Monorail Lighting is an inventive alternative to conventional track lighting. Monorail is a rail that can be cut to custom lengths before installation. It is available in single-or two-circuit configurations, and sections may be joined together using connectors, to create longer runs. A single circuit monorail means that all fixtures are on the same electrical circuit. Whenever the fixtures are turned on, off or dimmed – they are all controlled at once. If you have for example, pendants and spot lights on your monorail system and you’d like to be able to control them separately, you’d choose a two circuit system for changeability.
Hand-bendable and highly adaptable, monorail lighting makes it easy to create an ideal configuration that will enhance the decorative appeal of any room. The flexibility of monorail lighting is one main advantage of the system. The design possibilities are numerous. Not only is the range of illumination no longer as limited, but the variety of fixtures is greater and more aesthetic. Monorail’s streamlined, refined appearance modernizes any décor. In addition, unlike standard 120V track lighting fixtures which usually feature larger heads in order to house the larger 120V lamps or the transformer in case of 12V lamps, monorail utilizes surface mount or remote transformers to bring the voltage down to 12V and therefore utilizes smaller heads.
Types of monorail fixtures and how to choose them
At Louie Lighting, you’ll find a beautiful selection of pendants, spot heads and accents that act as functional art pieces for your monorail system. These utilize a universal connector which attaches to a standard monorail connector. Many pendants and spot light heads designed for monorail systems use LED or halogen bulbs. LEDs are more desirable due to their extremely long life spans and energy savings. You’ll be able to place more LED fixtures on a monorail system because they also operate at approximately 85% less the wattage of halogen lamps. Be aware that the adapters used to connect the light heads or pendants to the monorail vary by system and therefore you can’t normally mix components between systems from different manufacturers and many times even between systems from the same manufacturer. It is recommended to get an expert advise for putting the system components together.
Selecting a Transformer
Every monorail system has a not to exceed maximum wattage, normally 300W for a single circuit monorail and 600W for a 2-circuite monorail. Always verify with the manufacturer the maximum wattage. Transformer wattage will determine the total wattage of all heads/lamps connected to the system. Be cognizant that your total wattage does not exceed the wattage of the transformer. For example, a 300 watt transformer can power up to six 50 watt heads (6 x 50W = 300W), 8 fixtures with 37 watt bulbs, 15 fixtures with 20 watt bulbs, or any combination in between when using halogen lamps. It is recommended though to keep the total wattage at 90% of the transformer maximum wattage.
The transformer is the key to a low-voltage system. It reduces a standard 120 voltage down to 12 volts, which is safe to touch.
If you are working on a new construction project, a remote transformer provides the cleanest look for your system, but the remote transformer will need to be tucked out of sight, such as inside a cabinet, closet, or a utility room. It must be accessible and within 20′ of the system. You’ll also need a power feed canopy to bring power to the rail. We recommend to place the transformer in a ventilated area or at least in an area with enough space around the transformer to allow for cooling of the transformer.
If electricity is already in place and you cannot access the area needed, a surface transformer simply mounts to a junction box. The higher the wattage you choose, the larger the surface transformer.
Determine the drop of your monorail system
A standoff is used to drop the rail from the ceiling. As a good rule of thumb, use standoff supports for every three feet of Monorail run and at corners. You may position standoffs to cover points where rails are joined. The field-cuttable rigid standoffs are recommended for runs with curves or those with heavier heads/lamps, such as glass pendants. Adjustable standoffs have cables that give the system a clean and elegant look. These are best used on fairly straight runs with a drop greater than 6″ but are also very handy for other types of installations.
Need Help? Give us a Call!
If you are unsure which components you need for your monorail lighting project, please contact us at 1877-385-2104. If your configuration is simple, we may direct you to a kit that already has all of the components needed to set up your system. For custom applications, please send us an email with your line drawing and requirements, and our lighting experts will be happy to assist you in creating the lighting scheme of your dreams!