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View Full Version : 3156 Lamps / S8 Wedge Base Sockets


Chris J
06-28-2007, 12:17 AM
What's the deal with 3156 Lamps and/or S8 wedge base sockets? I've been having a terrible time with these things. Seems that I am constantly changing out burned out lamps and I can't seem to figure out if it is the lamps that are to blame or the sockets. Sometimes the plastic around the contacts on the lamp is melted giving me the impression that the socket is not tight enough which is causing arcing. Other times, the lamp is just black, I replace it and it burns out again in a couple of months. The voltage is correct. Doesn't happen to all of them, but it does happen enough to make me want to stop using them altogether.
Any of you guys have similar problems with this type of lamp and/or socket?

NightScenes
06-28-2007, 08:32 AM
I have only had to change about 15 of these lamps (other than regular maintenance) in the last 5 years. It might have something to do with your location? What lamp manufacturer are you using? I'll check but I think mine are Sylvania.

RICHLONGHORN
06-28-2007, 08:56 AM
Hey Chris, if you have lamps turning black, most likely it's irrigation water hitting the lamps while they are burning. You may need to adjust the irrigation schedule or make sure your lights go off well before the irrigation runs.

Pro-Scapes
06-28-2007, 09:14 AM
I started using the sylvania ones but now Cast includes wagners with thier area lights. I am a bit mixed on the 3156 lamp right now. I am testing some other brand at my house now to see how long it lasts.

I find running them a tad cooler has helped tremendously with the lamp life. Around 10.3v to the paths at an install 8mo ago and Zero area failures so far. I think rich is right on with the irrigation tho. I always verify the irrigation comes on early morning long after my lights are out.

Chris J
06-28-2007, 09:20 AM
Well, I've tried multiple manufacturers so I don't think this is the cause. And I've already considered the irrigation water theory long ago... Still having the problems though and it is mind boggling. It's just like the Kichler 15363 wall wash issue. We have tremendous problems with this fixture, but in talking with others around the country, it seems the problem is isolated to us here in North Florida. I may very well be a climate issue.

Pro-Scapes
06-28-2007, 10:43 AM
out of curiosity and in the intrest of our quest for knowledge. Can you post some specifics including voltage at the fixture under load and a photo of the toasted bulbs ?

SamIV
06-28-2007, 12:10 PM
I am having the same problem but it is isolated to a single fixture. It is a Cast china hat. On this zone there are 3 other fixtures all operating at 11.3 volts. I have gone through 6 lamps in 6 weeks. Spoke with Steve at Cast yesterday, and he suggested stepping the voltage down 1 volt. I'll try that and let all know of the results.

There is also another china hat off the same hub. Out of curiosity, I took the lamp out of that one which has been working fine, and swapped it to the burn out prone fixture, and it burned out. The 3156 lamps were Sylvania and Wagners. By the way, the other china hat is working fine with it's new lamp.

SamIV

klkanders
06-28-2007, 12:27 PM
Hmmm
Sam could it be in the wiring or the socket? From what you have described it would be interesting to temporarily swap out that fixture and wire all the way back to hub and see what happens. Good Luck!

Pro-Scapes
06-28-2007, 12:49 PM
I am having the same problem but it is isolated to a single fixture. It is a Cast china hat. On this zone there are 3 other fixtures all operating at 11.3 volts. I have gone through 6 lamps in 6 weeks. Spoke with Steve at Cast yesterday, and he suggested stepping the voltage down 1 volt. I'll try that and let all know of the results.

There is also another china hat off the same hub. Out of curiosity, I took the lamp out of that one which has been working fine, and swapped it to the burn out prone fixture, and it burned out. The 3156 lamps were Sylvania and Wagners. By the way, the other china hat is working fine with it's new lamp.

SamIV


Burt.. dropping them a volt has helped me tremedously on the cast area lights. I think 11 v and above is a bit much for this bulb. perhaps its the in rush spike thats blowing them. I really wanna find a slick MR powered area light. The lights I was having probs with were the cast new orleans. Same light... diff top.

SamIV
06-28-2007, 01:53 PM
The socket looks fine. I also pulled the socket out to check connections behind. Everything looks normal. If it were a wiring problem, seems like it would trip the breaker. I'll try the lower tap and see how it goes. If no results, new fixture time.

SamIV

Chris J
06-28-2007, 04:03 PM
out of curiosity and in the intrest of our quest for knowledge. Can you post some specifics including voltage at the fixture under load and a photo of the toasted bulbs ?

