Total Track Lighting Blog

Valuable information from Track Lighting experts.

  • Getting to Know our H-Style 3-Wire Track Lighting End Power Feed with Junction Box Cover Video

    Learn pretty much everything there is about our H-style 3-wire track lighting End Power Feed with junction box cover in this informative and detailed overview video  :)

    Discover our TLSK138 End Power Feed with Junction Box Cover

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    7 Fast & Easy Steps to a complete track lighting system

    Build your own track lighting kit here.

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    Tags: 3 wire, H style, Track Connector, Fittings, Connectors

  • Getting to Know our H-Style 3-Wire Track Lighting End Power Feed Video

    Learn pretty much everything there is about our H-style 3-wire track lighting End Power Feed in this informative and detailed overview video :)

    Discover more about our TLSK101 End Power Feed

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    7 Fast & Easy Steps to a complete track lighting system

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    Tags: 3 wire, H style, Track Power Feed, Track Connector, Fittings, Connectors

  • Getting to Know our H-Style 3-Wire Track Lighting Mini-Joiner Connector Video

    Learn pretty much everything there is about our H-style 3-wire track lighting Mini-Joiner Connector in this no fluff informative and detailed overview video :)

    See our TLSK101 Mini-Joiner power track connector.

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    Tags: 3 wire, H style, Track Connector, Fittings, Connectors

  • Getting to Know our H-Style 3-Wire Track Lighting T Connector & Power Feed

    We just released our second video in a series of overview videos of our track lighting connectors & power feeds. In this video you will learn pretty much everything there is to know about how our H-style 3-wire track lighting T Connector and power feed works. Sit back and get to know our TLSK111 T-Connector :)

     

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    Tags: 3 wire, H style, Track Power Feed, Track Connector, Fittings, Connectors

  • How Coronavirus COVID-19 is disrupting the Lighting Product Supply Chain

    VirusMany of our customers have asked how the Coronavirus / COVID-19 virus is affecting our lighting supply chain.

    They are concerned about stock running out on many of our lighting products such as track lighting, recessed lighting, LED T8 retrofit conversion lighting, LED low voltage outdoor landscape lighting and lighting parts, accessories and LED light bulbs that are almost all manufactured in China. They have large projects underway and the lighting must be installed at a specific point in time or the project is put on hold as the finish work can not be completed without it in place.

    In November, our primary factory told us to order for the annual Chinese New Year closure and  include one more month after, to ensure that the factory can have time to gear up after the holiday season. We did so and increased our order 30% just to be safe. This all took place before the Coronavirus took center stage in China and world. Then the virus hit and the factory remained closed and did not restart production.

    Container Ship SunsetWe purchased enough product to cover us until the end of March. 

    We expected that the factory would be back to work on a limited basis by the first week of February and we would have new product on the water (i.e. in a container ship heading our way to the United States) by the middle of the month. Unfortunately, this did not happen. We are now at the second week of March and there is very limited product in production and the shipping and delivery dates are still not guaranteed. We have some products expected by the end of March and the rest will arrive sometime later. You will see on our website that some items that are out of stock do not have an expected delivery date as they are not in production yet.

    We have had large delays before, the last big delay was back during the last dock worker union port strike in Los Angeles. It was very disruptive and it went on much longer than expected.

    Warehouse Full ShelvesIf you have a project that has a construction time-line, please contact us so we can ensure you have product in hand or on the move to avoid costly delays and pricey air shipping expenses.

    We do our best to help you from going over budget and get your project delivered on or before it is needed.  All of our orders ship complete unless you tell us to do otherwise. Incomplete shipping can create greater confusion, frustration and disruption that you simply don’t need added to your project. We want to avoid this at all costs.

    Communication is the most important factor in guaranteeing success.  Feel free to contact us. We are here to help.

    Shipping ContainersFor now, check your project schedule, wash your hands with soap and shut off CNN. We like websites like John Hopkins University, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) website for real facts on the virus, not “news” reporters running around like chicken little.

    Thank you for reading our update and feel free to contact us with questions and project schedules. Again, we are here to help :)

     

     

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    Tags: Supply Chain, COVID-19, Coronavirus

  • Getting to Know our H-Style 3-Wire Track Lighting X Connector & Power Feed

    We just released our latest video in a series of overview videos of our track lighting connectors & power feeds. In this video you will learn pretty much everything there is to know about our H-style 3-wire track lighting X Connector and power feed. Sit back and get to know our TLSK112 X-Connector :)

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    See our Track Lighting Suspension System

    7 Fast & Easy Steps to a complete track lighting system

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    Tags: 3 wire, H style, Track Power Feed, Track Connector, Fittings, Connectors

  • Is Your Track Lighting Old and Dangerous?

