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Track lighting: tips & tricks

Sometimes, you have only one light socket, yet you want to connect several light sources. In such a case, track lighting can be the solution. But what do you have to keep in mind, when putting together a rail?

Which rail?

Everything starts with the choice of the track itself. What are you planning to use it for? Below are a few things to take into consideration.

1 phase vs. 3 phases

If you want to be able to control the light sources on your rail separately, you'll need a 3 phase track. If they can all switch on/off together, a 1 phase system might be sufficient.

On our help page one 1 phase and 3 phase rails, you can find more info on this topic.

12V or 230V

Just like regular spots, track systems exist in 12V and 230V versions. Low voltage rails are more compact and delicate. That's why they're often used in displays, in jewelry stores for example. For other applications high voltage track systems are more common.

Please note that low voltage tracks always require a transformer. This transformer determines how many lights can be put on the track.

The fact that 230V is the standard, also has its influence on the range of choice. The variety in 230V tracks is much bigger than 12V. Furthermore, 3 phase rails are always 230V.

Fixtures

Fixtures for track systems are almost too numerous to mention. Spots in all possible sizes, pendant lights, beamers and even fluorescent fixtures.

Can't find the pendant you're looking for? With the aid of a railadapter, you can connect every pendant light that's supported by its own power cord.

12V Rail

Installation

You've decided which rail you need and which fixtures you want to connect to it. Before you can start installing, you'd better think about the following:

Mounting

You can mount a track in three different ways. The easiest one is directly to the wall or ceiling. For an extra decorative touch, you can also have it suspended. This can be done with cables or with rods.

If you're going to suspend your rails, you'll also need clips to attach them to the cables or rods.

Connection

The fixtures on your rail need electrical current of course. So, you'll have to make a connection to your power supply. When doing this, think about where you want your rail to go. Will the power supply be in the center of the rail or at the end?

Pendels op rail

Also check which side the protective wire runs through your rail. Left or right makes a difference for your connection piece. This doesn't matter if you have a straight rail, 'cause then you turn the rail around. It's really important though when you're working with corners and bends.

Accessories

With everything we've listed up until now, you can install a working, straight rail. If this is what you had in mind, you only need one more thing, an end cap. This is used to cover the end(s) of the rail.

In case you're not looking for a simple, straight rail or want to connect different rails, you'll need connectors. There are a few things to watch out for with these connectors.

  • See if the protective wire is on the left or on the right. In the description of the connectors, you'll find the words 'inside' or 'outside'.
  • Connectors can have a feed-in possibility. However, that's not always the case. Pay attention when choosing connectors!
  • In general, there's no limit to the number of 230V tracks you can connect to each other. For 12V tracks, the maximum length depends on the transformer and the total wattage of the lamps you'll connect to the track. When in doubt, ask one of our lighting specialists.

Track lighting

Pendant lights on rail

Conclusion

So, what do we need to install a complete set of track lighting?

  • The track! Make your choice between 230V or 12V and 1 phase or 3 phases. For 12V tracks, you'll also need a transformer.
  • Choose the fixtures you want to connect to the track.Keep in mind that not all fixtures come with an included bulb.
  • Where's your light socket? Whether it's in the center or at the end of your rail, you'll need a different connection.
  • The mounting of the track itself. You can mount it against the ceiling, but you can also have it suspended on cables or rods.
  • Make sure you also order all the connectors and end caps you need. Also check if the protective wires or on the inside or on the outside.

When you take all these aspects into account, you should be perfectly able to make your choice from our extended range of track lighting.

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