360Q - is there an idiot's guide available?


I recently acquired some profile spots by accident. They were on ebay, with no proper description. I was looking for some spotlights and thought these looked interesting, so I put in a very low bid not expecting to win. So for fifty quid (about US$88) I ended up with a set of six complete with lamps.

Having got them home I gave them the once over and discovered they were 360Qs and in reasonable condition. After checking the wiring, cleaning out some dust and fitting plugs I was pleased to discover that all but one was working fine, the fifth has a dodgy lamp base which I'll need to replace (a common problem according to an article of Ship's that I read elsewhere).


I think the lanterns are 6x16 (is there an easy way to find out?) - the throw is about 20 degrees. The shutters are in reasonable condition, although I'll need to take two apart to give them a good clean. Two others have irises which are in excellent working order. The lamps are brand new GE FKR 240V 650W, these retail for about 28 pounds (US$50) each, so I think I got a bargain there.


The wiring is north American (individual white, black and white with a hint of green, with a loose sheath), looks new with no sign of damage by heat, abrasion or misuse. I'm more used to using 3 core (blue, brown & green/yellow) cable for tails, but I have no plans to rewire these.

I'm sure all of you in the US have seen thousands of these fixtures and are bored senseless by them, but I've not had the chance to play with them before and am keen to find out a little more about them. I was wondering if there was an "Idiot's Guide to the 360q" available anywhere? I believe the six are of different vintages - they have different handles etc. and it would be nice to know a little bit more about them.


Unfortunately they didn't come with colour frames, and I'm hoping to use them for a show in a few weeks time. I've had a look around the UK but haven't yet found a reasonable source for gel frames for these. I wonder if anyone can recommend a reliable supplier in the US who can ship to the UK without charging an arm and a leg. I could also use a new lamp base, and again a recommendation for a supplier on that side of the pond would be appreciated.

Thanks in anticipation.
The 360Q was, and still is, a pretty standard piece of equipment for a long time before the Source4 took over. I bet every community and educational theater in America has a few of these guys around and if they don’t have much of a budget, it may still be their primary lighting instrument. The good news is unlike a Strand, parts should be easy to find.

They are not nearly as efficient at capturing light as the newer instruments, so they don't put out as good of light. They also get REALLY HOT and burn through gel and gobos much faster than the new instruments do. But there is nothing bad about them, you could certainly do a lot worse when it comes to older instruments. It sounds like you got a pretty good deal if they came with new lamps.

I don’t really have any tips or tricks for you… other than to wear gloves if they’ve been on at all. I started a fire during a focus in college with a 6X16. It was on a torm pointed down at a pipe about 12 inches away. It lit some tape on that pipe on fire in just a minute or two.

One thing to look into for the long run is the reflector upgrade kit. As a way of trying to get a few more dollars out of their customers, when the new reflector design came out in the Source4's, they made a reflector upgrade kit for the 360Q. I think they only cost about $20. I replaced all of my reflectors and noticed a nice boost to their output, they still aren’t a Source4, but it’s probably 20% or so more light. That was about 7 years ago so I'm not sure if those kits are still available but it's worth looking into.

I don't know about their policies for shipping overseas, but the major theater supplier in this part of the U.S. is Pacific Northwest Theater Associates. www.PNTA.com They are good reliable people and definitely have everything you need for maintaining a 360Q.
You can down load information on the 360Q at:

They were the 'standard' of the industry for years. You can use a number of the 575w lamps in them by adjusting the focal point which will result in a higher output.

I once bought 276 of the 360Q's when Radio City Music Hall upgraded to new fixtures. Talk about a deal, I got them for $ 5.00 each and everyone had a working bulb.
Here's a link to that 360Q reflector upgrade kit. It's more expensive than I remember ($63) but they are easy to install and like I said probably boost your light 20%.


Also I found these dimensions to help you figure out what you've got, it varies a lot depending on the specific edition you have but these should help:
6 X 9 is 16.5-18 inches long.
6 X 12 is 18.5- 20 inches long.
6 X 16 is 21-22.5 inches long.
6 X 22 is 29-30 inches long.

Diameter of circle of light at 10 feet:
6X9=6 feet
6X12=5 feet
6X16=4 feet
6X22=2 feet
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Don't bother replacing your reflector until such a time as you see it burning up or becoming milky in lack of reflecting. The new reflector is only at best slightly more efficient but not in my opinion really worth scrapping something that works for even a bit more light. You might contact Altman directly to see who distributes their product in the UK. I'm sure someone has the parts over there. Should you replace the reflector otherwise, also replace the gate reflector with the improved version. Nothing against the upgrade, perhaps there is something to them, I have just never really noticed a difference in output. Given others say they have one, perhaps it's so and if more output is needed that might be a good investment.

