No Facebook crap on Huawei phones – Result!

Tuesday 4 June 2019 @ 8:03 pm

With all the fuss over Chinese spying, Farcebook has announced that their shitty apps will no longer be preinstalled on Huawei phones. There’s an extra 20% battery life right there and no Facebook is even more of an incentive to buy a Huawei mobile (which by the way are excellent).

Now if only Amazon, eBay, InstaCack, Twatter, Google shite and all the other preinstalled bloatware could be removed, the phones would be even better.

And this is the other thing. I’d be far more concerned about Google spyware on Android phones than anything else.

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Mini Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame

Sunday 5 May 2019 @ 10:27 pm

After the events of Avengers Infinity War what’s left of the Avengers group together to avenge their losses and try to put things right. That’s all I’m gonna say about the film.

Huge MCU fan here and my single word summary is that Endgame was …… disappointing.

My expanded single word summary comprising a single word + several more mainly beginning with “over” is that I found Endgame disappointing, overhyped, overblown, overrated, nowhere near as good as Infinity Wars, underwhelming and really didn’t meet the expectation. I wanted to be entertained and came away feeling that overall, Endgame was a huge letdown. It never reaches the height of Infinity Wars in story or action. Even the conclusion of some Avengers characters didn’t make any sense.

Why?

Here are some random thoughts after having watched it three times (mainly because I couldn’t believe it was so bad the first two times):

1. The first hour is the gloomiest and dullest part of any MCU film and I almost nodded off. When I watch an MCU flick, I wanna be entertained not bored with character back stories moping about the previous instalment. I already *know* what happened, everyone is devastated, large loss of life, yadda, yadda, yadda, get on with it. This is Avengers Assembled not Avengers Anonymous.

2. In the end, everyone gets their few minutes of screen time but it just feels forced and I don’t really care about secondary characters and even some of the primary ones. Just seeing Spidey again with those silly extra limbs makes me remember how rubbish they looked the first time round in Infinity Wars. Really no need to show us each and every one of the squad and give them a few token lines just so the audience can say “Look! It’s .”

3. There is a point in the movie when I actually groaned. Step forward the undisputed winner of the FFS Award, yes, it’s Pepper Potts in an Iron Man suit trying to look tough. Whatever the hell Pott’s is supposed to be doing in a battle with Thanos is anyone’s guess. She’s become increasingly more annoying in each subsequent MCU flick and has no place in a fight, let alone in a battle with Thanos. And wearing an Iron Man suit. With that expression. By far and away the worst and silliest bit of the whole movie when I seriously started thinking that the Russo’s were deliberately jumping the shark.

4. Runner up of the FFS award is the #MeToo PC shit at the end when Danvers is surrounded and protected by her coven of witches. They might as well have just replaced it with a Tampax ad complete with girl roller skating across the battlefield. Gimme a break man, we get it. Women are Good. All men are Bad. Femalez RuL3.

5. Some of the dialogue was ropier than a trapeze artists suitcase. Cap saying right at the beginning “Let’s go get this sonofabitch” and “It has to work because I don’t know what I’ll do if it doesn’t”. And Stark at the end saying “I am Iron Man” just in case we forget. Not expecting a Shakespearean performance but it has little of the wit of previous MCU films.

6. The plot was too well signposted so it was obvious from the ending of Ant Man that the Quantum Realm and time travel would be used. Clever how they did it though and good to see Ant Man. The best part of the whole movie was when they went back to New York for the first Avengers battle. Reminds me just how great the first one was and how poor Endgame stacks up against it.

7. Biggest cheer of the movie and most fabulous moment? Cap wielding Thor’s hammer which *was* a surprise and totally awesome. Go Cap! I also loved that Thor had become a fat slob that looks like a melted ice cream. The Big Lebowski reference was genius. However ……

8. What the feck has happened to the Hulk? We want unpredictable rage and smashing not the Jolly Green fuckin’ Giant. Cap, Stark, Thor and Hulk *are* the Avengers so to neuter the strongest one of them was just stupid. This was one of the biggest disappointments as Hulk is a favourite character and we never really got to see him go beserk in Infinity Wars. When people go see a movie with a Hulk in, they want to see him smash. This was a total balls up.

9. The end battle is really unsatisfying with too much crazy bullshit going on. It’s not a patch on the focused and choreographed fight that happens in Civil War or even other Avenger movies and I couldn’t help thinking that with all the flames and scorched earth, might as well invite Sauron with a gang of trolls, orcs and elves. And hat’s with the imprompt game of Pass the Parcel with the Gauntlet?