My problem is not isolated to a single fixture, so the voltages were obviously different for each (between 10.8 - 11.5). Also, I haven't kept any of the old bulbs so I'll have to wait until the next service call before I can get any pics.

Pro-Scapes
06-28-2007, 04:32 PM
drop the volts!! Im telling you guys I toasted 3 out of 4 at a job within a month when running at 11.3... dropped it down and things are kosher now.

High Performance Lighting
06-28-2007, 10:44 PM
drop the volts!! Im telling you guys I toasted 3 out of 4 at a job within a month when running at 11.3... dropped it down and things are kosher now.


I'm installing over 3,000 fixtures per yr and have very little incidence of premature lamp burnout and I like to run in the high 11's (volts that is)for large trees and low to mid 11's for everything else. Never below 11 v. I use only Sylvania tru-aim titans and GE constant color MR-16's which are top of the line and are manufactured to operate at 12V. Wedge base and bayonet sockets and miniature bi-pins suck to be right to the point. If you want mini bi pins then use xelogen. The filiments are thicker and hold up better and ultimately last longer. My transformers are wound for very tight regulation and do not experience volatile voltage swings. In other words when bulbs start dying the increase in voltage to the other lamsp raises oh so slightly. Believe me I've thought of everything and have left nothing to chance. :dizzy:

Chris J
06-28-2007, 11:05 PM
Billy, I'm not going to agree with your analogy of the 1 volt less thing. These lamps are manufactured to operate at 12 volts. We shouldn't have to decrease the voltage just to make the damn things work. Something is very wrong here. I'm still taking constructive criticism though, so if anyone else wants to chime in you are more than welcome.
Thanks to everyone so far with the input. Every thought is considered and appreciated. :rolleyes:

Pro-Scapes
06-28-2007, 11:08 PM
Well.. that being said... a Ferrari is built to go 180mph.... if you constantly do 180 and push the limits the life of it suffers. I recently switched to ushio bulbs and like em so far for my mr 16's... maybe I need to check out these titans and constant colors.

Sounds like Mike is building his systems and equip to go 220...Then he can cruise in his ferrari all day long at 180

High Performance Lighting
06-28-2007, 11:31 PM
Well.. that being said... a Ferrari is built to go 180mph.... if you constantly do 180 and push the limits the life of it suffers. I recently switched to ushio bulbs and like em so far for my mr 16's... maybe I need to check out these titans and constant colors.

Sounds like Mike is building his systems and equip to go 220...Then he can cruise in his ferrari all day long at 180


I have no hidden agenda and nothing to sell you and have no stock in either GE or osram/Sylvania. I will talk up a product if there is merit. I probably average 70 hours a week in the field with my hands in the soil and or inside a Transformer and another 4-6 hrs.consulting/selling lighting projects. Unlike some others here who like to name drop and recommend blindly without testing because they want to stroke their own ego and make it appear like they know everyone in the industry. Even if their entire relationship consists of saying hello at an association meeting I don't do that. In fact I'm in my own little world and the extent to my contact with other trade pros is probably in here. I'm basically a legend in my own mind.;)

Pro-Scapes
06-29-2007, 01:07 AM
I was simply stating I would like to try your methods.. they are obviously tried and true. A man once told me mimic your most sucessful colleauge and you will find sucsess. Maybe I will... maybe I wont but im always on the look out for something better.

Eden Lights
06-29-2007, 01:48 AM
I have no hidden agenda and nothing to sell you and have no stock in either GE or osram/Sylvania. I will talk up a product if there is merit. I probably average 70 hours a week in the field with my hands in the soil and or inside a Transformer and another 4-6 hrs.consulting/selling lighting projects. Unlike some others here who like to name drop and recommend blindly without testing because they want to stroke their own ego and make it appear like they know everyone in the industry. Even if their entire relationship consists of saying hello at an association meeting I don't do that. In fact I'm in my own little world and the extent to my contact with other trade pros is probably in here. I'm basically a legend in my own mind.;)

HPL, Have you had any trouble getting stock of the Titans, since they went to the covered glass only? All we are getting is the new CG BAB 35 degree lamp, we have been out of the BAB60 for months. We had really been installing the Titan BAB40 and the BAB60, but now we are using the Titan BAB35 where we really need the lumens, we have gone back to the Constant Color BAB40 where we don't need the lumens, and we have had to resort to the Ushio BAB60 to fill the void for a BAB60. We still use the Osram IR BAB40 and BAB60 for special applications as usual.

