Downlight transformer installation: How To Replace Downlight Transformer? [DIY Method] – Home Guide Planet

How To Replace Downlight Transformer? [DIY Method] – Home Guide Planet

A fused downlight transformer is a common electrical problem. This may occur due to overheating, moisture exposure, and a few other reasons. This is why transformer replacement is mandatory as halogen lamps won’t function properly without it. It not only saves energy but also reduces the overall cost. But how can you do the replacement? 

Though replacing a downlight transformer may sound technical, it can be done without hiring an electrician. It is not a complicated electrical issue, and replacing a halogen lamp transformer is quite simple. However, you have to know the process first to do it properly. This is exactly why I am here. 

In this article, I will discuss how to replace a downlight transformer. Added to that, you will know the reasons why you need a transformer replacement and more. So stay with me to learn more about it and solve the issue effectively. 

5 Steps To Replace Downlight Transformer: DIY Method

Changing the damaged downlight transformer is important to make it function properly. To make the halogen light energy efficient, a transformer is needed. And you need not worry if your halogen light has stopped. Because most probably, replacing the transformer can do the job. You don’t need an electrician for that as you can do it yourself. 

Follow the super easy steps mentioned below to replace a downlight transformer. 

Step 1: Turn Off The Power

Safety first! You need to turn off the switch of the halogen lamp before starting working on it. But that is not enough as the main power supply is still there. Find the wired connection to the main switch box or terminal box. Switch off the main source that connects the halogen lamp. Turn off the main switch of the lamp source to be safe. This should be done to avoid electrical accidents. 

Step 2: Locate The Transformer

Note that transformers can be embedded at different places in the halogen bulb. It should be inside the cap of the bulb. But it can be found at different layers of the bulb.  

First, detach the plate that covers the cap of the bulb. You are likely to find the transformer unit there just beneath the plate. However, if you don’t get the transformer there, remove some units to look into the brackets to find them. You should find the transformer by now if there is any. 

Step 3: Take Out The Transformer

First, Locate the transformer. Now cut the wiring that is connected to the transformer and remove the screws. Take out the transformer and now is the time for a replacement. 

Step 4: Buy and Place The New Transformer

I will suggest you take the old transformer to the shop and buy the same one. If you mess up with the type of transformer, you won’t be able to fix it. So finding and buying a transformer that matches the bulb is necessary. And the easiest way to do it is to buy the same as the old one. 

After you get it, install it the same way you removed the previous one. Match the wire colors and put back the screws correctly. Connect the wiring and secure them with masking tape so they don’t stick out. The replacement is now done!

Step 5: Reset The Bulb

Now put back the brackets and plate and fasten the cap. Fix it into the socket, turn on the main source, and switch on the lamp. Check whether it is lighting properly or not. That’s all.

Why To Replace Downlight Transformer? [Reasons for Damages]

Many people complain that their halogen lamps fuse quite often. This mostly happens when the transformer stops working. Now you should be aware of the reasons why transformers get damaged. You can take precautions to minimize those reasons. However, not all the damages are manageable. 

So let’s have a look at the reasons why you might require a downlight transformer replacement:

  • Overheating:

Overheating of the lamp can damage the transformer. As they remain just near the wire and glass, they get heated very fast. Ensuring airflow is therefore mandatory if you want to keep the temperature optimum. Otherwise, overheating can cause the transformer to fail. 

  • Moisture Exposure: 

Moisture exposure and condensation around the coil can fuse the transformer. This happens when moisture transforms the electricity from active to neutral mode. Therefore, you should keep the downlight dry in every possible way. Moisture can cause electrical accidents too.

  • Insulation Risks:

The transformers are usually shielded with insulations. Though this is installed for safety, overheating can even set the roof on the fire. So if insulation is not mandatory, skip it. Even if you install it, consult an electrician, learn the risks, and do the needful.

  • Operation Limit:

Transformers do become outdated after a certain time when you need to replace them. The heating expands and shrinks the transformer metal from time to time. When used for so long, this heating decreases the efficiency of the transformer. Thus it stops working at a point. 

Therefore, my suggestion is to carefully handle halogen lamps as the transformers are quite sensitive. Moisture and heat both are bad when they exceed the limit. So controlling these factors can make the transformer last for a longer time. Besides that, the installation should be correct to avoid accidents and frequent damages. 

3 Tips That Will Help You To Replace A Downlight Transformer Safely: 

To help you make the replacement easily and correctly, I have a few tips that you can follow. These are gathered from hands-on experience. So you can look into these and follow them:

Tip 1: Switch The Power Off

I think it is worth mentioning again that you need to switch the power off before handling the replacement. As the task is intense and you need to do quite an in-depth task, turning the power off is mandatory. It is for your safety.

Tip 2: Choose the Same Transformer

I always prefer buying the transformer from the same company that it was having from the beginning. Because the same transformer can be made by different companies. But choosing the previous one would be the best as the downlight is already compatible with the transformer. 

Tip 3: Use the Right Wiring Distance:

While positioning LED transformers, you should know the distance between the power source and the LED bulb. Here is a table showing the standard distance you should keep between the transformer and light strip:

Wiring type The gap between Transformer and Light Strip
0.75 mm 5 mm
1 mm 10 mm 
1.5 mm 15 mm
2.5 mm 20 mm

Maintain these tips for the transformer to function properly and to do the replacement correctly.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Does A Downlight Transformer Do? 

A downlight transformer is an essential device that is attached to the downlights. As downlights generally emit light at very low power, the power from the main source needs to be converted to a suitable power that the bulb can bear. And this is done by the downlight transformer. 

Without a downlight transformer, the light bulb is likely to fuse or flicker. This is because a high power will enter the bulb circuit that it won’t be able to handle. But with the transformer, the power is reduced to 12V or 24V whichever is compatible with the downlight.

Can You Replace A Transformer In Downlight Fitting?

Most of the time, replacing a downlight transformer doesn’t fix the light. This is because, after a certain time, the transformer fuses automatically. After a certain operation period, it won’t work anymore. 

This is when you would need to replace the downlight transformer. In any type of LED or halogen lighting, it is possible to replace a transformer. As repairing is not an option, replacement is what you need to do for the light to function. So yes, you can replace a transformer in the light fitting. 

Do You Need A Transformer For Downlight?

Some downlights that are IC-rated don’t require any transformer. They are directly connected to the power source. But if you have a simple halogen and LED downlight, they would need a transformer. Otherwise, they won’t function and can even blow out. 

A suggestion from my side is to get some downlights that are IC-rated. This will eliminate the hassle of replacing transformers. If you have the IC-rated bulbs, you won’t need a transformer that is much more convenient to use. 

Do You Need To Change The Transformer For LED Downlights?

After a certain operation period, downlight transformers fail. Also, due to some other factors like moisture and heat, the transformers can blow out. This is when you need to change and replace the transformer with a new one. But you can only do this when the transformers are removable. 

Some bulbs have in-built wiring so that they don’t need any extra transformer. They are compatible with different transformers and fixed inside the bulb only. In that case, you don’t need to change or replace the transformer of a LED downlight. 

Do Bathroom Downlights Need A Transformer?

All kinds of downlights need a transformer. Some LED downlights need a driver but most require transformers. So apparently, a bathroom downlight needs a transformer too. 

A bathroom downlight is also a low-power bulb that needs a transformer. Without a transformer, the light will blow out. So never miss out on checking the transformer to ensure that the bathroom light is functioning properly. 

Does GU10 Downlight Need A Transformer?

If you want to upgrade a GU10 halogen downlight, you would need a transformer. I mean, there is no other way. But if you want a new one that is energy-efficient and power-saving, you can get a LED downlight. 

Upgrading a current GU10 would need a transformer. But I suppose that will be an extra hassle. Easier would be to buy the modern GU10 downlights that come with an in-built transformer and operate without the need for any replacement. These downlights are convenient to use. 

