12 Volt Bulbs & LEDs
Click on link below to open a PDF file of the photometrics for the different types of low voltage landscape lamps, bulbs, and Vista Lighting fixtures. Photometric charts show the distance a lamp or fixture will illuminate, as well as the angle and spread of the light pattern.
PHOTOMETRICS GUIDE (.pdf file)
12 Volt LED Bulbs, 12 Volt LED Lights
It is only recently that LED retrofit bulbs have become available for every type of landscape lighting bulb. 12 volt LED Bulbs can now be used in all of our fixtures and your lighting selection is no longer limited when you want 12 volt LED lights. LED, or Light Emitting Diode, is a technology that eliminates the old style bulb with a vacuum or a bulb filled with a rare gas like halogen or xenon. The problem with this old style bulb, as with the everyday incandescent household light bulb, is that the filament that creates the light eventually fails. Typical incandescent bulbs have a life measured in a couple thousand hours, or less. The filament is a piece of metal wire that lights up when an electrical current is passed through it. Turning the light off and on repeatedly causes the filament to heat up and cool down over and over, eventually causing the filament to break. The technology of 12 volt LED Bulbs is different in a couple of ways. First of all, there is no filament or vacuum or rare gas involved. The light is emitted by a solid state diode, which is controlled by a small circuit board that regulates the light output and light color. This combination has a life expectancy of more like 30,000 to 50,000 hours, and uses 80% less energy to operate.
The lower wattage draws of 12 volt LED lights allow you to use smaller, and less costly, transformers. The availability of 12 volt LED bulbs can also help when you wish to add more fixtures to an existing landscape lighting system. Most systems are designed with a transformer that is just large enough to accommodate the fixtures being installed originally. Adding new fixtures would overload the transformer. The solution is to switch the existing fixtures from halogen bulbs to 12 volt LED retrofit bulbs, and add new fixtures that also use the 12 volt LED lights. Since a typical LED bulb of 3 watts puts out as much light as a 20-25 watt halogen bulb, the fixtures draw only about 15% of the wattage the old halogen bulbs used. Replacing the old halogen bulbs with 12 volt LED bulbs is easy; they are made to use the same existing socket and should fit within your existing fixture just like the original bulbs. Occasionally the 12 volt LED Bulbs are slightly larger in size, particularly when it comes to the T3 and T4 styles. The MR-16 style sometimes projects slightly further out on the light surface than the original halogen bulbs. If you are using a fixture that has glass very close to the bulb face this could cause a clearance problem. You can call us prior to ordering if you think there could be a clearance issue when using the 12 volt LED Bulbs.
Like all low voltage landscape lighting, 12 volt LED bulbs and 12 volt LED lights are simple to install using basic hand tools and little experience is required. Unlike the installation of high voltage lighting which requires building permits and use of a licensed contractor, 12 volt LED lights can be installed by the homeowner or handyman, and no permits are required. Most of our fixtures come with installation instructions, and the transformers come with a transformer installation guide. These installation sheets and guides are also available on our website in the resources section. Our technical support advisors are available to answer any questions you may have, or to assist you in designing and purchasing your landscape lighting system.