Recently, we discussed several types of unique LED bulbs that many people are not familiar with. Among them were the mini LED indicator bulbs, which are used to replace the mini halogen cranks in a wide variety of applications, including vehicles, lights under the cabinet and decorative accessories. These bulbs exceed and exceed their halogen counterparts, which makes the upgrade even more attractive. Although it may seem simple, replacing your halogens is not as easy as pulling a bulb randomly off a shelf, especially if you do not know what halogen bulb you have. In this guide, we will show you how to identify your current bulb and find a replacement LED that matches.
Part 1: Identify your mini halogen bulb
The first step in identifying your halogen bulb is to see what base it has. In some cases, this information will be printed on the bulb or somewhere in the accessory. If it is not, do not worry. Most bases can be identified by measuring the spacing of the pins or by how the pins look. The bases of two pins have two pins that come out of the bottom of the bulb and are installed by gently pushing them into the socket. These bulbs are labeled with a “G” followed by the space between the pins (in millimeters):
Although the bases G6.35 and GY6.35 have the same spacing, the pins have slightly different diameters. The G6.35 pins have a diameter of 1 millimeter, while the GY6.35 pins are 1.25 millimeters in diameter. G8 and GY8, on the other hand, have different pin lengths: the G8 pins measure 8 millimeters long and the GY8 pins measure 8.5 millimeters.
While bi-pin bases are the most common, their mini halogen lights can have one of these bases:
Variation of G9 based bi-pin bulbs where the pins are formed into loops.
Pins are partially encased and the bulb is designed to be ‘wedged’ down into a specialty socket.
|Single Contact (SC) Bayonet
Twist and lock bulb with one metal contact on the bottom of the base.
|Double Contact (DC) Bayonet
Twist and lock bulb with two metal contacts on the bottom of the base.
Has points on each end of the lamp and can only be used in festoon sockets.
|Mini Candelabra (E11)
Screw-base that measures 11 millimeters.
Screw-base that measures 12 millimeters.
Screw-base that measures 17 millimeters.
Note: The mini candelabra (E11) and candelabra (E12) bulbs are not interchangeable, although there is only a difference of one millimeter between the two.
Next, you need to find out what voltage your accessory is operating on. The accessories vary between 6 volts and 120 volts and can use AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current). The bulbs usually have the voltage printed on the base. You can also look directly at the accessory. Older luminaires may have the voltage printed on the lens, the lens cap or even inside the luminaire. Newer accessories may have voltage along with other information printed on a label.
The last step is to see what wattage your bulb uses. Like the voltage, the wattage can be found directly on the bulb. The accessories will also have the wattage information printed on them. In some cases, you can see the wattage followed by “maximum wattage”. This indicates that the accessory can not be used with a bulb that exceeds that wattage.
Part 2: Choose the correct mini LED indicator bulb
Now that you know what halo bulb you have, you can start looking for an equivalent LED. First, find the base that matches your current bulb. Mini LED indicator bulbs are available in a variety of bases:
Bi-pin – G4, GY6.35, G8 and G9
Unique contact (SC) Bayonet
Double contact (DC) Bayonet
Next, you will have to find the correct voltage. The mini LED indicator bulbs generally range between 12 and 120 volts and can work with DC only, AC alone or both. Some light bulbs, such as T3 wafers, can operate with slightly lower voltages. Be sure to pay close attention to what you are choosing, since applying the wrong voltage or current can damage both the bulb and the accessory.
Now compare vatajes. To have a light output similar to current halogen bulbs, look for LED bulbs that have the same equivalent wattage. For example, a mini LED indicator light labeled “equal 50 watts” will produce a similar amount of light at 50 watts of halogen while using less electricity and producing much less heat. For a brighter light, choose a bulb that has a higher equivalent wattage. Because these LED bulbs consume much less energy than halogen bulbs, you do not have to worry about exceeding the device’s maximum wattage capacity.
Because LED mini indicator lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes, it is better to measure the inside of your fixture to make sure the new LED bulb fits. The LED bulb can be longer or have a larger dimension than the halogen bulb.
Some final tips
Most mini LED indicator lights are rated for use in dry locations and should not come in contact with moisture. For applications where there may be moisture, look for waterproof bulbs that may be exposed to water but not submerged. LED indicator bulbs are not designed to withstand heat and can not be used in applications such as microwaves or ovens. Not all mini LED indicator bulbs are able to dim. You should specifically look for bulbs labeled as dimmable if you want your lights to dim. Unlike halogen bulbs, mini LED lights are not affected by the oils in your hands or these bulbs can be handled freely without gloves.
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