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Re-conditioning older lights

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Reggie, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. Reggie

    Reggie Member

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    I have been buying lighting gear, new and used for location use. I am uncertain about the proper refurbishing of some of my fresnel fixtures. Cleaning out the accumulated dust and debris is obvious, replacing worn/damaged wiring and sockets, is as well. Most of them have their interior baffels painted (coated?) black. I would have to believe that this is to reduce the amount of light bounced around inside, eventually leaking out thorugh the vent slots. Two which I recently acquired have a very oxidized white coating inside. They were made by Bardwell and the current owners of the company are not very helpful in providing information on a discontinued fixture. Should I spray it with high temperature black? Leave it alone? Spray it white again?
     
  2. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    the white color if it is paint would not hurt or hinder it. It might produce a bit more light but certainly won't hurt the beam since it's already a soft light. The white might also be there to prevent too much heat from the light from being absorbed into the metal.

    On the other hand, it could be just a oxidation coating from a lamp that lost it's seal or from a cleaning compound that was used on it and burned away leaving a white as opposed to black carbon coating much similar to paint. Use a soft wire brush to expose the paint under it to confirm if it's carbon or paint.

    In any case if the Fresnel is built as solid as any other Fresnel, painting it black should not hurt it with the extra absorbed heat. Than again, try it with a white inside to see if it's putting out a little more light. White has been used for many reflector housings over the years, even your overhead fluorescents use it. Perhaps it's an efficiency thing given the lens prevents too tight a focus anyway. There/gone, in the end it probably won't matter.

    Never heard of the brand before, got a link to them?

    Another option to ask might be going to the Kliegl website, or E-mailing Altman for advice.
     
  3. Reggie

    Reggie Member

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    Thanks for sharing your ideas. I hadn't considered the reflective vs. heat dissapation issue. I suppose the extra heat could cause shorter lamp life due to a seal failure. What makes it more confusing is that the the inside of all my Arri(s) are black, the interior of 2 of my of other Bardwell(s) are black, while these are not. Here is a link to the company website:

    http://www.bmlighting.com/catalog/catalog_home.htm
     
  4. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    No, the heat issue assuming the lamp is the standard BTN series of Fresnel lamp, should not be much of an issue with pinch seal failures unless the Fresnel with the white sides has almost no venting. If the fixture has normal venting, the lamp should be fine no matter what brand or color.
    The idea with painting it white would be in the fixture itself absorbing too much heat. Say if the white shielding is made of a light weight aluminum say slightly thicker than a Coke can. Put a 500w or more lamp next to a coke can, and even if it's vented, depending upon how much heat that surface of aluminum is absorbing, is how fast it will melt down. The thought or idea is that if you were to paint the fixture that you manufacture with a white not so much as black heat absorbing paint, it would not absorb as much heat and thus you could pay less for the aluminum components making it up given it no longer had to be as thick.

    Not saying that this is what has been done because I have nevr heard of that company - Arri Fresnels I have, but never seen the bardwell brand and cannot say what the puropse is. All I am saying is that the heat issues might be another reason for a white inside besides reflection/refraction. Cold be also that with components that don't absorb as much light/heat that the entire fixture runs a degree or two cooler. Just speculation on my part however. Hope that's more clear. Reason being a Pinch-Seal improvement for the lamp, probably not if properly vented. If not well vented, than the lamp is going to get hot no matter what the interior color is.
     
  5. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    their gear looks similar to the Altman Studio line or the Arri Fresnel line. Between that and the Strand Bambino's they all are black on the inside. That said, in their 650w fixture open unit photo, it shows some un-painted aluminum from a side plate, but other than that, all fixtures appear to be black inside. Thanks for the link. Interesting that they call themselves BML lighting instead of BML inc which would be a theater supply and prodution company.

    Anyway, my guess is that it's carbon from a lamp loosing it's pinch seal and not paint that is supposted to be there. If it wipes off, it should come off or that carbon will retain extra heat that would otherwise be dissapated by the fixture. If it's paint, it will be powder coat and difficult to remove.

    It is best to see first if you can remove the carbon without painting see above with heat buildup. If the carbon can be removed without scratching the paint too much that would be preferable to painting it and adding another layer of heat retention. Try a soft wire wheel or steel wool and some denatured or rubbing alcohol.

    What size fixture are you using anyway?
     
