Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Topics relating to lighting control gear, including magnetic & high frequency ballast and ancilliary devices such as starters, ignitors and switchgear.
User avatar
Tom
ATL Admin
Posts: 875
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:39 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Pre 1993 Thorn
Area of interest: Fluorescent and Discharge Lighting
Oldest item: One of a few pip top lamps!
Location: Oxfordshire
Contact:

Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby Tom » Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:24 pm

Now, I've always been fascinated dimming fluorescents since I first saw the concealed fluorescents at our local social club (which has since long gone) fade down during a Christmas pantomine when I was a wee nipper! These would have been done with cathode heating transformers much like Kev's dimmable Thorn Atlantic 5' twins! I've not seen the dimmer units used for this type of setup as yet. I haven't actually dabbled about with dimming fluorescents myself to date! I once read in an old Atlas lighting book that this was developed off the back of the Quickstart circuit!

Thorn did a system back in the late 80s which used an electronic dimming transformer in conjuction with a ballast and starter switch. Upon switch-on, the starter closes and preheats the tube's cathode filaments. Upon opening, the magnetic field within the ballast collapses, causing a voltage pulse which strikes the tube. This is often repeated twice or more, causing the distinctive blinking at startup.">switchstart ballast which was T8 compatible if I recall. I believe this had 2 live feeds, one fixed and one from a dimmer. I'm guessing the old T12 cathode heating system was done the same way?

A long term dream of mine is to build a display of coloured tubes which would be controlled by a 4 channel sound to light chaser type controller which would form part of my disco rig and would be great for 80s nights! My old boss did something similar back in the day which consisted of 4' Pop Packs crudely modified with Transtar quickstart ballasts which made a big bulge in the spine, they were shoehorned in!! The tubes were the Thorn coloureds which myself and Paul now have between us! About the only option I suppose I have left would be to use dimmable HF ballasts (yes, I know...LOL) using the 0-10V control signals from a lighting desk!
I LOVE LAMP!

User avatar
XmasLightGuy
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:23 am
Area of interest: Linear Fluorescent
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby XmasLightGuy » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:38 am

I've got some dimmable rapid-start ballasts (2-lamp 4-foot) pretty cool stuff, but they don't dim all the way down like a modern HF could.

One time years ago i some flashable ballasts on eBay :shock: (didn't even bid on them due to cost) I've never seen anything like that since :( I'd love to have that type of thing now 8-)

-----
And some sorta sound-to light thingie, but with... fluorescents that would be pure awesomeness :shock: :shock: :shock: (even if they were all white)

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby Kev » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:16 pm

Yes my dimmer i have for the atlantics in a large Furse Dimmer the same Furse that used to make vintage stage equipment there is a picture of it kicking around somewhere. I can assure you xmaslightguy that my dimmable Atlantics go dimmer than modern HF a lot dimmer! I can get them so it is just the faintest Arc in the tube. However this only works with the T12s i can not get T8 lamps to work with this set up!
Talking of cathode heating transformers does anyone know if they are available anywhere as i would like a spare!!

User avatar
XmasLightGuy
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:23 am
Area of interest: Linear Fluorescent
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby XmasLightGuy » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:48 am

@kev wow that sounds cool...so with that you have both the reliability of a magnetic ballast :) and full range dimming! Nice!

I still need to eventually video those dimmable rapid-start ballasts I've got & post on YouTube ..
There's a pic of one somewhere in my collection on LG....eventually I need to post it here too.

User avatar
Tom
ATL Admin
Posts: 875
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:39 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Pre 1993 Thorn
Area of interest: Fluorescent and Discharge Lighting
Oldest item: One of a few pip top lamps!
Location: Oxfordshire
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby Tom » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:35 pm

@Kev I recall Eliot mentioned a while back that Fitzgerald were making dimmable T12 lightpacks with cathode heating trannys as late as 2008! So there must be some out there somewhere! Interesting you can get yours all the way down to virtually zero! I wonder if you can flash tubes using this setup? Would have to be done with modern T12s though!
I LOVE LAMP!

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby Kev » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:44 pm

Yep i would of thought these would flash ok too! The tubes seem to last a LONG time in these some still had old Thorns in! That however is REALLY weird you should mention that tom as that bollard i showed you a pick of today is a fitzgerald so i had to phone them up to see if i could get a replacment which i cant, While on the phone i made up a story about a school still having some in use and how i needed a new cathode transformer she is going to do some digging and try to find me one...

User avatar
SuperSix
Posts: 660
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:01 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Fitzgerald
Area of interest: Fluorescent and Mercury Discharge Lighting
Oldest item: BTH 200W Carbon Filament Lamp
Location: Cambridgeshire
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby SuperSix » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:49 pm

Yeah they did so someone's gotta have been making them recently or maybe even still making them! I can't see why you wouldn't be able to flash the tubes, there's no start-up wear to worry about. It shouldn't be too hard to make your down dimming circuit if you can find out the technical data for the cathode heating transformers, you could find a couple of suitable miniature transformers and mount them in an enclosure!

I'll try and do a bit of research on it!

User avatar
SuperSix
Posts: 660
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:01 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Fitzgerald
Area of interest: Fluorescent and Mercury Discharge Lighting
Oldest item: BTH 200W Carbon Filament Lamp
Location: Cambridgeshire
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby SuperSix » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:58 pm

Found some info, apparently a 6.3V 2A AC supply to both cathodes is suitable for a 4' 40W tube, either two separate transformers or one transformer with 2 insulated primaries.

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby Kev » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:04 pm

Well if you look at the info on my picture of the transformer i have somewhere it says that they are used for 40W lamps??

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby Kev » Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:21 am

Would anyone like me to draw a wiring diagrame of how these Atlantics are set up? Also look in the video section anyone who is interested in dimming fluorescents as i am about to put a video up of my Atlantics!
On second thoughts its going to take too long on my dongle i will do it on my parents broard band tonight! Watch this space!

User avatar
Tom
ATL Admin
Posts: 875
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:39 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Pre 1993 Thorn
Area of interest: Fluorescent and Discharge Lighting
Oldest item: One of a few pip top lamps!
Location: Oxfordshire
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby Tom » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:43 pm

Bring it on Kev! Yes a circuit diagram would be cool! So I'm guessing you have both cathodes running from the transformers with a normal SS ballast being fed from the dimmer pack?
I LOVE LAMP!

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby Kev » Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:32 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4D69DAdRCw

OK uploaded a video that i did a few months back! The camera does make the lamps not look as bright at some points and brighter at others. Note one tube is almost EOL an old Philips it is almost black lol

User avatar
Tom
ATL Admin
Posts: 875
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:39 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Pre 1993 Thorn
Area of interest: Fluorescent and Discharge Lighting
Oldest item: One of a few pip top lamps!
Location: Oxfordshire
Contact:

Re: Dimmable and Flashable Fluorescents! So Awesome!

Postby Tom » Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:14 pm

Very nice! :D
I LOVE LAMP!


Return to “Control Gear”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests