My grandmother came home the other day with a nice new low voltage transformer and a handy of GU10 LED's. Cheerfully, he told me of the plans he had to set up some LED's lights in the kitchen – to update things a bit, and save on the electricity bill too, of course. Unfortunately, I had to tell him he might as well just return that 12v transformer right away, since he would not be needing it for his project. Why?
A GU10 LED is intended for mains voltage! My grandmother did not know that, but he could probably have read it on the box, had he not forgotten to wear his glasses. I felt sorry for the old man who now had to take the trip back to the store (the store that should have stopped him before he bought something he did not need – shame on them!), So I decided to try to set things straight for him about low voltage lighting, LED's and bulb types.
Typically, you come across three types of information when looking at LED bulbs – information about the type of base – GU, G, E and so on – information about the voltage rating, and lastly, info on the type of bulb or reflector. It is easy enough to sometimes get the three mixed up, so let me explain: A bulb that is described as a GU10, MR16 – is a bulb with the MR16 type reflector, intended for mains voltage. If it had been a GU5.3, it would have been for low voltage use. GU bases have two pins that are inserted into the corresponding socket – but GU10 pins are larger than GU5.3, so as not to accidently mix them up. An E-base is the well-known threaded base that has been used on incandescent bulbs for decades. You can get an E27, MR16 bulb too – just to confuse matters more. My grandmother looked a bit tired after all this, but he later said it was helpful to him. I hope you can use it too.