  6. Reggie

    Reggie Member

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    The fixtures in question are all 2K fresnals. They are of an all steel construction. The only aluminum is in the reflector. In my first post I should have made that clear. These are not part of Bardwell's current line. When I took the baffles out to clean them I gave them a good scrubbing in the slop sink with some citrus cleaner and it did appear to be be carbon that was washing off. If there was a factory coating applied, there didn't seem to be much left. Any bare steel without a finish will eventually rust, so I thought that some high-temp black would be the answer. A rubdown with steel wool, some black spray and I was done. That was until I acquired the fourth 2k made by the same manufacturer with the white interior.
     
  7. Reggie

    Reggie Member

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    Re: BML's name

    Regarding the company, the current owner bought the firm while Bardwell and Mcallister was having "difficulties", and turned the business around. I don't believe he has any connection to either Mr. Bardwell or J.G. McAllister the original founders. Current lights bear little or no resemblance to what used to be manufactured.
     
  8. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Now that you are done with deciding colors, and as opposed to stripping the whole thing and sending in for re-powder coating, you might have to revisit the subject, it's time to find out some info about them.

    Interesting, the website still features a picture of the two having the family name or are they the two new owners? - Didn't look that closely. But that explains a lot especially a lack of good info about what lamps the fixtures use, much less exploded pictorials or parts plan views such as Altman offers and help - that I'm a big fan of. How is the new stuff the updated company offers Reggie? Given a founding in the 1920s I will have expected products similar to the Mole Richardson line in being tanks. Just got in some 5Kw beam projectors from them, they are still on pallets - one per pallet, and I'm yet to see what it does, but expect them to take a lot of abuse without falling apart.
    Given the look of their new line of fixtures, I would expect something similar to stuff made in Korea or Italy not that lines such as ARRI that I believe is Italian are in reality bad - unless you need parts for them or they get rough handeling. Our ARRI kit in the 650 and 300 line have not required work yet, but given the preponderance of plastic parts, I hope not to have to fix them.

    On your louvers, if they are anything like Strand or Altman studio fixtures, he he he, or as computer savvy people would put it "LOL", patience is of virtue during re-assembly of the louvers. I'm sure you know what I mean having already re-assembled a few. I feel your pain if similar. Not quite as difficult as field stripping a iris, but it can be just as frustrating. No, you can't bend them little hook like shapes to get them into position than bend them back LOL again... Lots of experience especially with 2Kw Studio Fresnels myself to the point of having to re-surface burnt contact plates on Altman Fresnels due to the fact that on the 2Kw they discontinued the replacement lamp bases a year before they came out with the upgraded lamp base assemblies which take completely different lamp bases, and whell, we are still working on the 5Kw upgrade using the same lamp base. I now having spent about a week re-surfacing old lamp bases have about 50 more in stock than I need if they are Altman style - see below.

    Steel Fresnels, nice gear. In theory, all the parts you are working with will be similar to that produced by other companies depending upon what material they are made out of. Take a Strand Bambino apart, and for the most part, it's the same as a Altman 5000L with the main parts - lamp base and gel frame asside. Louvers are louvers, yokes are yokes if made out of the same metal. Your parts might be given the age of the company and it being domestic, very similar to those produced by Mole Richardson or Strand. TMB being a good place amongst other companies to get both of their gear from. And it's a big enough company that they can lean on the supplier should they decide to backorder instead of send the parts.

    For stuff I know about and would be similar, Thorn makes a 2.4Kw CYX upgraded lamp for the fixture now if you need that extra punch. They have not published what the actuall ouutput is but given the same color temp, and 100hrs less than a BWA in life, that lamp, for it's wattage, it ought to put out a lot of extra lumens. Plus the fact that it's a 115v instead of 120v lamp like on a HX-600 or HPL lamp. Meaning it's life should be similar to that of a CYX, but output and color temperature given the wattage and voltage should be huge to an extreme. I am not allowed to play test the lamp because nobody wants to pay for the upgrade should it be much better.

    Otherwise, the BWA line of lamp is the most long life available, or GE/Thorn, Philips with the exception of the Euro #6994Z, and Ushio all make a decent CYX lamp with the same max output. Wiko and Osram are a bit dim. Think that Koto used to make this lamp also, but they are now owned by GE and either conform or make the lamp for them. My guess would be that Koto now makes the GE line of CYX lamp.

