Mental note: spare lamps are Good Things...


Yeah, learned our lesson last night, though I'm not entirely sure yet that it was the lamp. Equipment maintenance is a great thing, too.
We're running "The Full Monty." Our follow spot, an old Strong Trouperette circa 1970 or so (it was considered "old" when I was in high school!) worked just fine during preshow checks. Come the first spot cue, nothing. Poof. Gone. Not even traces of magic smoke. As the spot was up in the tech booth, and as I was here to see the show, I went into MacGyver mode. I went into this mode because I knew we didn't have a spare lamp for the instrument, even after four years of usage, troublefree, and a lack of time/motivation/whatever to pull the lamp out, check the ANSI code and order another one.
My first thought--get an instrument, hang it on the spot tripod, wire it up, have it actuated manually. Problem: no spare instruments that wouldn't illuminate the whole proscenium from that distance. Idea two: Franken-spot. I pulled the lamp base off our one spare Source Four, disassembled it somewhat, screwed it to a piece of plumbers strap, and dangled it inside the follow unit, securing wiring "properly". It worked, but just wasn't bright enough (575w) to duplicate the lamp in the spot (mogul prefocus 1500w fresnel-type lamp).
Idea three--get another lamp from the local community college, which donated the spot to begin with. I drove over (this was too late to make a difference in the show anyway--they reordered the light cues to cover for the blown spot) and came back with a 2000w of the same type from an 8" fresnel. I put it in after the show to check it out...sizzlesparkpoof! It didn't even get fully illuminated, the envelope was fine, I don't know what happened (yet).
Thankfully, one of our techies works for a production supply house here in town, and we have a bright shiny 5 degree Source Four clamped to the spot base (which is now screwed down to the floor of the tech booth), patched to a dimmer, and it makes a perfect 9 foot circle from the booth to the stage. Curtain is in a half hour, so if anything else...interesting...happens, I'll be sure to let y'all know.
Had to get this one out of my head for now. I'm glad this place is here, so we can share our "MacGyver moments"...
Spare lamps are good things, when you have the right ones; I did a show once where a short in the cable took out the lamp and dimmer, swaping dimmers wasn't a problem, and we had spare lamps, but none oth them were the right wattage. the short later turned out to be in the wiring of the dimmer, but that is a different kettle of fish.

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