    Our staff answers track lighting questions all day long, and over the last 38 years we have seen almost everything. I wrote this article after receiving an email from someone telling us that our track lighting almost burned down their house! Sounds serious! And they had photos. The staff here sent it on to me right away. Luckily, I have not received an email like this one in the last ten years, but I was very interested in getting to the bottom of it.

    The most important thing was to get all of the facts. We were so happy the customer had photos that helped us see what was going on right away. As they say, a picture is worth 1000 words! In this case, it spoke volumes. Here is what we found out:

    First of all, they explained that they purchased the house 20 years ago and the track lighting was there when they moved in. So we know it is old—very old.

    Second, based on the part number on the bottom, we discovered it was not actually made or sold by us. But regardless of where the lighting came from, it still needed to be looked into right away and we are always happy to help.

    Third, there was no open flame and the damage from the fixture failure, with one expectation, was contained. We were very pleased with this.

    Burnt Track Lighting Photos

    Burnt old track lighting low voltage fixture Burnt Track Light Housing

     

    Here is what we see in the photos—the low voltage electronic transformer got very hot. We suspect the capacitor just failed. Usually when a capacitor fails it does not do much, but this one was a potted and sealed and the potting melted and dripped out of the fixture down onto the carpet. Not at all good for the carpet, but you can see by the time it dripped there it did not cause a fire or further damage.

    We recommended that the entire system be removed and a new system installed by a qualified, experienced electrician. Just a good idea because it is old. If you have an old system you might want to do the same. No lighting fixture is guaranteed for life, and one that is over 20 years old just needs to go.

    Burnt old track lighting low voltage power track Burnt old track lighting power track.

    We always recommend having an electrician look at your complete system, as just one loose screw somewhere in your house or building can cause you a number of headaches. Just think, a $100 inspection could save your entire property.

    Here are some important things to consider about your track lighting:

    How old is your track lighting?

    Is it old and dirty?

    Are the connections where the power comes into the track in good shape? Any discoloration? Exposed wiring?

    Who installed it? Was it someone qualified that knew what they were doing?

    Are your lights Halogen or LED? Halogen can cause a lot of heat. If you haven’t moved to LED yet, it might be a very good idea. We have several articles and videos that can help you easily convert to LED.

    Burnt old track lighting low voltage transformer

    Line vs Low voltage fixtures? Do you still have a lot of old low voltage fixtures like our customer in this article? You might want to consider taking them down because they have transformers that fail, like the one in this photo. I would consider replacing them with a GU10 fixture—same size, same MR16 bulb, except the bulb and fixture do not have a transformer.

    Heated connections: The halogen bulbs pull so much power that over time the connections in your track lighting can get overheated. When they cool down and heat up over time they get loose. This can cause an overheat failure.

    Shut off the power, have your electrician inspect the connections for blackened screws. Are all the screws tight? Is there corrosion, or was aluminum wire used? Are they stripped and unable to tighten? If there are any issues it is time for replacement.

    Never ever, for any reason, put track where children can put their finger in it. It should always be high on a ceiling where it cannot be touched.

    We love working with experienced, qualified electricians. They always make for a better and safer installation and will often save you money in the long run. My dad has a saying about that: “Penny wise, Pound foolish.”

    Whether you are working on a retrofit project or a brand-new project, we would love to work with you. We are lighting people and love to help create a world with good lighting everywhere.

    Thanks for reading this! If you want to reach out with a question, please use this link. If you have a project ready to go, use this to get it done quickly and in budget.

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    Tags: Old Track Lighting, Burnt, Melted, Charred

  • Avoid this #1 mistake when installing Track Lighting with this simple Hack

    Save yourself from a ton of frustration, wasted time and money when installing track lighting with this quick and easy to implement installation hack and get your project completed faster!

     

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    Track Lighting, Track Connectors & Track Parts used in this video

    Black Power Track 2-foot 4-foot 6-foot & 8-foot 2, 4, 6 & 8-foot Black Power Track
    White Power Track 2-foot 4-foot 6-foot & 8-foot 2, 4, 6 & 8-foot White Power Track
    Track lighting Architectural Black L Connector 3-wire H-style power feed single circuit TLSK108-ABK L-Connector
    WHITE basic LED track light H-style for PAR20, 30, 38 TLSK208-AWH Track Fixture
    Track lighting architectural white single circuit 3 wire H style track end cap TLSK106-AWH

     

    See our Track Lighting Suspension System7 Fast & Easy Steps to a complete track lighting system

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    Tags: Installation, Hack, Power Track

  • See Track Lighting Suspension Installed in Restaurant Buildout

    We posted this LED Track lighting suspended system in our gallery going into a nationwide chain of new restaurants. The owner was kind enough to take a break from a crazy project schedule to take some photos of the process thus far.  We thought it would be good for you to see what an all black track lighting system against a black ceiling of trusses looks like.

