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Help me fix ETC S4's

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by tech2000, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    The lights in my school are only ten years old but 15+ of the ETC Source Four caps where the lamp plugs in do not work. We have "rewired" plenty of them whenever they stop working and get them to work again (and it is pretty easy). However, now even though we are doing the same thing as always, it is not working.
    I am in need of help repairing these lights. Any advice is greatly accepted!
     
  2. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    How have you been "rewiring" these lights? S4's don't have that much that can be rewired, you just replace the socket which comes with new wires permanantly attached.
     
  3. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    By "rewiring" I mean replacing the little copper leads the lamp plugs into in the socket. Then we "rewire" the stage pin plug. Although, for some reason we will do this and go to test it and either it will not work or there will be a tiny spark and then the light wont work. (the lamp is fine)
     
  4. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    I think you just have bad sockets. After a while, the terminals in the sockets will burn out. The tiny sparks are what's called Arcing, that is what destroys the socket. Replace both the sockets and the lamps. Bad sockets spread like an infection in that a bad lamp causes a bad socket and a bad socket causes a bad lamp. Reusing those lamps would just lead to a new batch of bad sockets. BMI carries the complete TP22 socket for S4's for $17.75(Part#TP22H) according to my latest catalog.
     
  5. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    So it's bad even though the sockets that were just replaced still look new?
    I guess that actually does make sense...and that is a pretty decent price for replacements.
    Thanks for the help!
     
  6. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    Alright, the last thing I said was a little messy...I only ever tried replacing one contact at a time, I have never replaced the entire socket with both contacts.
     
  7. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    For some reason we have some extra contacts with the wire attached...(now we only have a couple left.
     
  8. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Yea your best bet would be to get new ceramic lamp bases with 36" leads and replace the ones giving you trouble.
     
  9. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    Where would I purchase new bases and how much would one cost?
     
  10. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    Your S4's use TP-22 sockets...
     
  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hey Tech... are you here in Washington State?
     
  12. Saunier

    Saunier Member

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    Our theatre had the same problem. Call ETC and tell them the problem, ours was a total factory recall and they sent us all free brand new backcaps and we replaced every last S4 backcap
     
  13. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

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    I don't use any Source 4's, but if they indeed take TP-22 sockets, ReplacementLightBulbs.com has a great price. We bought a bunch of these for our 360's and Shakespeares, and they work just fine.
     
  14. OnWithTheShow

    OnWithTheShow Member

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    be careful the 575's (older) and the 750's (newer) take a slightly different shaped socket.
     
  15. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I know someone who got a bad batch of caps a year or two back. However you know it right away. If these are 10 year old instruments this is just standard wear and tear. Replacing sockets is normal maintenance on a fixture this old. The fact that a bunch of them need it at the same time is the proof. They all wear about the same in the facility. Don't be surprised if you have to replace the sockets in all your S4's over the next few years. You might let someone in the administration know that you are going to have this problem and you are going to need some money.
     
  16. LekoBoy

    LekoBoy Active Member

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    How dare ETC make something that needs maintenance every ten years? I've never had to replace a socket in a 1KL unit, because everyone hates them and won't use them.
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Thanks dude, that was Hilarious!
     
  18. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Luckly changing the socket out on an S4 is relatively easy....I love S4's :D I can't say the same for our old Strand Century fixtures at my college...luckly I rarely ever use those.
     
  19. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    If the lamp burner caps on your S4s are pre 1997, they will continue to destroy sockets and lamp pins. The pre 97 units have no spring clip to secure the lamp in tight. When the lamp moves around, it makes it so that the pins don't make a solid connection to the socket and arcing starts. Once the arcing begins, it will continue to get worse and as someone else mentioned, both the socket and the lamp become damaged, and will damage anything that they come in contact with. ETC has two retrofit kits available. The one replaces just the inner metal assembly and has the lamp clip. It lists for $10, but our PRG rep sells them for $8. This unit does not appear on the public ETC parts list. A dealer with any smarts should be able to supply it. If not Production Advantage has them. The second unit, replaces the inner metal, socket, wire and fiberglass sleeve. I believe the list price is around $30. You should be able to get it for $25. When you consider the price of HPL575 lamps, it only takes getting a full life out of the filament on several lamps, and the retrokit has paid for it's self.
    I volunteer at a community theatre as the master electrician. We purchase most of out Source 4s off ebay, and look for the ones that are very low price because they need some work. I then spend a little time fixing the units. Many of the units that we buy, and almost all of the ones that were present at my arrival, are pre 97. In order to not require a big expenditure, we purchase a couple of retrofit kits everytime we purchase gel for a show. I put a mark on the cap with a silver sharpie, to let me know which ones have been modified. This summer I was able to identify the last seven, that had not been modified. The kits are ordered, and next week I will finish them all. A total of 33 units have been modified over the last 3 years.

    Get to know your Source 4s in detail, the parts are available for any repair, and they will last forever.
     
    Serendipity and (deleted member) like this.
  20. Lightingguy32

    Lightingguy32 Active Member

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    Dramatech, good point. The source four is industry standard right now, and since the original poster said he has had them for ten years, it is probably not a bad idea to brush up on the materials list/ parts drawing which is readily available at ETCs website.

    Saunier, what is the date code on your ETC Source fours? (the date code label is on the yoke some where).
     

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