10. There were loads of plot holes, or at least stuff that I simply didn’t get or was glossed over:

– How does Stark get the stones at the end by just pulling on a glove or using his own gauntlet? When did he build said gauntlet or is it the same one Hulk wears? What black magic has he used to magically pull the stones into his own gauntlet? And from Thanos of all people, the biggest bad ass in the universe.

– How come Stark cracks time travel in no time when Pym couldn’t manage it in several years and he was the SME of quantum realm and time travel?

– How come Stark knows where the Tesseract and Pym will be in the past to the precise day and place?

– Why doesn’t Danvers hang around and do more instead of flying off to another planet every two seconds?

– How do the wizards know where the battle is at the end when they make everyone appear?

– How come Barton knows how to fly a spaceship with no training or instruction manual?

– How does Danvers know exactly where to find Stark and Nebula in the inky infinity of deep space to rescue them?

– How come it takes the combined strength of Danvers, Hulk in a suit, War Machine, Thor and Iron Man to subdue Thanos without any stones yet Iron Man can just grab ’em off him later when Thanos actually does have the fully loaded gauntlet? It’s BS man! Thanos managed to pulverise an enraged Hulk and we’re supposed to believe that Stark can just grab the stones with his Iron Man suit?

– Hulk has already worn the gauntlet and survived the fingersnap, why doesn’t he get the gauntlet and do the kung fu so nobody has to die? Even Danvers could have gotten it. Sure, Strange says there is only 1 in a gazillion chance to defeat Thanos but I simply don’t buy that this one and only chance was Stark nicking the stones off an enraged and fully tooled up Thanos.

– Most important of all, how come Nebula forgot to change her brain WiFi password after five years?

 

11. Passing the baton on to the next generation of Avengers was uninspiring and nothing to look forward to. A Valkyrie queen for Asgard? A black Captain America with no super powers? Utter PC crap and I can’t wait to see them both get their asses kicked.

12. The movie gets going once they decide on the time travel plan and that’s where it gets interesting but again, it’s not really explained why having all the stones and putting them into a gauntlet makes you end up having something like a magic genie that grants wishes. Why a gauntlet? What happens if you put the stones in your shoe a tap dance instead?

13. The money shot at the end at Starks funeral when the camera pans across everyone just so we can count ’em was totally unnecessary. Critics and reviews have been falling over themselves to boast about how much they blubbed. Why? I thought the ending with Cap was more sweetly sentimental when he decides to actually live in the past with Peggy rather than come back to the future. I blame the snowflake generation Millennials who want any excuse to burst into tears. Look at me, I’m sad and emotional, look at me, LOOK AT ME!!!

14. I liked that Cap was still in charge and led the team. The “Avengers Assemble” battle cry was a good, albeit brief, point in the movie before it all went batshit crazy.

15. How come so few of the squad dies? I counted Black Widow, Stark and er … that’s it. The combined might of Thanos and his crew against all of the Avengers and none of them die in battle apart from Stark? This is an Angry Thanos we’re talking about not the Guildford Women’s Auxiliary Balloon Core.

16. You don’t really get to see the Avengers using their super powers much. The bit when Barton goes beserk in Japan was cool and the Cap vs. Cap fight was very cool but that was about it.

17. I liked it when Tony loses his temper early on arguing with Cap about his ring of defence to protect the Earth. Shades of Civil War there which for me is still one of the best, if not *the* best, MCU movie. More of this dialogue needed and less about irrelevant stuff like “feelings”.

18. The whole time travel element of Endgame fucks things up and I’ve been trying to get my head around it.

Endgame is set in 2023 (five years after Infinity Wars which was 2018).

Nebula and Hawkeye travel back in time to 2014 (GoTG) to get the power stone. 2014 Thanos does not yet have all the power stones and there are now two Nebula’s in this space time; 2014 Nebula and 2023 Nebula.

2014 Nebula kidnaps 2023 Nebula and replaces her to travel back to 2023 with Hawkeye. 2014 Nebula uses the Avengers kit to open a wormhole so 2014 Thanos can arrive and get all the stones in 2023. However, when 2014 Thanos disintegrates, that means he never gets to actually snap his fingers in the first place since he time travelled from 2014 straight to 2023 skipping 2018 which is when he *does* get all the stones.

