Catastrophic lamp failures

JVV

Member
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...
We just got some brand new Birdies and MR16 lamps to go with them. Yesterday I put an edison plug on one and when I plugged it into a regular wall socket the lamp exploded like a gunshot. I thought, bad lamp, so I tried again. Same result. Then I thought I wired the plug wrong, so I tried a new plug. Same result. I thought it might be that unit, so I wired a different one. Same result. So I thought it was my wiring, so I had our LD wire it and same result. Then I thought it was the outlet, so I went to another room and tried it again. Same result. We even brought another lamp from another space to test. Lamp flared, then went out. Any ideas?

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techieman33

Well-Known Member
We just got some brand new Birdies and MR16 lamps to go with them. Yesterday I put an edison plug on one and when I plugged it into a regular wall socket the lamp exploded like a gunshot. I thought, bad lamp, so I tried again. Same result. Then I thought I wired the plug wrong, so I tried a new plug. Same result. I thought it might be that unit, so I wired a different one. Same result. So I thought it was my wiring, so I had our LD wire it and same result. Then I thought it was the outlet, so I went to another room and tried it again. Same result. We even brought another lamp from another space to test. Lamp flared, then went out. Any ideas?
Check the voltage on the lamps. Some MR16 lamps are available in different voltages. You may have 12v lamps.

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Check the voltage on the lamps. Some MR16 lamps are available in different voltages. You may have 12v lamps.
@JVV and @techieman33 Phrasing that a different way: Comparatively few MR16 lamps are rated for 115 or 120 volt more or less standard North American consumer level line voltage. (From the cobwebs of my mind ANSI EZK 's are one of the few but I'd look that up before quoting me.) I believe the majority of MR16's are rated for voltages typically ranging from approximately 6 volts on up to in the area of 28 or 30 volts; wattages, currents, intensities and anticipated hours all vary as well. Some "birdies" are sold with internal transformers, others with external transformers and some are sold 'raw' with the expectation of the purchaser providing their own transformers and / or other means of ensuring the correct voltage is being provided for the lamps. For a few examples (Note neither suggestions nor recommendations) Possibly you're planning to series connect ten 12 volt lamps and apply 120 volts; similarly maybe you're planning to connect four 28 volt lamps and apply 110 volts. On the other hand; maybe your application is in your travel trailer and you're powering your lamps with 12 volts DC from your batteries or you're powering 28 volts lamps from the system in your private plane.
BOTTOM LINE: As previously posted; ALWAYS check the voltage ratings of your lamps BEFORE you blow your budget blowing lamps and possibly inflicting pain, suffering, vision loss, yada, yada, etcetera.
@DELO72 As a manufacturer, would you care to bring your professional expertise to this post? PLEASE!
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
You can get 120V MR16's, but I don't think you'll find them in the industrial market much; they're mostly consumer lamps.

You just blew a crap load of 12V lamps.

Ravenbar

Active Member
I'm rarely around anymore so this is the first time I recall seeing this post. Reminds me of an experience back in college where the lamp in a 360Q went out as I was about 2 feet away balanced on a railing adjusting said light. I thought I'd saved the lamp as it had a volcano shape sticking out the side, but no idea where it ended up. May have been an FEL as those were commonly used in the 360Q's there.

John Anderson

New Member
Although I am now retired, my former company (teamlighting.com) represents Philips/Strand and Leviton (who purchased Colortran a number of years ago). My knowledge of exploding lamps dates back almost fifty years . The lamp manufacturers issue a caution not to touch the lamp with bare hands (bodily oils will cause decomposition of the quartz surface, thereby weakening its structure). Use gloves provided by the lamp manufacturer and if not, provide your own soft work gloves. A failed quartz halogen lamp (often reaching end of life) can perform what the lamp manufacturers term as a “non-passive failure”, meaning it explodes. I have seen Lekos and fresnels destroyed by exploding lamps, so be careful how you handle them.

Chris Cotter

Member
Yeah...FELs go out with a bang. At our theatre here, we have an inventory of about 20 S4's and 30 Strand Lekos (Which use FEL lamps). Whenever the Lekos go out, everybody knows it. When the S4's go out, no flash, no sound, no nothing.

I just remembered:
I have a PAR64 lamp to replace this weekend because it went out this past weekend. It was really cool when it did go out, because suddenly this bright purple light filled the room.
I had a par 64 go out once and it sounded. Like a shotgun going off !!!

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
In a question I don't yet see answer to yet.... how are the new, off brand or fixture maker sold lamps for PAR 64's working out? Lots of suppliers have stepped up in supplying them thru alternate brands or the same? But I have had no word either from where I work shows installing them or other people using them about how well such lamps are doing yet..

I know of Keller Williams lamps supplied by TMB and coming from Mexico. And there is no return policy if say lamp code got mixed up and you got the wrong lamps... But lamps are now stocked sufficient for say 30 lamps in a purchase to ship out. A note in not TMB better or less and having sufficient stock, just that stocking lamps has ramped up some seemingly in otherwise a month or two out in the corrected lamp re-bought. Some lamps ordered I am waiting on to be made.

