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I am designing a set for Vacation Bible School at my church this year. I'm looking to wire up 2-3 halogen bulbs (mr16) to help create a realistic looking fire pit on stage. Is there a way to wire up these lights so that I can plug them into a standard 120v outlet? Is it as simple as using a step down transformer to convert from 120v to 12v? If so, how many lights can be connected to one transformer? I think each bulb is 50w. Any advice/direction would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

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    Take a good look at LED bulbs. They come in all shapes and sizes, and because they use a lot less power they produce a lot less heat, which means less chance of an unplanned set fire. May 31, 2022 at 1:33
  • 2-3 halogen bulbs seems like a major invitation to an extremely realistic fire, indeed.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 31, 2022 at 12:52
  • @ecnerwal but that will only work once :) Yeah, I would be all about individually addressable LEDs because you can dial those from bright to dark and through any shade of yellow and red individually. Hit up Sparkfun or Adafruit for the learning and supplies needed to do it. Do the whole thing in low-voltage for safety. If that's too technological for you, get help from your local school's STEM/STEAM classes, they love Sparkfun etc. May 31, 2022 at 22:07

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Just to answer your question,yes, you would need a step down transformer from 120V to 12V. The transformer size would need to be the total wattage of the lights for your display. If you used 3-50 Watt bulbs, you'd need at least a 150 Watt transformer. You would need to wire the bulbs in parallel or each with it's own wire back to the transformer. You'd need some sockets for the bulbs similar to the ones shown below. Your home store or a lighting store would have them along with some proper fixtures.

A word of caution.. these bulbs are extremely hot and dangerous if not properly installed and protected. Use an approved fixture. As mentioned in one of the comments, take a good look and consider using LED bulbs bulbs

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looking to wire up 2-3 halogen bulbs (mr16) to help create a realistic looking fire pit on stage. Is there a way to wire up these lights so that I can plug them into a standard 120v outlet?

Yes, you need a step down transformer to convert from 120v to 12v, and proper MR16 sockets. Halogen lights get very hot, so make sure nothing flammable is in the vicinity.

However I'm not sure you'll get the desired effect, because the color will be too yellow, whereas fire looks more orange. Halogen light is about 2700-2900K, and you'd need about 2200K for a nice warm "fire" look.

If you want to use halogen bulbs, you can use a dimmable transformer. Dimming halogens doesn't just reduce the light output, it also makes the light warmer and redder.

Another solution would be 2200K LED strips which make a very nice "candlelight" color, again with a 12V power supply. You can even add a remote CCT dimmer and mix strips of 2200K white and red, and adjust the intensity of both separately for artistic effect.

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  • ...and figure out some way to run your LEDs form an audio amplifier playing music for real flame flickering® (literally how LED candle flames "flicker")
    – Ecnerwal
    May 31, 2022 at 15:29

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