Can someone explain the benefits of 12 volt track lights.
Does a 50 watt 12 volt light use 50 watts? Is there any operating cost
inherent in using a 12 volt system vs a standard 120 volt track
Thanks for your help!
One big advantage of 12V systems is safety. It allows Joe Sixpack to do his
own wiring with no fear of killing himself. It is especially beneficial
with the outdoor lighting systems.
You still have to burn a given amount of power to light a bulb. Not much
The wires connecting to the bulbs don't need particularly good
insulation, allowing all sorts of creativity in how the system is put
together and what carries the current to the bulb.
Also, a 12 V 50 W lamp has a fairly thick robust tungsten filament. The
same wattage lamp at 120 V has a very thin and fragile filament.
Yes, it uses 50 W. 12 V lamps are generally halogen, so they are whiter
in colour and more efficient (more luments per watt) than a standard
cheap 120 V incandescent bulb. But 120 V halogen lamps are just as
There is some loss in the transformer, but it's probably less than 10%
Overall it is difficult to say. However in most situations the 12V will
be less efficient. Most of the time it would require a transformer to step
the voltage down and that looses energy. Unless the wires are oversized
there will be additional losses in the wires as 12 V wires would require
larger wires to archive the same efficiency as 120V.
In real life the equipment available in 12V often allows more precise
and creative control of the light output so if you gained enough there, the
overall efficiency may be better.
In either case the voltage is the least important part of the question.
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