Too bad you don't have the HPR lamp available in 230v. I have seen 360Q fixtures easily out punch that of a S-4 when using that lamp.

Fixture looks like it’s in excellent condition, no doubt a great buy. I love tinkering with fixtures old and new other than I’m used to. You get a chance to learn a lot about fixture design that way. Have a look at where the gel frame attaches to the lens tube, infrequently you will find a snapped weld there. Some funky coloring there at the bend un-related to the weld would still draw my attention. If you go to replace the fiber washers on the shutters, remember to use a aluminum rivet with aluminum shaft. Steel tends to wreck a perfectly good fiber washer in becoming too tight. It’s 5/32" our measurement if I remember correctly for a size, 5/16" grip within the grip range of rivet.
Check the wiring underneath the little aluminum cover right next to the lamp base for melted insulation over the conductors. Take out a flash light and have a really good look at the lamp base contacts. No sense putting good lamps into a bad base. Grab how to bench focus the fixture off the Altman website. Lots of good info on the website - especially on this important subject. If you don’t find enough info, go live chat with them or E-Mail and I’m sure they would be more than happy to provide you with some links to manual pages. Send your photos of the tag to Altman, they might be able to give you a history or lot number of it. There is a few different styles, but your’s fits into the older and more broad range of first generation of quartz designed fixture. This including with the yoke lock casting (washer like thing next to the yoke that has two ears to lock into the yoke) which frequently breaks. You at least have two yoke knobs so there will be a little less stress on it. Not sure if that’s a design change which says it’s a later model or more like others owning this fixture in the past just have not broken and replaced the second knob with a bolt once it’s lock breaks.

Your fixture dates to about the 1970's to early 1980's but is the same basic design. Probably won’t have any trouble with the PATT testing on it given your description. It’s not UL listed for a 240v lamp, but that’s details. Yep, that’s about a 6x16. Try some dry-lube graphite on the lens train where it’s not painted. Does wonders with being able to slide the lens train to focus position. It’s also good for coating the shutters once re-finished.
Never board with a 360Q myself. Instead, I’m board with the S-4 - given the amount of them I see per day or do the harder to do repairs to per year on them. Hey Brian - got a moment, I just broke the 1/4-20 bottoming tap off in the lamp cap knob hole... This one is one of the metric S-4 Leko lot number and someone just stripped a 8-32 screw into it etc. I have a dozen left sides to the old lot of lens train, no right and only a few each of the new style lens train, can you put in an order to correct for this? Once had someone do a bunch of rewiring on S-4 Lekos, but they forgot to install the mica insulators behind the lamp base contacts. A year later we were still finding fixtures that occasionally shorted out for unknown reasons. I would get a call over to the instrument that would short out for an unknown reason and become as if a god in being able to pull out of the air something to inspect. Nope, never happened before, I’m just smarter than you are in problem solving. I have a large box full of Altman fixtures to repair for some day experimental fixtures or resale, (Easy resale in them as long as my time is not over 45 minutes in fixture by way of breaking even for what they are worth on the market) plus a pallet full of their parts. These fixtures will take a bit more work, but given pallet rack space is at a premium and I won't allow my old Altman parts to get thrown out, they would be efficient for me to work on even if not cost effective. The challenges before me are rusted and totally gunked up. Some day when I get time, I will work on them. It’s sort of my carrot on a stick. This plus a theater full of 360, 360Q and Shakespheres to work on during my free time. At the moment for that theater it's 28 Fresnels. All used to have asbestos and need a total re-working. Amongst the similar lot of Fresnel, most are similar but many wee slight differences in them. That keeps it interesting also. They will all no matter if Century or Altman 65, all get up to 65Q standards. Just finished painting them. Always a good idea to masking tape over the label. That's how you know what it is you have. Once it's gone, and unless you have a large ingraved Century across the fixture, all info about the fixture is gone. Should you ever paint these fixtures, try to save that yellow tag on them.

For lamp, the FKR is a good solid lamp but you might look into the 700w/240v JCV 240v-700w CH Ushio #1000998 or look into the 800w/230 or 240v #6982P (240v) Philips #924545645500 and 800w/240v HX 800 (240v) G.E./Thorn #39754 (?disc.). If economical, All are more advanced lamps. I would hope it’s not $50.00 US per lamp, that would kill you in keeping them running for a 300 to 400 hour lamp. Granted with a dimmer and it being a 240 instead of 230v lamp, it should last much longer. Reasonable goal to shoot for is at a minimum half that price if possible. Many SL, Selcon and other fixtures should be using these lamps so prices should be less.

