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Author Topic: self-balasted metal halide lamp  (Read 32844 times)

Offline Max

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« on: July 26, 2002, 07:04:00 am »
Hi all,

I recently acquired a self-balasted (!) metal halide lamp (Sodium - Scandium) made by GE in 1982/83 for the US market. Its reference is: Miser Maxi-Light. This is a 55 Watts, 110-125 V, E26 lamp that operates on the base down position only (2250 lm / 5000 hrs).
This is the first lamp of this kind that I ever met.
Do you know if any other lamps of this kind have been made in the past?

Max.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2004, 01:13:42 am by tim »

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2002, 02:02:00 pm »
Would this be a Sylvania lamp by any chance? If so, you have there, the "Holy Grail" to discharge lamp enthusiasts, that lamp was made for an extremely short time and is near enough impossible to find today, such is its rarity. It`s right on top of my "would love to find" list.
They were an experiment in energy efficient home lighting that failed, due mostly to the restricted burning position. The public didn`t like that, nor did they like the high cost of the lamp. I believe it also emitted a slightly odd colour-temperature of white light (odd compared to compact flourescent/filament bulbs) that wasn`t too popular.


Very nice find! Any chance of any pictures? I`m sure I`m not the only one keen for a peek at it.


 


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Offline Chris W. Millinship

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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2002, 02:09:00 pm »
Don`t know why I just enquired as to if it were a Sylvania lamp as you state GE and I just checked- and it is indeed a GE lamp I was referring too. It`s friday evening, I`m tired, my mind was convinced it were a Sylvania lamp. Sorry for`t confusion....  


..anyways there is some information on the "GE Halarc" that I refer to above, on this page from the Smithsonian Institut`s web site "Lighting a Revolotion"

http://americanhistory.si.edu/lighting/promo20.htm



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Offline Max

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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2002, 07:41:00 am »
Hello Chris!

Yes, this is exactly the lamp you refer to. On the picture of the web page of your link, the lamp is the one in the middle.
This lamp is really stunning! the arc burner is DC operated in order to compensate the Na-Sc demixing due to the upright burning position. the upper electrode is a cathode and pump up the sodium in order to decrease the color temp.

Unfortunately I don't have a digital camera at hand, but I have a copy of the lamp user's manual. I will try to find a scanner and post the scans.

Max.

Offline Max

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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2002, 07:50:00 am »
since we are talking about self-ballasted MH lamps, I did some patent research. I did not find my lamp but I found something interesting from Toshiba:
 http://l2.espacenet.com/espacenet/viewer?PN=JP58129742&CY=ep&LG=en&DB=EPD
 http://l2.espacenet.com/espacenet/bnsviewer?CY=ep&LG=en&DB=EPD&PN=JP58129742& ID=JP+358129742A++I+
(go to page 5)

Max.

[This message has been edited by Max (edited July 27, 2002).]

Offline Max

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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2002, 12:24:00 pm »
Here is a cross section of a part of the lamp. www.geocities.com/ihc_xl/Maxi-Light

Max.

[This message has been edited by Max (edited July 27, 2002).]

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2002, 12:52:00 pm »
Smithsonian`s page does talk of this lamp being "the first lamp to come with a User Manual" so that will be interesting to see.  


Not heard about the Toshiba lamp before- I wonder if they have ever produced any? For all I know of course, they could be already out on the market. I don`t have a lot of luck tracking down new and different types of lamps.


Your picture did not come up but I did some fiddling and found it- this link should work
 http://www.geocities.com/ihc_xl/Maxi-Light.jpg  (probably need to copy/paste into the browser address line if it won`t work by clicking, I know how painfully fussy Geo$h!tties can get about these things.... :rolleyes

Fascinating to see, thanks for posting it! I had always wondered what goes on inside. Do I interpret correctly that the tungsten filament is part of the ballast, like the old self-ballasted Mercury lamps?


BTW looking forward to when your web site is finished. Looks like you`ll have some great info on there  



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Offline Max

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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2002, 01:10:00 pm »
About the link, it does work fine with Netscape .. I don't know what's buggin M$ Internet Exploiter.

Concerning the filament, it is not clear how it is linked to the burner, but I don't think that it is simply connected in series with it(there are a lot of electronics in it).

About my webpages, I can't find enough time to work on it, but I'll let you know as soon as I post some materials on lamp physics and other stuffs.
I go sometimes to your site and I see that there still nothing on your HID lamps ... when do you plan an update?

