What can I do about all these broken rings on my halogen lights
That is the question.
This page is more or less a blog post about solving a problem. But we did not want the page to get shuffled into the blog, we want it right here and accessible from the main menu. Parts of the page, you are probably going to find a bit boring. Don't tune out yet. But for those of you who just found some of your halogen light rings on the carpet this morning, or on the floor or your boat, or smashed glass lenses on your granite countertops, this page will be helpful.
It will focus on the Hera E1 light, also called ER1 or ES1. The R or S stood for recessed and surface mount. That was just the packaging of the lights. Most were sold as surface mount kits in 2-light, 3-light, and 5-light kits. The surface mount ring (the side collar) could be discarded, and then you had the option of recess mounting the light. Recess mount meant that there are holes bored in the bottoms of your cabinets, or headliners, and the body of the light recesses up into that hole. The ER1 light has 3 screw holes in the aluminum reflector, which is hidden by the decor ring. It is generally the decor ring that ages, becomes brittle, falls off, and takes the lens down with it.
How do I know if I have the E1 light?
Pretty simple. Here is our OLD picture of the Hera E1 lights when we use to sell them in abundance. They came in 5 colors: white, black, chrome, gold, and a stainless steel look. All finishes were smooth, the white and black were also glossy. The overall diameter of the light generally measured 2-9/16". Sometimes it seems to measure at 2-1/2", guess it is just the way you look at the ruler, or decide to round off.
The light was designed to fit into a recessed hole that measured 2-1/8". For reference here, we will also add that the Hera KB12 light and EH11 light also were designed to fit into the 2-1/8" hole. This dimension is going to be part of our discussion as I continue to write this.
The ER1 light when recessed, had a decor ring that stuck down about 3/16" off the surface and there is this faint curve to its face. It tends to rise up slighty higher on its inner diameter and you can see that when you look at a ring from the edge. So when on a flat surface, if your ring is 3/16" tall and approx. 2-9/16" in diameter, and has that faint upward curve rise to it, and says Hera on the back of it, that is the E1 ring.
And of course the surfire way to know if you have the E1 light is to remove it from its hole and look at the back of it. Embedded within the black (or possibly white) plastic casing will be the Hera logo, and then E1 directly below it. As shown in the picture below.
The E1 light also came in a tan color. This was exclusive for Carver Yachts and Formula Boats. The tan lights were never made available in kits for woodworkers. Nor were replacement rings ever made in the tan color.
The ES120 lights were the most popular halogen light in light kits for cabinet makers. What ES120 means: E1 light, but surface mount, thus ES1, and then the 20 after that referred to the bulb wattage. There was also an ES110, which would be the 10 watt bulb. All the casings are the same size, and the same light. You could use a 10 watt or 20 watt bulb, and you could convert the surface mount light to a recess mount.
How do I Remove the lights from their holes
Back to the three screw holes in the aluminum reflector. If you see screws in them, you will need to remove the screws to wiggle the light out of its hole. If the screw holes are empty, then the light was just pushed into its hole which is known as friction fit. You will need to wiggle it gently out of the hole. AND, depending upon the age of the light, the material it was recessed into, and air flow conditions across the front of the light, ANTICIPATE that the plastic casing of the light could be to the point where it might want to crumble on you. Halogen lights emit a LOT OF HEAT. Older lights, more than 15 years old, could be a bit on the brittle side. Yours are already having a decor ring problem, otherwise you would not have read this far in my gibber jabber so far.
And yes, the type of wood that the lights were mounted into, or whatever the surface is, can hold heat differently. Hera had designed the E1 light to not require a vent hole for the heat to escape. The heat was designed to be cast out the front of the light. Thus, just about every light points downward. Once the heat was pushed out of the light, heat rises. And it hovers right around that plastic decor ring. If you have a ceiling fan or any kind of cross ventilation in the room, you probably got a lot more years out of those rings by getting the heat away from them. But now, they are falling off on you. So when removing any of the lights, remove them gently, because you might decide to push them back up into their holes.
