Hampton Bay LED fixtures are breaking all over! In the article I talk about what you can do to repair your fixture at minimal cost to you!
Priced at ~$64.97 the Hampton Bay LED fixture looks nice, but it is fairly pricey.
If you read the comments (screenshot below) you will see people ask about replacing the fixture LED or upgrading the brightness in others.
The fixture lasted me 2 years before the Hampton Bay LED array failed.
Oddly enough, they failed within a month of each other. I opened the fixture by removing the two Phillips head screws on the top. Looking at the LED I could see burn marks on the wire. The Hampton Bay LED driver was rated for 24-35VDC output and 94+VAC input.
Testing fixture 1 yielded a voltage of 24V, the second fixture was closer to 30V. I tested both Hampton Bay LED arrays on my bench power supply and made sure they were in fact dead.
I shopped on Amazon to see if I could find a replacement LED. This would allow me to leave the internal driver and solder the existing wires onto the new driver. No luck, I saw a few 12V arrays. It’s worth mentioning the existing LED driver was rated for 300mA @ 24-32V. Which would be a max of 9.6W. The spec sheet shows 320 lumens @ 40Watt equivalence, there are 4 LED on the LED array.
What about my warranty?
I saw a 3 year warranty. Mine lasted 2, and I didn’t want to bother replacing with the same components if I couldn’t fix it 5 years from now.
If you DIY this fixture there’s a 99.8% chance you will void your warranty. So if warranty/return is an option for you do that if you don’t want to take the trouble.
People mentioned in the comments that they contacted the company that sells these fixtures. One said the company did not have any parts in stock, another said they sent them replacements. YMMV
Why don’t I just buy another Hampton Bay LED set?
Well if you’re going to do that, don’t get this one. Get a light that doesn’t brag about not needing to replace bulbs. You want to be able to replace bulbs. If it actually lasted the 50,000 hours it boasts, then maybe I’d buy this fixture again. If you ask me they just plugged that 50,000 hour on there, because LED in a lab setting can last 50,000 hours. But when you live in a city with brown outs good luck keeping any power supply/LED alive. Doing the math, let’s say you run the lights every day for 12 hours. That’s 365×12 or 4,380 hours. Now how many years does it take to reach 50,000? That’s 50,000/4,380 or 11.42 years. Mine lasted 2 years. More like ~9,000 hours of life! (again brown outs and possibly a bad unit)
I would rather have a brighter light.
When I first installed these I thought they were dim. Turns out they are, at only a mere 320 lumens (Per the spec sheet).
What’s that you cry?
I should have read that?
Well you know what, you’re right but dang I see LED and I start foaming at the mouth to the potential savings. Whoops.
I want to be able to dim these lights, can I upgrade that too?
Well sure! I haven’t actually taken a dimmable LED apart, but I imagine the components would fit the same. The only difference being a few more/different IC (integrated circuit) on the LED driver board. The wiring would be the same in the following steps, you’d need only to replace your current switch with a dimmable switch. (Assuming you already had this light fixture installed, it wasn’t dimmable before so you probably didn’t have a dimmable switch). Don’t do this if you want a dimmable fixture and don’t already have/purchased this. Just go get one that supports dimmable bulbs E26 socket type.
Replacing the old Hampton Bay LED components.
I started to wonder what I could use to replace this. I previously bought a 12V 1 Watt LED that I thought about placing in this fixture. 1 Watt is well under the max wattage of the fixture. However, I would need to also build some sort of rectifying circuit to change the incoming 120VAC to 12VDC. What a hassle, and it only adds the problem of not having easily replaceable parts.
So let’s use the components of your common LED A19 (Bulb Type) E26 (Socket Type) bulb!
Tear it up!
Test the bulb in a normal fixture before continuing!
I took a pair of channel lock plyers and crushed the plastic bulb end until the adhesive allowed me to pull it off. Huzzah! 8 LEDs in this LED array, and if you get the 60W bulbs they are equivalent to 8Watts, hot dog! At 9Watts it’s approx. 840 Lumens! That’s over double the amount of lumens the old fixture had.
I noticed the bulbs vary with internals (physical size), but for the most part you have the Hampton Bay LED on the end and an LED driver behind the LED array. The driver takes 120VAC and converts it to 120VDC using a switching power supply (higher efficiency) than a rectifying/passive circuit. BE VERY CAREFUL to not touch any of the components while they are live. i.e. don’t try to pull the end off of a bulb that is plugged in.
I turned off the breaker to my exterior Hampton Bay LED lights, removed the black glass cover (previously), and then removed the two screws securing the aluminum heat sink (LED array is attached to this with two screws as well). Once you have the aluminum plate hanging there you can see a black box inside the fixture. This is the power supply for the LED array. In my case the Hampton Bay LED were dead so the LED Driver was worth keeping around if I ever found myself in dire need of 300mA worth of 24-32V.
