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Purchasing ACLs and Moles.. any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by rosebudld, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. rosebudld

    rosebudld Member

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    Hi again, my employer is looking to for me to assemble a wish list of products that are frequently called for in a concert lighting scenario.. two of those being ACLs either on the ground or hung and molefays usually white.. I'm not having any luck finding suppliers and feel that perhaps I'm just searching in the wrong manner.. any suggestions on where to look on-line?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    ACLs (Aircraft Landing Lights) are not a standard theater item. For instance, here is a page that covers ACL lamps:

    http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/elpages/landinglites.php

    I did many concerts using PAR 64 cans loaded with GE 4559 lamps. NOTE THE VOLTAGE! They are 28 volt lamps with a 20 amp draw. These things kick, but you need to wire them up in sets of 4 that are in series. Although the total wattage load is 2400 watts (4 x 600), I found that running them of 2.4kw dimmers was problematic. A 3.6kw dimmer is the best way to go. Be careful! You need to equip these modified fixtures with an odd style connector so they don't get plugged in straight. Also, lamps should be age matched and run as a set, hopefully from the same manufacture batch as any imbalance can cause all 4 to blow. Also, you need to have your 64 cans modified. The ACL lamps are screw lug terminals. You should also block off the hole in the back of the can with some form of screen so that someone doesn't reach their hand in and touch the terminals. Remember, putting your hand in is SOP for regular 64's to aim the bulb. That is something you don't want to do! There is no UL rating for use of these lamps in a theater application, and I can not endorse their use or the modifications listed above for obvious reasons. In the world pf PARS, you have WFL, MFL, NSP, and VNSP. These would be considered VVVNSP !

    All things said, the look is spectacular, but just watch your step on this project.

    Oh, and shop around a bit on the price. The link above looked quite high.
     
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  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    ACL Lamps can be purchased from most of the major lamp dealers like Bulbtronics, Bulbconnection, All Bulbs, etc. We have a couple ACL bars in stock, they get used a bunch even in theatre applications. The other thing that you have to bear in mind with ACLs is that the average lamp life is 25 hours. However they do create a very unique effect.
     
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  5. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    An ACL should be used infrequently, IMO. Too much use and they get boring.

    I've never seen these live, but they really intrigue me. Next tour I design they're going. http://www.studiodue.com/products/cs2-4.html
     
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  6. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    250 watt might be a tad weak. I like the 600's as they compete very well with 1000Q pars. There are also Q4559's that are quartz, but I have heard bad things about them. One kind of strange was I stabilized mine was to add auto-transformers. I had torn out an old transformer dimmer system and had the old 2500 watt cores. (Brushes, etc were trash.) I cut in the windings and installed taps, then mounted the whole thing in a pull-box. This way, the ACL's got their 28 volts no matter what! If they were all working fine, then the transformer did nothing. If one blew, it stopped the arc over by keeping the voltage constant, and the 3 remaining ones would work! (Ran on dimmers fine due to the % resistive load.)

    Besides, can you think of any other use for old transformer board cores? Hated to throw them out. (They were only about 10 pounds once stripped from the frame.)
    As usual, don't try this unless you know what you're doing! (Like you could really find old cores in this day and age ;) )
     
  7. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Well, these are dmx and I don't think I would want to be tweaking them, especially since they'd be leased.

    Anyway, I've seen a video of them and they're a lot brighter than the wattage would indicate. Seems optics are making lamps more efficient all over, allthough I don't know how that is possible in this case.
     
  8. rosebudld

    rosebudld Member

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    In reply to you all.. thanks! My searches were just frustrating yesterday, and yeah ACLs are boring etc. Again, we're a roadhouse so we get lots of types through here and some of them want ACLs.. No problem there on the voltage and wiring them in sets of 4.. I'm even ok w/ the idea that they're 250W etc.

    I was hoping someone actually manufactured them so I could check out the specs and quote the price to my powers that be.. otherwise I can get the bulbs and take some old P64 cans we have put them on a bar wire them up..

    So, I'll check out all the links and find out some more info.. thanks again.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Check solaris and lightbroker, they usually have some mole-fays 8 lights and ACL bars that are pre-wired. Usually ACL's are put in the par64 "stubbys".
     
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  10. sobenson

    sobenson Member

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    I bought 4 Aluminum ACL bars from One Source in Charlotte, NC recently. They were about $215 each without lamps, clamps or safeties. In total it was about $275. PM me if you want the contact info.
     
