Can a reflectorized lamp be interchanged with an MR16 lamp within a luminaire?
Generally speaking, MR16 lamps cannot be easily interchanged with other
reflectorized lamps such as reflector (R), parabolic
aluminized reflector (PAR), or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) within a luminaire. The main challenges are the difference in input voltage, the size of the lamp, and the socket. MR16 lamps need a transformer to reduce the voltage from 120 volts to, typically, 12 volts. In addition, the base type for MR16 lamps is, in most cases, different from the medium
screwbase of R, PAR, and reflector CFL lamps (see “What are MR16 lamps?”). Medium screwbase MR16 lamps with 120-volt input voltage would make this exchange easier, but it is important to consult with the lamp and luminaire manufacturers to consider safety and performance issues, including:
- the additional heat radiated out of the back of an MR16 lamp and whether
the fixture is designed to accommodate this heat
- the aperture size of the luminaires because the size of the lamps most
likely will be different
- the size of luminaires themselves because of the location and dimensions
of the transformer
On the other hand, luminaires designed for MR16 lamps provide great flexibility because these lamps come in a wide variety of wattages and beam spreads. This interchangeability makes their use worthwhile for many lighting professionals.