The LED lamp replacement project.

We don’t have a new house, in fact it was built in 1929. But since we moved in we’ve done a number of things to improve it’s energy efficiency. We installed aircrete insulation in the walls, upgraded the furnace and other major appliances and replaced all of the standard incandecent bulbs with CFLs.

The one thing I’ve wanted to do for some time is to replace the MR16 and GU10 halogen bulbs in the living room and dining room with LED bulbs. These kinds of bulbs have begun to show up at hardware and big box stores and I’ve been trying the ones I’ve found but with little joy.

I’m not alone in my quest it seems, and I read Bill Bumgarner’s blog post about his experience with LED bulbs he purchased from Ledsion Lighting Technology Co. by way of AliExpress with interest. The 9W GU10 bulb specifications looked very promising so I order a lot of 10 of those and another lot of 10 of these 6W MR16 bulbs.

The GU10 bulbs are replacing 4 50W halogens on a standard track in our dining room, the MR16 bulbs are replacing 8 20W halogens on the IKEA Norrsken suspended wire system. These supply the only artificial light in both rooms and as a point of reference, my wife and I both like our rooms to be bright, especially in the winter, so matching the existing light levels would be a key metric in determining if this experiment was a success.

Ordering from was painless. I placed the order for 20 bulbs on January 2nd, they shipped 4 days later, and I received them this morning (January 10th). Each bulb was individually packed and they all functioned perfectly out of the box.


Living Room

As I mentioned, I purchased 6W LED MR16 bulbs to replace the 20W halogens in the IKEA fixtures. I’d already experimented with LED MR16s in these fixtures (having purchased a 3W and 4W bulb from another supplier), but I have to say I was very pleased with the performance of the 6W bulbs. They were easily as bright as the 20W halogens, though because there beam angle is somewhat narrower I ended up adding two more fixtures to the track making a total of 10 bulbs.


For those keeping track at home, that is:

Old New
Living Room 160 Watts 60 Watts
Savings: 100 Watts

Dining Room

I was a little concerned about achieving the desired light level in the dining room. It has only one small window (which is shadowed by the neighbouring house) and is the hub around which breakfast newspaper reading, homework completion, and business meetings all occur.

Again, I’d experimented with other LED bulbs trying to match the light level from the existing halogen bulbs without much success. And initially I thought that this was going to be another disappointment. Replacing the 4 x 50 W halogen bulbs with with 4 x 9 W LEDs produced nowhere near the same light level. Also the narrower beam from the LED resulted in very noticeable dark areas and pronounced shadows.

Luckily the lower power consumption of the LED bulbs meant that I had excess capacity on the track, so I started adding additional bulbs and fixtures and played with their placement and aim. Eventually I was able to achieve a decent level of light and coverage. However it took all 10 of the 9 W LED bulbs to do so.


Our current score sits at:

Old New
Living Room 160 Watts 60 Watts
Dining Room 200 Watts 90 Watts
Totals 360 Watts 150 Watts
Savings: 210 Watts

Additional Notes

LED bulbs are generally larger than a standard halogen. So (though you cannot see it from the photos) the MR16 bulbs extend beyond the edge of the IKEA fixtures, and I needed to replace the existing track fixtures in the dining room (see photo below) with ones that didn’t enclose the bulb.



So, I’d say that this experiment was a qualified success. The LED bulbs were more expensive than the halogens they replace, doubly so because I needed to use more of them. But I was able to achieve the overall light level we wanted, and our power consumption dropped considerably. I’m also hoping that the dinning room GU10s won’t burn out anytime a cool breeze wafts by either (a problem we had with the halogens) but time will tell on that one.

Overall I’m pleased.

vitamin-d design inc. and MODx

My wife is a interior designer who specializes on corporate interiors. She’s been holding off creating a website believing that a poorly done or incomplete website (i.e: “under construction”) was worse than none at all. She and her partners recently decided rebranded the business and figured that now would be a good time to make that web thing happen.

Given that I am the de facto tech support professional around these parts, and I know a little bit about this thing we call the internets, I was pressed into service making it happen. Align/Codeferous has a CMS built in WebObjects that we use for our larger customers, but it would have been overkill for this project.

I decided to go with an open-source CMS called MODx which I’ve used a couple of times before and have grown to like quite a bit. The really nice thing about MODx is that it is very easy to slice up an existing design and get it deployed quickly. It took me about 4 hours to go from PDF mockups to completed design deployed in the CMS. It took longer to populate and tweak the content, but that’s always the way it goes.

So, here it is, the new name and home of the design firm previously known as Logue & Associates Inc:


KnoppMyth R5F27

Zap2It pulled the plug on their free tv listings service earlier this month (my listings run out on the 17 th), luckily Schedules Direct (SD for those in the know) stepped up to the plate with a replacement service (not free but cheap enough).

Cecil from KnoppMyth posted instructions on getting SD to work on KnoppMyth R5F1 by installing XMLTV and the latest MythTV fixes but I’m too lazy.

Anyway, the KnoppMyth R5F27 .iso was just released with SD support and more, Xtorrent is downloading it now.

PVR: Upgrades

I stoopeedly hosed the MySQL database on my Myth box the other day (don’t ask). I didn’t feel like spending several hours manually identifying recorded shows. And since I was faced with re-creating all my schedules, essentially starting over, I figured now would be a good time to apply some upgrades.

Previously, I’d managed to upgrade the CPU to the 3.2GHz Celeron and get it working at acceptable temperatures by adding a new slot cooler (the one that came with the Aria case was defective) and installing a Zalman CNPS7000B-AlCu CPU cooler. The box ended up being a little noisier than I wanted but after applying the 7 volt hack* on the slot cooler everything quieted down nicely.

This time out, I wanted to upgrade to the latest version of KnoppMyth (R5C7) and upgrade to a 500GB harddrive.

I had a few problems with the install: It was difficult to install the new drive using only my left arm; I had to burn the install CD twice because the first one was a dud; The new drive wasn’t happy being set to cable select I had to explicitly set the jumper to master.

Once I got passed those hurdles though, the install went swimmingly and with the help of my notes, I was up and running in no time. At the end of the process I ended up netting 460GB of media storage (about 225 hours worth). A nice little upgrade. Maybe I’m showing my age but it still feels a little weird to have half a terabyte of storage sitting in my living room.

* My mod is actually a little different than that article, I installed a switch so I could choose between 7 or 12 volts.