    GU10 MR16 BLACK mini round track light fixture head TLSK225-ABK

    Working with our design team, we had his store layout, detailed list of materials and quote all done the same day.  We shipped it the next day, on time and way under budget. Although the store is not finished at the time of these photos, it is easy to see the powerful performance of our little black GU10 MR16 2” track light fixtures using only 7watts each.

    We do projects like this every day and we always want it looking perfect. Thanks to the store owner for sharing his photos so others can see what it looks like.  We hope to get finished photos when he has time to give you the full look of the store.

    Feel free to click on each photo to enlarge it so you can get a much better look.

    Black Track Lighting Suspended from Black Architectural Ceiling Black Track Lighting Suspended from Black Architectural Ceiling

    Track Lighting & Track Suspension used in this Install

    GU10 MR16 BLACK mini round track light fixture head TLSK225-ABK
    4-foot Power Track Architectural Black 3-wire H-style single circuit TLSK4-ABK
    8-foot Power Track Architectural Black 3-wire H-style single circuit TLSK8-ABK
    Track lighting Architectural Black live end power feed connector 3-wire H-style single circuit TLSK101-ABK
    Track lighting Architectural Black straight connector mini joiner 3-wire H-style single circuit TLSK107-ABK
    Track lighting LED 7watt GU10 MR16 4000K 40° flood light bulb dimmable natural white LED-MR16GU10D-4000K-FL
    Track lighting suspension system Drop Ceiling Coupler CC-1420
    Track Lighting Suspension Cable Glider and Screw 15Z-832I-T2-H

     

    Suspension Track Lighting Cable 96 AG-16-87-96
    Track Suspension 14/3 SJTOW Black Power Cable 15AMPs 300volt by the foot up to 500ft 14/3-SJTOW-Black-105c
    Track lighting power feed black strain relief with lock nut for track lighting suspension system TLSK-Strain-Relief-LockNut-BK
    Suspended Track Lighting Cable Cutter TL-CUTTER-AS

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  • How Track Lighting can Increase Furniture Store Sales

    Furniture Store Designer Sofa Track Lighting Flowers Illuminated with track lighting

    Good lighting makes all the difference in retail. Using appropriate lighting will make the space more inviting, show off the product, highlight rich fabrics and bring out subtle colors. Additionally, good lighting always increases sales and reduces operating expenses.

    Lighting has improved dramatically for the better.

    A quick trip down memory lane recalls the fluorescent fixtures and the old PAR bulbs in almost every retail store. Then we upgraded to better fluorescent tubes. They lasted a little longer and gave better color rendering, so colors did look a little better.

    A few stores stayed with the same bulbs they used for lighting their warehouse. And they looked like a low-end warehouse inside—flat, colorless lighting and no depth to the displays at all. Works for some, but was not a good choice for store owners that wanted the best option for their retail space and know the value of lighting.

    Furniture Store Living Space Fluorescent Lighting Dull flat fluorescent lighting

    Next, the PAR and R bulbs gave out to Halogen PAR bulbs. Better and brighter, but still produced so much heat that your air conditioning system was running all winter long, and your electric meter was spinning away.

    Now we have more choices, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make things look absolutely amazing. If you are designing a new store, you can opt in for all LED fixtures, both for general light and for dramatic highlighting. If you have an existing space, you can convert your existing fluorescents to LED quickly, easily and inexpensively. Just think—better color, up to three times the light, and you will cut your electric bill in half. No need to run the air conditioner in the winter! If you are using halogen bulbs, you most likely started converting them to LED years ago, but the new generation of LED PAR bulbs are even better than before, with more improvements coming all the time. Just this week we received a new box of LED PAR bulbs for testing and they are the highest color rendering bulbs we have tested so far.

    Customers do not want to buy furniture in a store that looks like their living room.

    Furniture Store Living Space Fluorescent Lighting No shadows, no color, no depth

    People do not want to buy furniture in a store that looks like their living room. While it may be a comfortable space to sit on the couch and watch TV, a living room isn’t set up to display and highlight the features of the furniture. Many store owners use interior designers that understand color, accessories, placement and themes. Unfortunately, all too often the lighting is overlooked and poorly selected and set up. I visited a furniture store last week that had clearly spent a lot of money on their lighting. However, it was obvious that their floor-plan had changed and the lighting remained in its original setup. 50% of the light fixtures were lighting the floor, where there had once stood a beautiful piece of furniture. I have yet to find a furniture store that has trained their staff about lighting and who can properly light their store for the best possible sales results. But I am sure they area out there and would to hear from them and see their work.