Ergo, when 2014 Thanos disappears, the event in 2018 when he snapped his fingers ceases to exist so that means everyone should be alive.

I think.

Now, if Cap returns the stones to the exact same place, the events of 2018 *do* happen so the whole 50% of existence being wiped out *does* occur. Why bother returning the stones then?

The whole time travel thing makes it complicated and I’m not yet convinced that it all ties up as neatly as it should.

 

Yes, I know it’s just a movie but when you’ve invested time and effort in the whole MCU back catalogue, it’s a bit of a kick in the balls when the final installament falls flat. Endgame is easily the the worst of the 4 Avengers flicks. If this is the direction they’re gonna be going in, I’ll be glad to see the back of it.

Score: 2/5

(or a 3/5 when it’s available on home media so I don’t have watch it with an audience that’s been conditioned and spoonfed to whoop and holler)


Randon Annoyances: Screen Protectors

Tuesday 29 January 2019 @ 10:04 pm

Doesn’t matter whether it’s the rubbish plastic film or the proper tempered glass screen protectors, they’re all a complete PITA to apply.

The plastic film type are virtually impossible to put on without at least a few air bubbles unless you have the patience of a saint and the type of steady hand and meticulous attention to detail that would better suit brain surgery, whilst the glass ones require a sterile working environment more suited to forensics complete with chem suit to ensure no dust gets under the screen.

Why can’t companies just pay a few quid and apply a proper glass screen protector at the factory? Huawei has the right idea, most of their phones come with a factory applied protector of sorts so it’s ready to go out of the box.


Random Annoyances: TV Adverts

Thursday 20 September 2018 @ 10:53 pm

Let’s face facts folks; nobody likes adverts on TV. Especially when they are shoved into a broadcast at the stupidest possible moment.

There I was, comfortably watching and enjoying Rocky II, and you know the bit where Adrian is in hospital and she tells Rocky that she wants him to win? The moment she says that, the training montage music starts to chime and Mick yells “whatta we waiting for? Take this”. Cue Rocky doing one-arm press-ups against a nice sunset (or sunrise?) backdrop.

Only on crappy ITV, it doesn’t actually do that. Adrian says “Win” and we immediately cut to an ad break. No drama, no Mick, no hairs on the back of your neck standing up as the first chime of the training montage kicks in. Insetad, after 5 minutes of pointless drivel, it cuts back to Rock doing one arm press-ups. The film doesn’t even continue from where it left off FFS.

And that’s not all either. If it’s not commercial breaks at the stupidest possible moment, it’s the sheer number of them. Here in the UK, there are regulations about how often and how long commercial breaks can be but it’s still far too often and far too long.


British passports made in France? Sacré bleu!

Friday 23 March 2018 @ 11:37 pm

It’s becoming increasingly clear that despite the majority vote to leave the despised, hated and corrupt EU, Mother Theresa has absolutely no intention of getting the best deal for the UK. Not only is she failing to protect UK interests but she’s also fast turning Britain into an international laughing stock, as if we needed any more reasons after 10 years of Labour’s open door no-questions-asked immigration policy and obsession with PC claptrap.

Take the recent decision about UK passports. Post Brexit, we’ll be ditching the crappy flaccid burgundy EU passports and going back to the hard-backed blue passports of old, the type that were stiffer than a starched stick of rock and could be used to bat away any insolent official who dared question you at immigration.

UK passports have always been made onshore by British company De La Rue which is what you’d expect. So why then has the Government inexplicably awarded the contract for the new passports to French company Gemalto? Reasons given are that under highly dubious EU rules, the contract has to be awarded to the most competitive bidder and that by doing so, value for the taxpayer is being realised.

Except that this is total bullshit. Neither France nor Germany allow their passports to be made by a foreign company. I mean who would? For such a sensitive and secure document, why would you want to outsource it to the cheapest bidder that’s not even domiciled in the country? This is just one example of many where the UK slavishly follows each and every EU law to the letter whilst other countries stick two fingers up and freely ignore the same rules without any penalty. EU fishing quotas anyone?

The blame lies squarely with Mother Theresa and the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, who has been over-promoted way beyond her very limited intellectual capabilities which can just about handle running a bath without spilling the water. Incompetent inept Amber Ruddy useless is another closet Remainer who has been brought into the cabinet to ruin the Brexit deal and she’s wasted no time in ensuring our borders remain open for a further two years whilst also offering lavish benefits to all and sundry + dog during that period.

