Catastrophic lamp failures

JD

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Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA

Found this one today when changing over for another show. Never heard it and no one told me about it. Swapped out the fixture with a spare until I can clean this one out. Have had issues with a few batch's of USHIO's in recent past.
Ahh!
HPL that turned into an HELP
Still waiting for this thread to fetch a nice Xenon failure! Of course, generally they are so traumatic nobody things to take a picture!
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Most likely a finger %@&! - touched lamp given what I see. Good advice would be to inspect the rest of your fixtures, see if evidence of this problem further from a saff member. Re-Re train your staff on properly installing lamps. No' they didn't do it but re-training on proper installation of a lamp is a easy.
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
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HPL lamps might have a little xenon in them but it's not persay a xenon lamp. It is a halogen lamp and the normal cause of such a failure is someone touching the lamp with oily or dirty fingers, or a dirty lamp all of which absorbs heat when on the very pure quartz glass of the lamp. The glass as if a reflector or collector dependant on the circumstance becomes cooler or hotter than the halogen effect cycle in ballooning the lamp globe before it stretches until it bursts. The tungsten electodes of the tungsten halgen filament cycle is attracted or repelled to a lamp globe problem in causing a lamp failure.
 

firewater88

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May 16, 2009
Location
West Michigan
Most likely a finger %@&! - touched lamp given what I see. Good advice would be to inspect the rest of your fixtures, see if evidence of this problem further from a saff member. Re-Re train your staff on properly installing lamps. No' they didn't do it but re-training on proper installation of a lamp is a easy.
That shouldn't be to rough to retrain the staff, I'll just have to use a mirror and talk to my self even more than I already do!
Not saying it's not a bare finger touch, but that's unlikely, more likely a dusty lamp or just bad lamps. That one had a date code that was fairly old and probably already had a lot of hours on it.
I have long since switched over to Osram lamps anyway, so I know that one is old. Had a whole box of those USHIO go total black all around the same time in my lobby S4s.
 

TNasty

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Sep 9, 2016
Location
New Jersey
Had a whole box of those USHIO go total black all around the same time in my lobby S4s.
Consistency is key!

We've pretty much only bought from Osram. The only exceptions would be our follow spot FEL's (Impact), mover Halides (Phillips), and Altman strip lights (Something).
 
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DELO72

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Aug 8, 2007
Location
New Hampshire
Got an interesting lamp failure for ya. I was cleaning up the technical storage area today and thought I'd investigate some NFG complaints of our "Starball" fixture.

Pulled out the little 100w halogen lamp and was greeted with this. A perfect little dimple on each side, with a glass straw connecting them, with the filament neatly draped over (couldn't blow air through it though - I tried). Seems like there was a mini implosion. One of the more artistic lamp failures I've seen in my career.
Ah yes, the newer "Dimple" Filament design. This has been in place on a variety of smaller-wattage lamps (under 300W usually) for at least 7 years now. It's believed to be more robust than the design with mounts and supports which can break. It's also less expensive to make (I assume) as it has less components and fewer process steps as a result. Definitely NOT the result of an implosion. :)
 

JonCarter

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Apr 18, 2011
Location
Meridian, Idaho, US
I'm amazed to read of these lamp problems. In something like 25 years of stage & studio work (1955-1980) I've NEVER had any such problems with General Electric, US-made lamps! Of any kind--large lamps (up to 10 kW) or small general purpose lamps. Is everything made nowadays foreign crap???
 

techieman33

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Nov 7, 2004
Location
topeka, ks
I'm amazed to read of these lamp problems. In something like 25 years of stage & studio work (1955-1980) I've NEVER had any such problems with General Electric, US-made lamps! Of any kind--large lamps (up to 10 kW) or small general purpose lamps. Is everything made nowadays foreign crap???
Unfortunately GE is no longer making theatrical lamps. Which really sucks, my old strand LEKO's loved GE FEL's. And the Osrams that we use now don't last nearly as long, and depending on which version we get don't even fit in our 2200 series fixtures. The ones with the metal base and rounded corners fit fine. The ones that are all ceramic have sharp corners and won't fit in the sockets.
 

RonHebbard

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Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Unfortunately GE is no longer making theatrical lamps. Which really sucks, my old strand LEKO's loved GE FEL's. And the Osrams that we use now don't last nearly as long, and depending on which version we get don't even fit in our 2200 series fixtures. The ones with the metal base and rounded corners fit fine. The ones that are all ceramic have sharp corners and won't fit in the sockets.
When I opened Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in the fall of 1991, our ellipsoidal inventory consisted of 246 fixtures, mostly of Strand's 2200 series as Source Fours hadn't hit the market yet. I researched lamp brands and everybody I asked said accept only GE FEL's but Ushio's would be acceptable for the 500 Watt and 1 & 2 K fresnels & PAR 64's. Our initial lamp order was 300 GE FEL's, to allow for our first years spares, and Christies supplied everything else as USHIO's. ALL lamps proved to be totally satisfactory with only one USHIO Iris Cyc lamp arriving damaged and immediately replaced. FEL's often cracked the lenses in the Strand 2204's and occasionally in the 2209's but that was Strand's fault for insisting they were rated for the 1K's and not GE's fault at all. Eventually, after Strand had supplied MANY replacement lenses, we agreed to lamp the 2204's down to 750's and that was the end of the cracking lens problems.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 