How Do You Test A Downlight Transformer?

When a bulb is not lighting up, that can happen for various reasons. Now how would you be sure that this has happened due to a failed transformer? To know this, you need to test the downlight transformer. 

First, plug the transformer into a suitable socket. Now take a silicon lamp wire and plug it into the other end of the transformer. Match the terminal screws while plugging in the wires. Now if the downlight lights up, your transformer is working perfectly fine. But if it doesn’t light up, this is the time to replace the transformer.  

What Happens When A Downlight Transformer Goes Bad?

The basic way to know that a downlight transformer has collapsed is when you see the light flickering. Whenever there is a fluctuation in voltage, this indicates a problem with the downlight transformer. As the power can’t reach the bulb properly, the power surge occurs. 

This situation can even break circuits and burn parts of the furnace. So whenever you see such conditions, do turn off the power supply. And then, either replace the bulb or replace the transformer; whichever sounds convenient to you. Avoid electrical accidents by taking prompt actions.

What Is The Difference Between A Downlight Transformer And A Driver?

The basic difference between a downlight transformer and a driver is the transformer gives an alternating current (AC) output but the driver gives a direct current (DC) output. Both are used to make the voltage compatible with the downlight but they function differently.  

Downlight drivers are used for small lights to convert high voltage to a lower voltage that is compatible with the bulb. They also prevent voltage from fluctuating. On the other hand, a downlight transformer does the same but they also increase the voltage so that the power can travel long distances. Also, they are generally used for larger lights while drivers are for small bulbs.

Final Thoughts:

Starting from replacing a downlight transformer to stating the reasons for a transformer failure, I have covered the main aspects that you needed to know. These are some basic information that will help you understand the condition better next time your downlight fails. 

Using the information from this article, I believe you can now replace a downlight transformer easily. Also, be safe while doing these tasks and be cautious.



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How to Upgrade From Halogen to LED?

With the ban on halogen now firmly in place from 2016, there are still lots of halogen and incandescent lamps out there wasting energy and draining the earths resources. These energy hungry relics from a distant past need to get upgraded to LED. LED is 90% more efficient and lasts for 10 times longer. There are a 3 main options of upgrading from halogen to LED, choosing the right option for you depends on the type of downlights and halogen lamps you’ve currently got.

Option 1 – Retrofit an MR16 LED

If you’re replacing low voltage MR16 50W halogens that have low voltage 12V transformers, the first and obvious option is to replace it with something like an MR16 LED. These retrofit lamps should operate from your existing transformers. Because these particular LEDs operate on AC (Alternating Current) rather than DC (Direct Current) you don’t need to use a special LED driver. But this isn’t always the case as MR16 LEDs aren’t always universally compatible. This often results in you having to replace your transformers. But…You don’t find out that they’re not compatible with your transformers until they start flickering or randomly flashing. This happens more-so when you’re dimming them. Then its back to the drawing board which means replacing the old transformer with a new LED compatible one which would be the Varilight YT transformers.

This involves additional costs, more time and more messing about – which nobody wants. Another consideration is that if you do plan to dim them, you’re going to need to ensure that the LED, the transformer and the dimmer switch are all compatible with each other. The Varilight YT transformers combined with the Varilight V-Pro dimmer switches are compatible, as are the Philips MR16 LEDs. A winning combination! But you’ve now spent more on these items than you would with options 2 and 3.

Option 2 – Convert to GU10 LED

Again if you’re replacing low voltage halogens but want to keep your existing downlights you can convert them into mains voltage GU10 by ordering some basic GU10 lamp holders, a GU10 lamp holder with connector block and GU10 LEDs. This involves disconnecting the transformer and some re-wiring which should be done by a qualified electrician.

