With so many types of light fitting on the market, it can all get a bit confusing. MR16 bulbs are just one example of these, so we’ve answered the most common questions about this particular type of fitting.
What Is An MR16?
An MR16 is a type of spotlight. They are usually identified by their fitting, which consists of 2 straight pins. In technical terms, the best way to think of an MR16 is as a low voltage (12V) version of the GU10, which is mains voltage (240V).
What Is A GU5.3?
It’s simply another name for an MR16. It might sound confusing, but the one thing to remember is that GU5.3 refers to the actual fitting on an MR16 (the 2 spiked prongs).
You might have also noticed that GU5.3 uses the same fitting code as the GU10 – where the number refers to the spacing between the pins – 5.3mm for the GU5.3 and 10mm for the GU10.
Do Low Voltage Bulbs Use Less Power?
No – low voltage (12V and 24V) should be confused with low wattage. Having a low voltage won’t affect how much power the bulb draws. If anything, low voltage bulbs use a bit more energy, as the transformer powering the bulb also uses some power too.
I'm Changing To MR16 LED Bulbs, Do I Need To Change My Transformers?
It’s not absolutely necessary, but we do recommend it. You might find that your existing transformers aren’t compatible with MR16 LED bulbs. If this is the case, you’ll need to upgrade to LED drivers – the LED equivalent of transformers.
It is also worth knowing that using transformers that aren’t LED compatible can drastically shorten the life expectancy of the bulb, which is why we would strongly advise switching your driver.
Do I Have To Change My Transformers? Or Is There Another Option?
There is an alternative choice – instead of changing your transformers, you can convert your fittings to GU10. As GU10 bulbs operate at mains voltage, there’s no need for a transformer – problem solved!
Changing your fitting is simple – it involves removing the current MR16 lamp holder and transformer, and replacing it with a GU10 lamp holder. The GU10 lamp holder connects directly to the mains where the transformer previously did.
This should be a relatively quick and simple installation for your electrician.
Is There An Advantage To Using MR16s Over GU10s?
Not really. The only real advantage that they have is that they’re safer to use in bathrooms, kitchens, or other rooms that have high water concentrations due to their lower voltage.
Having said that, most bathroom and kitchen fittings should be IP rated, and as such should be immune to splashes of water at the very least. Other than this, there isn’t really any advantage to using MR16s.
My MR16s Are Flickering/Don't Work - What Could The Problem Be?
If your new MR16 LED lights are flickering or aren’t coming on at all, it’s probably because your transformers are incompatible.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll either need to change your transformers to LED compatible drivers, or switch out your MR16 fittings for GU10 ones.
Who Can I Speak To For More Information?
We have a team of experts on hand to answer any queries you might have – you just need to pick up the phone and dial 0116 321 4120. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, and our customer services team will get back to you.