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Dud Lamps

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Mayhem, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hmmmm – not sure if this is in the right forum but it didn't really seem to fit into the lighting ones. If you have ever bought a dud lamp, this may be of some help:

    On several occasions now I have purchased new lamps only to find that some are duds. Now on one occasion I had purchased a couple of lamps for a new light and when it didn't strike I was a little concerned. So I used another new lamp, with the same result. I then checked the voltage at the lamp base and the unit was working. So I did a continuity check on the lamps and both were duds.

    Fortunately, the supplier was willing to exchange the lamps, as I returned them to him on the same day. To look at them, there was no problem. No discolouration of the glass and the filaments were intact.

    As I usually buy more lamps that I need (to ensure I have spare stock) this led me to the question "what if this had been a lamp that had sat in my workshop for 3 months?” Would the supplier be so willing to replace it then.

    What I decided to do was build a simple little box that I could leave in the van and test the lamps at the counter when I buy them. So this is what I did. I took a small plastic box and cut a rectangular slot in it (large enough to fit the terminals of a Par 64 lamp in). I then took a section of breadboard (I am not sure what it is called in the US but it is essentially circuit board with parallel tracks and pre-drilled holes in it, which is used to construct simple circuits on) and mounted a section on the inside of the box, with the copper tracks facing outwards. I cut a line across the tracks in the middle (running vertical across the horizontal axis) of the slot, so that I had two separate copper pads (I also tinned them so they wouldn’t corrode).

    To one pad I connected a 9V battery, which I connected to a LED (mounted into the lid). The other side of the LED was connected to a 220ohm resistor, and in turn to the other pad.

    This allows me to touch the terminals of most lamps that I purchase onto the pads and immediately see if I have continuity. It is simpler that using a multimeter and fits into my pocket. If anyone wants to see a picture of it, I am happy to send you one. You could probably make something a little more compact or better, but this was made out of materials at hand. Cost effective and efficient!

    The supplier was a little surprised when I started testing the lamps as he was putting my order together but when I explained why, he understood. Especially when on the second time I used it I found a faulty Par 36 lamp. Since then I have had a few lamps that have been found to be faulty and some of them were in fact ones that I bought because I was there and I knew I only had one or two left. These would have been to ones that sat in my workshop for a couple of months before being found out.

    Hope this is helpful to someone.
     
  2. stagedoorTD

    stagedoorTD Member

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    I just had the same problem with 2 phillips MSR1200 lamps for my cybers. both burned up as soon as the igniter tried to strike it. I was most unhappy after pulling down a cyber (MID RUN) off a front of house pipe. Tested my voltage, only to discover there was nothing wrong with the fixture. How did I solve this problem?
    I ordered the USHIO USR1200, got the dealer to credit the lamps, and am now a happy USHIO customer. There is no difference in the color temp that I can see, either.
     
  3. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Good to know that the Ushio series matches up so well to the Philips. I'm about at the end of my rope with the new packaging on Philps MSR lamps. Plus my account rep at Ushio is chomping at the bit for more purchases, wait until they find out I switched to Osram for the HPL purchases. Perhaps I'll give their moving light lamps a try afterall, I'm already play tesing the Osram line in some fixtures. Philips just raised the price on the MSR 575/2 for me thru one supplier by $3.00. Ushio keeps looking more attractive especially since Osram is about to follow suite.

    As for bad lamps, you might want to check the fine print of the sales memo. Most of the even least flexible vendors will allow at least 7 days if not a month for claims or exchanges. After that, if it's a expensive lamp, especially a moving light lamp than the waranty claim will be sent with the lamp you return back to the manufacturer and the manufacturer will test the lamp to verify it's bad. This includes lamps that don't live up to within a reasonamount of their expected life, but especially lamps that don't strike an arc. If the lamp is rated for 750 hours and it dies anywhere under say 500 hours than you would have a claim and could expect a replacement lamp in about 30 days. It does not matter when you bought the lamp or from who, it's lamp life and with a moving light you can fairly well accurately track that for the claim. This as with just about all bad lamp claims get reimbersed thru the manufacturer, the supplier has little to do with it other than forwarding the paperwork. Your supplier upon having a bad lamp calls GE or who ever they got their lamps from and says they need a credit. If it's an expensive serial number lamp it might have to be sent back, otherwise it's just a credit and normal procedure that some lamps will be bad but not noticed for that right away. Heck, even restocking fees and shipping is negotiable.

    I anually send back about 50 moving light lamps and probably get 2/3 of them back as replacements for the bad lamp. No doubt also I get credits on halogen lamps to the same extent no matter how long it is since I bought them. Say to Ushio I had three bad lamps out of 300 and that's a reasonable expectation.

    Also I don't know if it's just me but if I can track who I bought a lamp from than I usually don't have a problem even 9 months later in returning it as bad no matter who I bought it from. Could be a courtesy type thing, but if I say I had one bad 8' fluorescent Chroma 50 lamp out of 15, than I get a credit on it. If I have a PAR 36 DWE lamp or six of them where the inner capsule did not live up to it being shipped, than I give a call and either get replacements or credits no matter how long it was since I bought the lamp. This depends upon how much you buy and the vendor but usually it's not too much trouble given spare lamps can expected to live on a shelf even if bad for months.

    If you buy lamps by mail delivery than it gets tricky because you do need to at least shake the boxes to ensure they were not damaged during shipment which the shipper would have to pay for given they saw the shipping box. It gets detailed as to what's just credited and replaced verses what you have to send back including with the origional shipping container, but the idea is you don't really have to meter the lamps out when you recieve them. There is time and trust if such companies want you as a continued customer, and those suppliers are going to turn around and either just eat the bad lamp in the interest of keeping the customer, or get a credit from their own supplier.

    In other words, if you have a bad lamp, it's not a used car you don't have to point it out immediately. If you do than you should not be shopping at that vendor, they are too penny pinching. It is good to at least observe the packaging on your lamps and listen to them to see if there is any overt problems but after that if the arc does not strike and you tried the lamp in more than one fixture, than it's covered. Send it back. If nothing else, you will know where you stand with the supplier and know when it's time to take your business elsewhere.
     
  4. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Thanks for that Ship. I will have to check the invoice statement from my last order. Form memory however, I do not recall seeing anything that resembles this. Perhaps I need to make a phonecall.

    cheers,
     
  5. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Phonecalls are good. I just made one today about a $500 dollar restocking fee from Juno Lights. Seems they charge 20% on returned items. Hello, do you want a customer or not? Ushio wiped last weeks $200 restocking fee by me just mentioning it.

    The idea is that you are the customer and what few things you buy is a large purchase to you. If such vendors want your continued business they need to be reasonable. It's not like you return bad lamps every time you buy them or something like like switch bad lamps for good ones, that which would become noticed even if they did not ask for the lamps back.

    Even if it's after the end of your return period/policy as per the recipt or what's posted at the store, most vendors will be flexible. If they are not, fine search for more flexible suppliers. They know that. What's worth more an occasional lamp or a few $ in sales per year? Even a hundred bucks in sales. The more lamps they sell, the more their discount. If they keep their prices about the same, the more profit they make. In keeping sales up, you sometimes just have to eat a few lamps. I never really have a problem with doing so, but I do want to inspect the lamp that was bad.
     

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