G9 Bulb: The Future Has Arrived

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G9 halogen bulbs are a specific subset of halogen bulbs (also called halogen lamps) that has a specific connector type, in this case a 9-pin spread. The G in its name indicates that the original bulb was constructed using glass.

G9 bulbs features a base with a two-loop or bi-pin setting that does not fit in normal sockets that you’re familiar with for your home lights and standing lamps – this is called the Edison screw socket. The unusual base, which often looks like to looped metal slots sticking out the base of the bulb, differs from other halogen bulbs and light bulbs that use a screw or straight metal connections.

These bulbs typically max out at 120 to 130 volts and offer a variety of uses in your home, automobile and industrial applications. These bulbs often come with a frosted or tinted finish in order to make them less harsh on human eyes, though you can buy some with a lack of a film or a clear finish.

Standard G9 Uses

Halogen light bulbs have a wide variety of uses depending on the model, and the G9 system typically includes practical uses. They are often used for accent lighting, desk lighting, hanging lights (often called pendant lighting because they hang down from the ceiling light pendants) both inside and out of the home, and lights set under cabinets and drawers.

Many high-end chandeliers that use halogen bulbs include G9 lamps. Wall mounts also often rely on these bulbs because they are readily available at most hardware stores.

Bulb Construction

Halogen bulbs use a tungsten filament to produce light because the chemical reaction it has with halogen causes some evaporated tungsten to collect back on the filament itself, allowing for a longer life cycle – this is typically called the halogen cycle.

To effectively use the halogen cycle, bulbs like the G9 must reach high temperatures of at least 250°F. Despite these higher temperatures, the G9 bulbs are still more efficient than normal incandescent bulbs.

Because of the temperature requirement and the halogen cycle, G9 bulbs are typically built to last 2,000 to 6,000 hours.

Output

G9 bulbs come in a varied set of wattages, usually between 20 and 75 watts. This means the lumen output can vary greatly for a G9 bulb. Lumen is a unit of measure that basically means how much light is present in a given area.

On average, your 20-watt G9 bulb will produce a 170 lumen output; 40-watt bulbs produce 600 lumen; 60-watt bulbs produce 830 lumen; and a 75-watt bulb will have a lumen output of 1,400.

Typically, this averages out to be the same amount of light for different wattage as an incandescent bulb.

Don’t Touch!

Never touch a halogen bulb directly with your hands, it can hurt you if the bulb is hot and it can potentially damage the bulb too.

Because these lights operate at very high temperatures, even brief contact with a bulb that’s in-use can cause severe burns to your skin. It’s also best not to look directly at these lights without eye protection.

There’s also danger to touching the bulb directly with your skin, whether or not it’s hot. Oil from your skin can get through the semipermeable glass used to create the bulb, which can lead to damage. Grease, dirt and oil that pass through the glass or rest on it create hot spots when the bulb is turned on, causing the glass to crack and gas to leak out. Larger bulbs or those with thicker glass can actually form a heat bubble that will cause a small explosion – breaking the bulb but not typically damaging anyone nearby.

Touching bulbs may not lead to destruction immediately but will cause the bulb to break much quicker than normal.

If you’ve touched the bulb or believe it’s been soiled otherwise, most manufacturers recommend you clean it with alcohol that’s slightly diluted with water. Make sure the surface has dried before turning the bulb on.

An interesting note for handling and care is that some users have reported dirty packages leading to soiled bulbs, so it’s recommended not to let the bulb touch the outside of its packaging.

The Bi-pin Connector

The bi-pin connector design is standard for halogen lamps and the G9 lamps use a looped pin connector. While there are many different types of bi-pin bulbs, their connectors differ in spacing and width to prevent people from improperly switching between bulbs that are too powerful.

This design is relatively new to most home owners, but it was actually invented for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Since the contract to illuminate the Fair did not go to Thomas Edison, he forbade the Fair from using his patented light bulbs with the screw base.

Westinghouse then developed the bulb to operate in its place, also using the alternating current (AC) model of electricity.

Novel Uses

Halogen bulbs have served a wide variety of purposes for in and out of the home, and initially they have been tried as new ways to light unusual cases.

Some people may remember the original halogen lights for car headlines that were thought to be so bright they would cause accidents – they’ve since been installed behind tinted shielding in cars.

Many sports fields use halogen bulbs for their nighttime lights, though LED lights have started to supplant them because LEDs last longer, can be cheaper, and do not operate at high temperatures. For some stadiums, LEDs have also cut power consumption costs.

The Boeing 707 even relied on halogen bulbs to light its wings because they’re very bright; some models also used them as additional navigation lights. These modified halogen bulbs do not darken as quickly as some other aviation bulbs and provided better illumination. The heat they generate, however, has caused many to switch away from them.

A budding sector for G9 bulbs is to come in lights that are housed in self-contained units. This allow for safer handling because you don’t risk touching a hot bulb and your skin oils can’t come in contact with the bulb itself.

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