The Lowdown on 12-volt Spotlights|
Article - February 3, 2016 By LarsonElectronics.com
The Lowdown on 12-volt Spotlights
Low voltage lights are practical alternatives for line voltage fixtures with demanding power requirements. With focus on 12-volt spotlights, the fixtures offer a myriad of advantages for remote applications. For example, the units consume up to 20 percent less energy compared to conventional incandescent lamps. This equates to long-term savings in energy consumption and electricity bills. Below provides a closer look at the superior benefits of 12-volt, low voltage luminaries.
Benefits and Comparisons
The top three benefits of low voltage lighting include the following: longer lifespans, brighter, whiter light and safe usage. In order to accommodate the step-down voltage requirement, a transformer is applied, which can contribute to the complexity and costs of the device (line voltage systems operate without a transformer). Typically, MR16 (or GU5.3) bulbs are used for 12-volt spotlight applications. Also known as a Multifaceted Reflector, the bulbs rely on a single-ended, quartz halogen capsule with two straight pins at the bottom of the unit for light generation. The luminary comes in a wide variety of models with different beam color temperature (between 2,800K and 3,200K) settings. Because the traditional spotlights run on halogen technology, the fixtures tend to get hot during operation (sometimes reaching 3,000 degrees Celsius). Recently, manufacturers have addressed this issue by applying LED technology to reduce heat created by the lamps.
It is important to consider that MR16 lamps can also operate using six or 24 volts, and support dimming features via mainstream dimmers that cater to low voltage lights. Furthermore, 12-volt fixtures are more tolerant to dampness and wet locations, compared to 120 or 240-volt units. Due to their low voltage properties, the lights are also much safer to use around kids and pets. Operators can choose from a wide range of beam specifications that meets the standards of the target location. Because the luminaries are compact, manufacturers have been able to create narrow beam configurations for portable monitoring, and models that feature wide beams for general lighting requirements. As mentioned earlier, low voltage fixtures boast longer lifespans, between 2,000 and 3,000+ hours (even longer for LED variants), compared to line voltage units that support a lifespan of 700 to 1,000+ hours.
Low voltage technology is ideal for portable spotlights. Such units can use a 12-volt DC port found inside boats, cars, ATVs and industrial systems for power during application. Typically, 12-volt spotlights incorporate a long, coiled cord to promote movement around the location. Some units also come with rechargeable batteries for added portability. Low voltage spotlights are common in the hunting and fishing industry.
During hunting, individuals may utilize a red lens to support animal tracking efforts, or for locating predators in far distances during nighttime excursions. In the fishing sector, individuals may use a green lens to attract large fish by luring in groups of smaller fish in the area. Depending on its intended application, the handheld fixtures may include waterproof properties, corrosion resistant features or special, sturdy housings for protection against rough treatment or unpredictable, outdoor conditions.