    However, should your fixtures need to travel, both the Philips and GE lamps do not travel well due to the cartons they come in to put it lightly. Ushio costs more in this lamp which brings Osram even if 4,000 Lumens less bright back in the running at least for me. The other option being buying the Philips and GE lamps and packaging them in your own boxes. GE, Philips and Ushio should all have similar output and nobody has complained about less output from the Osram yet so the specs might be off.


    Of interesting note, what is your lamp base like? Is it rectangular and about say 2.1/2" x 4" or 2" x 3.1/2" with say a 3" dia circle stuck in it's center? I just went thru a major upgrade of the Altman latter lamp base since they in general are discontinued and no longer available much from anyone, and am in the works of a 5K upgrade nightmare given the same lamp base. Even sent a fixture to them so they could re-engineer their upgrade kit. The upgrade they sent out did not fit. They paid to ship a fixture back to them the same that they paid to have me ship a 2K fixture back for re-engineering last time around. Reality verses engineering specification, gotta laugh.

    Given you note about replacing lamp bases, just curious about if it's the old style smaller size with the circle like shap in the center, who you were getting them from? I'm also a big fan of no longer using normal heat wire. Instead I use TGGT Teflon 250c wire so it does not wear out as fast as the SF-2 200c Silicone wire. Just a thought since you are working on them.

    Be glad it's not a 5K fixture, otherwise there would be further notes as to the switch mounted to the side of the fixture reqiring special work.

    If any help, I believe that I found a deoxidant/lube spray that works well both on the lamp base and electrical contacts and the lamp pins. It's not rated for the temperature but is yet to have any adverse effects. McMaster Carr # 7437k15

    Sprayon Electrical Cleaners, 16oz.

    #SO2001 Electrical Cleaner & Lubricating Spray
    Works well.

    Also, Teflon Tri-Flo while it will smoke some initially works well for lubing the rails possibly better than white lithum grease that gums up in time. Radio Shack otherwise makes some high temperature grease that has a higher viscosity than even High End or Martin moving light grease. Yet to try it on the studio lights but it could show promess.
     
  9. Reggie

    Reggie Member

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    Ship, thanks for all the advice and other things I should be thinking about. A few answers to the questions you posed in you posts. The compant is indeed under new ownership. Their current line is like ARRI or the newer Mole Richardson, aluminum construction. The owner tells me that they have a complete modern manufacturing facility in California. I don't have any of their new fixtures yet, when my budget affords, 650 fresnels will be purchased. A friend of mine has a few of their 1k fresnels and is very happy with their construction. He uses them on location shoots, so their durabllity will be tested. Their vintage fixtures are very much like Mole, all steel, very heavy. As to you question about the lamp base in my old B&M 2k, the casting it is about 2-1/2"x4", the socket is a square of porcelain 1-1/4"x2-1/2". Thanks for the suggestion on the type of wire to use from the switch to the lamp base as well as the lubricant for the focusing rails. If it was within my budget, powder coating the baffels, or louvers as you call them would have been a better option than paint. But being a one man grip and electic company, I have to save money somewhere.

    Thanks again.
     
  10. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya Reggie,
    Actually--if I may post a tip about Powder Coating--you can DO small batches of a type of powdercoating yourself..I have done it many times--on saltwater fishing lures and tools etc. You can buy a powdercoat type paint at many fishing supply companys--it comes in containers. With this process used in fishing lures and so forth--It involves cleaning & drying and then heating the material to be coated (like with a torch very quickly), then coating or "dipping" the powder material in the coat which will then turn to a quick liquid and then set instantly as it cools. I have done this with a few tools to help identify that they are MINE. :) This process is cheaper then the full powdercoating process that is done in the industry that, I believe, requires glass blasting the surfaces clean with micro-beads, and then hanging, spraying and then heating and cureing the paint coats. I love powder coatings...and find that you can do similar things with this stuff on smaller items. The powdercoating stuff I have used takes a good heating, it takes a good bit of abuse and binds to whatever it is applied to--and on salt water lures it keeps the lures from corrodeing.

    my fishing tidbit for the day--not sure if it helps ya but just wanted to point out there is a cheaper way to do a powdercoat type of process on smaller items, then to go full out with the more expensive larger volume powdercoatings.

    Sorry to step in here Ship--just thought that bit of info may be amusing or helpful.


    -wolf
     
  11. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Powder Coating is something I send out to have done and thus don't understand the process of how it gets done from powder to coating. Well done. We have an oven in the corner of the shop set asside and powered up for this purpose on the hoist parts, but I send my stuff out.
     

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