12 Volt Halogen Lamps: Overview, Features + Overview of Leading Manufacturers

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Inna Alekseeva
Last update: May 2019

Once indispensable incandescent lamps are a thing of the past. They were replaced by other, improved light sources. They are more economical, easy to use and durable. Among them are halogen type lamps, which can be considered direct "descendants" of incandescent devices.

Such lighting equipment has several varieties. Low-voltage 12-volt halogen lamps are very much in demand. We will talk about their structure, varieties and scope in this material. We also consider the best manufacturers that supply 12 V bulbs to the lighting market.

The principle of operation of the halogen

Halogen lamp design comparable to design incandescent lamps. There is also a bulb, inside it is a filament. All this is placed on the base. The main difference is the composition of the gas filling the flask. A significant disadvantage of an incandescent lamp is its fragility and increased energy intensity. This is explained quite simply.

To increase the intensity of the light flux, it is necessary to increase the temperature of the incandescent body. Which in turn increases energy consumption. When heated, the tungsten, of which the filament is made, begins to evaporate.

Atoms settle on the inside of the flask. As a result, over time, the amount of light emitted by the lamp steadily decreases. The higher the operating temperature of the incandescent lamp, the faster this process.

Halogen lamps are free from these disadvantages due to the fact that the so-called halogen additive is inside the bulb. Bromine or iodine is added to the gas filling in them. The filament for such lamps is made from special grades of tungsten and has a spiral shape. When heated, tungsten begins to evaporate and combines with volatile halogens present inside the flask.

Halogen lamp
Halogen lamps are advanced incandescent devices. Their principle of action is the same. However, the composition of the gas filling the flask is significantly different, which explains the difference in operational characteristics

As a result, tungsten halides are formed that do not deposit on the walls of the shell. They return to the filament, where they decompose into tungsten and halogens, after which the cycle repeats.

Thus, during operation, the bulb remains transparent, and the spiral does not burn out, which significantly prolongs the operation of halogen lamps.

Bulbs of small devices can be filled with xenon, which at times increases the light output and brightness of the lamp.

The scheme of the halogen-tungsten cycle
The use of the so-called halogen-tungsten cycle significantly increases the lamp life and prevents darkening of the inside of the bulb

This kind of lighting is in demand among consumers. About varieties of halogen lamps and choosing the best option we talked here.

Low voltage halogen lamps

All halogen bulbs can be divided into two large groups: high and low voltage. The former operate on 220 V mains voltage, the latter can only function if there is a lower voltage.

This gives them a number of advantages:

  • Long life up to 5000 hours.
  • Excellent color rendering and high quality light.
  • The small sizes.
  • Consistently high brightness.
  • Increased strength due to the quartz shell.
  • Profitability, which is achieved by good luminous efficiency.

However, such lamps have some features, many tend to consider them flaws. First of all, they can work only with a low voltage of 12 V, but there are other varieties for 6 V and 24 V. In order to connect such a lamp to the network, you must use a step-down transformer. The latter must be correctly selected, otherwise the light sources will not be able to function normally.

Halogen connection diagram
Low voltage halogen lamps must not be plugged in. They can only work with reduced voltage. therefore they need to be connected via a transformer. An example of such a connection is shown in the diagram.

The transformer may be electromagnetic or electronic. The second type is compact and at the same time high operational characteristics. Most often, transformers must be installed hidden. This happens when arranging lights on the ceiling or inside furniture. In this case, you need to remember that during operation the device generates heat, so you need to leave enough free space for its dissipation.

In addition, a low operating voltage implies a significant increase in the current passing through the wires. It can be 18 times larger than that with a similar voltage occurs in a 220 V network. This requires a competent calculation of the cross section and length of the wires used and the high quality of their contacts.

Even small errors in the calculations will lead to a significant decrease in the brightness of the glow of the lamps. All these features significantly complicate the installation process of 12 V halogen. However, competent calculation and proper installation guarantee their trouble-free operation.

Varieties of halogen lamps
All varieties of halogen lamps are equally sensitive to contamination on the bulb. The presence of dirty areas causes heat redistribution and lamp failure

There are indisputable shortcomings in devices. They include a large amount of heat generated during operation, which, among other things, significantly reduces the efficiency of the device.

In addition, it is undesirable to touch the lamp housing with your hands. Even small contaminants cause a redistribution of temperature inside the bulb, which leads to its blackening and subsequent failure of the lamp.

Types of low-voltage halogen light sources

Low voltage halogens are widely used.They are used to equip various types of lights, in lamps with special plinths, car headlights, etc. There are mainly two varieties of such lamps.

Devices of a directional light

These are lamps equipped with a reflector or reflector. Due to this, the light rays emitted by the device are redistributed and sent to a specific area of ​​space.

The design consists of a miniature halogen lamp mounted in the center of the reflector. The latter can be made of various materials, which determines the operational characteristics of the product.

