Conventional Fixtures Altman Satellite Woes

Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Location
MD
I've engaged in the lamentable task or relamping a pair of altman satellites that I inherited with my position. After dealing with parts of the housing on one that were glued together, I've installed a new lamp, reconnected power, and attempted to turn on the unit. The fans power up, but the lamp just glows for a moment before dying. I can hear the striker going off, and while this post:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...10184/&usg=AFQjCNFmIvrZsztQe_sPvt_j_jraE3JLrw

Suggests that that means the lamp is DOA, the fact that it emits a glow when running the striker, just not fully igniting, leads me to wonder if something else might be wrong.

This is entirely aside from the fact that the lamp housing on my other unit was riveted, not bolted, together.

There's also some question in my mind as to whether I should be posting this under Vintage Lighting.
 

JD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA
Altman Satellite was/is a great little spot! If this uses the external magnetic ballast, I would suspect a failing power-factor capacitor. Swap the lamp from the known good spot to insure it isn't a bad lamp. The original lamps were all pop-riveted together, but they were so darn expensive (you would replace the whole reflector/lamp assembly), that people began drilling the rivets. Vendors caught on and gave up on the whole pop-rivet thing.
The spots usually only have the ignitor pack in the lamphouse, and there is very little to them. Unplugged, you should get a very low ohmage reading from power in to lamp on the ignitor. About the only failures I've seen on the ignitors are failure to ignite. Since the lamp is striking, not the problem. Never had a magnetic ballast core go on them, guess it's not impossible. Not sure if the ever switched over to electronic ballasts, at least I never saw one. If it is electronic, then there is a failure mode that would cause that. Easy to tell as the magnetic ones feel like a box of bowling balls.
 

Mac Hosehead

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2014
Location
Shark Tank
Here is my Satellite story, although whether it applies to this situation is always a matter of good guessing due to incomplete information.

I wanted to replace a lamp in a Satellite. It had an OSRAM 575 w/GS that worked fine but had frosted over. I replaced it with an OSRAM 575 w/DXS which has replaced the w/GS. It wouldn't strike. A response from Altman was that I might have a capacitor in the ballast that was out-of-spec and might need service. That might well be the case as the spots were old but, gee, the old lamp seems to run fine. I tried a new GE CSR575. It struck and is still running with the same ballast.
 

JD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA
Here is my Satellite story, although whether it applies to this situation is always a matter of good guessing due to incomplete information.

I wanted to replace a lamp in a Satellite. It had an OSRAM 575 w/GS that worked fine but had frosted over. I replaced it with an OSRAM 575 w/DXS which has replaced the w/GS. It wouldn't strike. A response from Altman was that I might have a capacitor in the ballast that was out-of-spec and might need service. That might well be the case as the spots were old but, gee, the old lamp seems to run fine. I tried a new GE CSR575. It struck and is still running with the same ballast.
Seen that type of thing on HMI/MH lamps. Two reasons I ran into:
1) Weak ignitor- There is a touch of gas in the lamp to help get things started so the metal will evaporate. The amount of gas varies between lamp makers. A weak ignitor will work with some but not others.
2) And this is odd! - sometimes you can end up with a conductive trace of metal on the inside of the lamp and the spark follows the trace as compared to bridging the electrodes. Had this happen only once. A few seconds on a neon sign transformer took care of the problem and it worked a nice full life after that!
In any case, the OP indicates the lamp does strike but drops out shortly after. Bad lamp, or something's limiting the current. Funky caps can limit the current, thus my thoughts above.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Location
MD
Seen that type of thing on HMI/MH lamps. Two reasons I ran into:
1) Weak ignitor- There is a touch of gas in the lamp to help get things started so the metal will evaporate. The amount of gas varies between lamp makers. A weak ignitor will work with some but not others.
2) And this is odd! - sometimes you can end up with a conductive trace of metal on the inside of the lamp and the spark follows the trace as compared to bridging the electrodes. Had this happen only once. A few seconds on a neon sign transformer took care of the problem and it worked a nice full life after that!
In any case, the OP indicates the lamp does strike but drops out shortly after. Bad lamp, or something's limiting the current. Funky caps can limit the current, thus my thoughts above.
So, this response got me thinking, and I went back and checked- the lamp got a little brighter before guttering each time I tried to start it. I make a point of telling my students not to brute force things, but lo and behold, a few more attempts over the course of the day and the lamp ignited.
Still going to need to drill out the rivets on the other unit when its lamp goes, but for the moment at least, I'm back to two working units.