Back to passports then, the clear choice is between an efficient, secure, UK workforce that has proven expertise and is trusted to not only produce passports but also banknotes for many other countries, or a crap French company that’s mired in inefficiency, le strikes and will stitch us over at the first opportune moment as well as being at the mercy of a myriad of European fraudsters.

The whole thing is a complete and utter fuck up designed to soften the stance of those who want a hard Brexit. And we have good reason for wanting a hard Brexit too because any EU deal always ends up with the UK getting screwed over due to the Government’s pandering to the shitburgers in Brussels.


Mini Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Friday 2 February 2018 @ 1:42 pm

Following on from Batman V Superman, the Caped Crusader rounds up the other meta-humans (The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman) to take on a super villain called Steppenwolf who’s intent on transforming Earth into his own world.

I like Justice League. It’s a good solid movie and, like Batman v Superman, unfairly panned. Fuck the critics, what do they know? I’ll stick my hand up here and say Justice League is the best one yet in the wider DC Universe and I enjoyed it far more than I expected. I’m not familiar with any of the back stories either or even the characters themselves so it was interesting to see how they were introduced.

Batman is still the grizzled soldier from the previous movie; a little older, greyer but still cynical and loaded with cash to spend on over-the-top gadgets. Affleck is on cruise control here and doesn’t need to do anything else. He makes a really good Batman for this particular angle.

Wonder Woman is still hot, sexy and the first time you see her, she’s standing on top of a building in full riot gear so you can take in her long legs and cute frown. She’s much better here than in the wet-behind-the-ears Wonder Woman movie. Go Gal!

The Flash is the joker, and also the baby of the pack and gets some of the best lines. Ezra Miller nails all the quirks and tics of The Flash and apart from the slightly weird running style that looks like he might be having a fit, adds a nice light touch to a movie that veers between dark and funny and can’t quite make up its mind which to be.

Aquaman is played by Jason Momoa as a big, bearded, butch New Age traveller with a gruff yet cool sideline in drinking beers and taking his shirt off. The thing is Aquaman has always been the least interesting character of the bunch and apart from being a fantastic swimmer and able to control water, which seems to conveniently appear purely as a reason for him to join the action, there’s no other USP. If the Justice League got rid of Aquaman, it’d be no great loss and the jury is still out as to whether he actually adds any value.

Cyborg is the Iron Man of Justice League and I’d never heard of him before watching the movie. He’s kinda like an ultra serious version of Inspector Gadget and seems to be the ultimate Swiss Army Knife capable of producing anything and everything at will. If the Justice League were trapped in a restaurant and stuck making a souffle because they didn’t have the right kitchen utensil, Cyborg would be the one to rustle up an egg whisk.

That leaves Superman and let me say that in Justice League, he’s awesome. Henry Cavill plays him with just the right amount of menace; when first confronted by Batman you could even believe Superman has gone all Breaking Bad. It’s a bit like the apocalyptic dream sequence scene in Batman V Superman dialled up several notches.

Cavill also captures the humourous side of Superman who delivers several quips whilst beating the shit out of Steppenwolf, managing to make the whole thing look like a picnic. I’ve seen Clark Kent having to work harder making a cup of coffee.

The villain is some big bad bod called Steppenwolf who seems be a hackneyed cliche version of pretty much every villain you might see in a super hero movie. No complaints from me and he’s a damn sight better than the Cave Troll that Batman, Supe and Wonder Woman defeat in the previous film.

All things considered, this could have been a lot worse and it could have been much better. You can see the directions that both Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon were going and as it stands, Justice league is hugely enjoyable, certainly a film that deserves repeat viewings. Rumour has it that there’s an Extended / Directors Cut possible and I can’t wait.

Score: 4/5


A consumer guide to LED spotlights

Wednesday 24 January 2018 @ 7:47 pm

So I decided to change all my current MR16 GU5.3 50W halogen lighting (about 30 fittings) and join the glorious LED revolution. Here’s what happened.

