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upgrading Mighty Scan Intelligent Lighting to LED Bulbs

upgrading Mighty Scan Intelligent Lighting to LED Bulbs

Posted on Dec 2, 2010 by Paul White

One of the more recent ongoing projects I have been working on is overhauling the Ritz Cabaret's Light Show.  This includes moving fixtures, finding and buying used fixtures off ebay, replacing bulbs, and programming everything to sync together with Martin Light Jockey.  However when you have 30 Intelligent Lighting fixtures that all take a 250 watt halogen bulb, you quickly do the math and realized that the Ritz Cabaret is spending a small fortune all to ensure its dancers look good on stage.  My goal was to upgrade all our fixtures to LED bulbs.

The Ritz Cabaret's Light Show

The following are the fixtures we have on each stage.
The entire system is controlled by Martin Light Jockey.

Main Stage

Second Stage

  • 4 American DJ Mighty Scans
  • 2 LED PAR Lamps (illuminate chandeliers)

Third Stage

How much electricity does our light show use?

During normal business hours, both the main stage and second stages are running.  The third stage is reserved for weekends and or when times are busy.  We will focus on the power consumption of just the Main and Second stages which run from 11AM til 2AM every day ( 15 hours / day )
16 American DJ Mighty Scans x 300 Watts = 4800 Watts
8 High End Systems Track Spots x 300 Watts = 2400 Watts
2 LED PAR Fixtures x 20 Watts = 40 Watts
So the total power draw during business hours is 7240 Watts
7200 Watts = 7.2 KWH x 15 Hours / day = 108 KWH daily.
108 KWH daily x Average 10 Cents / KWH = $10.80 / day
So on the cost of electricity averages about $10.80 per day.

What about on going costs of replacing bulbs?

Each fixture has a 250 Watt 24 Volt Halogen Bulb that lasts an average of 1000 Hours.
Running 15 hours / day this means we will need to replace the bulb every 66 Days, or once every 2 months.
Fortunately the cost of replacement bulbs on the track spots are cheap.  When buying in bulk you can usually get the price of replacement trackspot bulbs down to $1 each.  The Mighty Scans are not as cheap.  Each Mighty Scan bulb costs about $9 each.  So if you do the math $9 x 16 Mighty Scan Fixtures = $144 spend every 2 months.  Also don't forget the labor costs involved in changing out the bulbs.  It takes about 15 minutes to take down the fixture, open it up, change the bulb, and then re hang it.  It also usually has to be done after hours when customers are not around, as you want the customers focusing on the girls and not the light guy.

What are the benefits of Converting your Intelligent Lighting Fixtures to LED bulbs

Lower Power Consumption

An LED bulb is going to use anywhere from 5 Watts to 20 Watts depending on the application.  This is of course assuming its a comparative bulb to the halogen you are replacing, giving you the same amount of Lumens.  For years the output of LED bulbs was too low.  Our Mighty Scan fixtures use a 24 Volt 250 Watt bulb that puts out 900 Lumens.  After an initial search the best I could find was only 350 Lumens from a 5 Watt LED bulb.  After some more searching I found a 700 Lumen Bulb that uses 8 Watts.  This is the bulb I ending up going with.  There are also LED chips that can generate up to 4000 Lumens, but these require you solder them into some kind of mounting package, plus you need to provide a heat sink.  These are the kinds of Chips you see on fixtures like the Martin Mac 350.  Eventually I want to be able to mount one of these 4000 Lumen LED packages into a MR16 style bulb housing.

Longer Life

Your average Halogen Bulb in Intelligent lighting fixtures only lasts about 1000 Hours.  Plus they are very delicate. The filament can easily break if you bump the fixture while the bulb is hot.  LED Bulbs on the other hand are very durable, plus they can last anywhere between 30,000 to 70,000 Hours.  Many times LED bulbs don't just go out, they just gradually loose their effectiveness.  Many state 70% @ 50,000 Hours.  Meaning that they will only give out 70% of their rated output when at 50,000 Hours.  But considering you don't have to pay a technician to swap out bulbs every 1000 Hours on the 20+ number of fixtures you have this could save you a lot of man hours.

Less Heat.

Typical LED bulbs generate little to no heat.  Its important to remember that halogen bulbs and normal light bulbs are only about 5% efficient.  This means that 95% of your energy is converted into heat.  This is ok if you are running a night club in the dead of winter, but most clubs have to turn up the Air Conditioning even in winter to keep the club cool from the hundreds of customers and heat generating appliances.  Even though most LEDs don't generate that much heat,  The high output LEDs do generate a good amount of heat.  One of the limited factors for these LEDs is packaging them on some kind of a heat sink.  Else the chip will prematurely burn out.  This is the reason its hard to find ultra bright LEDs in a MR16 package.   

MR16 LED bulb Intelligent lighting experiment.

I decided before I went off and bought 20 of these LED bulbs I wanted to make sure they would be compatible to the 250 watt halogens they would be replacing.  I found an online store ( based in china ) selling a 700 Lumen 8 Watt MR16 LED bulb.  These in theory should be a direct replacement to our current bulbs.  I bought a single bulb, and then waited 2 weeks for it to arrive.

When the bulb finally arrived I was eager to take it out of the packaging and inspect it.

