Correct control gear for SLI/H lamps.

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Bluto
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Correct control gear for SLI/H lamps.

Postby Bluto » Thu May 24, 2012 7:45 pm

For some time Ive been thinking about putting this on here and thought its about time I got round to it. I keep coming across various threads on here with different ideas about what gear can and cant be used to run the various different sizes of SLI/H lamps and more importantly , what is the CORRECT gear for the lamps intended by the manufacturers.
I love low pressure sodiums , and I include in that Linears (SLI/H)s. I have many years of experience using the lamps in various different installations including a large installation of 140 . 160 and 200 watt lamps at a lorry park which the company I work for looked after until 1999. I also remember well a time when the lamps were common place here in Derby on street lighting . It doesnt seem long ago (the last large installations disappeared around 1989/1990) - and back then Id never have thought that these (then) common placce lamps would ever become such a rarity.

Anyway , regarding the "correct" gear for SLI/H lamps ;

Obviously the 60 watt lamps require a dedicated 60 watt SLI/H ballast. GEC and Thorn produced 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 gear for these lamps and GEC produced an autotransformer ballast with cathode-heating windings (which were less common and actually not as efficient as 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 circuits). Some luminaires were factory fitted with an 80 watt (5ft) fluorescent choke . I have seen REAL branded 60watt SLI/H fittings using fluorescent chokes like this and also (in Lincolnshire) Thorn Beta8s , using a Thorn 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 fluorescent choke . These specifically used a choke for 65 ,80 and 60 watt circular tubes . THESE WERE FACTORY-FITTED "OEM" BALLASTS - so I regard these as the "correct gear for 60 watt SLI/H lamps.

For 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 circuits always use a "universal" (4-80 watt) starter and avoid electronic starters . I have found these to be unreliable / intermittent when used with 60 watt SLI/H lamps.

The next common misconception about SLI/H control gear is that Thorn 140 watt lamps can be used on 135/ 180 watt SOX gear. THEY CANT !! Of course they will work on 135/ 180 watt SOX gear but they ae NOT intended for this and continued use on this gear WILL cause the electrodes to burn out very quickly.
Thorn 140 watt lamps are specifically intended to run on 90 watt SOX autotransformer gear. NOTHING ELSE! . This actually makes these one of the best SLI/H lamps to have , as this gear is readily available.

GEC 160 watt lamps are the ones that are intended specifically to run on 135/180 watt SOX gear . Again this must be proper autotransformer gear (preferably the type with the essential capacitor that runs the capacitor at high voltage (these had a seperate winding just for the capacitor) - avoid ignitor control gear). Unfortunately the GEC 160 watt lamps now seem to be very rare and hard to find.

200 watt SLI/H lamps obviously require dedicated 200 watt control gear, be them Thorn or GEC. However , there is one thing to beware of , The later Thorn 200 watt lamps with the "SOX" type electrodes are NOT suitable for use on 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 200 watt control gear . This will burn out the electrodes and ruin the lamp or at best , just not work. For 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 control gear you need a 200 watt SLI/H lamp with "transverse" cathode filaments (like fluorescent cathodes) . This is confusing because Thorn lamps were available with both types of cathode and Ive known of at least two instances in practice where this has caused real problems , simply because this is not commonly known. SO - CHECK YOUR CATHODES , before running a Thorn 200 watt lamp on 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 gear!! (Lamps with the fluorescent-type 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 cathodes can also be used on instant-start gear without any problems)

So , I think thats about it. That about sums up the "correct" gear , as intended by the manufacturers , for SLI/H lamps. Of course , the lamps WILL run on various types of other control gear (I see various threads about using sunbed chokes , 150 watt SON ballasts , etc, etc ) - and while these will probably work and light the lamps I would only use this for lighting lamps occasionally for demonstration purposes , etc.
To get the proper life expectancy and run the lamp properly (and not risk damaging these rare lamps) , I recommend sticking with the "proper" control gear.

As to the various VERY RARE sizes of SLI/H lamps (such as the 100 watt and 310 watt lamps) - I have never come across any of these lamps and expect they require dedicated control gear !

I would say the gear for these lamps would probably be rarer than the lamps themselves , and there is about as much chance of getting , say , a 310 watt SLI/H lamps as --------??????? I leave that up to you guys to decide xx lol xx !!

Jeremy.

Bluto
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Re: Correct control gear for SLI/H lamps.