Directional halogen lamp
Halogen lamps with an interference reflector are called cold light devices, because the heat generated by them is uniformly scattered around the device

Most often, mirror reflectors are made of aluminum or other metals. Their feature is the direction of the heat released during operation of the device together with the light rays forward. If this is undesirable for any reason, an instrument with an interference reflector is used. The so-called cold light bulb.

The reflector of such a device is made of glass with a very thin metal film deposited on it. The coating reflects only waves of a certain length, so that light visible to the eye is reflected in a given direction, and thermal or infrared radiation is scattered.

Such lamps have another feature - the reflector transmits a certain amount of light rays, giving them different shades of color.

This phenomenon is favorably beaten by designers in lamps of various types. Despite the name of the lamp with an interference reflector, it would be a mistake to think that no heat is generated during their operation. As with devices with a mirror reflector, they radiate heat in an amount of about 90% of the power of the device.

Due to the properties of the material of which the reflector is made, it is evenly scattered around the lamp. That is, the temperature near the working device is still elevated. For this reason, even “cold light” devices can only be installed with certain restrictions regarding fire safety.

Halogen lamp bases
Low-voltage halogen lamps are equipped with special pin (pin) caps. The marking must indicate the distance between these pins.

There is another kind of reflex device - this is an IRC lamp. They have a special coating that is able to reflect infrared radiation. It seems to “block” the IR rays inside the bulb, directing them again to the spiral.

Thus, it is possible to increase the temperature of the filament with less energy. IRC lamps are characterized by the increased term of operation. In addition, they have less power consumption.

Devices with a reflector can be produced with a special protective glass or without it. In the latter case, they are used only in closed luminaires.

Safety glass can be transparent, frosted or colored. This makes it possible to equip any decorative lighting. Almost all protective glasses trap ultraviolet and hard infrared radiation, which is not good for humans.

Lamps with reflectors are separated by light distribution.

Depending on the directivity of the rays, they distinguish:

  • narrow light beam from 8 to 12 °;
  • middle from 18 to 24 °;
  • wide a beam of light rays from 36 to 60 ° or more.

Often you can find lettering.

  • SSP or NSP designation of an ultra-narrow beam up to 8 °;
  • SP narrow 8-12 °;
  • Fl average 24-30 °;
  • Wfl wide 36-38 °%
  • Vwfl very wide over 60 °.

Light distribution is a very important indicator characterizing the ability of a lamp to create certain types of lighting.

Halogen lamp
It is very important to know what angle of the light beam the reflector of the lamp suggests. Only in this way can you choose the right device for certain functions

For example, devices with a wide light beam are ideal for overhead lighting, and with a narrow one - for illumination from a relatively large distance or to create bright light spots.

Capsule or finger devices

Their main distinguishing feature is their compact size and high power from 5 to 100 watts. Capsule halogen bulbs 12 in low power of 5 and 10 watts have proven themselves in decorative lighting. In this way, bright light points or spots are created. More powerful devices are used as light sources for all kinds of luminaires, including for stretch ceilings.

In addition, capsule lamps are placed in small spotlights for indoor lighting or spots, as professionals call them.

There are two types of finger-type devices that differ in the direction of the filament. It can be horizontal or axial. Depending on this, the amount of light emitted by the device changes somewhat. For ordinary luminaires this is not essential, but for spots it is very important.

Capsule lamp
Capsule halogen lamps are tiny sources of bright light. They are widely used for arranging various types of decorative lighting.

The light distribution of the spotlights is noticeably broken when there is an error in the choice of the lamp. Admittedly, it is optimal to use capsule lamps without reflectors.

Making spots is quite time-consuming and requires careful focusing and fitting of the lamp. It is much easier to purchase a device with a reflector, which is essentially a factory-made spot.

A bulb of capsule lamps can be coated internally with a special composition that reflects infrared waves. The result is an IRC device, characterized by an extended service life and consuming less power. The quartz glass from which the lamp sheath is made may have UV protection. This must be indicated on the product label.

Halogen capsule lamp
Halogen capsule lamps differ in the location of the incandescent body. It can be axial (a) or horizontal (b). Location options are shown in the figure.

Both types of low-voltage halogen and reflex and capsule are equipped with special caps pin type. They come in several forms and are equipped with alphanumeric markings. The numbers indicate the distance between the two pins, which is expressed in millimeters.

Overview of the best halogen manufacturers

The operational characteristics of halogen lamps, including brightness and durability, are largely determined by the quality of the products, which, in turn, depends on the manufacturer. For this reason, experts recommend choosing the products of well-established companies. Such brands can be safely attributed to them.

Place # 1 - German company Osram

The history of the German company began more than a hundred years ago, when in 1906 the first Osram brand products appeared on the market. These were incandescent lamps.

A little later, the manufacturer merges with several companies engaged in the production of lighting products. Today, the brand specializes in the development, manufacture and sale of a variety of lighting products.

