Repainting a Source4


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My company owns 150+ ETC source 4's. Many in despeate need of re-painting. ETC says not to because we will void the UL warranty. They suggest purchasing new lights. If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.
The company that I AD for had 15 very old, rusty 6" fresnels. We had them overhauled the following way:

1. We removed the asbestos wires and made new whips for them.
2. We removed the reflector and sockets.
3. We had an area school's agriculture program sand blast them.
4. We had them painted a flat black. The paint that was used was a special manifold spray paint.

It has been 8 years and they are still in great shape.

I wish I could remember the name of the paint that was used. The kids just said that it was a spary paint that their fathers used when they were undercoating cars at their body shops.
Hard Hat Flat Black. Get the high temp variety, otherwise fire is a risk. The paint that is used on lights is a UL listed paint, that has been tested at high heat, so yes it will void the cert. Make sure you clean the instrument well before you paint it, and prepare the surface correctly. When you first fire them up after painting do it outside and turn them on slowly (like a point an hour). They are going to smell very bad untill that paint cures.
the truth is, you will void the UL listing no matter what you do to them. adding a new coat of paint / removing the old one is something that UL highly frowns upon.
on the other hand, i don't know of a rental house that does not have some repainted fixtures in it's inventory. as long as your using a hi-temp paint (something designed for engine blocks, cast iron radiators, etc) you won't have any fire hazzard issues.
i did a show in the middle of a forest and we ended up purchasing about 250 used altman leko's just so that we could camo paint them. (altman's ambient temp is higher than s4's) we used custom tinted white radiator flat enamel and it worked flawlessly.
good luck
You could always have them powder coated as well. We did that years ago for about 300 par64's that we wanted to be black instead of chrome. (chrome pars died out with the 80's). They still look like brand new, and it's good for very high heat. (these are 1K pars, powder coating is used on engine blocks and valve covers...)
Chrome pars died out in the 80's?
yeah unfortunatly along with new wave music, thin ties, members only jackets and the strand mantrix 2 scene preset with hold button. < I'm not sad about one of those I'll let you decide which>:twisted: :twisted:
Chrome PAR cans have not died out, (this is from memory) Kid Rock's last world tour - before the current "Live Tour" had eight special truss sections built that were about 8' square and mounted 36 chrome PAR cans per section. This in addition to other chrome cans on the show. This literally was walls of chrome PAR cans.

Lots of rock shows still use the chrome PAR can - to date normally and sure, it's moving lights in the hundreds, various LED's, and video projection systems are the norm but so is also still the PAR can - chrome for the bling bling of course is just as often used as much as black ones. Not always used these days but still in constant use. For weddings and small events, chrome fixtures I would think also the norm in if you only have a few fixtures, making them shiny makes it seem more substantial.

Sure for theater or corporate events, one would normally (not always) wish the lighting to be invisible. For rock and roll, that Chrome PAR still has a place. This just as much a place for silver PAR cans as silver truss. Silver truss is very common, why would one do black fixtures with silver truss when a PAR can? (At times I'm surprised that moving lights don't have chrome side panels that can be swapped out with the black dependant upon the show. Stock PAR cans in both colors for show use in size from the PAR 20 to PAR 64 and all at times are used much less being painted or scraped of paint to make up for shortfalls on a constant basis.

This Chrome can for anything from more modern shows to tours of past bands that want to present the same "Bling" factor they had years past - that's what the audience expects thus that's what they get. Sure, James Talor (believe that's the band but it has been a year or two since the tour,) did an exclusively lit LED tour (kind of looked like a wedding on stage in set design though nobody would say it in public), in breaking from the normal lighting. Say Journey on the other hand, them back on tour might be expected the Chrome Can assumed style. (Don't work directly on shows so all of this is to some extent assumption on my part and by way of remembering the PITA factor of specific shows in what was needed at the last minute thus remembering what gear such shows were or are using. Normally I don't work directly on gear for shows. Tonight I was at work until 1AM in working on some Ribbon Lifts. Don't know what show they are going on, I'm simply working on the gear.) Chrome cans as with cans in general are not going anywhere my main point.

In paint, I'm a big fan of powder coating - this is what I'm fairly certain is used on the fixtures ETC makes. A week ago I used a sand blaster for the first time, really cool to use while not clogged, but be cautious about the use of it in potentially damaging the surface coating of the ETC fixture and in attempting to get all the paint off. Too abrasive or ambitious and you could damage the fixture or effect it's ability to cool properly. A powdercoated cast aluminum S-4 Leko or PAR shape would be very difficult to bring down to bare metal properly in my opinion with this method. Steel takes much better to sand blasting than powder coated cast aluminum. It's very possible that you could damage the equipment by way of slides and tapped holes to say nothing of the potential pebble like finish you might wind up with. Not an expert on powder coating - it's sent out for doing so in volume and comes back done, but short of bare metal, this might not be the best re-painting solution for a S-4. Also once the gear comes back, all holes will need re-tapping or refinement because not only does a powder coat add about 1/64" thickness above the surface but at times it's a wee thicker in some areas than others. For a very engineered Leko, such refinements especially in already tapped holes could cause problems in how it functions later.

UL-Listing of a light fixture is something that must be discussed with the corporate bean counters and upper management where you work. I stress this. Where you work needs specific and understood by all, a corporate policy on this question especially where the liability and insurance gets involved.

