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Is it really worth it to fix up old lights?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Les, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    I have 4 Altman Axial 6x9's that I need to decide what to do with. They are in ok shape, taking into account that they spent their lives (approx. 20 years) in the rental business. They all need sockets, shutters, fiberglass sleeves, reflectors (may be able to swap from other lights), friction washers for the yokes, and some other small parts like screws and bolts. On top of that, they still would always look like crap without a fresh coat of paint. (powder coating?). I thought all the lenses were all excellent, but one looks chipped, and they all appear to be greenish. Before I invest any real money on these, are they even worth it? With minimal work they can be somewhat useful, but it would take substantial labor to get them up to spec. And when it comes down to it, they could still be over 20 years old. (They have the tell-tale Altman Brown/Olive Drab coat). Something inside tells me that if I need lights that bad, I should just buy new.
     
  2. PadawanGeek

    PadawanGeek Active Member

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    I think you should just go out and buy some new ones.
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I have a bunch of old Strand Axials in my inventory that are about the same age as your Altmans. They work great, and for me, I don't have the money to replace them but I do have the money to keep them operational. It is pretty easy to find replacement parts at the local hardware store except for reflectors and lamp bases which I can get from my local theatre dealers.

    The green glass lenses is the soda glass, nothing to be worried about. As for paint, If I have instruments that need touching up I use high temp BBQ black spray paint. You can also get it in green and brown I think.

    Now, if you only have 4 units, you may be better off just replacing them as opposed to me with 50+ units. You need to take into account not only the cost of parts, but the cost of labor.
     
  4. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's the biggest worry for me is the cost of having them sandblasted and powder coated. They're the kind of lights that would be rarely used, but when they were, they would be in a non-theatre setting on a light tree. Looks and safety is pretty important. They're pretty dinged up, and some of the yokes are bent and covered with several layers of gaff tape. I'd get a picture if I could find my digital camera. Let's just say they look pretty rough. I would also not look forward to replacing the shutters. I might just go and replace them eventually. The lowest price I have found so far for Altman 360Q's is on www.stagelights.com, and I believe they're $198. I would love Source Fours but I don't need that kind of precision. I just need a step up from parcans. I think I have ruled out buying used from eBay.
     
  5. TimmyP1955

    TimmyP1955 Active Member

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    I know someone who has a number of the old model Altman Shakespeares for a very good price, although I think he may have only 30, 40, and 50 degree units (as I believe we bought all the 20s - we bought over 40 assorted units). Email padrick at comcast dot net and I'll forward his contact information.
     
  6. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Funniest way I've seen an email typed...ever.
     
  7. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    That the best best way to post someone's email address, otherwise the spam trollers will pick it up and he will get loaded with spam in his inbox

    Sharyn
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    It sounds like in your case with only four instruments it isn't worth the hassle. Sell them on E-bay for what you can get and buy some new ones.

    When I was a high school teacher I didn't have the option I needed my two dozen 360Q's to work. I cleaned them up nice and got together enough money to replace the reflectors with the new modern style reflectors. I was VERY happy with the improvement to the light. Still not S4 quality, but it was a huge improvement over 20 years of neglect.
     
  9. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you should just buy new.


    After all your potential work on those units, the lumens will not be worth it.

    ST
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Well, do you want a project or something that will actually work. If you want a project, for probably 100 bux or so you can get those things all working pretty easily, maybe 150. If you are just looking to have a few fixtures hanging around, repair them. If you are in need of source 4's, go get some source 4's. IF you have the time, IF you don't need much but something that will throw light out the end, fix em up. If not, give them to someone who will.
     
  11. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    They don't have to be sandblasted and re-powder coated! Get a can of flat or glossy BBQ paint from Lowe's or Home Depot, or better yet, engine paint from Main Auto Parts or Pep Boys and paint them yourself. It won't be a factory finish, but BASH and Four Star and Vanco used to paint their 360s all the time. Why spend $198 per unit and not gain much? If you can't afford Source 4s, DON'T buy Shakespeares, most LDs would rather have 360Q with an FLK lamp than a Shakespeare.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2007
  12. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Hard Hat high temp paint, you can't go wrong. Just be sure to take them outside on a windy day and turn them all on at full for about an hour or two to burn off that wonderful smell.
     
  13. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I've done this before as well too...works like a charm.
    A caution...be careful not to overload it too much. I know you're working with old instruments but for anyone thinking of doing it with say S4's if you get too much paint build up on the lens train it doesn't fit in the unit.
     