MR16 high output ultra bright LED 700 Lumen bulb
MR16 high output ultra bright LED 700 Lumen bulb
MR16 high output ultra bright LED 700 Lumen bulb
MR16 high output ultra bright LED 700 Lumen bulb
MR16 high output ultra bright LED 700 Lumen bulb

The face of the bulb was made up of 8 LED chips, creating a cumulative 700 Lumens.  The bulb is rated from 12 - 24 Volts making it ideal for Intelligent lighting fixtures.  Keep in mind this would be an ideal replacement for units that use Halogen bulbs, and not the HID bulbs.  Most of the Martin fixtures ( roboscans 218, 518 and 812 ) use HID bulbs that use much higher voltages.  It might be possible to retro fit the martins with an MR16 style bulb but you would have to rework the wiring to support the 12 Volt - 24 Volt LED Bulb.

Overall the construction of the bulb looked good.  Tomorrow I will be going to the club to do some more work on the lights, and I will test this bulb on one of the mighty scan fixtures.  I know many people are interested in how these bulbs perform.  I have heard from several people that the light output of LED bulbs just isn't high enough. Also I have heard that there are focusing issues due to the way LEDs spread the light.

Update 12/4/2010
So I had a chance to install the new LED bulb into one of our Mighty Scan Fixtures.  The results were not what I expected.  Even though these bulbs are bright, the angle of spread plus the layout of the LEDs make it a bad choice for Inteligent fixtures. 

MR16 LED bulb in Intelligent fixture
The above picture is the MR16 LED bulb installed into our American DJ Mighty Scan fixture.  The bulb fit ok, but the light output was not high enough.

MR16 LED bulb vs Halogen Bulb

Here is a direct comparison. In the middle is a Laser fixture.  on the left a mighty scan with the original Halogen bulb, on the right the MR16 LED replacement bulb.  The results are obvious.  The only way I would recommend these bulbs is if you had a club that was pitch black, and had lots of fog.  Else the beams and power of the LED bulbs would not get the job done. 

For those of you who are looking to try replace your Intelligent lighting fixture's halogen bulb with an LED bulb, I would hold off on that idea.  Even though there are LED packages that generate 4000 Lumens available, these packages require additional cooling, and have not yet been pre packaged into an MR16 housing yet.  That and the cost of just the LED package would run about $150 / each.  You still have to provide a heat sink, and housing for it.  Even though I would enjoy engineering a custom bulb for night club applications, I don't have the time or resources available to make this kind of investment.  Great business opportunity for someone with the know how.

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Categories associated with upgrading Mighty Scan Intelligent Lighting to LED Bulbs


Jason Reese | Dec 28, 2012 11:26 AM
Hey what about placing a magnifying glass in front of the bulb to focus all the leds in to one beam? It looks like all the leds are not focused. It should have enough light to do the trick but the bulb looks like it works as a flood light.  I have 4 mighty scans and I am always searching for a way to do what you are doing.
Paul | Dec 28, 2012 11:59 AM
Hey Jason,
You are probably right about needing some optics to focus the light.
My Sixty Scan Fixtures have optics like that in front of the LED Chip.

It actually looks like they took a glass sphere cut it in half and then flipped them so the curved sides faced each other.
If I come across a picture I will send it to you.
Even then I am not sure if they will be bright enough.

I actually have 10 mighty scan fixtures still.  Looking to sell them so we can replace them with Sixty Scan Fixtures.

It might be possible to retrofit some optics to do what you are talking about.
But finding parts these days for the Mighty Scans can be tough.
Jason | Aug 28, 2017 6:45 PM

Hey Paul, or anyone found any good solutions for this? I have been seeing xenon bulb replacement but no transformers that xenon needs. Are they a sham or do they work. They want 50-60 bucks each. If the life span is more that would be great. Let me know.

Paul | Aug 28, 2017 9:59 PM


I haven't found any good solutions for the Mighty scans. That in addition to American DJ no longer selling important parts like stepper motors for these, make keeping them running impossible. I have since moved on to other fixtures.  To retrofit these the right way, you would need a 60 watt LED COB, some different optics and a transformer that could drive the LED chip.  After considering the cost to retrofit all these you are better off just getting new fixtures.  I am importing all my own fixtures from China.  I have had a couple dozen of these newer fixtures running in the truss at another venue for the past 4 years, 16 hours / day with no issues.  Haven't lost a single LED chip.  

Tim Davis | Nov 1, 2018 11:59 PM

So funny I did the exact same thing!! Well tried anyway. My dream was to have the bad ass trackspots compete with the ultra sharp beams of modern LED fixtures. I ordered a 60w LED from china.. blew out a couple before I realized the only way to cool it in the space provided was with a Liquid CPU Cooler (which worked very well). I built a custom circuit to integrate with the dimming of the trackspot, and used the gate voltage to trigger on/off. I was happy with my little project until the results came in..

These are my findings...

1) Light output was about the same, no dazzlingly huge difference.
2) Color wheel dichroic colors were different thanks to different color temp from LED (pink is red, etc)
3) The trackspot was built to allow for massive heat dissipation and much light is wasted
4) The housing is not designed for this type of light
5) LED's required huge seperate power supply

Basically a fixture has to be designed for the LED to get the most lumens in a small package. The optics, focal length, etc are all very different in LED vs Incadescent. but it was a fun experiment..

Next stop.. try to clone the Trackspot.. or similiar with a Rasberry Pi




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