JD

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Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA
"Unfortunately GE is no longer making theatrical lamps. Which really sucks, "
Too bad. Maybe this will be fixed in the future . . . We hope!
I'm afraid GE is only focused on the mega-dollar products for large commercial and government operations. When it comes to consumer products, they are only a "brand" that gets licensed out to many other companies. This migration started many years ago. For example, all their consumer electronics branding was sold in 1988 to Thomson Consumer Electronics.
 

derekleffew

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Aug 21, 2007
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Las Vegas, NV, USA
Ah yes, in the olden days of 750T12/9 being the standard lamp for Lekos, GE was the best; Westinghouse the worst. Sylvania somewhere in the middle. "Foreign" meant Thorn. There were no Asian imports.
 

Jeff Lelko

Active Member
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Dec 13, 2014
Location
Cape Canaveral, Florida
So I had a sealed beam Par 64 lamp blow its lens off last weekend. No broken glass and the lamp tube itself is still intact, but the whole thing ended up in about 6 pieces from the force of the pop (can, lens, lamp reflector, socket, retaining ring, rear of can). It made that wonderful loud 'bang' too... All the necessary safety hardware was in place so nothing fell, but I've never seen one go like that!
 

JonCarter

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Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Location
Meridian, Idaho, US
OK, I'll give you another "catastrophic lamp failure." We were working on a picture in a steel mill. This was in the early 60s (1960s, that is) and were shooting with Eastmancolor which had an ASA of 25 at that time. Now, steel mills are large buildings, this one being something likle 800' long and 200' wide with a 120' ceiling. And it was dirty. So, a lot of light was required for any long shots. Also, the existing light was a bajillion of some kind of HID fixtures on the roof framing, so it was close to daylight color temp. As we couldn't overpower this, we had to use camera filters which lowered the ASA to 16. We had a four brute arcs, some 150s, and a few inkies, mostly 10s and 5s and a couple deuces for the closeups. The arcs liked DC, so the mill gave us 250VDC by tapping onto crane rails up in the framing somewhere. LARGE bunch of feeders dropping down from the sky to spider boxes on the floor. Being 250V, everything had to be in pairs, connected in series. This worked fine for the arcs as long as the guys coordinated striking. It worked fine for the inkies, too, until somebody got one ten seriesed with 2 fives. (10 kW in series with 10kW, should be fine, right?) When we lit things up, somebody turned on the ten, then went to the fives. Now, had they turned on BOTH 5s first and then the ten, we would have been fine. But the ten was turned on first, then they turned on ONE of the 5s. Ever seen a 5kW lamp go off like a BIG flashbulb?
 

Scarrgo

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Dec 2, 2009
Location
Sterling Heights, MI
One day in the shop we were setting up some MR-16 4 cir strips for a demo, one of the guys grabbed a rack and plugged them in, as he turned on the breakers the came on super nova bright for about 3 seconds, then went out...so he grabbed another strip, same thing happened, grabbed another strip, same thing, while grabbing the 4th strip someone asked what he was doing, he explained his dilemma, and the guy freaked out on him as he had blown 60+ MR-16 lamps by running 208v thru them.
After asking why he didnt ask for help after the first one went super nova, his response was...."I thought it was odd, must have been something wrong...." was a lovely day...and here's your sign...
 

RonHebbard

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Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
One day in the shop we were setting up some MR-16 4 cir strips for a demo, one of the guys grabbed a rack and plugged them in, as he turned on the breakers the came on super nova bright for about 3 seconds, then went out...so he grabbed another strip, same thing happened, grabbed another strip, same thing, while grabbing the 4th strip someone asked what he was doing, he explained his dilemma, and the guy freaked out on him as he had blown 60+ MR-16 lamps by running 208v thru them.
After asking why he didnt ask for help after the first one went super nova, his response was...."I thought it was odd, must have been something wrong...." was a lovely day...and here's your sign...
@Scarrgo It's O.K. to run 208 volts THROUGH them so long as you don't leave too many volts parked in any one 6, 12 or 24 volt filament along the way.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Makes me feel better about the PAR 36 pinspot lamps I blew up in series to get line voltage - but miscalculated. Or the dozens of halogen lamps I touched early in my career. Doesn't make me feel better about the employee fired because he did something without proper supervision. And a mistake once educated about would never be made again. Granted three times is a chime, but where was the supervision during all of this?