Behind the driver there were two orange wire nuts. (Orange wing nuts are rated for 22-14 gauge wire) I removed each of these nuts one at a time from the driver and then recapped them with the orange wing nuts. This is the part you can shock yourself. Make darned sure your power is off and only handle this part with one hand. Do NOT touch anything with your other hand while you do this.
A drill, screws, and nuts
With the new LED driver, aluminum plate, and Hampton Bay LED removed you can now start assembling your new LED circuit. You will notice from the previous step where you took apart the LED bulb, the driver simply inserts into the LED array with two prongs. +/- These prongs are live when the circuit is active so it’s import that they do not short to any conductive materials (metal).
I unscrewed the two screws to the Hampton Bay LED driver, and then took a ½ inch drill bit and enlarged the hole the original Hampton Bay LED driver was on. (You may need to remove the wire nuts to the LED array to slip the LED array off of the aluminum plate.)
Great, now you’ve got a blank aluminum plate with a ½ inch hole in the center. Line up the NEW LED array from your bulb so that the two prong holes are dead center of the hole. Then take marker and mark where the two holes for this part are. I drilled a hole where the marks were and used some 2mmx6mm screws to secure the new LED to the aluminum heat sink.
Spread the heat
If you have thermal compound it might be a good idea to apply a little (few lines) to the back of the LED before attaching it to the plate. Now you can insert the new LED driver into the back of the plate making sure to insert the + prong into the + side of the LED array. (See markings on components)
Make darned sure the prongs do not touch the aluminum plate or each other. You want a decently sized gap between the prongs and the plate (minimum of the distance between each prongs)
At this point I tested the LED array using a light switch I had wired to receptacle. If you are uncertain of this part you can skip it and wait for your test to be when the new LED array is in the fixture.
Solder it, but not too much
So you’re 100% that you have the wiring right, (this is why testing is important), now you will solder the two prongs you inserted into place. This will help stabilize the fixture so it does not wiggle out in a freak rain storm and cause a short.
At the end of the driver you will have a spring clip (Neutral) and a piece where a metal prong went into it (Hot). You will need to de-solder this adapter. Apply heat to one side, then the other while holding the clip with a pair of plyers. Keep applying heat to each solder joint until it releases. Now you can run wire through these holes for your new power connections. I used a black wire for Hot and a white wire for Neutral (to match NEC requirements).
Math, Ohms Law, and Thermodynamics
The wire gauge I used was stranded 22 gauge, it seemed to fit nicely into the driver holes and will supply a max current of 0.92A. Plenty considering our 60W bulb at 120V would only consume 60/120 or 0.5A. Take it a step further and realize the actual power consumption of the LED is only 8W. This is because an LED only requires 8Watts of power to equal the number of lumens that a 60W incandescent could produce. I’ll throw the word approximately in there, LED are just more power efficient! So we are really looking at closer to 8/120 or 0.067W (67mW!)
At this point you have soldered on your black and white wire to the new LED driver. The driver is pressed into the back of the aluminum plate with the LED array screwed too it, perhaps some thermal compound in there too. The wires aren’t touching and you, hopefully, tested the LED before going through all the trouble. (Even if that means just screwing the bulb into a socket before you took it apart and testing the power that way)
Seal those electrons, Baby!
You’re ready! Using the same 4 screws you removed the original fixture with. Take out the old Hampton Bay LED driver if you haven’t already and screw the Black wire in the fixture to the black wire of your new LED driver circuit, (Not from the black box (Old led driver) that you removed but from the hole in the top of the fixture, and the white wire to the new white wire of the circuit. Use those orange wing nuts you should have had on the wires still. At this point, I took a can of CorrosionX and sprayed the new LED driver circuit and the two leads into the LED array.
Do NOT spray the LED array itself, only the circuits. This stuff is great at keeping water/moisture out and could prolong the life of the circuit. Not sure how it deals with heat, yet.
Screw your aluminum plate back onto the fixture using the previous two screws. Make sure nothing bends or kinks your new LED driver sticking straight up off the back of the plate (don’t bend it over you’ll short something!). Now you can restore power to the circuit from the breaker and turn your light switch on. You should have light! If you do, you can replace the glass/black fixture with the two screws on top.
If you find that you do not have power, or if you hear sparks. Turn the breaker off immediately. You will want to make sure that power is disabled before opening to diagnose. There’s a good chance something shorted inside.
The best part of this, those bulbs you cannibalized for new parts. They’re only $1-2 USD a piece!
I’ll try to add some photos if I get around to it. If you are having trouble or would like to ask questions be sure to leave a comment so others can benefit too!
You can read more of my project posts here!