High Performance Lighting
06-29-2007, 02:08 AM
HPL, Have you had any trouble getting stock of the Titans, since they went to the covered glass only? All we are getting is the new CG BAB 35 degree lamp, we have been out of the BAB60 for months. We had really been installing the Titan BAB40 and the BAB60, but now we are using the Titan BAB35 where we really need the lumens, we have gone back to the Constant Color BAB40 where we don't need the lumens, and we have had to resort to the Ushio BAB60 to fill the void for a BAB60. We still use the Osram IR BAB40 and BAB60 for special applications as usual.


They are all cover glass now. I took the last 100 BAB60's thay had in stock when I received an order 2 weeks ago along with the new titan BAB35's,the FMW's were on back order and just received them yesterday and they are the new stock as well with cg. I don't know what the f they have been doing with the pins though. Some orders have thick blunt pins which are very difficult to insert into sockets and some are the normal "pointy" type which install no sweat. It started with FRA and FRB then ESX and now FMW on occassion. I told them don't send me anymore of those $hit$ that come from Mexico with the offensive pins. Germany only please.

Eden Lights
06-29-2007, 02:36 AM
Yeah, My wife damaged a socket this week with those big pins, after I gave her a hard time about it, I did the same thing the next day. Of course it was on one of the most time consuming fixtures out their to change a socket on.

David Gretzmier
06-29-2007, 06:34 AM
I was wondering about that pin thing- I have seen a few of those here and there- Ushio seems to not have too many of the fat pin thing, but every once in a while, there it is. makes you wonder about filaments , if there are some out there that a just a bit different, and that is why some fail early and some last forever.

Eden Lights
07-02-2007, 01:01 AM
The Sylvania 3156LL has been one of the longest life lamps we have used to date. We only have about 50 of them in service, Kichler pathlights. They just seem to keep going and going.

SamIV
07-03-2007, 11:08 PM
Just wanted to let everyone know what the verdict was. The fixture was getting water in it from an adjusted sprinkler. The first couple of times I checked it ,there were no signs of water. Went today and there was plenty of water and a burnt lamp. Checked the sprinkler system again and found the culprit. Adjusted the nozzle and moved the fixture a little. The week after I was there, the irrigation guys came in to give the system a tune up.

SamIV

Eden Lights
07-10-2007, 12:25 PM
HPL, Have you had any trouble getting stock of the Titans, since they went to the covered glass only? All we are getting is the new CG BAB 35 degree lamp, we have been out of the BAB60 for months. We had really been installing the Titan BAB40 and the BAB60, but now we are using the Titan BAB35 where we really need the lumens, we have gone back to the Constant Color BAB40 where we don't need the lumens, and we have had to resort to the Ushio BAB60 to fill the void for a BAB60. We still use the Osram IR BAB40 and BAB60 for special applications as usual.

Well here we go again, were a manufacturer kills a great product. I switched from the GE Precise constant color lamp some time ago just because of the Titan BAB60 and the BAB40. After just talking with my rep I would say the party is over. BAB40 is now a 35 degree lamp with cover glass and the BAB60 is also only in covered glass. We also will need to pay $2.00 more per lamp even though the assembly has moved to Mexico and China with fat pins and glue all down in the reflector from poor build quality. I sure am glad I have a choice in the products that I buy and sell to my clients.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-11-2007, 01:27 AM
GE Precise Constant Color MR16's .... The original and still the best darned MR16 lamp on the market.

I switched out to the USHIO Ultraline (10,000 hour) series last year and do I ever regret it. Althought they claim to be a Dichroic lamp they are not. The aluminum reflector fades and causes colour shifting and here in my market (old electrical grid) they are failing early at a very alarming rate. Definitely not a better lamp.

Now if I can just get my agreement in place with the MR16 LED Lamp product I have sourced (finally one that matches a BAB in colour and intensity!) I will be able to tell you all about it. Patience Patience. :)

steveparrott
07-11-2007, 10:52 AM
James,

Why do you want a dichroic reflector? Dichroic reflectors allow IR wavelengths to pass behind the lamp and heat up the socket. They also tend to flake off (although that may be the less expensive ones). I've seen dichroic MR16's where the light output is diminished to a small fraction of when it was new. Aluminum reflectors reflect all the heat out the front of the lamp.

To my knowledge, all 10,000 hr. MR-16's use aluminum reflectors. In fact, their long-life is partially due to the reflector.

