Replacing Light Bulbs

We’ve got some quite nice low-voltage lights in our kitchen, located under the wall cabinets. They’ve been there since I completely rebuilt the kitchen a couple of years ago, so it wasn’t a surprise when one of the bulbs blew. No problem – I vaguely remember how to dismantle the fixings and put the bulb in (no tools needed).

The first stage is to take the finishing plate / bulb cover off the unit which means somehow getting hold of a flat plate and turning 1/4 turn anti-clockwise. That was difficult, but fine. Next you need to take the bulb holder out, which again is a quarter turn out of the fixing secured to the cabinet. From there, the bulb is easy to get to, just pull it out and there you go.

Unfortunately, the bulb was so small, it was bereft of any markings indicating what the replacement type was. I knew it was 12V and the holder stated a maximum of 10W, so that’s a start. But then you’ve got the pin type. This was a simple two-pin plugin type, but a quick Google showed a few different types, each with coded names (GU6.7, G10, GU10, G4, etc).

A bit more web searching later and I discovered something useful: in the ‘G’ system of bulbs, the number refers to the pin spacing, and the ‘U’ bit means they are a bayonet fit, rather than a push fit. That’s useful to know. So my under-cabinet lights were G4’s (push-fit, 4mm pin spacing); my main kitchen lights I knew were GU10’s (bayonet fit, 10mm pin spacing). A trip to B&Q later, we have a new bulb.

Now the instructions tell you to not touch the bulb with bare hands, but shoving the bulb into the fitting while wrapped in a piece of kitchen towel was completely impossible, so I decided to forego the 20 hours bulb life it would save me and use my fingers. The only problem was that the whole idea of putting a light in a particular location is because it’s too dark there. And so it was with the replacement bulb.

Removing it had been easy – quick tug on the bulb and out it came. Putting it back was much harder: I didn’t want to damage the bulb or the fixing. Added to this, I’m kneeling on the floor, looking up at the bottom of the kitchen cabinets. With aching muscles because of my cold. Eventually, bulb was installed and I put the fixing back in easily enough.

So just the finishing plate to do. As mentioned above, though, this fits flush and you can’t get hold of it very easily. I managed to drop it in the toaster before eventually fixing it in place. At least the kitchen looks properly lit again now…