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JCC Hybrid 9 might just send competitors back to the drawing board

20th April 2017

An ever-growing range of downlighters has flooded the LED market in recent years, giving both the installer and the consumer a huge amount of choice. Some brands target the installer, with ‘quick and easy’ installation design and others target the end-user with a long guarantee and/or low running cost, but the design of most ‘new’ fittings hitting the marketplace has been evolutionary rather than revolutionary.


Familiarity plays a big part in dictating who the winners are in terms of LED market share. As electricians, we become used to fitting a brand that we find reliable and are comfortable installing (right size hole saw, cable stripping lengths, screwdriver type etc.) We are accustomed to how evenly to space them and how to maximise the light they produce. That in mind I have previously been offered JCC fittings (and others) however never felt compelled to make the move from my known and trusted brand of choice.


We were given the Hybrid9 fittings to review, and decided to test them on a retro-fit job rather than a new install, as this would give us with a very good indication of the light producing difference between fittings. The watts (not lumens) on the Hybrid9 claim to be around the same as the existing fittings, however, the Hybrid9 produces a whopping 750 lumens compared to the existing fittings 500 (blimey!!). In addition, the Hybrid9 competes with all the best LED downlighters, being dimmable as standard IP65 and delivering a good 38 degrees beam angle, yet outdoes all the existing offerings, as far as I know, with the added value of a massive 10-year warranty. A good start.


Upon unpacking and initial inspection, we were immediately struck by the benefit of the ‘unclip and replace’ function, genius, an installer can simply unclip the LED lamp from the main fitting. Many installers have discovered, with a sigh, that when an LED fitting fails you must isolate the power supply, remove the old fitting and then re-wire a new fitting – laboursome indeed. With the huge number of fittings, we install, this nifty benefit will be a massive time-saver. An equally attractive selling point is that thanks to this simple ‘unclip and replace’ design, the LED’s colours can be changed from warm white to cool white and its appearance from chrome to white etc., giving the end-user a variety of lighting design and finish options, and let’s not forget how grateful the painter and decorator will be that the fitting can be removed!


Quick, easy, robust


The green plastic top on the lamps appears designed to help keep a cooling air gap between the installation and the fitting, and the springs that hold the fitting in the ceiling are of a good and durable quality. The ceilings we chose to replace the lamps in were (sod’s law) lath and plaster, yet the springs pulled the fitting in tight and flush, and the ‘unclip and replace’ design ensures any ceiling finish will not be destroyed when replacing a lamp. As the installation progressed it soon became apparent that it was swifter to install the new fittings than it was to take the old ones down!


The Hybrid9 fittings are quick and easy to install, and I do mean quick, thanks to a new type of connection system called the LevLink, which apart from your cable strippers, allows you to install the fittings without any tools at all! The push-fit connections for the cable connections seem sound and robust after a good tug, and further expedites the time in which each fitting can be installed; the amount of time and labour saved on an installation of 100 plus lights would be a massive cost saving. A further benefit of the LevLink connection is that testing is made easy, an installer can connect all the cables on the circuit, complete an IR test then pop the lamps in.


A first – and only?


The only reservation with the LevLink connection would be a question of an IP rating on the cable entry. Although if honest I can’t see any possible danger or problem, but if you left that size gap in any electrical enclosure I’m sure it would not be acceptable, especially if you only have one cable going into the fitting. However, that is a point for the picky, and it certainly wouldn’t stop me fitting the Hybrid 9. In truth, it is a struggle to find anything negative to say about these fittings. Switch them on and the amount of light given off by the Hybrid9 put the existing fittings to shame, three Hybrid 9’s lit the room as though there were double the number of lamps. I think our ‘sticking to a tried and testing brand’ mind-set is about to change.


Hybrid9’s lit the room as though there were double the number of lamps. I think our ‘sticking to a tried and testing brand’ mind-set is about to change. The Hybrid9 fittings are the first fittings we have come across that offer both the end-user and installer something genuinely revolutionary. A complete LED light fitting that has a replacement LED lamp, that isn’t a GU10. A fitting that the end-user can replace with ease, whilst providing them with a massive lumens per watt ratio. A product that offers a fantastic guarantee and is super easy and quick for an installer to fit. How could anyone fail to be impressed? Unless it is other Manufacturers, on their way back to the drawing board.



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