Conversion from halogen to LED
Before diving into the LED jungle of bulbs, watts and colours, the first task was to convert the existing fittings. All the MR16 GU5.3 fittings, except the ones in the bathrooms (more on that later), were being run off individual halogen transformers to convert the mains 240V to 12V. My transformers had a power range of 20W to 60W which meant the minimum wattage bulb that could be used is 20W. This is no good for LED bulbs where the wattages are much lower (typically around 4-8W) so the fitting had to be converted. There are really only four options for this:

  1. Replace existing halogen bulbs with MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs (cheapest)
  2. Convert the GU5.3 lamp holder to a GU10 lamp holder (cheap)
  3. Use special Philips LED bulbs to work off existing halogen transformers (expensive)
  4. Replace the transformer with an LED driver (most expensive)

 

Options 2 and 4 require some work whereas options 1 and 3 require nothing more than just changing the light bulb. If you have dimmers, this also makes a difference as to what you can use.

Let’s look at each in more detail.

 

1. Replace existing halogen bulbs with any MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs
Depending on the transformer you have have, this might be an option. The bathrooms were using one transformer to power 3x 50W MR16 GU5.3 bulbs. I had a look at the 10+ year old transformers in the bathrooms but there was nothing on the labels other than it was 240V in and 12V out so I contacted the manufacturer with the model number. The response from the company was that these were toroidal transformers that didn’t have a wattage range and would work perfectly well driving LED bulbs.

Result! I ended up buying a box of normal MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs and just replaced the existing 50W MR16 GU5.3 halogens with the new bulbs. If I’d known it was this easy, I’d have switched the bathrooms to LED years ago.

Again, it might work for you, it might not. Take a look at your transformers before trying it out.

 

2. Convert to a GU10 lamp holder
I went with this option to convert all my other halogens to LED. It involves ditching the transformers completely and replacing it with a GU10 lamp holder. Not only are there more GU10 LED bulbs available to choose from, but with no transformers, that’s one less thing to go wrong. As a bonus, you’ll also get rid of any horrible buzzing coming from the lights, especially when they’re dimmed.

The actual conversion takes a bit of time depending on how many bulbs you want to convert but the job is straightforward depending on access to the ceiling space and how comfortable you are with a couple of screwdrivers and electricity. Speaking of which, before starting, SWITCH OFF THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND TURN ALL LIGHT SWITCHES OFF.

First thing to do is check if you can access the transformer in the ceiling recess / loft / attic as this makes it much easier. If not, or it’s too much of a faff to gain access, the next option is to remove your existing MR16 bulb and gently pull the cable to bring the transformer out of the fitting. All halogen and LED transformers are a standard width so that sucker should slip right out of a standard lamp holder fitting. Once removed, take a look at the wiring to see what’s there and how much room is available in the fitting as not only are GU10 lamp holders larger than MR16 GU5.3 but the bulbs are longer too so you’ll need a bit more space above the ceiling for a GU10 LED lamp.

My MR16 GU5.3 lamp holders were connected to the transformer via a junction box that clipped to the existing lamp fitting so I could just reuse the junction box to connect the GU10 lamp holder to the mains instead. Despite easy access to the ceiling recess (all the lights to be converted were on the top floor), a few were inaccessible because they were tucked away under the eaves so I changed these from the rooms below and then spent the rest of the day crawling around in the loft to finish the job.

Here are the detailed steps I took for the actual conversion. Before starting SWITCH OFF THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND TURN ALL LIGHT SWITCHES OFF. Then DOUBLE CHECK MAINS ELECTRICITY AND ALL LIGHT SWITCHES ARE TURNED OFF. Finally, ARE YOU SURE THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND ALL LIGHT SWITCHES ARE OFF? If in doubt, get a qualified Sparky round to do the job.

  1. Disconnected the mains cable from the transformer. This left the transformer with a “tail” power cable connected to the junction box.
  2. Disconnected the transformer tail-end power cable from the junction box which completely removed the transformer.
  3. Disconnected the MR16 lamp holder from the other side of the junction box. This left the junction box with nothing connected and the MR16 lamp holder could now be completely removed.
  4. Connected the new GU10 lamp holder to the junction box.
  5. Connected the mains cable to the other side of the junction box.

