Advice on cleaning of Very old Leko's and Can's

JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
Hi All

I hope I am using the the right terms here if not I apologize I am not a professional lighting person by any means. I was wondering if all could give me advice on the best way to clean some very old Leko's and can's they are not ETC's. I am not in a place where I can get a picture of them. I have them in storage and they have stage pin connectors on them. I had them in storage in a theater that I was volunteering in that closed that told me to go ahead and take them. They need a good cleaning on the inside and also a nice repainting. These leko's have these little screw things on the back of them that you unscrew and this round fixture that holds the bulb comes out. If that gives you all the sense on how old they are. Can I sand the metal of the outside of the light and repaint them? If show what type of paint is safe to use on a hot light? If not what are peoples suggestion about the best way to clean these lights. Or is it just better to use them as is?

Thanks
 

derekleffew

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Sorry I can't tell from your description what you have. "These leko's have these little screw things on the back of them that you unscrew and this round fixture that holds the bulb comes out." sounds like the lamp cap to almost every ERS. Does the lamp enter the reflector axial or radial ?

As for repainting, two good options: Automotive engine paint, or Bar-B-Que paint. Probably flat black, unless you want to jazz them up with Chevy Orange.

Don't forget the other 29 steps (some may not apply to your fixtures): https://www.controlbooth.com/threads/lighting-fixture-maintenance.12561/#post-129613 .
 

RonHebbard

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Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Hi All

I hope I am using the the right terms here if not I apologize I am not a professional lighting person by any means. I was wondering if all could give me advice on the best way to clean some very old Leko's and can's they are not ETC's. I am not in a place where I can get a picture of them. I have them in storage and they have stage pin connectors on them. I had them in storage in a theater that I was volunteering in that closed that told me to go ahead and take them. They need a good cleaning on the inside and also a nice repainting. These leko's have these little screw things on the back of them that you unscrew and this round fixture that holds the bulb comes out. If that gives you all the sense on how old they are. Can I sand the metal of the outside of the light and repaint them? If show what type of paint is safe to use on a hot light? If not what are peoples suggestion about the best way to clean these lights. Or is it just better to use them as is?

Thanks
Calling @ship
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbarfd
 

JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
I will see If I can get a picture of one of them and post it here. The light bulb goes from the fixture that holds it through a little hole into what I think is the reflector not sure I would have to open it or take a picture for you all to see. I am no pro at these things. I will try to get a picture of these things in the next few weeks.
 

derekleffew

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ship

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Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Attached is the main design styles of other than ETC Leko's from the 50's thru the 90's. There is lots of other versions and designs of Leko, but this would be a good start in picking or if not refining the version looking to service.

Wow! did I write all that? Minor changes I would make, but essence is there & glad I did not go into repair details too much.

These days I'm more working on 50/60's era Leko fixtures requiring total tear apart and restoration. Though I have two Shakespheres in the cue for service (I have never worked on before tbd.) Almost finished with a Kliegl #1368 in trying to figure out if it had the 8" or stepped down 6" lens on it (been working on both versions and lamp caps got mixed up). Just finished a Hub #8765 - the worst design of a Leko I ever restored, but has confounded me for years on it's swivel part sticking out, believe I'm only missing an aluminum casting of the upper part of the lamp cap to restore a second one. Lots more lights to work on including one still installed from 1924 I don't have, and still that 1890's Magic Lantern. That in addition to restoring fixtures and making them RGBW ETC system controlled. Inventing lamp base adapters in converting one lamp type to another for such a concept. Busy, active, loving it.
 

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JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
Attached is the main design styles of other than ETC Leko's from the 50's thru the 90's. There is lots of other versions and designs of Leko, but this would be a good start in picking or if not refining the version looking to service.

Wow! did I write all that? Minor changes I would make, but essence is there & glad I did not go into repair details too much.

These days I'm more working on 50/60's era Leko fixtures requiring total tear apart and restoration. Though I have two Shakespheres in the cue for service (I have never worked on before tbd.) Almost finished with a Kliegl #1368 in trying to figure out if it had the 8" or stepped down 6" lens on it (been working on both versions and lamp caps got mixed up). Just finished a Hub #8765 - the worst design of a Leko I ever restored, but has confounded me for years on it's swivel part sticking out, believe I'm only missing an aluminum casting of the upper part of the lamp cap to restore a second one. Lots more lights to work on including one still installed from 1924 I don't have, and still that 1890's Magic Lantern. That in addition to restoring fixtures and making them RGBW ETC system controlled. Inventing lamp base adapters in converting one lamp type to another for such a concept. Busy, active, loving it.
My Leko's that I want to restore that actually work and I could get away with out restoring but would look better restored looks just like the one in the middle of you picture here. I have not yet opened one of them yet to see what I am getting myself into. Perhaps I am biting off more than I want to.
 

JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
Another thing, please tell us the whip (the wires going from lamp cap to stage pin connector) does not look like this (three single conductor about 1/4", white, and fuzzy):
View attachment 20710

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I've already included ship's last word (as of fifteen years ago) on the subject. No need to repeat himself again, but I'll repost the link to the collaborative article, same as above, Lighting Fixture Maintenance.
No None of my cables coming from any of my stage lights to the stage pin connector has white fuzz on them. They are a solid black cord with 3 individual small cables one white one black and one green inside the thick black cable. However one of the black cables has a red white and green cable not sure if this is common.
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
So we have probably identified an Altman 360 Series radial Leko. If without asbestos, I would think dating to around 1974. That's not very old. The exploded pictorial and other documents of this light is known but the website link is broken at the moment in pulling it up.

Red White and green is not standard and I would be a little more suspicious of a past wiring change on this one for other problems in general.

All this said, Altman as a company local to you probably won't be of much help other than for manuals and documents. I could take apart one of these fixtures blindfolded but that's not a help. Read Derek's forwarded post from many years ago. It covers a lot of lighting fixtures in general and will get complex in concepts. Read, than read again, than as you attempt to service the light, have it handy in what to look for each step.

From what you say, your experience level is minimum, but good intent is useful in wanting or in your case needing to learn. Once needs to know, one tends to learn fast. Normally I would recommend taking your work to your local college for help in showing what to do. Covid problems in not doing this of course. Do you need these fixtures fixed right away or can you sit especially on the wiring part for a year until safe? Other parts without supervision can be worked on in the mean time. The wiring part, I would recommend a trained theater electrician from the college, or at least a licenced electrician with advice on something not normal for them to work on to oversee. This out of safety.

Lots of other work can be done once that brass knob takes off the wiring part of the lamp cap.
 

JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
So we have probably identified an Altman 360 Series radial Leko. If without asbestos, I would think dating to around 1974. That's not very old. The exploded pictorial and other documents of this light is known but the website link is broken at the moment in pulling it up.

Red White and green is not standard and I would be a little more suspicious of a past wiring change on this one for other problems in general.

All this said, Altman as a company local to you probably won't be of much help other than for manuals and documents. I could take apart one of these fixtures blindfolded but that's not a help. Read Derek's forwarded post from many years ago. It covers a lot of lighting fixtures in general and will get complex in concepts. Read, than read again, than as you attempt to service the light, have it handy in what to look for each step.

From what you say, your experience level is minimum, but good intent is useful in wanting or in your case needing to learn. Once needs to know, one tends to learn fast. Normally I would recommend taking your work to your local college for help in showing what to do. Covid problems in not doing this of course. Do you need these fixtures fixed right away or can you sit especially on the wiring part for a year until safe? Other parts without supervision can be worked on in the mean time. The wiring part, I would recommend a trained theater electrician from the college, or at least a licenced electrician with advice on something not normal for them to work on to oversee. This out of safety.

Lots of other work can be done once that brass knob takes off the wiring part of the lamp cap.
No I have quite a bit of time and only one of the lights has the red white and green wire none of the others. I actually have a friend that has a degree in theater lighting that is a theater lighting designer for another local theater group that would help me out with the wiring parts and. My dad has a degree in electrical engineering so I am all good on that end ( oh and do not worry I am an adult in my 30's but I figure if your parent has an skill like that why not ask them for advice on it.). I am more wondering on the outside metal of the fixture. What can I use to clean them and make them look nice and or paint them. They were in a very old building in a dark basement with lots of dust so they could use a good cleaning and perhaps a painting. What type of painting would hold up to that intense heat and not catch fire? Also I am not planning to use the one that has the Red White and green wires. I think I am going to take the stage pin connector off that one and use it for parts I do not trust it with previous wiring.
 

ship

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Location
Illinois
Caution out of safety on my part - no offense meant. Those you can pull in to help no doubt can add to a shared experience of fun also in working on the project. Working on an old light is certainly cheaper than work on an old car. Takes less time, but has the same sanctification in the end if you get it bench focused back to perfect. Also easier if working on a dozen lights in assembly line, than one at a time per type.

Windex with Vinegar is normally what I use to clean fixture bodies. Though overall, since all parts are rated for high temperature.... I send lenses thru the dish washer with Jet Dry, all fixture parts except the lamp base and wiring can be washed in this way also. Quick and easy in new thought.... Easier and better still is if you have access to an industrial dish washer.

Only problem with this concept is that if any paint is coming off, it will probably wind up in the drain of the dish washer. On the other hand, were you to re-paint, all the less to have to chip or grind off.

Take lots of photos' of what about to take apart, and what parts are removed. Never enough photo's in help of the jigsaw puzzle otherwise in re-assembly. Labeled bags or E-Tape containers of parts assemblies removed for later re-install, further work, or replacement.

Wiring taken seperate, wash or clean each part dissembled.

TBA than what needs new paint or is good to go after cleaning. Re-tap all screw holes with the same tap size. Brush off the tap between taped holes - use cutting oil but remember a horse hair brush retains oil - too much oil is a bad thing. Some holes are not to be tapped - self threading, thread forming or self tapping screws removed should not be re-tapped for hole.