Postby Bluto » Thu May 24, 2012 9:14 pm

I forgot to mention GEC 175 watt lamps in there. These were essentially the same as the 160 watt lamps , and were essentially an earlier version of the 160 watt lamp. Later improvements in efficiency , etc , and the infra red reflecting layer, led to the lamps being de-rated to 160 watts. Like the 160 watt lamps , the earlier 175 watters were designed to run on 135 / 180 watt SOX (or 150 / 200 watt SO/SOI) control gear.

Jeremy.

FrontSideBus
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Re: Correct control gear for SLI/H lamps.

Postby FrontSideBus » Thu May 24, 2012 10:34 pm

Thanks for the info. Ill not be so hasty in trying to fire up my 200w. It's back in it's box now and I think it has the sox style cathodes but not sure.
Regards, Mark Jones.

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LinearSLI-H
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Re: Correct control gear for SLI/H lamps.

Postby LinearSLI-H » Fri May 25, 2012 8:15 am

On the subject of 140watt linears Jeremy, you say these are the best to have, but 90watt SOX gear thats available now is of a low loss/ignitor type which will not run these lamps as I have tried this, and autoleak 90watt transformers are not easy to get hold of.
I am fourtunate to have the proper Thorn G 53232.4 for mine, and my 200watt is on a Philips BSN150L34, as this is the nearest ballast that I can find to provide the 1.6A of a 200watt SLI, (nearest at 1.8A).
The only down side to this is, the lamp running on a 150watt SON gear set runs at the correct 145V/1.6A, but gets the ballast a lot hotter than a 150watt SON as it draws more from the ballast than the 100volt its designed at.

I once borrowed a 60watt linear to try, and it was run on a 55watt Philips L 4045 BX autoleak, which seemed to run well, seeing as it was a used lamp, almost EOL.
FEED THE MOOMIN!!

James
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Re: Correct control gear for SLI/H lamps.

Postby James » Fri May 25, 2012 9:10 pm

Thanks for this wealth of information Jeremy. Now that it's clear how the GEC 175W type should be run perhaps I'll try firing that up sometime! Do you happen to know anything more about its rated voltage, current and luminous flux? Even after a visit to Osram at Shaw many years ago (where it came from), they couldn't manage to dig up any info about its specification and I've also never seen it referenced in GEC catalogues. All they knew was that it originated with a gold coated outer jacket, which was quickly changed to bismuth a few years later, and eventually it dropped to 160W when switching to the improved tin oxide film that was developed by Philips for SOX. But specifications for the original two variants are proving near impossible to track down.

NB German Osram also made a rather rare 220W lamp, of different dimensions (longer and much thicker) than the British Osram version. I thought I would never come across one of those but recently saw one while visiting a Dutch lamp collector! Almost everything shows up eventually if you wait long enough :-)

Bluto
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Re: Correct control gear for SLI/H lamps.

Postby Bluto » Sun May 27, 2012 11:47 pm

Yes , Proper old autotransformer low pressure sodium control gear has become hard to find recently . Its a great shame . Parmar were actually still producing autotransformer ballasts for most sizes of SOX until quite recently as some engineers preferred and always specified it. The AME (or G) 53232 is a lovely old ballast and will last for ever. I would have though that it would still be possible to find these around - I am sure hundreds are still in service . And I am sure there must be some 200 watt SLI/H gear tucked away on shelves somewhere in some od street lighting dept stores , all covered in dust and forgotten.

James , I will try and find some info on the 175 watt lamp. I think I may have some somewhere. It was only an old sheet or two , but it detailed the range of GEC linear lamps in the mid 60s and the range consisted of 60 watt , 175 watt and 310 watt. I beleive it showed the lamp currents and voltages and some lumen output data too.
I should say it may be a while before I locate this though. I havent seen it for a long time , and I am currently in a bit of a strange state here , with a lot of things packed up and some stored at my Daughters , etc , as I will be sorting out a place of my own in the not too distant future.

It would be nice to see that 220 watt German lamp (were these still designated as SLI/Hs?) and also to see a 310 watt lamp . I believe Colin knows a bit about these and that they were around 5ft long? I wonder if anyone knows where they were used and if any Councils / authorities used them?

Jeremy

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chanceskydiver
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Re: Correct control gear for SLI/H lamps.

Postby chanceskydiver » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:33 pm

Thank you interesting reading


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