 

Here’s a quick text diagram of how it looked before, during and after the conversion with reference to the steps above:

KEY 
==== mains cable
---- power cable
[Tran.] transformer
[J.Box] junction box
[-MR16] MR16 lamp holder with cable
[-GU10] GU10 lamp holder with cable

BEFORE 
====[Tran.]----[J.Box][-MR16]

AFTER 
====[J.Box][-GU10]

STEPS 
1. ====    [Tran.]----[J.Box][-MR16]
2. ====    [Tran.]----    [J.Box][-MR16]
3. ====    [J.Box]    [-MR16]
4. ====    [J.Box][-GU10]
5. ====[J.Box][-GU10]

As you can see, removing the transformer and MR16 lamp holder shortened the cable length to the fitting. I didn’t have any excess slack on the mains cable so used another junction box to lengthen the cable. I had to do this for a few of the fittings so bought a few extra junction boxes and re-used the tail end cables from the transformers to lengthen the run to the fitting. Here’s how those installations looked after the conversion:

====[J.Box]----[J.Box][-MR16]

And that’s it! Once converted, the LED bulbs could be fitted.

 

3. Use special Philips LED bulbs
By far the easiest option but an expensive one. In short, Philips sells a range of MR16 LED bulbs called Master Spot that can be retro fitted in those installations where you don’t want to (or can’t) remove / change the existing halogen transformer. It does this by having some clever circuitry in the bulb to handle the higher watts but there are a few considerations:

  • it won’t work with all transformers (likely to flicker)
  • dimming performance will vary (likely to flicker) and may not even work
  • the bulb is physically larger than traditional MR16 halogen bulbs and even LED GU10 equivalents because of all the extra electronics

If you want the least hassle and a simple plug-and-play upgrade to LED, the Philips Master Spot are worth considering. I bought a few to try and they worked fine but the cost of replacing all 30 odd 50W halogens was three times more expensive than converting everything to GU10. It might work for you, it might not.

 

4. Replace the transformer with an LED driver (more expensive)
Replacing the halogen transformer with an LED driver is, in my opinion, the least sensible. If you are going to all the trouble of removing the halogen transformer, why not just convert it to GU10 which is much cheaper instead of replacing it with an LED driver?

If you absolutely want to stick with the MR16 fitting, the conversion is easier than converting to GU10 as all that is needed is to swap the halogen transformer for the LED driver. Here are some before and after diagrams of how it would look:

BEFORE 
====[Tran.]----[J.Box][-MR16]

AFTER 
====[LED.D]----[J.Box][-MR16]

The choice of MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs is much less than GU10 LED but the light from MR16 bulbs tends to be brighter and nicer than GU10 plus dimming performance can also be smoother. No idea why but there you go.

 

Dimmer switches
If you have any dimmers, they might need to be replaced with LED compatible dimmer switches because of the lower watts consumed. Incompatible dimmer switches will cause your beautiful new LED lights to flicker more than a candle in a haunted house. I had to change all of mine as the existing dimmer range was 60W to 400W whereas the new LED’s would be pulling a maximum of 50W.

Some LED manufacturers recommend specific dimmers to use. Mine didn’t so I went for Varilight V-Pro dimmers which come in a range of finishes and have a good warranty and after service as well as being compatible with a wide range of LED bulbs.

Once again, before changing any dimmers, SWITCH OFF THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND TURN ALL LIGHT SWITCHES OFF as you’ll be dealing with bare mains electrical cable. If in doubt, get a qualified Sparky round to do the job.

 

Which LED?

So now you have your fittings sorted, the next question, and the one that causes the most confusion, is which LED bulb to go for.

First things first, forget how many watts your old halogen bulbs use, it’s all about the lumens (brightness). This will be clearly displayed on the LED packaging and bulb and if it isn’t, find another bulb. Don’t get hung up over the actual wattage of the LED bulb either, your cost savings will be realised by going from 50W to anything less than 10W and not so much by fussing over whether to get a 6W or a 7W bulb.

Here are the other points to consider:

Colour
Do you want warm white, cool white or daylight? The colour that a lamp gives off is shown by the colour temperature of Kelvin measurement. The higher the rating, the whiter the colour is.

Warm White
A nice comforting warm yellowish white colour, like the glow from a gas fire lamp. Warm white lamps are rated between 2700k and 3000k and I went for these in all the rooms.

Cool white
Rated between 4000-4500K and gives a much cooler, crisper colour. This is quite nice to have in bathrooms, kitchens or any other work place but you can also use them around the house.

Daylight
Like daylight and rated between 5000-6200K. This is very bright but very blue and doesn’t really suit for inside a home as the lighting becomes very harsh. Best to keep these lamps for office use, outside lighting or large spaces.