Lamps Osram
Osram brand halogen lamps are considered one of the best. The manufacturer offers a wide range of different lighting products.

The assortment of the company is represented by a large number of lighting devices for various purposes. This is automotive equipment, energy saving household lamps, projection devices, display optics, sensors, light control systems, UV devices for water disinfection.

The brand pays attention to the development of new technologies designed to best meet the needs of users.

Osram manufacturing facilities are located in 17 countries. These are 46 large enterprises equipped with the most modern equipment.It produces millions of lighting fixtures, which then go on sale in more than 150 countries.

Each of the lamps manufactured here is tested before sale, consisting of 28 tests, where its tightness, strength, manufacturing accuracy, etc. are checked.

Users are confident in Osram products and consider them a good choice. It is proved that the products of this brand serve several times longer than similar products of other manufacturers. The company invests a significant part of its profits in engineering, which allows it to become the author of new trends in the field of lighting engineering.

Rank # 2 - Dutch brand Philips

The company launched its first product more than 125 years ago, almost immediately after Edison patented his invention. Initially, it produced only incandescent lamps, but over time its range expanded.

Today, the brand is one of the world leaders in the production of lighting equipment with an extremely wide range of products.

Philips Lamps
Philips is the undisputed leader in the production of smart lighting. The brand conducts successful developments in this area and introduces them into production

Philips appeared in the Netherlands, its headquarters is still there. Whereas manufacturing facilities are scattered all over the world.

Most of the company's factories in China and European countries. These are assembly plants with well-tuned Dutch technological cycles. Product quality is monitored at every stage of production.

The brand is considered one of the founders LED lighting, it was here that the first LEDs were developed and introduced into production.

Today, the company is passionate about the idea of ​​moving lighting to the digital level. She holds a leading position in the development and release Smart lamps and fixtures, as well as lighting control systems.

The company produces multifunctional devices that can not only shine, but also collect, store and transmit information. They are well installed in the system. Smart home. A distinctive feature of Philips is the highest quality products, their well-thought-out functionality and durability.

Place # 3 - Russian company Navigator

The first products under the brand name entered the market quite recently, in 2006. It was an attempt to create its own production by Battery Team, which was previously engaged in the sale of lighting products.

The attempt was successful, today products under the Navigator brand are well known not only in Russia but also in other countries. The assortment of the company is wide and constantly updated with new products.

Lamp Navigator
The company Navigator produces inexpensive, but high-quality products. She is very popular in the middle price segment.

The brand produces various lamps, lamps for domestic and industrial use, extension cords, lights, various batteries, searchlights and much more.

The company's production facilities are located in the city of Klin. The technological cycle involves the production of high quality products, which are carefully monitored at all production stages.

All products of the Navigator brand have an extended warranty. In particular, for lamps it is two years. The manufacturer deliberately keeps the price of their products in the middle segment, which makes it very affordable. At the same time, the quality remains quite high. Thanks to this brand, it is possible to successfully compete with very well-known brands.

Rank # 4 - Hong Kong's Camelion Brand

The history of the Hong Kong company began in 1962 with the release of various power supplies. Gradually, the assortment was replenished with electrical products and today Kamelion can be considered one of the leaders in the production of lighting equipment.

The company produces lamps of various types, lamps for various purposes, searchlights, lights and much more.

Lamp Camelion
The Kamelion brand initially specialized in the production of batteries, which did not prevent him from later opening the production of lighting equipment. High-quality and quite affordable lamps are in demand by customers

The production of lighting products began with one plant, today there are already more than ten of them. Each is equipped with modern production lines, which allows us to produce high quality products.

Before being shipped to consumers, Kamelion products undergo rigorous testing, which makes it possible to immediately identify and filter out manufacturing defects. At the same time, the company keeps prices for its products affordable for most buyers.

The brand closely monitors all innovations in the field of lighting engineering and implements them in production. Digital “smart” equipment is gradually appearing in its range. In addition, the production of light control systems has begun, which makes it possible to create a variety of lighting schemes.

The company confidently occupies its niche in the middle price segment, producing products of high enough quality at quite reasonable prices.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

A video on the principles of action and the advantages of halogens:

Why low voltage halogens need a transformer:

What you need to know about the operation of a halogen lamp:

Low-voltage halogen lamps are a practical solution for arranging the illumination of the ceiling, furniture or part of a room. They are distinguished by a nice-looking color of the light flux and high brightness. At the same time, they serve for a long time, especially under the condition of competent operation.

Manufacturers offer many varieties of such lamps, which makes it possible to create any, even the most complex lighting systems to your liking.

Do you use 12 volt halogens? Share your experience with beginners - tell us which products of which manufacturer do you prefer? Add unique photos of your bulbs below under this article.

If you still have questions about the topic of the material, feel free to ask our experts in the comments section.

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