumption, but there isn’t much point sealing up downlight holes when there might be more significant other places that need insulation, like windows and doors.


    Some Bunnings stores, not all, have 90 mm dimmable LED downlights for $10 with a plug attached. Made by Arlec so has a warranty

    A decent electrician should take about 5 to 10 minutes per light to convert it to a socket that you can then just put your own down light in. Easy job and shouldn’t cost much

    (We just did this. If you’re in Sydney I can recommend a great one.)

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