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  11. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    I would suggest for theater especially, even for concerts as well, to not purchase ACLs that are pre-wried into a bar. Altman uses a wired-in-series 4-fer for their ACL rigs which allows you to configure the fixtures in any orientation you please and at any distance from each other while still achieving the correct voltage. Yes, it means you've got to connect a few more things and clamp 2 more lights on the pipe, but I guarantee the modulability and configurability of this kind of system will be worth it in the end.

    I built two of my own sets of ACLs modeled after the Altman versions a while ago, PM me and I'll send pics if your interested.
     
  12. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    the industry standard is 4 bars. I like it when i can just get something standard. I usually dont have time to mess around with something special when i can just throw something standard up and be done with it. I cannot find any acl stuff on altmans website.
     
  13. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I have seen the 4-fers used, to me its just another way of doing it. Usually though, if you are going to do ACL's they are used in pods anyway. Most people yoke them out anway, so the bar won't get in the way.
     
  14. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    Don't get me wrong, the bar technique is totally applicable to most situations and is usually the easiest solution. I'm just a fan of the 4-fer myself.
     
  15. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The best solution may be to have a bar wired internally, but 2P&G connectors between the bar and the fixtures. It's easier to unplug to check continuity than opening the can; and I've had designers insist on ACLs splitting an ML center or spacing them 3' apart. The "down and dirty" approach is to attach the harness and lamps to a 5' bar, and plug spade lug terminals into the standard MOEP PAR64 socket and fork terminals to the lamps. This way the cans may be used as regular cans, but clear and proper labeling is critical!

    [user]JD[/user], I've had designers insist on the 250w GE 4552, as they say the 600w GE 4559s have too much filament lag. I've had bars of 600w and bars of 250w on the same show and observed only a slight difference in intensity, and none in response time. The 4559 is usually less expensive, but not by as much as the above referenced site indicates. The 4552 must not be as popular by GE standards.

    Please call them "ACL-harnesses" and not "4-fers," as the latter sends the wrong message.

    As for MoleFays, I really like this unit, especially if you're considering adding a scroller. Technically, 8-Lights require 4 circuits, as 4*650 [FAY Par36] =2600 watts. For conventional, look at TMB ProCan Blinders. Interesting that, except for TV/Film, 8-Lites are much more popular than 9-Lites.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
  16. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I've seen a move in many concerts to the MR-16 20-lite blinders, especially with scrollers. There have been MR16 blinders on the past few TSO tours, and they were out with the last Goo Goo Dolls tour. I've also seen them in a few other applications/venues.
     
  17. rosebudld

    rosebudld Member

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    Really my bosses just wanted me to put a wish list together for their amusement I think.. maybe one day we'll get some stuff in inventory here.. Thanks again.
     
  18. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    If I ever get back into ALSs I'll have to check out the 4552s. I got a little spoiled because the 4559s were only costing me $9 (in 1984.) Was getting them from the GE aircraft div at Newark Airport in NJ. By the way, getting to know service people at major airports is a great way to find out the best distributor prices.
     
  19. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    ACL’s as a general term are normally PAR 64 fixtures with #4552 250w/28v lamps installed in series as a group of four of them on a lamp bar fixture - it is in all fixtures permanently attached to the bar one fixture. As opposed to normal PAR 64 cans with GX-16d bases, these have it removed and ring terminals to the screw terminals on the lamp. Not as worried about matching the lamp hours of the lamps etc. they work or not, would be great if a passive resistor system were made for them such as on low voltage cyc lights but they are what they are and popular. In the past worked on some something like 8'x8' walls of them having 6 bars per wall and like eight walls for a tour. Yep effective. Don’t try to make one, on the other hand beyond say Thomas and TMB, perhaps Technilux and Creative Stage Lighting and a few others even perhaps Kupo if even them, I’m not sure there is anyone making such a thing. Most rock and roll touring companies have them and would if not sold on the market either offer them used if asked for them or make them for you. I know where I work we have lots of them but they are also ancient and those bars pre my upgrades to them - including grounding the lamp bar itself, are suspect or just plain wearing out. What you buy used potentially might be a horse past its useful life. Wires wear out, rubber gets rotted or dry etc. Short of total re-working of used gear or at least total inspection I would not buy used persay. On the other hand, such companies have lots of experience with them in what works if not even in study advancing the technology. An alternate source to the manufacturers would be those that tour with the gear making such stuff new for you.

    Otherwise as a more or less broad concept, the employeer might have been asking for ACL by the way of SBL instead. Both low voltage and often confused in term and definition. Is it one fixture that does low voltage high intensity beam projector beams of light wished for all in one or two separate types of lighting equipment? The SBL commonly used in a PAR 36 audience blinder would be the #4596 250w/28v PAR 36 lamp which is also wired in series but within a bank of audience blinder lighting or as also called Molefays. Slight difference also in that a Mole Fay could also be a PAR 64 multi-light fixture or as normally known a PAR 36 fixture that uses a 120v/650w ANSI FAY lamp amongst others - most common the FCX in it. This lamp is a ferrule based lamp as similar to the screw based DWE lamp and the exact same lamp only one has the screw terminal brackets and the other doesn’t. Exact same lamp only the Mole Richardson studio based light is very expensive, the screw based lamp not as much so and a bit more flexible in doing series lighting. Moles would take a lot of work to wire in series, the normal audience blinder that’s not a MoleFAY fixture will not work out as well as a audience blinder by normal terms. Moles also are one, three, six and nine lights, audience blinders are two, four and eight light fixtures which work better in working with line voltage on dimmer loading or series voltage. Really hard to wire a nine light for series. Mole Fay’s are still in use and very rugged fixtures but not these days the main norm for audience blinder lighting equipment.

    My question being if ACL did the employer looking for the lights mean two different light fixtures, a PAR 64 and audience blinder or mean a one in the same fixture that with a change of wiring could do both this given smaller lamps and less the effect?

    Not sure what you mean by “usually white.” There is different color temperatures available for the audience blinders / molefays one daylight and one halogen in color temperature, some lamps discontinued as with some beam spreads not available but for the most part I’m yet to note a white Mole Fay fixture. Mole Richardson’s color is Mole Mauve, and otherwise such fixtures get painted black.

    Ground or hung... all a question of how you mount such a thing. The audience blinder fixture is more C-Clamp or better yet ½ cheseborough, the Mole Richardson fixture is spud mounted and while you can adapt, doing spud to floor base is a bit difficult in such fixtures also being built like a tank designed like 60 years ago. Do believe I have never yet seen a Mole Fay fixture mounted on a floor base. For such a thing while perhaps overkill I would probably figure out how to do so on a 40# boom base for stability. Think it is perhaps a eight light audience blinder you are more looking for. Set of eight 120v/650w lamps on three circuits, and an easy change to make it into a SBL fixture for PAR 36 ray lights.
     
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  20. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    The MR-16 blinders and even LED audience blinders are also out there, believe the MR-16 versions are called Mini-Brutes are rarely requested.

    Same with #4559 lamped ACL’s - don’t even stock them for tours and never heard problems that a 250w/28v lamp didn’t keep up with a 1K PAR lamp but I don’t do shows. Aware of them, would love to see them but not yet ever requested in the last ten years. I would avoid individually transformering them by way of dimmers modified and other methods. That’s old school and I even have lots of huge heavy old school transformers laying about - a pallet of them in fact for doing so, this along with also a few patch boxes for doing such a thing amongst a few six bars or other lamp bars, but in the end other than for special uses such gear (the transformers never, the patch boxes infrequently in use) such things rarely are used. For the most part, the designers I work with are used to a four bar of them and will work with that.

    As a concept and while I love the Kupo lamp spinner / cap for the hole in a PAR 64, (not as much their cans) a 28v fixture is considered low voltage if under 64 volts. You don't need to cap it even if in general a good idea especially given for a ACL you won't have to play spin the bottle.

    ON the other hand the DHA light curtain banks just went back out on tour after collecting dust for a few years. Yey, they are cool but on them, as advised, once one lamp goes, replace all lamps if smart.

    Another concept that these days is less requested but still an industry standard for PAR 64 cans is the ray light kit for them. Basically a DYS 600w/120v lamp (short in lamp life also but also dichroic) is requested at times. If that’s what’s requested, go with the more modern styles that allow the ray light fixture to work with a standard GX-16d lamp socket. Plugs right in and if you want extra punch the Ushio JCD120v-800wC is tops for them in punch.

    Given PAR 64 fixtures have for the most part three different styles of lamp that can be requested for them, it gets hard to wire for them. Quick disconnects could be used but need special attention as to how to do so. Otherwise its constant changes to the fixture requiring time and money in doing so wasted. Best concept is permantly wired gear but that ain’t feasible. Got where I work’s solution and it is not optimum, otherwise there is other suff in the works but nothing that is UL listed at this point. Hmm, look to the Halo Lazer PAR 36 fixture for a clip on lamp socket type thing for screw terminal lamps. On the other hand not rated for the wattage for good reasons in cooling, but if ray lights, PARs and ACL’s in a PAR fixture could work out that interchangeable type problem you have a solution. Best solution is for ACL leaving them as that, for PAR or modern ray light, leaving it as that. Both fixtures on a lamp bar of four or six so you don't have to be installing individual fixtures and circuiting them.
     
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