    Engaging a lighting expert, like one of our experts at Total Lighting Supply, to properly light your store, will lead to the best possible sales results. Think of it this way—people that do Broadway shows always hire a lighting designer to make the stage look perfect. They do not hire costumers, set designers, color experts and the best performers, only to use an old fluorescent fixture to light the show.

    How much light is the correct amount of light?

    There is no specific formula for this, but ask yourself the following questions:

    Is the space inviting?

    Is it exciting and colorful?

    Are you drawn in?

    Do you want to see more?
    What is in the back of the store? Is it brighter back there?

    What is the highlight of the space; the “star” of the show?
    Do your customer say, “I want my room to look like that”?

    Is the lighting playing a part in the presentation, or is it just “there”?

    Does it look “rich”? Are the colors “popping”?

    Furniture Store Designer Master Bedroom Track lighting used to draw your eye back into the space

    Your displays should have light and shadow. This will give you depth in the display. Try putting a colorful flower display on the coffee table and hit it with a 5000K PAR spot track lighting fixture (about 7 watts LED at $4.25 or so), and watch your “vignette” come alive. We see a similar method used successfully in furniture stores when they put several bright colored pillows on a bed and use appropriate lighting to bring the bedroom furniture alive. It is important to know that a small selection of both spot and flood work great in any retail environment. Your sales will reflect this little bit of extra time you put into your lighting.

    General lighting makes the space feel open and inviting. However lighting only from overhead with a flat, down light fluorescent will not look good. How you light different areas of the store is important as well. We see many retail stores light the back of the store brighter than the front to draw their customers all the way into the store. Don’t let the back of the store look cheap, if you have overstock make it look great so it moves.

    Color Rendering

    Furniture Store Master Bedroom white bed More use of track lighting in a master bedroom display

    There is a ton of information out there on color rendering, but let’s touch on this a bit. You have probably heard the term “full spectrum,” but that is simply a meaningless advertising term. Color Rendering or CRI is an actual measurement. The higher the number the better your light source is at showing all the colors of the color chart. If you have a cheap fluorescent with a color rendering of 60% you have poor representation of colors in your displays. They will look muddy and dull. The higher the number the better, but there is also a point at which the high number is not cost effective. The difference between 95% and 100% CRI is hard to see and drives the price of the light source to almost triple of what you need to pay.

    Color Temperature

    Do not confuse color temperature with color rendering. They are separate and not related in any way. However, just like color rendering, color temperature can be measured. The lower numbered temperature, say 2700K, is a warm light, while the higher numbered temperature, like 4000K, is a whiter light. We like to use whiter light in modern settings with a lot of white and black, and even in kitchens. There is also the extreme 5000K, very white light, that is used in retail spaces like bridal salons (no one likes a yellow wedding dress).

    Should I use track lighting?

    Furniture Store Track Lighting Accented BedsTrack lighting was actually born on the Broadway stage. Retailers began using track lighting to duplicate that dramatic effect of the stage, control the beam of the light, the color, the shape, etc. They understood the versatility of being able to adjust, move and add or subtract light to make their stores look inviting and dramatic.

    Using stage lighting in a store is expensive, but you will see it in high-end stores with high ceilings, churches, performance venues, etc. The good news is that track lighting gives almost the same control as stage lighting at about 1/8 of the price. And it’s very easy to do! We do track lighting on projects all over the world, and we have a hanging system to hang from any ceiling, no matter the height or obstructions. It is surprisingly inexpensive to do it right.

    Choosing lighting for your store.

    Fluorescent Lighting used in Furniture Store Just think what a little dramatic lighting would do with this store ?

    Look at how your store is presented. Step back and take a good look at your merchandising and ask if better lighting could improve the presentation. If the answer is yes, we can help! Our chief designer has been lighting retail stores, galleries, restaurants and high-end homes for 38 years. His expertise is available to you too! We offer a variety of services from basic free advice to expert assistance for a reasonable charge, including having our Chief designer visit your store and train your crew. Even if you already know what you want, we can help you get there, do it on time and in budget.

    Thanks for reading! Check out our ongoing comments from our design time. We love a world with good lighting and appreciate when anyone strives to get it right. We would love to hear from you and see photos of your successes.

    Examples of Fluorescent Lighting compared with Track Lighting

    Notice the differences in highlights and shadows as well as color. Which one draws you in more?

    Furniture Store Two Chairs Before Sim BEFORE - Dull flat fluorescent lighting with poor color rendering
    Furniture Store Two Chairs After Sim AFTER - Deeper contrast, greater accents and better color rendering achieved with track lighting
    Furniture Store Red Bed Before BEFORE - Flat and poor color rendering with fluorescent lighting
    Furniture Store Red Bed After Sim AFTER - Track lighting can bring out subtle highlights & shadows with better color rendering light bulbs

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    Tags: Furniture Store, Retail Store

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