What's the status of the DWE, FCX, #4596, #4552 all standard for the industry also. I don't know.

DuckJordan

Well-Known Member
All of my experiences with the new off brands are inconsistent color temp, spreads and of course the amount of DOA lamps is much higher. We've gone so far as to no longer order them at all and switched our overhead stage wash to using more expensive but readily available fresnels.

EdSavoie

Well-Known Member
Had a FEL fail spectacularly shortly before christmas right as i was putting gel in, this was in a FOH position, so my face was probably about two feet away.

Colour temperature jumped up for about a second or two, where i'm assuming the FEL turned into an arc lamp, and then blew its guts out of a small hole at the bottom of the envelope. I unfortunately didn't think of getting a photo of the otherwise surprisingly intact lamp.

Everyone in the house heard it go off, I was promptly asked if I needed to change my pants (I did not need to)

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Had a FEL fail spectacularly shortly before christmas right as i was putting gel in, this was in a FOH position, so my face was probably about two feet away.

Colour temperature jumped up for about a second or two, where i'm assuming the FEL turned into an arc lamp, and then blew its guts out of a small hole at the bottom of the envelope. I unfortunately didn't think of getting a photo of the otherwise surprisingly intact lamp.

Everyone in the house heard it go off, I was promptly asked if I needed to change my pants (I did not need to)
@EdSavoie Nary a need to change your pants if the FEL's blown them clear in time. Please don't ask how I know this.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

techieman33

Well-Known Member
All these reasons to convert to LED.....
Sure, that's ideal in a lot of instances. Sometimes you just want a good old fashioned par rig though. Another problem is that a lot of venues don't have the money to make the swap. Buying a couple cases of par lamps can be a challenge. Coming up with $20k+ to buy LED fixtures, lenses, cables, and some way to power them could be nearly impossible. ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member All of my experiences with the new off brands are inconsistent color temp, spreads and of course the amount of DOA lamps is much higher. We've gone so far as to no longer order them at all and switched our overhead stage wash to using more expensive but readily available fresnels. Interesting the Fresnel option for going. None the less, not proper to bad mouth a supplier or it's brand in general info short of other's citing problems in general with PAR's so far so please don't respond with that info at this point. Thanks for in general confirming my caution to be concerned about. I have not heard back from the tour using a few hundred of the lamps yet in if a problem. I will contact/remind them so as to track such lamps in performance. Something of interest to study overall. RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member Sure, that's ideal in a lot of instances. Sometimes you just want a good old fashioned par rig though. Another problem is that a lot of venues don't have the money to make the swap. Buying a couple cases of par lamps can be a challenge. Coming up with$20k+ to buy LED fixtures, lenses, cables, and some way to power them could be nearly impossible.
@techieman33 All the items you've listed AND distribute control data to and fro' them as well; the data cables are only parts of the data distribution system: Splitters, terminators and nodes, et al, dependent upon your system's complexity and needs.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

JimP0771

Active Member
Is it possible that the Bulb did that? I touched a bulb putting one in to a fixture one time years ago when I was young before I knew you could not touch them and that bulb needless to say did not last long and it went out with in just moments of heating up?

DuckJordan

Well-Known Member
Interesting the Fresnel option for going. None the less, not proper to bad mouth a supplier or it's brand in general info short of other's citing problems in general with PAR's so far so please don't respond with that info at this point. Thanks for in general confirming my caution to be concerned about. I have not heard back from the tour using a few hundred of the lamps yet in if a problem. I will contact/remind them so as to track such lamps in performance. Something of interest to study overall.
I prefer not to name and shame vendors unless its clear we didn't get just a bad couple batches. As far as switching to fresnels its a band-aid until next fiscal year to replace with ETC D40's and we have 80 6" Fresnel in stock

JD

Well-Known Member
So, I was using an old Altman PAR64 lamp for a work light yesterday. Nothing unusual, just hanging there when after about 15 minutes, BANG! Glass sprinkling everywhere... I figured it might have had a burner tube rupture that shattered the outer envelope but I was wrong. Once things cooled down I took a look. The explosion was forceful enough to push the socket and part of the base out of the adjustment hole in the back of the can but to my suprise, the quartz tube was intact! (see picture.) I suspect the filament rupture was simply from the shock of the outer glass exploding. The lamp was certinally not new, but not really old judging by the fact that the filament windings were smooth (as compared to the crusty look from many halogen cycles.) There was no stress on the lamp, just the usual retaining ring. The lamp had lived in the fixture a long time and seemed happy there until now. The only unusual thing is that it was a Thorn-Emi lamp. I have never purchased any Thorn PAR lamps! All of my stock has always been GE or Sylvania. The only thing I can figure is that it may have been replaced when out on a rental, which would have been years ago. As to why it exploded, I have no idea!