Light Engine Xenon Metal Halide LE60

The Light Engine is a sealed for life system that was very heavily promoted by GE in the early 1990s. It was developed to satisfy the expected market demand for a vast boom in fibre optics for general lighting - a trend that never really happened. Only a few prototype Light Engines were made.

At the heart of the unit is GE's XMH 60-watt Xenon Metal Halide arc tube. This is a compact DC source filled with high pressure Xenon gas, such that it delivers instant light at switch-on. The arc tube is cemented into an MR16 reflector, bearing the ConstantColor CVD hard dichroic coating. This directs a cool beam of light downwards from the vertical burning arc tube, the radiation impinging on a glass plate inclined at 45 degrees and coated with a cold light mirror. Any remaining infrared is transmitted through this mirror, while the visible rays are directed out of the fibre optic port to one side. The whole assembly is permanently fixed in a steel Bud Radio box. A second box houses the instant-restrike electronic ballast, designed for operation on 12V DC.

Technically the concept is is rather similar to the AC driven automotive metal halide lamps which had been developed by Thorn and others in Europe some years earlier. However GE did not believe in that product and axed the Thorn work, favouring its proprietary fibre optic concept.

GE promoted its Light Engine as a high efficacy alternative to other fibre optic drivers both for general illumination, and as a centralised automotive light source. However it was only ever trialled in a handful of concept cars, as automotive firms abandoned the fibre optic concept and went with the European bare lamps. The system was withdrawn by 1994.
Manufacturer: General Electric Co. USA.
Lamp Power: 60 Watts 72 Watts (system)
Lamp Current: 1.0 Amps 5.1 Amps (system)
Lamp Voltage: 60 Volts 10-18 Volts (system)
Cap Type: Cables
Bulb Finish: Hard dichroic coating Borosilicate glass
Bulb Type: MR-50 MR-16 (in eighths / inch)
Case Dimensions: 218 x 119 x 57 mm 5.578" x 4.718" x 2.25"
Arc Gap: 2.7 mm 0.106 inches
Focal Point: 21.7 mm (from lamp rim) 0.854 inches
Electrodes: Anode: Tungsten Rod Cathode: Backwound coil
Inner / Outer Atmosphere: Ar | Hg (Na,Li,Sc)Ix Outer: Air
Luminous Flux: 2,000 lm (12mm fibre) 2800 lm (19mm fibre)
Luminous Efficacy: 33.3 lm/W (12mm fibre) 46.6 lm/W (19mm fibre)
Colour Temperature & CRI: CCT: 4000K CRI: Ra 65
Chromaticity Co-ordinates: CCx: 0.383 CCx: 0.372
Burning Position: Arc tube burning vertically with beam down only
Rated Lifetime: 2,000 hours To 50% survival
Warm-up / Re-strike Time: 2 seconds to 50% light Instantaneous
Factory: NELA Piloting Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
Date of Manufacture: 1992
Original / Present Value: $2000 (1992) £1534.64 (2004)
References: 1) GE Light Engine LE60 Press Release - April 1992.
2) GE Light Engine LE60 Technical Documentation - April 1992.
3) GE Lighting Technical Datasheet XMH60 - March 1994.