Track Lighting Tutorial
Track lighting adds a nice modern, contemporary touch to a wide variety of settings. It is very functional, flexible, and is simple to install. In this tutorial, we will tell you the basics of track lighting and what you need to know whether you are changing an existing track lighting configuration, or installing a new track lighting system.
There are three things you need to know when working with track lighting:
- Track standard; type of track to be used
- Power source for your track
- The track lights themselves
The track is the bar unit that is attached to the ceiling or wall, and is the part where the track lights are installed onto. No all tracks are the same. There are three major track standards and a bunch of other proprietary systems in the market. The three major track standards are: Halo, Juno, and Lightolier. They are the earliest manufacturers of track lighting, and have the largest track lighting market share today. Not all track lights fit all track types. You need to make sure the track and the track lights are compatible before making your purchase.
After you have decided on the track lighting system, you need to know what you power source is going to be. There are two options:
- Electrical junction box
- Standard electric outlet
An electrical junction box is a power source situated above or near the ceiling most of the time. A track can be connected to a junction box via a floating canopy connector or a live end connector for power. Because it is usually near where the track light is, the amount of exposed wire or cable between the track and the junction box is minimal or often times none, creating a finished designer look that is ecstatically pleasing to the eye. However, you may need an electrician to do the track light installation since connecting the track lights to the electrical junction box is a less straightforward approach than our next option.
Connecting track lights to an electric outlet is an easier task. You can just use a plug and cord set to connect a live end connector installed on the track to an electric outlet. This solution is not as elegant as connecting the track light system to a junction box, but you do not need an electrician to install it.
The Track Lights
After you have decided on the track standard to use, picked the power source based on your track lighting design, you will now pick what type of track lights you want. There are two main types: line-voltage track light, and low-voltage track light. (You can find both types of track lights in the three major track standards without much difficulty.) Line-voltage track lights work with the standard voltage found in electric junction boxes and outlets – 120V in the US. The line-voltage track lights are generally less expensive, but consume more power than low-voltage track lights. The low-voltage track lights generally cost more but produce whiter light and consume less power. Low-voltage track lights operate at 12V and each comes with an integral transformer to convert the 120V line-voltage to 12V. Different application should utilize different type of track lights. Generally speaking, if your application ceiling is taller than 9 feet, we recommend using line-voltage track lights. Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
The above are the basics about track lighting. There are other areas to consider when installing a track lighting system. We will be adding more to this section. Please come back and visit us often. Feel free to browse our track lighting section and drop us a line if you have any questions. Thank you for visiting Arcadian Lighting!