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Incandescents In Track Lighting?
Posted by: chopper
Date: September 03, 2011 09:58PM
My track lighting has always used fairly expensive halogen lights as per the electrician that put the system in. Recently, I replaced one of them that burned out with a simple 100 watt incandescent bulb. Is this bad?

The light is pretty decent for an incandescent, and like $6 cheaper ...
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Re: Incandescents In Track Lighting?
Posted by: Winston
Date: September 03, 2011 11:34PM
There is no technical reason why you can't use a standard incandescent.

Halogens will generally last longer and use less energy than a standard incandescent. Halogens are actually a type of incandescent. The halogen gas in the bulb helps re-deposit tungsten onto the filament, so it lasts longer and burns cooler. They typically are a lot brighter at a given wattage, so you can use a lower wattage halogen for the same light, which is how you save on energy. I don't like changing bulbs that are way up, so I also like to use halogens because they usually last significantly longer. I don't mind the energy savings either.

Most halogens also produce a "whiter" light (to my eyes) than standard incandescents. There are exceptions to this, like the (expensive) GE Reveal bulbs.


Good luck.

- Winston



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Re: Incandescents In Track Lighting?
Posted by: davester
Date: September 03, 2011 11:35PM
Most track fixtures are only rated for about 60 watts max, so you had probably better put in a lower wattage bulb before you burn the house down. Check the rating that should be writtenon the fixture. A halogen bulb IS an incandescent (it just has a halogen gas added to the bulb to alter the color and increase bulb life) so there wouldn't be any difference. However, be sure that you don't put a regular light bulb in there instead of a flood or spot. A regular bulb will send more heat (incandescents and halogens produce primarily heat, not light) backwards into the fixture and will likely melt the fixture components. I've seen this happen numerous times.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Incandescents In Track Lighting?
Posted by: Winston
Date: September 04, 2011 12:37AM
davester makes a good point. If you were using flood or spot type (reflector) lights you'd want to be careful replacing them with an "A" (typical lamp type) bulb, instead of a reflector bulb. But there is no problem replacing a halogen bulb with the same wattage and type regular incandescent bulb.

You can also often use a physically smaller reflector bulb and get much the same effect as with the regular sized reflector bulb. We have recessed lights in our house of three different sizes (for R20, R30 and R40 bulbs). I often use a size smaller reflector bulb in the fixture. This allows more air around the bulb and I think they burn a bit cooler and last longer.


- W



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Re: Incandescents In Track Lighting?
Posted by: chopper
Date: September 04, 2011 07:44AM
I'm confused. Should I replace the halogen with a normal 60 watt bulb--or a large 60 watt flood?

I found one of the fixtures. Inside it reads: Max PAR30 Type lamp 75W Do not use lamp identified for use in enclosed fixtures only and caution hot surface "shielded " Keep away from curtains and other combustible materials for use with ceiling mounted track only ...

In very type on the bottom it reads "120v 60hz 20 amps AC only".

Any help appreciated.

Update: the system is a Liform L system track ... if that helps.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/04/2011 07:50AM by chopper.
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Re: Incandescents In Track Lighting?
Posted by: davester
Date: September 04, 2011 09:49AM
Why are you confused? Winston and I said the same thing, which agrees with the label. Use a PAR (parabolic reflector) bulb (I.e. NOT a "normal 60 w bulb)" with a maximum of 75 watts. The package will have PAR30 [or 20, as suggested by Winston] on the label. It does not matter whether the PAR bulb is halogen or not.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/04/2011 09:51AM by davester.
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Re: Incandescents In Track Lighting?
Posted by: Winston
Date: September 04, 2011 01:47PM
Maybe pictures would help.

[www.topbulb.com]

You want to use bulbs which have a built in reflector. These are shown at the link above as "BR", "R", "H" and "PAR". Regular (shown as "A") bulbs are not recommended because they throw light, therefore energy, into the sides of the housing.

Some PAR halogen bulbs that I have used have a very short base. I'd not recommend these as they concentrate heat down in the fixture. These are pretty obviously very short compared to other reflector bulbs.

Good luck.

- Winston



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Re: Incandescents In Track Lighting?
Posted by: chopper
Date: September 04, 2011 04:54PM
Winston-thanks for your kind help.

This is a real bummer for me as the light afforded by the "normal" bulb in these lights is exactly what I am looking for in this room. I guess I'll have to call an electrician and see about replacing the system so I can just run a cheaper, brighter bulb.
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Re: Incandescents In Track Lighting?
Posted by: Winston
Date: September 04, 2011 06:32PM
Many track light systems have removable fixtures that clip in along a rail. You might be able to just replace the fixtures.

There is a pretty large range of reflector bulbs. You might want to go to a local Home Depot or Lowes and look at the offerings. In particular, you might be able to get the effect you want from a smaller R20 bulb. These are about half the size of the R30 bulbs your fixtures are designed for.

Something like this
[www.lightingsupply.com]

various choices
[www.lightbulbsdirect.com]


Good luck.

- Winston



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