Max.


Offline Chris W. Millinship

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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2002, 03:45:00 pm »
About the link, it does work fine with Netscape
Actually it`s down to the way Yahoo Geosities works. They block direct linking to their files from outside pages. I think it works for you as you`re the owner of the site, but for everyone else they have to copy/paste the address into the browser. Clicking the link brings up a Yahoo error page.


Concerning the filament, it is not clear how it is linked to the burner, but I don't think that it is simply connected in series with it(there are a lot of electronics in it).
Interesting. It could be there then, as some sort of heater to warm the arc-tube, maybe to keep the arc stable or help it start. Such an unusual lamp though and my knowledge of the mechanics of discharge lamps is extremely limited so someone else will have to step in here to help. James- you there? I`m sure mr Hooker will know something.


I go sometimes to your site and I see that there still nothing on your HID lamps ... when do you plan an update?
That`s a very good question. The short answer is- I have no idea. The Virtual Bulb Museum is in a state of uncertainty at present. I have plans for it but don`t know yet when I`ll get the time to work on it. The structure and formatting will be re-done and I want to add a load of new things, but work at my Torch Reviews Site takes the priority at the moment. Several lights have been sent to me to review and I need to complete those as soon as I can, so I`m afraid I don`t know when I`ll get the chance to add any of my discharge lamps. I`ve been getting more interested in those recently and have some reasonably interesting ones here (though none quite as good as your GE Halarc). Maybe in the next few weeks I can try and find the time to put together a "temporary" gallery of some of them in the current site`s format.


   

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Offline Chris W. Millinship

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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2002, 03:51:00 pm »
Sorry to meander your post off-topic but for your interest (and everyone elses) but for the time being, here is one of my favorites- the tiny Welch Allyn Solarc 10 watt MH lamp, used in a dive-light torch I have here (and will be reviewing soon enough too!)



Only about 1.5 millimetres between those electrodes, yet it emits something like 450 lumens of light! Impressive little thing indeed......


 

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« Last Edit: November 13, 2004, 10:17:56 pm by tim »

Offline James

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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2002, 07:23:00 pm »
Hi Max, Chris,

What a superb find you have there Max, as Chris says those things are pretty rare!  I only know of five others, one is in the Smithsonian, one is in a showcase in the HID Engineering building of GE at Nela Park, and the other 3 belong to GE staff who worked on it.

The colour of the lamp was a problem as Chris mentions, but also the lack of a hot restrike facility made it unfavourable in the domestic market it was designed for.  The filament was purely there to help the electronics regulate power to the arc without bulky choke coils, and had the added benefit that it generated some light instantly at switch-on.

The Halarc Electronic was marketed primarily by GE in this 55W version, but also a 35W smaller type was offered, and a 55W model in an R-30 reflector shaped bulb.  Also there was a dimmable lamp which could be used in America's 3-way incandescent lamp sockets to three give different lighting levels - of course, the colour changed to a much cooler output at the lower settings though.  A 240V 55W version was also made to test the UK market in 1981 but I don't think it ever went on sale here.

Sylvania tried to market a similar product, the "Miniarc" which was rated 40W, but that failed in the market as well.

Self ballasted MH was abandoned until 1998 when Philips quietly tested the so-called "Rebel" lamp in some large American shops.  It was a self ballasted 20W ceramic metal halide lamp having a DC arc tube in a PAR38 or PAR16 reflector format - again they could only be reliably operated vertically cap up though and due to its high cost and lack of a hot restrike facility, it was promptly withdrawn from the market.  Even after 25 years of improving on the original GE design it appears the market still does not want this style of lamp!  To be a real success, lower wattage types are required and hot restrike is essential.  It is hard to see how that will be achieved at a reasonable cost and in a small enough package in the near future.

I do have some technical literature that was issued in the late 1970's / early 80's on Halarc Electronic and Sylvania's Miniarc - what I will do is scan these in for you and put a link to them on my website www.lamptech.co.uk  in a few days time.

And BTW if you do have the opportunity to take any photos of your lamp I would be fascintated to see it and read the instruction booklet again!

Best regards,

James.

[This message has been edited by James (edited July 27, 2002).]

Offline Max

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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2002, 12:13:00 pm »
Hello James and Chris,

Thank you both for the informations. I will soon post some scans of the booklet copy, but I will try to borrow the original (it's better with some color pictures!).

