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HID Lamps, arcing, and socket lube

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by naharnahekim, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. naharnahekim

    naharnahekim Member

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    Location:
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    My Facility is lit mainly with these lampsM400W/BU/UVP/4K.
    9 times out of ten when I go to replace the lamps, it takes quite a bit of persuasion to get them out of the socket. So my first question, is there some sort of solvent I could spray up into the socket to loosen things up? Before anyone answers DW40, I do know it's an option, but every time I've used it on something (bikes, tools, cars) someone wiser than I has ground it into my head that rubbing sand on the object in question would have worked better in the long run.

    Second question:
    I know in part that the sticky lamps are do to arcing in the socket, to the extent that a few of the lamp bases have mostly melted away. At first I assumed that this was par for the course when it came to HIDs, now I'm beginning to have my doubts. I figured that the lamps were going to arc anyway, so it wasn't worth it to install new porcelain bases, am I wrong?

    Lastly:
    Lamp lube, is it worth it? If so, what would you recommend? I've read suggestions saying everything from commercially available lubes, to plain old Vaseline. In a perfect world I would imagine the stuff to be non conductive, make it easier to screw the lamp in, hopefully (but probably not) reduce the risk of arcing, and in the end make it easier to get the lamps out again (if the stuff sticks around that long). What should I really expect?

    P.S. I do plan on CONSULTING A QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN but wanted your opinions as well.
     
  2. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    Change your lampbase, never put burnt lamp in.Vaseline is no good, it is an insulator.
     
  3. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I think HID/Metal Halide lamps are inherently hard to get in and out. They spend so much time in there (isn't it like 15,000 hours or more?) things are bound to get a little seized up. But yes, replace the sockets with porcelain. I'm surprised they weren't before. I admit, I didn't look at the picture very closely. Are these Mogul (really big) Screw Base sockets?

    Edit. Looked at the picture closer. They are. New question, what type of fixture are these in? A high-bay warehouse light?
     
  4. naharnahekim

    naharnahekim Member

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    Location:
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    The average life is around 17,000 hours. They are Mugol sockets.
    The original sockets are porcelain.
    The fixtures are open face gymnasium/warehouse lights, and yes I am using the open rated lamps.
    The building was built about 10 years ago, so I'm figuring it might be time to replace the porcelain anyway.

    I failed to mention in my other post that I'm having the same problems with our parking lot lights. They use the same type of lamp, except fully enclosed, and the problem seems even worse there, which I suppose is to be expected what with weather and humidity and such.
     
  5. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    HID lamps run hot. There is stuff like lamp lube, deoxident, copper filled deoxident etc. out on the market, problem is heat - I wouldn't recommend any product for a HMI lamp. First because none would be rated for the temperature, and second it won't fix the problem.

    Change your lampholders and install new lamps at the same time. Could also be old ballasts and or bad capacitors and voltage problems but not overall likely. Humidity could also cause oxidation which could help with resistance. Resistance to current flow such as a lamp in a bad oxidized / buned up base won't conduct very well - carbon don't conduct. In not conducting power, what parts of the lamp/lampholder assembly do still make marginal contact sufficient to conduct do the best they can but at a higher amperage for that limited area than designed for. This resistance and high current make heat enough a lamp's base can literally weld to the lampholder if not any solder tip to the lamp could melt and attach itself to the base.

    Overheated lamps are prone to premature failure due to the heat either making it's pinch/base assembly fail or even in part inturrupting the halogen process within the inner lamp capsule.
     
  6. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    by the way, 10 years old isn't that old. Have the electrician do some troubleshooting into what caused this problem. Both inside and outside the building wouldn't be humidity I would think nor overheating due to ventilation or heating/cooling. Most likely a fixture or power problem possibly causing it. If all the same age and brand, it's possible they would all react in the same way, but not sure what this cause would be to make the lampholders go bad this soon.
     
  7. VeeDubTDI

    VeeDubTDI Member

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    Location:
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    I've found that mogul base lamps in general are difficult to remove from the sockets. My campus has a lot of mogul base metal halide, mercury vapor, and sodium lighting. All of my house lights in the theater are mogul base 300 watt reflectors. All of them take a little persuasion to get out of the bases, even the newer fixtures. You're definitely not going to be able to change them with the old suction cup on a pole. ;)
     

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