What are we leading up to
Well, sadly, Hera announced in August, 2015, that all halogen lights, parts, and components ceased production. The big sell off started. LED was taking over. And halogen was following the dinosaurs. We started buying up all the ES120 lights that we could since this was a tremendously great selling light for us. And we purchased the last of the decor rings and frosted and clear lenses for the E1 lights. Eclectic-ware was one of the few Hera distributors even willing to sell these parts. Most distributors just wanted to sell you a new light, but we offered more economical solutions. We also started buying up all the ER110 lights since Hera sold out of the 20 watt version. We bought all the KB1220 lights, and then the KB1210 lights. We grabbed the last of the decor rings for the EH11 lights and the Xenon lights. We were it. If you needed any Hera halogen or Xenon lights, or parts, Eclectic-ware was the only place left with them. In 2016, we had almost 3,000 of the E1 lights in our stock. In early 2019, we had Zero. The last of them were sold. The KB12 also sold out. The EH11 were long sold out. We still have some of the Xenon lights shown at that link.
What happened next
Long before we sold out of the last of the E1 lights, we had been offering the Hafele Loox 2020 LED light for a few years now. This light is sealed and carries an IP44 rating. It is one of the BEST lights to change out your E1, EH11, and KB12 lights on a boat - becuase of its water resistance rating. It looks a lot like the E1 lights, just a tad different, it sits flatter on the surface. It is an all metal contruction. No bulbs to change, no rings or lenses to ever fall off. It is our go to light. It comes in 3 finishes and 3 kelvin outputs. It is also 12 volt and can run directly from your 12 volt on a boat. And it is not just for boats. It can be used in your kitchen or bathroom to replace any of the Hera halogen lights that fit in that 2-1/8" recessed hole. AND ANOTHER WINNING point, there are surface mount rings too. So if you need a surface mount version, that can be done also. All the solutions wrapped up into the Loox 2020 LED light! Whew hew.
The only difficulty we ran into, model 2020 doesn't come in white. White seems to be the most popular finish. Uh oh. Thus, we have expanded upon our Loox LED lighting. Many web pages, many different kinds of lights. Many of which are filling the holes that Hera has left by discontinuing many of their older lights. (Ha, filling the holes....)
Enter the economical solution for the E1 replacement
Our go to LED replacement light for kitchen, bathroom, and furniture use for anyone who has the Hera E1 halogens, or even the EH11, AH11, or KB12 halogen lights is the Loox 2047 LED light. It is very similar. It is flat like the KB12 light, thus flatter than the E1 light. Same diameter. Has friction fit clips that are preset for a 2-3/16" hole, but they can compress more and fit in the 2-1/8" hole. You can even use this light as a replacement in the Hera Tri-tech light, that is the one with the triangular shield. The Loox 2047 LED light comes in 5 finishes, one of them being white! And then it comes in 3000K, 4000K, and 5000K. For the best match to your halogen color, stay with the 3000K.
Model 2047 light can be used on boats too. We still try to persuade boat owner to use the model 2020 light because of its much higher water resistance rating. But if your boat cabins stay extremely dry, just like a house, there is no reason why you cannot use the 2047 light. It is 12 volt also. Just wire the two wires directly into your existing wiring. For homeowners, you do want to considering upgrading to the Loox LED power drivers so you have the proper technology that goes with your lights. Model 2047 light is 3 watts. You can easily connect 1 to 6 lights onto the 20 watt driver. Your halogen lights had a restriction of three 20-watt lights per 60-watt transformer. With LED lighting being much lower in power consumption, you can connect more lights per driver. Thus extra savings there, as well as on your electric bill.
Loox model 2047 light is approx. half the price of the Loox 2020 LED light. It is actually priced a bit less than what the Hera E1 halogen lights were priced at before they were discontinued. So this is a very comparable replacement light in size and price. And you will be able to keep the same look to your kitchen or bathroom. Or on your boat. Follow that link below the picture or click on the picture to go to the Loox 2047 LED light page.
Another light worth mentioning before we go
The Loox 3038 LED light is a 24 volt LED light. When deciding between a 12 volt system or 24 volt system, lights of equal wattage will produce more lumens when they are 24 volt. They will be brighter, no doubt. Model 3038 is a 24 volt light and is the same shape and size as the model 2047. You will get more light from model 3038, and you will use the 24 volt LED power drivers with it. All of that is outlined on that web page. So if you want something a bit brighter, go with the 3038. The finish options will become a little more limited. You can still surface mount the 3038 light. And they are dimmable WHEN USED with the Loox LED power drivers. LED lighting is dimmed on the low voltage side, after the transformer (power driver). Halogen lighting was dimmed on the high voltage side, before the transformer. Whenever you have any questions, you can call or e-mail us. Or read the web pages. We do try to offer helpful how to advice on specific pages. We have a Hafele Loox page set up for the drivers, dimmers, and cables, showing all those components together.
