300W 12V electronic transformer
February 19, 2013
Amazing device - to think it does what a multi-pound magnetic transformer would do at much less cost and bulk is indeed amazing. It certainly does work as speced, although an issue I'm having to contend with is heat. There is no mention of that in the product description, but the spec sheet from Hatch, the manufacturer, lists the max case temp as 80 degrees C...that is 176 degrees F. While that won't start a fire in common house construction materials, it could cause some issues with a plastic electrical box or wiring not rated for that temp. (The Hatch lead wires are 105 degrees C-rated.) At my load, the unit gets too hot to touch after about an hour with the dimmer at full brightness. A call to Hatch revealed that a metal box should be used, so a four gang box was purchased (not cheap!) and I'm fabricating a custom .125" thick aluminum cover plate to which the transformer will be mounted, to serve as a heat sink/radiator. So, for the DIYers out there, be sure to factor in some means of dissipating the heat. Tossing the transformer into an attic space or into a cabinet overhead may not be the best deal - it would probably shorten its life with the heat buildup.
Pros:Compact - less bulk than an magnetic transformer. Less expensive, too.
Cons:Runs hot. Also, requires a minimum load to operate properly, as well as a special dimmer for light level control. Not a big deal, but something to be factored into a design.