Chris,
Your picture is nice!
What are the wires we see around the burner? is this the lamp frame? (if so, this is quite a shame to have such a messy structure).
What's the claimed lifetime for this 10W lamp? and, are there some restictions concerning the burning position (I hope not ... that would be too bad for a flashlight). Can it be hot-restriked?

James,
Concerning the picture of the lamp, I plan to post some photos of a part of my collection (mainly HIDs) next September. The reason is that most of my lamps are at home, and I am not.
Do you know if any self-ballasted sodium lamps have been made (or marketted)? I saw some prototypes of HPS fitted with tungten filaments, the the latter were only used to heat the PCA burner for the lamp to strike at the main voltage.

Regards.

Max.

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2002, 12:47:00 pm »
James- you solved my confusion problem. I knew Sylvania made one, it wasn`t me imagining things... ? Havn`t heard of the Philips lamp before though.

What are the wires we see around the burner? is this the lamp frame? (if so, this is quite a shame to have such a messy structure).

Glad you like the picture. Yes, the wires are part of the internal support structure- when I first saw a macro picture of one I thought the same thing but you must remember how tiny that is. Here is a wider picture of the bulb itsself. The outer glass part is only about an inch tall (25mm) overall.....



They are so small and delicate that they have to be hand assembled. Sure, it looks crude but it does the job. They may refine it in the future, but I think for now they`re more concerned on increased efficiency and higher power miniature halide lamps. I`ve heard rumors of a 20 watt system in the works.


What's the claimed lifetime for this 10W lamp? and, are there some restictions concerning the burning position (I hope not ... that would be too bad for a flashlight). Can it be hot-restriked?</font>
I`ve misplaced my info on those lamps but in the back of my mind it`s possibly around 1000 hours. But something also tells me it could be less, like under 100. I`ll have to check on that.
Burning position? Universal. It`s not bothered which way up it goes. One thing you will notice however, is a slight and brief orangey colour shift if the position is changed quickly while lit- due to small halide deposits being vaporised. It quickly returns to normal and the colour shift is hardly noticeable anyway. The colour temperature is normally very close to daylight, 6500K or so, but it gets more blueish as the batteries run down (in the particular torch I have, it`s not regulated, but I see no reason why it couldn`t be regulated in future designs).

It can`t be instantly hot-restruck but it will restrike after only 3 seconds of being turned off. Takes only 20 seconds to run up, even from cold.

 

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[This message has been edited by Chris Millinship (edited July 28, 2002).]
« Last Edit: November 13, 2004, 10:20:14 pm by tim »

Offline James

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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2002, 05:37:00 pm »
Chris is quite right - life of the 10W lamp is quoted as 1000 hours.  It also delivers 500 lumens putting it at an admirable 50 lm/W, from its 1.2mm arc gap.  The lamp is sold either in the format Chris has, or pre-focussed in an MR11 35mm cold-light reflector.  You can buy sample packs of five lamps and five ballasts from Welch Allyn for $500.

10W seems to have been an incredible success in many application areas.  This week I visited their offices and was told that it has more than doubled the market for underwater diving lamps, and it is also doing well as a headlamp for professional cyclists as well as medical optics.  Torches also make use of this lamp but it can take a long time to hot-restrike under some circumstances and also needs 20 seconds warm up time, so it is not widely accepted by professionals such as police who always need the light to work instantly.  Also for commercial lighting, the initial colour variation of +/- 700K is too great to accept, and colour also changes considerably if you have a row of these things as spotlights all pointing at different angles.  It is bound to improve though :-)

By the way, the HP Sodium lamps you have seen with internal filament are most likely the first generation Sunlux Ace lamp manufactured by Iwasaki, or the equivalent National/Panasonic product.  The filament here only acted as a part of the electronic internal ignitor, it did not act as a ballast or contribute to the light output.  That design has now been abandoned in favour of the Ferro Electric Capacitor style internal electronic ignitor which is much more reliable.

I look forward to seeing more of your website next September Max!

Offline Max

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« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2002, 10:54:00 am »
Hi all,

Thanks again James and Chris for your comments and remarks. I finally got a digital camera, and I just posted some pictures of a couple of lamps I have at hand:
 http://www.geocities.com/ihc_xl/collection_temp.htm

This display is temporary; Several new pages about my collection are planned next September.

Bye.

Max.

[This message has been edited by Max (edited August 02, 2002).]