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Question DetailsAsked on 9/25/2014

why do halogen track lights not work. switch light turns on and off

my halogen dimmer track light in the kitchen went out when I replaced light bulbs in the bedroom with the new kind of bulbs. Can I use regular bulbs in a halogen track light? The switch seems to be on but no lights. garbage disp. switch and dimmer are on same opening in the wall. garbage disp. works

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If the KITCHEN tracklights failed when you replace BEDROOM bulbs, then they must be on the same circuit - or off the same transformer if low-voltage. If that is the case, then your bedroom lights must be out too, right ? If so, sounds like you overloaded the transformer or circuit with the new bulbs, unplug the bedroom track and check if the breaker tripped. If so, reset it and see if kitchen track works. If so, bedroom bulbs were wrong for the transformer/track. If does not work, then probably blew the transformer, assuming this is low-voltage track system.

If the bedroom lights still work fine, then Murphy is just messing with your mind, and the kitchen failure was coincidentally at the same time.

As long as the bulbs are the same voltage and not more than rated (actual, NOT equivalent) wattage for the transformer, then IF the track does not have built-in halogen starter circuitry then yes you can use regular bulbs with the same base type AND rated for the same type of fixture - for instance, can lights require reflector type bulbs in most cases. Check the manual or manufacture website about whether you can use regular bulbs with your particular system - many have little electronic starters at each head and can only use the specific type andwattage of bulb they came with, and even though other wattages and types of bulbs may fit the fixture, will burn out the starter circuitry. This is quite common, and most tracks do not have permanently affixed warning labels to only use certain type bulbs, or it is on the back of the track where it can't be seen after installation.

I would temporarily plug something else you know works like a lamp into that outlet, just to be sure you did not blow the breaker, and if no power check breaker box for a tripped breaker.

I suspect that you actually meant you put new (different) bulbs in the KITCHEN tracklight. In that case, one of several things - the total wattage on the bulb - the actual wattage, NOT the "equivalent to" wattage of all the bulbs, cannot exceed the rating of the transformer. Also, you cannot use electronic bulbs (some halogen, CFL, LED) in most dimmer switches - some will work at full dimmer switch setting only and not light or burn out quickly at dimmed setting, and some will burn out some types of dimmer switches in quick order. Also, some track lights I have seen recently from box stores use a 2-pin base type that comes in both low voltage and standard voltage bulbs - so if it is a low voltage system and you use 120V bulbs, they do not have enough juice to light up. This is a VERY bad situation, having different voltage bulbs with the same base, but I have seen it in products coming out of China - don't know if this is UL approved or not, but if it is it ranks right up there with two-wire appliances and power tools for the idiots of the century nominations.

Here is a prior response on using different type bulbs in a 12V system that might also help you -

Before calling an electrician, if you still have the old bulbs, pull all but one of the new ones and try an old bulb in the track (after you make sure the outlet works) - if it works, then your new bulbs are incompatible with the electronic controls either in the track (if it has them at each head) or with the dimmer switch.

Otherwise, call an electrician.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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