  14. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the recommendations guys!! I was worried about the cost of powder coating and the only reason I really considered it was because I saw a new powder coating place in town and I wanted to see what it was all about. But yah, not really worth it. On removing the old paint, it's a hammertone brown, and some of it is loose or chipped off. So I don't think I should paint over it. I'm pretty sure I could remove the paint myself from the lens tube area, but the pineapple / heat sink in the back has me worried a bit. How would you go about removing the paint from between the fins? Since I work at Lowe's I'll see what we have there, but I'll probably check at O'Riley's or somewhere.
     
  15. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I give a “as is” but safe working condition resale 360Q a resale price of at minimum $95.00 but up to $120.00. New lenses would cost around $45.00 each but the rest of the parts in resale and or general upkeep of the fixture is well within budget and profit.

    Used to be we marked the “green lensed” fixtures and used them for stuff like amber washes and less important things. Could be that for the short term you use this or these fixtures as such. This given a more typical stage use, do I read correct a more rock & roll use? Could be they are obsolete over a PAR 64 if of general wash of light use and their resale to a good home would be a better outcome. Don't sell them to just anyone unless factory safe in wiring unless sure those you would sell to are capable to re-wire them. If not or in gernal, you should only retail what won't kill someone thus is safe. That's a responsibility "as is" don't cover sufficiently.

    In theory, you could about break even for value of the fixture to totally upgrade what you need on the fixture if you don’t include labor and have one that is up to current specification. Or near that at least. This worth could be a base for how much work you put into the fixture, it otherwise could be a base for how much to sell it for in saving up for other gear. Say the green lens fixture for like $75.00 and or the others for the above resale.

    Overall, I would save them. Not replace the lenses & keep to the old style yoke washer system - just with an education program on how to focus a light & replacements in stock. Than use these fixtures even if green for supplemental lighting. Perhaps upgrade the lenses one or two at a time over the next couple of years & do what’s needed now such as lamp bases, reflectors & shutters. Theorize like $60.00 each for them to budget for & budget for as you get time in a long run goal to get them all serviceable again. Until than, preserve them (oil what’s needed) and put them aside.

    Once they are fixed, something like a GLA, GLC, HPR 575/115v, #6981P or GLE will have much more output than you expect with these fixtures - especially the HPR. It will compensate some by way of 115v for the green lenses, and especially in the HPR balance out the Altman dark spot. Once the lenses are changed, they will than keep up with the S-4 fixtures of the world if not out punch them.

    Still if nothing else, in having a fixture on hand during design - a fixture usable to cover a hole or need is always better than not having enough. When I design, I divide the inventory into types of course, than I divide them into first, second and third class within that type. I first design for primary needs with the best in the inventory, than fill in later or lesser needs with what’s left by priority or what color it will be gelled. Could be a concept in keeping them in the inventory, much less preserving them for the next generation to learn from. This is another key factor, it’s not just the art, but also the tech you pass on. Short of having these fixtures available to learn from, those of the next generation won’t learn from them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2007
  16. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Often in the paint on metal surfaces there will be rust under the paint, otherwise on the aluminum it might flake off due to the heat. I would dremmel with a silicone fiber wheel what I can in general if not take it to a sand blaster and have what I can removed. If Dremmel tool is the option, it's more a concept of removing what's going to come up and making the edges of what is not less than a seam and more of a sanded smooth transition between new and old paint. Powdercoating - great stuff but it adds like 1/64th inch to every surface which will cause problems for anything that moves. High temp. spray paint is the normal method.

    Sand blaster on the other hand works really well in removing paint. After that, do what you can with what chips or sands off but more worry about where what peels off and what stays intact forms a seam you can see after painted. Fine sand those seams so you cannot as easily see a transition between surfaces.

    The aluminum also won't rust or have problems with heat. It's perfectly acceptable to continue using or resale the pineapple without a fresh paint job, more a question of fighting corrosion and rust on the steel parts such as the barrel. A two colored fixure if servicable good condition I don't have a problem with. That's also a choice especially if what's painted is flat black in opposed to what is still factory or lacking paint.
     
  17. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'm probably gonna keep them. Selling them would be too much of a hassle with shipping, plus I really don't feel comfortable that they're safe. I was told that they were, but by my standards they aren't... And by that I mean cut ground wires, abrasions on the leads, etc.
     

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