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Melting Neutral Wire Connection- 2k Fresnels

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Jason M Wagner, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. Jason M Wagner

    Jason M Wagner Member

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    We have a consistent problem with some burnout in the wiring of our 2k Philips Selecon Fresnels. For some reason the connection burns out and obviously archs, melts, and disconnects. It does not create sparks or anything and it does not trip breakers. Would this be just a loose connection issue creating heat or something to do with the design of the unit? Any suggestions?

    Wags

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  2. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Screws getting loose and overheating ?. Like being a little pregnant, once you get a teeny bit of corrosion there's no going back.
     
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  3. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    What gauge and temp rating is the cable? Is it possible someone before you replaced the tails with underrated wire?
     
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  4. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Jason M Wagner You don't for any reason have units designed and approved for use at 230 to 240 volts in your venue in Texas where your 120 volt 2Kw incandescent lamps would be pulling approximately twice the current? This may sound like a silly question but stranger things have happened when folks have imported products from companies marketing internationally.
    Back in the early 1970's, Strand 8" British built 1 Kw Fresnels (Perhaps model 223 in my memories.) had similar problems with ANSI BTR's burning medium pre-focus sockets and their associated connections.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  5. egilson1

    egilson1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    When you replace the socket, are you replacing the lamp too? I ask because socket/lamp pin arcing is the STD of the lighting world. You can have a new socket and put a lamp into it that has been removed from a bad socket and that lamp will create arcing with the new socket.

    Ethan
     
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  6. JonCarter

    JonCarter Well-Known Member

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    Those look like spring-loaded mogul bi-post sockets. Are any of the springs weak (resulting in poor contact w/the lamp posts)? The spring-loaded contact sockets are easy to put lamps into & to remove from but are subject to poor contact, and on hi-wattage lamps (2k, 5k, 10k, etc.) poor socket contact is a big no-no. If you have burned socket contacts, replace the socket AND the lamp that burned it. And clean the new socket contacts and the new lamp pins with emery cloth before installing a new lamp. When you install the new socket be sure that all contact surfaces are clean and all connections are tight.
     
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  7. Jason M Wagner

    Jason M Wagner Member

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    I've thought about whether the wiring is the correct gauge or not. For a fixture that can draw nearly 17A, I don't believe 12awg is larger enough, and that is what I believe it is wired with. Now we are not running these lights at full all the time, but something tells me the combination of loose connections at wire terminals and possibly the lamp posts, plus maybe needed a larger gauge of wire throughout is what is causing this issue.
     
  8. Jason M Wagner

    Jason M Wagner Member

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    The tails and internal wiring are all original, except of course the ones we've repaired with factory parts from Philips. I believe it is all 12 gauge from what I can see. Even a cross-section of the internal wiring (white casing) looks like 12. I'm thinking of re-wiring the entire thing with a larger gauge from plug to lamp.
     
  9. Jason M Wagner

    Jason M Wagner Member

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    While there are versions of the Selecon Arena that are rated for 22V-240V, we have the 120V version. Lamp and lamp base is different between the two. They probably rushed a 120V version from their original design so they could sell it to American consultants.
     
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  10. Jason M Wagner

    Jason M Wagner Member

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    @egilson1, @JonCarter

    Yes, we change the lamps when we change the socket. No, we do not clean the new contacts before installation. I hadn't thought about using an emory cloth to ensure good contact.
     
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  11. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Call Philips/Selecon/Strand and send them these photos. Put the onus on them to correct this for you since it appears to be a manufacturing defect from what you've described.

    What is the environment you're using them in? Are the fixtures located in areas with consistent movement of conditioned air or are they possibly getting hotboxed in stagnant hot air?

    Have the fixtures you've repaired with factory parts been failing as well or are the original tails the only ones that are giving you grief?
     
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  12. Jason M Wagner

    Jason M Wagner Member

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    Mike, I have considered contacted Philips, but have not done so. Unfortunately good records have not been kept on this issue because for 6 years, only 2 have failed. However, they are beginning to fail at a greater rate these days. We just didn't think it was a big enough issue in the beginning with the 1st two.
     
