Capital Hill Apartments
17 - 23 State Circle
PO Box 6248


Halogen Light Electronic Transformers

November 19, 2014

Residents will be interested in this photo, which shows a halogen light electronic transformer having partially melted. These devices are in the ceilings and many residents may be blissfully unaware of their existence. In the event, there was no fire – but there could have been.

We have spoken to the manufacturer whose assessment is that the transformer was affected by heat generated either by close contact to the halogen lamp (most likely) or by loose secondary (lamp holder; the blue cables) connections creating a poor connection. Due to the high current (4 Amps) at these terminals, a loose connection can create excess heat causing components to melt.

Our transformers are manufactured in full compliance of AS/NZS 4879.1:2008 Performance of Transformers. There has never been a product recall for this item and there is an excellent safety record, with millions of them installed in Australia and around the world. There are probably a couple of thousand in Capital Hill Apartments alone. That said, as with any such device, there is a limited life and, over time, failure is to be expected. The failure rate of this product is 0.2% per 1000 hours of operation, although a typical failure will be a component failing, simply resulting in the light not coming on, not what we have seen in this current case.

Further, these lights were installed just before more stringent installation standards were introduced in 2007. The revised standards speak of thermal protectors to cover the light and prevent the transformer and light coming into close contact. Some apartment owners have had these heat shields installed at their own expense.

Nevertheless, if your lights are playing up, it would be prudent to call an electrician. By “playing up”, we mean being unable to turn a light on, or particularly finding the breaker in your fuse box being tripped whenever you try. Of course, a failed light is most probably and simply a failed bulb and nothing more dramatic than that.