At a school, UL listed fixtures are necessary and extent of them remaining so verses maintinence is a different conversation in itself. In the corporate world of lighting, your company's liability superseeds UL listed fixtures to some extent where artistic necessity / neatness and function and application is necessary or in what is considered normal maintinence to the equipment - chipped paint on equipment would be a normal thing in maintaing the gear to service. Paint coming off and in general harsh looking fixtures says something very bad to clients, and should there be a problem with the show also says something to those looking at what went wrong by way of how you maintained your gear.

Liability coverage, what you can and cannot do or in following what's factory installed, UL Listed in being safe and what's needed or able to do out of normal maintinence and care for your gear is a corporate policy type of question and definement of policy on the gear you use question where you work to clarify..

Where I work it's a start of a few million per show in liability and the look of the gear, and supervised and even factory authorized service center of the gear in use superseeds that of a UL listing of what gear comes from the factory if that's the case and necessity in maintaining it. But the extent one company to another maintains their gear or relies upon not doing so by way of it being something perhaps "factory" but chipped to heck or to the extent that the gear you are liable for or recognized in doing factory service and repair to varies one place to another.

Frequently we run out of having enough gear on hand for shows and have to rent. Believe it's as of today over several million in new moving lights this year alone, yet gear rented is still a common thing. Amazing the seeming truth to the joked about concept of other companies send us the worst of their gear in order for us to fix it for them in keeping our high standards and return it in better shape than it left. It's normal to work on the rented gear to the extent it's up to our standards by the time it leaves our door to the point of renting a bunch of moving lights and half of them have snowballed lamps which we now have to re-lamp to make function - this being almost common our lamps have to go into rented fixtures yet rare the reverse on renting gear that's always prepped as if going out on one of our shows. Thus on return, they have their own fixtures now having a really good service call.

From PAR 46 rented from a local branch of a national company that had cob webs and broken parts in over half of them to Altman scoops coming directly out of Altman Rentals - one would think it factory spec. if Altman gear coming from Altman the rented gear came in rough condition howerver. On rented gear, there is very often gear that just won't work or work well. Altman had enough scoops to rent which was a good thing, as for rental gear being ready for use - that’s very common to worry about.

The Euro Patt test system is even of question for me. Last week a tour left with lots of Euro gear on it mixed in with our gear. Had to adapt some in wiring and plug types between 230v universe and 120/208v plugs. One rack I had to do wiring of the plug for had all sorts of colors in wiring used within the five pin plug - none of which made sense other than by way of notes taken upon removal of the provided plug and exchange for the new one. This even if came with a PATT test certification, it did not conform to any standard in wire color in it - Euro or here yet here was a rack having mystery wiring. Blue for brown etc. urr, who wired the thing, this much less at times Big Lights from Martin that come with two different ways they were wired with the Euro wire color systems that could unless traced and at times corrected, could be dangerous to power up. Yep, constantly synical and rarely trusting about what I see coming from other places.

You as responsible for the gear to some extent just as much UL listing as that of what the factory sends out which no-longer complies. UL testing of a fixture by the way is one company that is paid to test a fixture and certify it will work under certain specified conditions but not all conditions. There are other testing companies just as valid as a UL listing and things in being listed equipment that is not covered - paint finish on a fixture very possibly is not specifically a part of what Underwriters Laboratories was specifically paid to test in listing this gear as safe specific to what parameters it was tested within. UL listed fixtures is within the paramiters of standard use and or within the specified testing parameters. You could seal a Leko in a 55gal. Drum and turn it on. After eight hours will it become unsafe? Given some things you might do to the fixture cold be unsafe thus void the recognition of under standard use this fixture will work properly listed as tested to comply status, it does not cover all. Your own liability of what gear you use, care for and apply is at times separate from that of what the gear was UL listed in being tested for.

This past Friday a dozen lamps had to be signed out to prep a show. This show was using rented lights and the lamps in the fixtures came with a range of "working and prepped fixtures" ranging from snowball lamps to ok at best - perhaps a bit more brown than looking ok. Those are lamps we have to put into rented fixtures so as to use them in our shows and up to our standards - good lamps following a cleaning and even factory service center major repair or two. So in renting the fixture, we pay just as much for a snowball lamp - limited output lamp as a new lamp in the fixture, than pay even more to use our own lamps in them. "What would you like us to do with the lamps removed from the rented fixtures?" Hold onto them - my reply, I don't even want to begin tracking the number of bad lamps out of rented fixtures. Even though in renting the fixtures we are paying for the lamps provided to be used up, we get no discount normally for renting gear that has lamps that are other than useful - this much in the prep for the rental should have been noted amongst other frequent problems.

On a Leko, a quick touch up might be a paint marker. Otherwise it goes to the paint department which has a autobody shop type of paint gun and pants the fixtures with a high temperature semi-gloss paint that is both high temperature and similar to that of the origional powder coat. Our paint supplier made up a special mixture for the spray booth in doing so. If the casting is in too bad of shape I wonder why and also solve that problem. What ever the case as a concept, take care of your gear and others will also. Don’t and you have gear kicked about.

Final choice when the guys clog up the paint gun is high temperature spray paint. Often yes it does smoke some for a while. Use a semi-gloss instead of flat black which retains the heat and just does not look right. Spray paint works, just be careful on color and overspray.

I recommend taking your fixtures to an autobody shop. They will have lots of experience with both paint going on hot gear and doing a good job of both stripping and painting it.
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Chrome PARs have definitely not gone out of fashion.

I put some on the catwalk as gelled uplight (PAR 56s I think they were), did the job great and looked good too.

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