Here's a pic of a new mr-16 with aluminum reflector and an old dichroic. The glass cover on the old dichroic was broken and removed to better show the condition of the dichroic coating. It's hard to see in the pic, but the old dichroic reflector is practically transparent. The dark color you see on the reflector is the carpet behind the lamp!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-11-2007, 01:53 PM
Hi Steve. Its the very nature of the dichroic reflector that you want to have in an MR16 in my opinion.

A dichroic lamp is one where the reflective material is cast into the glass. The aluminium coated lamps are just that... They have a coating of aluminium applied to the glass. These are in fact the ones that colour shift and fail over time as the UV from the capsule degrads the aluminum coating. A dichroic lamp (like the GE Constant Colour MR16) will not experience the fading, shifting and degrdation of the reflector like aluminum coated lamps will. (GE has long ago perfected this process and no one has come close to matching them.) I have pulled literally thousand and thousands of expired GE Constant Colour MR16s from fixtures after they have burned out and (unless exposed to moisture from a leaky fixture) always find their optics to be shiny and clean as new. This is not the case with aluminum coated MR16s.

As for light output... check out a GE MR16 sometime... NO light emanates backwards from the lamp. All of the light is reflected forward. Now pick up an EYE or Ushio or some other Aluminum coated MR16 and you will see all sorts of light in various colours coming out of the back side of the lamp. This backwards reflected light is essentially lost output.

As for heat output.... in interior applications, you want the heat diverted through the back of the lens and into the fixture so you dont bake the objects in front. I have never had a heat problem using Dichroics in outdoor fixtures.

Finally cost.... Ever wonder why GE Constant Colour MR16s are more money? You get what you pay for right? Heck even Osram Syl. charge more for their Tru Aim Titans (Dichroic) then the do for their aluminum coated.

Stick with the best I say. Only a quality lamp will make your systems look great and last, keeping the clients happy all the time.

Chris J
07-11-2007, 11:05 PM
I say use the 4,000 hour lamps and replace them annually on your service check-up. This is what we have been doing for 7 years and it works wonderfully. I use the KISS method: "Keep it simple stupid". I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what rep was actually telling me truth or lies. I even went to the GE training center in Ohio and listened to their seminars on constant color, etc... The problem with all this talk is just that; it's just talk! You may think you're installing a lamp that you don't have to worry about for 10,000 hours, but when you drive by the residence one year after installation things just don't look right. This is why I choose to keep a tight relationship with my customers. The Constant color lamps, for example, cost probably three times as much, but you get less than three times the lamp life. Therefore, why not just change the lamps annually and divide the cost to the customer over a couple of years rather than all at once. Of course this scenario only works if you actually perform maintenance contracts.
Anyway, this has worked great for my business and it keeps our customers very happy. As I said, we are there at least twice per year anyway so it is really no big deal to just change out the lamps while we're there. We actually are saving a little bit of money by doing it this way, but that's another long story........:sleeping:

Eden Lights
07-12-2007, 12:35 AM
We never got away from the GE Constant Color Precise lamps in labor intensive locations: trees, soffits, and etc. Most of them are rated at 5000 hours and we change them out about every three years, which is also the length of our warranty and maintenance contracts. We had went to the Titans in certain applications due to their extra lumens, which we have already discussed.

Chris J
07-12-2007, 01:45 AM
Three year service contracts? I'd like to know more about this, but probably better to start a new thread. Thanks Eden.

David Gretzmier
07-12-2007, 12:25 PM
I'm with Chris J on this- replace all your bulbs every year. at 20-40 fixtures, your cost is minimal compared to doing that service call to replace 1. If I let my fixtures go 10,000 hours without a replacement, I would expect the shrubs to be covering them by that point.

The bulbs I use typically don't have much light lost through the back of the reflector even after a year. I would expect at the max life their backs would be a bit faded, especially at 12 volts or more. at lower voltages and thus heat, mine still look newish after a year.

In less than an hour or two, I can change out all bulbs, re-aim, grease o-rings and sockets, and trim shrubs around the lights for another year. this costs the customer 10 % of the installed price , and they get all lights guaranteed for another year. I use 3-4000 hour bulbs at around 11.5-10.5, and I have very little problems with this system. my older par's are the only glitch. hopefully the new xenons will solve that. After 7-10 years in business, this rebulb route year round should keep 1-2 guys busy and creating the same income as the install route.