Once main parts are cleaned and dry, you should be able to access what needs if at all to be re-painted.
 
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ship

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Illinois
A note on the shutter assembly parts... Those parts at about the middle of the fixture which slide in and out so as to block light. Don't dish washer them or the plates and the spacers between them. They require different efforts.

I also forgot to mention the efforts which will be required to remove the fiber knob hand holds from the shutters. Kind of important to know in dissembling the fixture.

Two fiber washers are riveted together using either a 5/32 or 3/16" rivet. Hard to know which and useless to figure out which in re-mounting with 3/16" rivet. These fiber washers will block your ability to remove the shutter plates from the housing and need to be removed for cleaning.

Best way I have found to extract the fiber washers is to clamp with medium tension them in a bench vise. Than grip the upper part with the same tension, them with vise grips from above. (Often I do the second next step before the first in lightly clamping the rivet in the vise.) A rivet has it's body and a pin tip ball inside it. If you try to drill out a rivet, without removing the body of the rivet or ball, often your drill bit will wander off course towards the outer wall of the rivet body. Need to extract the shaft and ball of the rivet, before attempting to remove the rivet. Pin punches - or a screw of apprpriate size can pound out the ball and what is left of the the rivet. Once you have a hole thru the rivet, just with a #11 drill bit size, drill out the rivet easily once clamped. Possibly the rivet handles are brittle and break, or might need sanding once drilled out.... but this is the best method for removing the shutter handles.

Difficult somewhat to extract the handles, but with practice... Yea, pound out the pin and drill with #11 drill bit for now 3/16" rivet, they will come out clean and ready to re-use with some filing later of the fiber washer TBA needed.

Once you extract the shutters, the rest is easy.
 

JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
Thanks everyone for the responses. I think looking at them again just a good cleaning of the outside of the fixtures is all that is planned for me to do to them. Taking these things apart from what you all describe sounds tough and I am not one that can do things like that. Most of the time when I disassemble something and put it back together there are extra parts that are hanging around. Not a good thing when you have an electoral device. So I think just a nice cleaning with a dry cloth to get the surface dust off and perhaps a little water on another rag to wipe down the outside metal of the fixtures to get off any remaining stuck on dusts will be as far as I go. Besides the lamps are going to be above people's heads and people will be looking at the stage who is going to see the lights anyways? But thanks for all the responses.
 

RonHebbard

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Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Thanks everyone for the responses. I think looking at them again just a good cleaning of the outside of the fixtures is all that is planned for me to do to them. Taking these things apart from what you all describe sounds tough and I am not one that can do things like that. Most of the time when I disassemble something and put it back together there are extra parts that are hanging around. Not a good thing when you have an electoral device. So I think just a nice cleaning with a dry cloth to get the surface dust off and perhaps a little water on another rag to wipe down the outside metal of the fixtures to get off any remaining stuck on dusts will be as far as I go. Besides the lamps are going to be above people's heads and people will be looking at the stage who is going to see the lights anyway? But thanks for all the responses.
One of the last things you want is a little excess incorrect cleaner and/ or lubricant smoking, smelling, and dripping upon patrons, their skin, in their eyes, and staining their apparel; none of these are desirable.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
One of the last things you want is a little excess incorrect cleaner and/ or lubricant smoking, smelling, and dripping upon patrons, their skin, in their eyes, and staining their apparel; none of these are desirable.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

I am guessing a rag damp with water to clean the outside of the fixtures will not cause an issue. Am I wrong?
 

RonHebbard

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Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
I am guessing a rag damp with water to clean the outside of the fixtures will not cause an issue. Am I wrong?
I'm not the authority; I suspect a little water, Windex, WD40, et al, would be acceptably harmless as long as you're only applying enough to loosen and remove debris, then removing any / all excess with a clean, lint free, absorbent cloth.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

ship

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Illinois
That's a note for dichroic glass reflectors. Alzark aluminum etc. type reflectors... just throw them in a dish washer with soap and Jet Dry, or Windex with vinegar them. If bad, MAAZ or other metal polish, than the above. Better yet, if at a school, send them thru the industrial dish washer. I normally if using Windex, remove any soap residue on a reflector with denatured alcohol and a lint free wipe. Body of the fixture I normally don't worry about in residue.

Do at least clean your lenses (no MAAZ metal cleaner on the lenses,) but the rest of the solutions for cleaning above are good. Take apart the lens train - requires Channel Loc' pliers (Pupm Handle Pliers), to remove the retaining ring and watch the retaining dimples so as to remove and not chip the lenses. Remove the lamp, inspect it's wiring for melt down's and the lamp and socket for blackening. Nice to inspect your shutters for damage, perhaps if nothing else, a little graphite to them at very least.

Cleaning the outside can polish a turd. Even minimum maintained fixtures will work better and allow them to work longer.