Thanks to previous occupants of my house, one of the bathrooms is lit with a pair of lights that are unlike anything I've seen. The bulb is a narrow cylinder, about 3 inches long and maybe 1/4 inch in diameter, with contacts on either end. The middle is filled with some dark material, and there is a tiny, clear protuberance in the center. It is marked "PHILIPS CHINA," and "130V 2E 150." Below are pictures of it in place and out.

What is this fixture/bulb called?

Why would anyone install one instead of a normal fixture?

fixture with the bulb described above

just the bulb described above

  • 2
    Duplicate of diy.stackexchange.com/questions/2792/…? (Though this is the better question IMO since it contains a textual description of the bulb as well as a photo)
    – Niall C.
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 0:25
  • @NiallC. Thanks. I agree that it's a dupe, except for my second sub-question: Why? Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 0:48
  • 3
    Now that you've removed the light from the fixture, don't reinstall it. I'm guessing that you used your bare hands to remove it. Doing so has left oils from your fingers on the glass. These lights get very hot and the oils will create extra-hot spots which may cause the glass to shatter! Carefully clean the glass with alcohol before reinstalling it and use gloves to do so. In the future, when replacing lights like this, always use gloves.
    – DoxyLover
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 3:40
  • 3
    That halogen bulb is near the end of it's natural lifetime. Metal from the filament has evaporated and heavily coated the glass envelope. That dims the bulb. A new one will be much brighter. That said, these days you get far more Lumens for the buck with compact fluorescents or LEDs. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 12:11
  • @DoxyLover, thanks very much for the tip. Fortunately, this bulb was already burnt-out, so I didn't ruin anything. Armed with your advice, I'll be sure not to ruin the replacement! Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 13:33

3 Answers 3


Specifically that is a 78mm T3 halogen lamp.

I have one in my bathroom as well and love it because:

  • The bulbs are pretty cheap. Usually a couple dollars. I bought 10 on ebay for $20.
  • They are BRIGHT. Much brighter than LED bulbs, and some fixtures can take 200 or 250W bulbs. For a light over a mirror thats only on a few minutes a day, I dont care about power efficiency, I just want something bright. A 100W halogen is much brighter than a 100W incandescent or any LED bulb.
  • The bulbs last for ages. I have had to replace it once in the last 3 years.
  • The color of light is better than most LED or florescent bulbs.

There are LED versions available, but most would be too large a diameter to fit in that fixture by the looks of it.

The downside of them is that they get quite hot. The heat is actually essential to their long life. Be sure to check for a sticker on the fixture stating the max wattage and not go over that with a replacement bulb.

  • 2
    And do not touch the bulb when you're replacing it. They come with a paper holder that is removed after the bulb is set in the socket. They get so hot that the skin oils burning off can blister the glass. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 16:08
  • Obviously, they burn tremendously more power than CFLs or LEDs. Their high temperature also can be a fire hazard if not treated with respect; these used to common in "torcherie" style floor lamps, and periodically there would be stories of them setting curtains on fire or something of that sort. Handle with respect.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 14:52
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    @keshlam forget curtains. If you didn't use one for a while, it'll burn the dust collected. These things are definitely a fire hazard.
    – Nelson
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 14:56

As to "why" - Halogens were trendy for a while. They are somewhat more efficient (energy in to light out) than traditional incandescent bulbs, and offered a whiter light- long before serious LED lighting was developed.

Longer bulb life is another factor (again, .vs. traditional incandescents) - work has one of those miserable fixtures that the Powers That Be deem "doesn't look good with LEDs" - I got it a full set of halogen bulbs (screw in style) which lasted the better part of a year before one died. 3 of the halogens still work - of the two that have died and been replaced with regular incandescent bulbs, at least one has been replaced twice (and is dead again) while the other 3 halogens keep working.

If you opt to replace the bulb (at least for now) be careful to handle the new bulb only with a paper towel or clean rag to keep skin oils off the surface - fingerprints can cause early failure of the bulb as it gets VERY hot in use - that's also a part of why the extra glass sheild is there (reducing UV emissions is another function.)

Early halogen torchiere fixtures caused some fires (due, IMHO, to idiot owners) when people would drape things over the fixtures - due to the envelope being close to filament (compared to a traditional bulb) the bulbs run quite hot, and fabric tossed over them would catch fire, or a fixture placed too near the ceiling would cause it to scorch. Later ones had ungainly wire guards. So don't use them as towel hangers....

  • " (reducing UV emissions is another function.)" - more to the point, the glass shield is there because the actual bulb is quartz, which can stand higher temperature and doesn't block UV.
    – Random832
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 3:31
  • Not only is the envelope close to the filament, but the filament itself gets much hotter than in an incandescent bulb.
    – supercat
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 15:48

That's a type of halogen lamp.

halogen lamp

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