Is 12volt track lighting cheaper to operate than 120 volt system??


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 lighting system?
Thanks for your help!
Vic
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Yes. What did you think "50W" meant?
Current will be 50W / 12V = 4.17A

The transformer will be less than 100% efficient, using some power.

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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 difference there.
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I suspect there's some loss in converting your 120VAC to 12V. How much depends on the method;switcher or iron-core transformer.
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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 efficient.
There is some loss in the transformer, but it's probably less than 10%
    Dave
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vic wrote:

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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