Some fixtures that use the same types of lamp:
ADB Warp, CCT Freedom Fresnel, HES Color Command, Lowell DP, Sachtler Pro File, Selcon Pacific, Strand SL, Colortran Zoom, Controlite Washlight HX-TV, Amongst many - many other Lekos and other fixtures that use the G-9.5 base 60.5mm LCL lamp in general.
Still you have a lamp that works, use it for now. Perhaps if you need a bright special or gobo buy some of the more advanced lamps and over time introduce the newer lamps with smaller/more refined filament into your fixture use. Over reflector replacement, a more efficient lamp will have a better payoff in accuracy especially if you use both the iris and donut.
As for gel frames, for now cut two pieces of 7.1/2" (190.5mm) square pieces of double layer cardboard or 1/16" double layer hard fiberboard and gaff tape the two sides together. Than find an appropriate size coffee can for the lens size and cut out the hole. Good enough - you now have a economy version of the safety gel frame often available in the past and something that works well. This 7.1/2" size is standard in the industry for any brand of 6" fixture including those from Strand. Also any 6" Fresnel or PAR 56 fixture will work. If nothing else, see who has some PAR 56 rock and roll can gel frames available. Should be easy enough to acquire.
Have fun with it. If possible, keep an eye out for the 6x12, 6x9 and 4.5x6 lens trains. They are a litte more useful of fixtures. The 6x16 while useful at times - especially in your case with irises, are useful but not as much as the smaller lens trains. Lens trains are interchangable as long as you also swap out the outer tube for them also. Spray graphite on the iris also is useful. Spray on, whipe off the excess once the vehicle evaporates.
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hey, on the subject of newly acquired second-hand 360Qs, a theater group I work with on campus just got a whole mixed bag of used Altman fixtures (along with some big ol' Colortran 10°). I'm looking to do a generall fix-up on them. They all seem to be in pretty good electrical shape, but I'm just dealing with stuff like sticky shutters and what. Does anyone have tips on what I should look to do to spurce these old timers up? Right now I have been loosening/lubing up various stuck bolts, and the lens train. I'v also been wiping down the lenses if they look especially bad. what's the best way to go about repairing the shutters?

Shutters are often more cost effective to just replace. Otherwise if you catch them early, think of their edge as both a reflective and a burning surface. The less material on it’s edge, the more heat will effect that area. The less it reflects heat, the more it absorbs it.

So given this, if slightly bent out of shape, you could potentially pound it back straight as long as not too discolored or bent. Sand the surface and finish any sanding with a chrocus cloth to remove any sanding or scratch lines on it and provide a very smooth surface. Perhaps even buff the surface with a pumice metal polisher and cotton buffer as long as you chemically remove any residue afterwards. Any scratches to the surface will absorb instead of reflect heat as would any polish left on the surface. If just starting to show wear, potentially you could also sand a new flat edge on the tip to them. Try a belt sander with 120grit paper for the new edge. Sand to expose a flat edge, than slightly - every so slightly hand sand it’s edge so it’s no longer sharp persay but without rounding off. Avoid scratches on any surface. Especially important is this edge of the shutter that blocks / cuts off the light where it's hottest. This surface needs to be knife blade sharp, but as opposed to a knife blade, full thickness or a sharp edge will wear away.

Than as above, do a dry lube or spray on graphite coating. Wipe off what’s surplus after the vehicle dries.

Again, much easier to just replace the shutter. Otherwise this should get some more life out of the old shutters when they otherwise are on the verge of going down hill fast. Did I also mention that it's probably not worth your time or effort in doing other than the most minor of repairs to a shutter? Shutter blades are not very expensive. Good for an experiemnt but best off buying new.
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Thanks everyone for the help, advice and top tips.

I was struggling to find a supplier in the US that would post to the UK - most of them just say "no way" and the others charge extortionate rates and/or have a minimum order value that's way over what I need/want to spend. I assume that's because there is a lot of customs etc. paperwork to be done for exporting from the US and it just isn't worth the effort for small orders like mine.

So I've acquired some strong card for DIY gel frames. I had been looking to get some "safety" frames, partly because the lower weight should reduce the shipping costs. The main advantage I see is that the guy holding my ladder will get smaller dents in his head when I drop the frames. ;)
(Actually I always insist the ladder-holder wears a hard-hat, just in case).

I was a little concerned about the heat warnings and using card/gaffa for a gel frame. I'll be making the hole in the frame slightly larger than the lens barrel, so only the gel will get the full force of the beam. I guess about 1/4" larger than the 6" aperture should be adequate.

Next problem is to find some graphite lubrication. The DIY and auto shops around here don't seem to stock it (the nearest I can get is PTFE spray, and I'm not sure if that is suitable). I have found a couple of graphite "puffers" on eBay - intended for use by locksmiths. Perhaps I'm searching for the wrong thing; if anyone can point me at a suitable supplier's webpage I'd appreciate it.

Ship - it sounds like you need to make a few trips to The Punching Bag with those S-4 annoyances every now and then. :)

Thanks again everyone, your help is really appreciated.

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