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  13. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I recommend doing a visual inspection of a selection of fixtures that haven't failed yet, examining both the socket and where the tail ties into the lamp base cabling. It's possible one of those two points is failing, arcing, and causing the additional current/heat that's making the other point fail. If you can idea which is the chicken and which is the egg, that will give you some insight into what the exact failure method is.

    Self-destructing cabling is an invitation to an electrical fire or electrocution though. You need to contact Philips so they that know this is a potential issue out there whether it's localized to your fixtures or if they have overall quality control issues with a larger batch of fixtures. I've had issues in the past with Strand fixtures where they sent two pallets of new lamp caps to remedy a problem and I believe we sent the all of the original caps back to them for a quality control inspection.
     
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  14. Jason M Wagner

    Jason M Wagner Member

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    I've just emailed someone at "Signify". What a lovely new name for Philips Lighting. I sent my pictures and will wait and see what they say. Didn't mention anything about a hazard. I'll save that one for when they tell me they can't do anything.
     
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  15. Allana

    Allana Member

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    I have had about 50 of these lights for 5 years (they were brand new 5 years ago) and have yet to see this problem. They are not my favorite light.
    I recommend contacting
    Jeffrey Bright <[email protected]>
    even though he has not gotten back to me recently about my 2k Fresnel issue.
     
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  16. Jason M Wagner

    Jason M Wagner Member

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    Thanks! Funny thing. He's the one who replied to my general email to Signify.

    His response:
    "What could be happening at the lamp socket could be arcing. I believe having a wire ferrule would definitely help with a better connection. Sometimes when tightening down on the bare wire it can damage or cut the wire."

    Not a definitive solution, but another suggestion.
     
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  17. JonCarter

    JonCarter Well-Known Member

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    Five-year-old 2K instruments. That's lotsa heat on those sockets. Heat will degrade the springs -- they begin to lose tempter and not grip the lamp pins as hard as when new. Then they start arcing. Then they die. Used to be that mogul bi-post sockets tightened on the lamp base with a screw thread. Clean the socket, clean the base pins, put the lamp in, screw the socket down tight. Never had problems. Then somebody decided to make re-lamping "easy"--just pull the old one out; push the new on in. Now the springs die and the sockets follow.
     
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  18. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    #12 is good for 20 amps and is likely what your electrics are all wired with. I would look in to getting some ferrules. Also, make sure to polish the inside of those socket contacts really well (or replace if necessary).
     
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  19. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    14ga wire was used on 2Kw Altman Fresnels. It's high temperature heat wire and can carry a higher amperage.. heat wire loading.

    Ferrules is a very good note - you never want to twist a screw onto a strand of wire - could break it, and otherwise with expansion/contraction under load cause it to settle causing a now loose terminal.

    Springs while a good observation I don't think much a factor - too little surface area in the problem to loose temper. But that said, well stated though and I always compare tention with seating the lamp in tension in being a factor. Initial photo - I see your point in discoloring of the spring on this terminal, but not worried.

    Moot point is this the hot or neutral terminal and or plug mis-wired.

    Loose terminal screw for connecting wire to lamp base.... appairent - wire settling or lack of ferrule or in general not tensioned, and perhaps not re-tensioned after use. (expansion and contraction.)

    Interesting the wire out of the terminal welded solid - never seen that before! Slight contributing factor is proper stripping of the wire in not nicking or pulling off strands of wire. Given the "Skin Effect" of conductance in wire, this mistake can cause an added heat/resistance to current flow.

    (John Carter... Emery cloth too rough to use, Chrocus cloth and treat the bright work with contact cleaner in other post today.) Do not clean either new or abused lamp socket or pins of lamps with emery cloth! It's a starter grit and fine for say the swivel pole to a followspot stand. Too rough for an electrical connection. And also you need to treat the fresh bright work!


    "Have the fixtures you've repaired with factory parts been failing as well or are the original tails the only ones that are giving you grief?" Good question mnicolai
     
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  20. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    To note the other Selcon fixture repair notes I cite on a different post tonight. Same kind of thing in fixes, repairs and observations.

    In your case, what's going on with the plastic shell of some connection between the blue/brown cord whip and the heat wire going to the lamp socket? More photo's please in that's strange and I don't stock either fixture in discussion at work.
     
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