Colour Rendering Index (CRI)
The higher the CRI number of a lamp, the more accurate and richer the colours are under that light. Most lamps are at least 80 CRI with more expensive and specialist LED’s (e.g. for lighting artwork) numbering 95. I bought a few to compare and the difference between a 95 and 80 bulb was barely noticeable. Certainly not worth the crazy premium that 95 LED’s command over 80 versions. As long as the LED you buy has a CRI of at least 80, I don’t think it’s worth paying a premium for the 95 rated LED lamps.

Dimmable
If you want to dim your lights, you’ll need a compatible LED dimmer switch and dimmable LED lamps which cost a little more than non-dimmable LED’s. If you don’t have a dimmer, there’s no point buying dimmable LED’s as the extra circuitry usually means a higher cost and a possibly less reliable lamp. The few LED’s that have failed in my setup were all dimmable versions.

Beam Angle
A narrow beam angle focuses the light on a particular spot. A wider beam angle spreads the light which tends to be softer. What you need to take into account is the height of your ceilings (higher ceiling means wider spread of light) and position of bulbs (further apart means potential darker spots between light fittings). I went for standard 45 degree angle LED lamps, the same as the halogens they were replacing.

Type / Aesthetics
There are two types of LED downlighters:

Chip on board (COB)
These have one big LED and tend to be the more expensive lamp. Because they have just the single LED, they use reflectors to spread the light which looks nicer, more like conventional halogens but with a cleaner, narrower focus than SMB. However, COB LED’s are less efficient and usually need more cooling. The choice is also much less.

Surface Mounted Diode (SMB)
The more common technology, these use lots of smaller LED’s, are more efficient and tend to be cheaper to buy. Because there is more than one LED, the light is brighter and spreads further with a wide beam angle. Most LED downlighters are SMB type so there’s lots of choice but huge variation in quality and how they look. The cheapest have no frosted lens cover, just a bare circuit board with LED’s, and look bloody awful. Others have weird arrangements of LED’s so the light isn’t spread very evenly or the lens cover looks like it has acne.

Warranty
There’s an awful lot of crap LED lamps available from dodgy Chinese companies. LED lamps also seem to be a little less reliable than conventional halogens so a bulletproof warranty is essential. I’ve had branded LED’s fail on arrival, after a few days, weeks and even months so being able to easy replace the LED under warranty is a must. Some companies want you to fill in forms to get a replacement or only offer a standard 1 year guarantee. Other companies are interested in just shifting a box load of imported LED’s before disappearing into the sunset with the money so you want to buy from a supplier who will be around.

I bought my LED lamps from an established UK supplier offering a no quibble 5 year warranty so getting a replacement has needed nothing more than just a phone call to ship a new lamp.

Watts
Along with colour and warranty, this is a key thing to consider.

When looking at 50W halogen replacements, you’ll see loads of LED bulbs advertised as “50W equivalent”. Ignore this and look at the lumens output of the actual LED bulb instead. Disregard the actual watts of the LED too because as mentioned, the cost savings between a 4W and a 5W LED bulb total about 80p per month if you had 30 LED bulbs running for 6 hours a day.

Some distributors say that you only need about 350-400 lumens depending on the quality and efficiency of the LED bulb. I decided to try this out and bought a sample of GU10 warm white bulbs from different companies. What I found was a huge difference in the brightness and quality of light:

50W equivalent 5W LED bulb with 350 lumens
Complete rubbish. Nowhere near as bright as a 50W halogen but would be OK for a 35W halogen equivalent.

50W equivalent 6W LED bulb with 450 lumens
Still dimmer than a glow worms armpit, if you have a smallish room (say 12″ x 12″), this would *possibly* be OK as a 50W replacement depending on how many bulbs are in the room.

50W equivalent 6.5W LED bulb with 500 lumens
Not bad, this is just a little dimmer than 50W halogen but would do.

50W equivalent 7W LED bulb with 550 lumens
This is more like it. Good bright light and a decent 50W halogen replacement.

60W equivalent 8W bulb with 620 lumens
Even better and as bright, if not marginally brighter, than a 50W halogen. I went for these which were the highest dimmable lumens I could find.

The 30 odd 50W halogens have now all been replaced with 8W LED equivalents giving a massive energy saving of almost 75%. In total, including GU10 lamp holders, junction boxes and 30x LED lamps, it cost me under £100 it;s already paid for itself within a few months. Result.

 

To summarise then, if you have a bunch of hungry-ass MR16 50W halogen bulbs, it’s well worth the time and effort in getting these converted to LED.