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Halogen lighting - An introduction

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Halogen Lighting - An Introduction
Darren Gilbert

Tungsten Halogen Lamps were invented in 1958 by the clever folk at General Electric. Using a Tungsten filament in Halogen filled Quartz envelope they designed a very versatile lamp, which is today seen in myriad applications.

Why is Halogen lighting so popular?

Halogen Lamps have many advantages over normal incandescent lamps. These may be summarised as:

  1. Halogen lamps are more efficient. They produce about 20% more light per watt than an incandescent lamp.
  2. Halogen lamps give a ‘better colour rendering’, as they identify more colours of the visible spectrum.
  3. Halogen lamps have a longer life.
  4. Halogen lamps do not suffer from blackening.
  5. Halogen lamps are much more compact.
The many types of Halogen lamp

Identifying the many possible uses of this revolutionary technology, designers went to work adapting its initial format. Today Halogen lamps are available in many different voltages, wattages, shapes, sizes and with a diversity of cap. Standard domestic and most retail applications use 240v (mains voltage), or 12v (low voltage). Mains voltage applications do not need a transformer, low voltage lighting does. The transformer must be ‘rated’ not only to the voltage but also the combined wattage of the lamps used in the fitting. A fitting using six 12v, 50w lamps, for example, will need a 12v 300w transformer. The range of wattage, type of envelope and cap depend upon the application. Security floodlighting, for example, utilises tubular, double-ended lamps usually around 300w or 500w, while indoor ‘high wire’ low voltage lighting employs tiny two pin capsules, usually between 20w and 50w.

How is Halogen lighting used?

Halogen lamps were originally used in industrial applications. Their small size and intense light provided the perfect solution to projection lighting, scientific research and automotive headlamps. Retailers were also quick to take up the new technology, identifying the particular needs of display lighting, in which space is limited and lights are left running for long periods of time. Halogen lighting is now widely used in domestic situations and the interior designer has a simply vast choice of fittings, including track lighting, surface spot lights, recessed downlights, high wire systems, bathroom mirror lights, stair lights and kick space lights, and is now stocked as standard in most UK Electrical Wholesalers.

Please see my other articles on Halogen lighting; available at //

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