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Low-voltage (LV) lighting is the best choice for many applications. But LV lamps come in many different types. Let’s look at a couple of the popular types, so you have some background when you go looking at your options.
In the tungsten-halogen family, you’ll find the Multi-faceted Reflector (MR) lamp. Basically, it’s a slide-projector lamp modified for architectural lighting. MRs come in several wattages, sizes, and beam patterns. But picking the right MR lamp, if you’ve decided that’s the way to go, requires understanding exactly which architectural features to light (how they need to be lit) for best aesthetics. Then again, making the best aesthetics possible is why there are so many varieties of this lamp.
MR lamps are also used for display lighting. One reason is that a feature you find among the MR lamps is the dichrotic reflector. This reflector is sensitive to ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths, reflecting them out the sides and back of the lamp rather than through its lens. That helps protect things that could be damaged by the heat or light that would otherwise be emitted onto them. That’s why, for example, such lights are often used for displays of paintings.
The PAR 36 lamp is also very popular. Its strong oval beam makes it especially good for applications involving high ceilings. And it’s widely used in many other lighting applications. It has an oval beam and is available in various spotlight configurations, such as wide, narrow, and very narrow.