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Conventional Fixtures Followspot Feedback

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by AAMorgan, Jun 14, 2018.

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  1. AAMorgan

    AAMorgan Member

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    Hi all,
    I am researching replacements for my legacy Altman Satellite 1 followspots.
    Throw: 80' to downstage center.
    Cost: < $7,500 each.
    FC: How bright is too bright? I used Lycian ZOT 12HPs in a different venue. They were awfully bright and we rarely used them at full intensity. Other than that, they performed fantastically.

    Considerations:
    Lycian ZOT 12HP
    Lycian ZOT 7
    Robert Juliat Manon
    Elation Pro FS 15R

    Let me know your thoughts or recommendations. Thanks!
    AM
     
  2. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Why change? Loved the Satellites! Have a Lycian 1209 which is about the same on output. Good spot, but the satellites had a better feel, even if it irised like an old 1000Q. (Lycian is top mount)
    In the original concept, you changed the lamp/reflector assy on the satellite so you ended up with a new spot on every relamp. That kind of faded as people figured out how to just change the lamp, and later models had a removable lamp.
     
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  3. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I agree with John but if considering replacements I suggest adding the RJ Roxie or, if you need brighter, Oz.
     
  4. John Palmer

    John Palmer Active Member

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    I really like the Lycian products. I would rather have a spot that is too bright than too dim. I can always add neutral density if it is too bright.
    Also, it looks like the Elation spot is discontinued.
    Another thing to look at is the cost of replacement lamps.
    Good luck,
    John
     
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  5. techieman33

    techieman33 Well-Known Member

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    I really like my Lycian Midget 1209HP spots that are a 75' throw to DSC. Though right now I think I would stick with what you have unless it's really expensive to fix or you can't get the parts. LED is another option, they're getting to those kinds of output levels now, and if you can wait another year or two they should be even better.
     
  6. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Outside of dropping it, the Satellites held up pretty well. With enough wear, the occasional 5 pin twist lock might need to be changed. Magnetic ballasts seemed to last forever. Occasional capacitor might fail. Had one or two ignitors go, usually because someone cracked a lamp moving one and sat on the start button forever trying to get it going. Just a good spot. On the bright side, if you do upgrade, Satellites still have a good resale value.
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Key to sustaining elderly followspots and even new ones is an every year quality service call. That gate assembly with choppers, Iris and douser plates especially get damage as with fans in cleaning dust bunnies out of, than glide rails, springs etc. Yearly service call by way of a very skilled tech person will sustain 40 years later + a followspot to work until something in the ballast eventually blows and in simple part of it could take out other parts. Means inspection level about like browning about contact points in solder joints to the extent of re-rounding the rings of a multi-pin plug. As if you personally owned the fixture - that level of doing all needed to it including putting on a buffing wheel chromed parts.
    Sustain what ever the age of the fixture with skilled labor yearly service call and it will last for endless years.
     
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  8. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I won't say that LED spots won't need maintenance and service, but the substantially lower heat produced is bound to be gentler on the parts and pieces.
     
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  9. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    And the operator.
     
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  10. danTt

    danTt Well-Known Member

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    I would be very interested, when evaluating LED spotlights, on the lights ability to let you tune/regulate it as time goes on. Given that you'll probably do shows that want one spot, and shows that want both, making sure the LED engines both see approximately the same amount of use so you'll have balanced output is going to be important. With the life-span of spotlights usually measured in decades, not years, considering the long term performance is going to be important.
     
  11. AAMorgan

    AAMorgan Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, everyone.
    Some more info on my current Satellites. They have been around the block once or thrice. Are they worth saving?
    • Insufficient output
      • Although still firing, the current beam is weak onstage. An iPhone light meter app gave it a reading of 25fc @ 80'. Altman Satellite spot photometrics say 427fc @ 75' vs ZOT 12hp 368fc @ 80'. No way I am getting anything close to 427fc now. Could it be all in the lamp? Bill, do you think RJ OZ's 240fc @ 80' is comparable? According to ETC my 10dg FOH S4s are putting 109fc onstage. Which again leads to my question: how bright should a followspot be to reliably punch through stage lights?
    • Noisy
      • Muffin fans and ballast are both annoyingly loud. The followspot is located in the corners of the balcony and exposed to the audience.
    • In need of repair
      • The iris mechanism has broken clamp to the shaft. It has been repaired but slippy. The fader levers are also sticky. Both followspots have been in and out of service for years and would need an extensive restoration to get back into shape.
     
