Low-voltage MR16 or MR11 spotlights derive their name from the size of diameter in 1/8th inch increments. Hence an MR16 for instance can long-windedly be thought of as a multifaceted reflector with a 16/8th inch span (2-inches). Low voltage spotlights require a 12V transformer for use - one where the minimum and maximum load encompasses the total wattage of your intended lighting scheme.
Some less-efficient low voltage halogen spotlights seem destined to be vistims of the EU phase-out, so how is halogen technology modified to reduce its power usage?
Eco halogen achieves its aims by using one or both of the following methods:
- If a more efficient halogen gas is used than the commonly utilised argon, the filament burns more brightly, thus allowing a like-for-like reduction in power usage.
- Infra-red heat reflection inside the halogen capsule also allows the filament to burn more brightly, again resulting in lower power consumption for the same output.
The net result of these improved halogen bulb designs is usually an improvement of around 20-30% in energy efficiency over a regular halogen bulb. In some all-out energy-saving designs the figure is claimed to be significantly higher. Where this comparison is expressly made between energy-saving halogen and regular halogen technologies, you may assume the figure to be around 10% greater in any regular incandescent comparison.
The halogen advantage
Halogen spotlights produce a bright, clearly defined beam that is ideal as accent lighting, display lighting, or task lighting. It’s a cheap technology to invest in up-front, despite being power-thirsty. Halogen lighting is usually warm, but being an incandescent offspring it’s incredibly colour accurate - more reliably so than fluorescent or LED rivals. Halogen is often the base technology in critical art displays or for colour-proofing in graphics and photo environments.
The halogen disadvantage, even in its energy-saving guise, is that its rivals are extremely conservative in their use of power. An LED bulb can be up to 90% more efficient than regular halogen, and last up to 25 times longer.
The Lyco advantage
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