Types of halogen lamps

Written by rich finzer
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Types of halogen lamps
Worklights are equipped with halogen bulbs. (two halogen spotlights image by GeoM from Fotolia.com)

For superior light output, halogen bulbs outperform their incandescent counterparts. Depending upon their intended use, halogen bulbs are available in a wide variety of shapes, colours and sizes. They also have a longer lifespan than many incandescent bulbs. If there is a drawback associated with them, it's that most types produce excessive amounts of heat, hot enough to burn flesh. The easiest way to categorise most halogen bulbs is to group them by the type of base they are equipped with.

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Medium Base Halogens

Several types of halogen bulbs are outfitted with medium bases, which are sometimes referred to as "Edison" bases. They include spotlights, JDD type, BT15, JDR type with an E26 standard (medium) base, and PAR20, PAR30 and PAR38 coloured bulbs. The higher the number of a PAR-type, the larger the diameter of the bulb. BT15 bulbs are usually used as replacements for household incandescent bulbs. JDD bulbs are often used in food service environments.

2-Pin Base Halogen Bulbs

Halogen bulbs are also manufactured with 2-pin bases and include MR8, MR11 and MR16 types. MR8 and MR11 bulbs are low voltage and are used in novelty lamps and track lighting. MR16 bulbs are available in a variety of voltages ranging from low to high. All three "MR" types are available as either white or coloured bulbs. Like their "PAR" counterparts, the higher the MR number, the larger the bulb diameter. Other 2-pin bulb types include JC and JCD bulbs. Another type of 2-pin halogen is the ball light. Globe shaped, they are sometimes installed in pendant fixtures or as a substitute for MR16 lamps.

GU10 Base Halogens

Another type of halogen bulb is one equipped with a GU10 base. It is also a 2-pin type, which is inserted into two socket holes and twisted to lock it into place. The GU10 lamp base looks like the contacts on an older style fluorescent starter. Bulb types include R111 and JDR. R111 bulbs produce excellent beam patterns and are usually used as floodlights. The cooler burning JDR types are often installed in china or curio cabinets.

E17 Base Halogens

Halogens are manufactured with E17, intermediate bases. An intermediate base is also a screw-in type but is used in sockets smaller than an E26 medium or "Edison" base. JDR-type bulbs are available with this type of base.

J-Type Bulbs

The J-type halogen bulb is the variety installed in halogen worklights. They are 3/8 inch in diameter and are inserted horizontally between two contacts in the worklight fixture, directly in front of the aluminium reflector. They are available in wattages ranging from 150 to 500 watts. In addition to illumination, they produce tremendous amounts of heat. As such, they are used as both a light and heat source in an unheated outbuilding.

A Special Class of Halogen Bulbs

Most halogen bulbs are filled with halogen gas, but KX-2000 chroma high performance lamps are filled with krypton gas. They are available with E11, (mini-candelabra) E12, (candelabra) E17, (intermediate) and E26 (standard or medium) bases. Collectively they are also referred to as "Krypton Filled Bulbs." As opposed to a standard halogen bulb, they have a longer average lifespan and operate at much cooler temperatures, meaning they will not burn your skin.

Double Contact Base Halogens

The last group of halogen bulbs are the JD types. Tubular, they are typically installed in expensive lighting fixtures or ceiling fan light kits. They are equipped with BA15d, (bayonet) E11, (mini-candelabra) or E14 (European) screw-in bases. All "J" type halogen bulbs are fashioned from semi-permeable glass, which permits skin oil to migrate inside to the filament. Not only will you burn your hand, but over time, your skin oil will destroy the bulb as well. On or off, do not touch them with bare fingers.

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