  12. Mac Hosehead

    Mac Hosehead Active Member

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    575HMI lamps can frost up with many hours of use. Not too hard to check if this has happened in these spots. Satellites are pretty punchy if everything is good.

    Yes, fans are loud. I think that any spot of this intensity is going to have considerable fan noise.
     
  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    HMI lamps start out looking nice and clear, but after enough hours, the lamp looks more like a white ball of chalk. It may be putting out a lot of light, but it is so defused that little makes it off the reflector and through the gate. The life rating of the lamp used to be 400 hours. Somewhere along the line, that number doubled, and I suspect that may have been an observation of how long the lamp ran until failure as compared to how long you could get a focused beam out of it. The fans are pretty cheap to replace. Noisy transformer type ballasts often can be fixed by spraying in more of the MFP agent that the ballast was originally soaked in. This fills the gaps between the windings and the core, which is why they can get noisy. (along with loose case parts.) Iris shaft clamp and Iris control shaft should still be available as they share the same part as several other Altman spots. Yes, lots of TLC. But still, when you look at the option of spending $14,000 for new spots, maybe a couple of hundred on TLC may be a good option.
     
  14. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Robert Juluats are much quieter than most at any comparable size.
     
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  15. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

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    ALL light sources fade with age!

    Incandescents fastest, HID/HMI and fluorescents next then LEDs.
     
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  16. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Yes, LEDs do fade. They develop micro-cracks where the crystal is fused to the substrate as they thermally cycle. These start going dark. The hotter they are run, the faster these develop.
    There is no magic pill with lighting.
     
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  17. danTt

    danTt Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but the first three provide much easier options for remedying the fades than the fourth (although at a much higher frequency)
     
  18. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Ushio in throwing in another brand has followspots to look at in not otherwise mentioned. Personally as a fixture service person... I can't recommend. On a show site today doing a bench focus. But how better something else would be? I don't travel to the USITT or other type shows in seeing other lights. I know I can continue to make these fixtures work 30+ years since they were fabricated. I'll still keep them running, and I hear from Strong... they will also. Though a Lycian is so much more simple and easier to bench focus. RJ needs a whole new program of parts to stock, but in general are not bad - so far.

    Tri-corn.... what is money verses time - verses what was the third factor as a goal for replacing or fixing the lights?
     
  19. DELO72

    DELO72 Well-Known Member

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    The only one above I would not recommend as a followspot is the Elation Pro FS 15R. It has nothing to due with Elation (I'm sure the fixture is high quality), but with the light source- The Platinum 15R lamp is a Mercury Vapor lamp. As such it will have a very green spectrum (The fill gas is pure mercury), and low CRI (MAXIMUM of 80-85). This is the absolute WORST choice you could make for a followspot in which you typically want 95+ CRI for skin tones on the performers. Okay, that's not true. Worst choice would be sodium vapor. 2nd worst choice. :) Stick with Xenon (99 CRI, but chance of flicker), HMI (95 CRI), or LED (CRI getting better by the day- however-- Phosphor degrades over time, so the reds will be the first to fade (if it is an RGB+ emitter) and the CRI will go down unless they fixture has Feedback software that regulates the output of the individual colors to keep CRI consistent over time, reducing overall output instead. A White LED (that uses color filters) might be a better option for a FS.
     
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  20. tdtastic

    tdtastic Member

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    For what it's worth, we love our (relatively) new Lycian Mini Arcs. Probably not powerful enough for you but we downgraded from some Chinese junk that was waaaaay too bright for our venue and purchased by someone years ago who liked spending money for the hell of it. The mini arcs are cheap, tiny, easy to use/maintain and totally quiet, which was important for our open spot booths. Maybe not what you need, but I'd highly recommend these lil' guys for smaller venues especially like ours where we have brand new spot ops almost each production....
     
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