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Brand: Ikea / Type: Ceiling Lamp - Spotlight

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      03.05.2011 19:07
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      12v transformer halogen indoor track lighting system from IKEA. Less than £31.

      Funny, isn't it how you tend to view major completed DIY projects as an end to it (for ever)? However, after a while, bits start to fail, or look in need of what the car industry call a 'mid-term update'. My kitchen is a case in point. Economising on labour, by using my own efforts, I was more able to afford decent quality solid wood kitchen units which nearly 10 years on have stood the test of time. It doesn't however stop various electrical bits failing, the fridge having already done so, and the cooker doesn't look quite in showroom condition either. What you don't expect to fail is a light fitting, after all, just how complicated can one be? When my wife first announced 'there's a bulb out in the kitchen' I put in my to-do list for the following day. Four bulbs later I had to come to the gloomy conclusion that there must be a wiring fault in the four-way halogen spotlight, which was particularly annoying as I'd just struck a rather good deal with Screwfix to buy a bulk lot of 'MR16' 12 volt halogen bulbs - none of your £2.99 each this time. More like 69p! Therefore economics dictated that a similar 12v track light system was needed, which is where IKEA come in. It didn't need to be anything fancy, and I didn't really want one of those 'industrial strength' overhead cable systems stretched the length of the kitchen like they're bringing a trolley bus through here soon without consulting me. All it needed to be was 12 volts to make use of all those bulbs. The IKEA catalogue revealed both the BERYLL and the CITTRA which looked like the kind of thing I had in mind. BERYLL looked too much like what I had, with no wires on show, but since that is what forced me to throw the old one out, instead of fixing it, it had to be CITTRA, which had no wires per se, but two chrome rails to which the four 20 watt halogen lights were clamped at what ever interval suited you. It also promised to be less of a back-aching and neck-straining affair to get it onto the ceiling, as the rails and lamps didn't have to be fitted until after the transformer was safely attached to the ceiling, keeping down the weight of what needs holding at arm's length to a minimum. GETTING UP AND RUNNING IKEA supply more or less everything you'll need except the two screws to fit the metal bracket to the ceiling - no it doesn't need any special tools ergo none are supplied; just a cross-point screwdriver to fit the decorative case to the bracket and whatever you need to screw the bracket to the ceiling in the first place. I'm never that happy with fitting things which hang from screws that, OK, seem to have gone through the plaster, but there's always that doubt as to whether there's any solid wood in the equation too. You must get this bracket fitted at exactly 90 degrees to the direction of the chrome bars otherwise it'll need re-adjustment after you discover that it's all at a 'funny' angle. The bracket does allow for a degree or two of adjustment but any more than that, and it's a 'start again' job! Even wiring the transformer to your ceiling supply has been simplified to stop this being a 'second pair of hands' job. You do of course have to remove any ceiling roses for this exercise, but I was almost replacing like-for-like so this wasn't an issue. Having cleaned the end of your bare wires, and ensured that you've got about 0.5" showing, you simply push these into the block terminal whilst pressing on a plastic clip. Releasing the clip causes a jaw inside the block to grip the wire. Thus you can do it yourself, quite literally. Now all you have to do is fit the decorative outer cover that hides the transformer to the bracket with 2 cross-point screws, and you're just about ready to fit those lights. Just to make sure I wasn't wasting my time, I put a test meter across the two 12 v studs before going to the trouble of fitting the rails and lamps. Everything else goes on with large finger-tight screws. You merely find the centre of the chrome rails (I marked mine with a felt tip pen) and push these up into the studs, completing their capture with the aforementioned screws. The four light fittings also clamp in place, and can be swivelled both along the room and from side to side, which is important if you've got dark areas or work-surfaces that need floodlighting. I'd advise doing this without the bulbs fitted as you might inadvertently pull one out and drop it. I'd also advise making sure the bloody thing's been turned off a while before handling the bulbs. Learning by mistakes? Moi? IN USE If I didn't know better, I'd say this light is brighter than its predecessor but it may well be true as this one allows the light that escapes from the spotlights upwards to light the ceiling whereas previously the bulbs were hooded, and it may well have been this containment that caused some of the wiring to burn out. Who knows? All I do know is that I've now got a new light and a huge stock of the correct bulbs, since this one came to the party with its own supply. DETAILS It cost me just over £30 which is very reasonable when you consider that a lesser-skinflint than I would have paid about £10 just for the bulbs. The transformer casing on mine is semi-transparent, but not so much so as to look untidy inside, and it was only yesterday whilst at the home of yet another Dooyoo-er that I noticed it also comes in black.

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