Option 3 – Replace Downlights

Install brand new downlights. This option opens up a whole new world of opportunities for you. You could either install new GU10 downlights or integrated LED downlights. In short, integrated downlights have a built in and non replaceable LED, while GU10s are usually cheaper with a replaceable LED. GU10 LED downlights are not as good in terms of light output, life expectancy or guarantee periods. Check out our sale items for our latest special offers on downlights, LED light bulbs and more.

Replacing GU10 Halogens

This is easy and now straightforward to do because LED GU10 lamps can be swapped straight over without any wiring or transformers to consider. Here are some options for you to consider if you’re replacing your 50W halogen GU10s:

  • Philips Master Value 4.9W GU10 – Ideal for mimicking the dimming effects of a halogen with the Dimtone version
  • Philips CorePro 4.6W GU10 – A cost effective, non dimmable lighting option
  • Aurora Ice 5W GU10 – Available in dimmable and non dimmable, it has a nice wide beam angle of 60 degrees
  • View all of our high quality GU10 lamps here.

Another Better Option?

The Evolight from Integral offers another alternative to MR16, GU10 and integrated LED. These LED modules can be used with your existing halogen downlights. They come with a push-fit connector block that allows you to disconnect your transformer and wire them straight to the mains. The end result gives you a type of replaceable LED that operates like an integrated LED downlight.

Also available to buy as a complete unit known as the EvoFire+ which includes a fire rated downlight frame, LED module and connector block. If this product range had been invented during the earlier days of LED lighting (back in 2010), it would be everywhere! Either way, its a very good design and is available in a variety of finishes, colour temperatures and with an insulation coverable version.

Need Further Help?

Get in touch with our downlight experts on: 01706 868343 or email: [email protected] and we’ll be happy to assist you further. 

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LED VARTON Downlight recessed 200x60mm (mounting hole 170mm) 22W 4000K

LED VARTON Downlight recessed 200x60mm (mounting hole 170mm) 22W 4000K – V1-R0-00405-10000-2002240 VARTON DL-Basic hole 170mm) DVO IP40 price, buy

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    Product quantity ТТН 60/ 800/5-10VA/0.5-Р TDM, SQ1101-1124

    SKU: SQ1101-1124 Categories: Measuring instruments, Accuracy class 0.5 – Current transformers ТТН, Current transformers ТТН, ТТН -Ш

    • Description


    Technical data

    9002 1

    900 21

    90 008

    Parameter name Value
    Rated voltage, kV 0.23/0.4/0.66
    Rated primary current, A 5-4000
    Rated secondary current, A rated power, W 5, 10, 15
    Rated frequency, Hz 50
    Accuracy class 0.5, 0.5S
    Weight, kg 0. 38-2.2 (depending on version)
    Mean time to failure, hour 200000
    Average service life, years 25
    Check interval, years 16
    operating temperature range, 0 C -45 – +45


    • To obtain a low-current signal proportional to the current flowing through the power circuit in networks up to 0.66 kV 50 Hz.


    • In energy consumption control circuits using measuring instruments, energy consumption accounting, control of automatic devices and protection.


    • Non-combustible, self-extinguishing plastic housing.


    • All transformers are included in the national register of measuring instruments and have type certificate CN.C.34.158.A No. 74216.
    • All transformers are verified and have the appropriate stamps on the case and in the passport.
    • The range of TTN transformers of accuracy class 0.5 is very wide and covers a number of popular designs, such as TTN-Sh: 300-1000A; TTH60; ТТН100 and ТТН125, missing from a number of Russian manufacturers
    • The terminals of the secondary winding are covered with a transparent cover, which ensures electrical safety during operation.
    • The possibility of sealing the cover of the secondary winding, which makes it possible to exclude unauthorized connection to it.
    • Possibility to connect both copper and aluminum conductors to TTN-Sh current transformers with built-in busbar.
    • TTN transformers (color) have different housing colors: yellow, green and red, corresponding to the colors of the phase busbars, which makes it easier to visualize the phases in the cabinet.


    • One-piece body design.
    • Mounting methods: on the rail using a special fixing spacer or on the panel mounting plate using special brackets.