A little more tech advice for those who want to read a little more
Since LED lighting is much lower wattage than halogen or incandescent lighting, you get a lot more bang for your buck. Model 2047 lights above are only 3 watts each. The smallest Loox LED power driver is 20 watts. It has 6 ports on it to connect lights into. These are like tiny phone jack connections. The lead wires preattached to the lights just snap into the driver. Easy plug and play set up. But when retrofitting, we do get asked a lot about re-using the wiring lodged behind your cabinets, or in your walls, that you cannot easily remove or fish a new wire through. On the Hera halogen lights, 95% of them have a twin white wire. Some might have had grey wires, that was a clue that the light had a maximum of a 10 watt bulb allowed. But most were twin white wires. One side of that wire has some light grey writing on it. It is super easy to keep the polarity straight if you need to splice the wire from both ends to connect your light to the end where the light hole is, and to splice the connector jack back onto the other end where the power driver is located. You CAN use the existing Hera wiring tucked into your wall, or stuck behind a cabinet. Now of course, if you are able to fish the Loox wires through the wall and back to the driver, that is the best option. But if you have to cut and splice both ends, no one says you can't do that. Just keep the polarity straight on LED lights, that is important. The Loox LED lights will have color coded wires inside the casing. It is very easy to do. And do you need an electrician? Probably not. You are not rewiring circuits or loads. You are not messing with your 12/3 or 14/3 household wiring. You will be nowhere near your breaker box. You are just removing low voltage halogen lights and re-installing low voltage LED lights. Your holes are drilled, the layout is already mapped out for you. You are just replacing components.
Sometimes you may have to hunt down where your halogen transformers are hidden. Most of the halogen lights had a 72" to 79" lead wire on them. The transformers should be close. But there were extension wires too. Very possible that the transformers could be 16 or more feet away. Transformers could be above cabinets, in base cabinets, or in the attic or basement. They should be somewhere accessible, and hopefully somewhere that heat could vent off of them. And if you had multiple transformers, I do hope they were spaced apart by at least 6 inches so the heat from one did not trick another to turn off. Hera had built burn out protection into their 12v transformers. If they overheat, they are told to turn off before burning out. This protection lasts a long time. But as they age, the protection diminishes and eventually transformers do croak. You can position your new LED drivers in the same place that your halogen transformers were mounted. You can plug them into the same power source. (But not into the Hera ETD1 or ERD1 dimmers. The Loox power drivers are not going to function correctly if you are trying to use them with your old halogen dimmers.)
And when it comes to how many power drivers do you need, that depends upon how many lights are controlled together. It seems like a lot of homeowners have four 20-watt halogen lights running from 2 transformers. Or they have 5 or even 6 lights with two transformers. If all 4 or 6 of those lights come on together, that is considered one zone. Flip a switch, they all come on. For the Loox 2047 light, you can connect up to 6 on one 20 watt driver. On the 40 watt or 60 watt drivers with the aid of terminal block extenders, you could connect 13 or even 20 lights to one LED driver. You will use a lot less equipment than you did with the halogen lights because of their larger power consumption. But it depends on your zones. If you have 3 lights on one side of the kitchen, and 5 on the other side and they are controlled independently, that is 2 zones. You would need a power driver per zone since you are controlling the lights separately per side. There are extension wires. If you need to reach to the other side of the room and you want all 8 of those lights to come on together, as long as you can get wires over to them, you can then control all 8 from one 40 watt driver.
So there is a lot to this. Yes, an electrician can probably do it in his sleep. But it is not beyond the skilled homeowner or boat owner to do this him or herself. Certain applications could prove challenging. It is hard to re-string wiring when drywall is in the way, or when cabinets cannot be taken down. Furniture is generally easier to contend with, but built-in entertainment centers? Again, wiring is probably stuck in the wall behind those nice cabinets. Hope this little extra helped.
If you are planning a completely new install, all of the lighting mentioned above is awesome. Use it as your first choice for kitchen under cabinet lighting or in your bathrooms. It is not just for retrofitting. We are just trying to say how it can take the place of your old halogen lights. But is it designed for new installs in new or older homes. Some helpful page links are directly below.