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View Full Version : Premature Bulb Burn Out / Help!


MEXANDME
11-21-2009, 09:27 PM
I have a customer where I am having premature bulb burn out problems with both MR16's and PAR36's.

Some facts:

All standard lights.....no LED's.
Bulbs are Ushio 5000 hour MR16 /4000 hour PAR36
Job was installed in July of 2009
Lights are on dusk to dawn
Vista MT series transformer
All transformer connections are good and tight
All wire connection and good and solid using King connectors
All voltage reading are between 11.1 and 12.0 volts
There are 13 lights and I have lost 14 bulbs since July / 12 MR16's &
2 PAR36's
Transformer is grounded
Transformer is plugged into a GFCI
Wire is Superflex

Any thoughts / suggestion?

If the customer is having Power surges or power spikes ( ans I have no idea whether or not they are), could that be a potential cause?

Thanks / Regards,

Ros

Lite4
11-21-2009, 09:45 PM
Problem 1: sounds like your voltage is too high.
Problem 2: Your using Ushio bulbs. Use GE

Pro-Scapes
11-22-2009, 12:12 AM
Ushios seem to like mid 11v the best. The 200 GE lamps I put in the field this year seem to be doing well in the upper 11v range

Like yourself I considered power surges We put in panel gaurds on alot of jobs but one thing I would consider doing first is double checking it with a different meter with fresh batteries. You could easily be off .3v on your readings and cause short lamp life.

Had another system eating lamps. One day I watched one of thier kids smack the fixture with a plastic bat. Mystery solved

Lite4
11-22-2009, 08:00 AM
Had another system eating lamps. One day I watched one of thier kids smack the fixture with a plastic bat. Mystery solved

Ahh, Yes. The true nemesis of bullet lights. Thats pretty funny I experienced the same thing with one of my clients also.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-22-2009, 09:47 AM
I would install a main panel mounted surge supressor / filter there. (intermatic PanelGuard) and see how it goes. Transients, Spikes and Surges can wreak havoc on the filaments of incandescent lamps.

I have found that Ushio lamps are more susceptible to voltage & current issues than GE lamps are.

MEXANDME
11-23-2009, 08:14 AM
James,

Would you recommend a good on-line supplier of the GE bulbs? I cannot buy in large volumes......I only use about 250-300 bulbs per year.

Thanks / Regards,

Ros

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-23-2009, 08:29 AM
Sorry Ros, I cannot help you there. Perhaps some others on here will be able to. I buy all of my GE lamps from a local distributor. You will find that GE constant color precise MR16 lamps do cost more than most others, but they are absolutely 100% worth the extra cost.

Would you paint a portrait for a client using 2nd grade paint?

Pro-Scapes
11-23-2009, 04:56 PM
for that low of a quantity I would just pick up as needed from the local lowes so you didnt have to carry a large stock. Charge your clients accordingly for the more expensive lamps.

quackgrass
11-23-2009, 04:58 PM
could this be a polarity issue by chance?

MEXANDME
11-23-2009, 05:44 PM
Quackgrass.....No loop feeds.

Regards,

Ros

emby
11-23-2009, 07:27 PM
What is the primary voltage at the GFCI? How old is the GFCI? Most GFCI's will start to show problems around its 4th year. (located outside)
It sounds as though you have investigated the low voltage side of things so now its time to look at the primary side. Try changing the GFCI and see if that helps you out. Hope this helps.

Ken

MEXANDME
11-23-2009, 08:24 PM
Emby.....I checked the line voltage today....121.3 volts. The house is about 6 years old.

There are only two leads. I moved the lead on the 13 volt tap back to the 12 volt tap and I moved the lead on the 15 volt tap back to the 14 volt tap. Re-checked all the lights with the bulbs in and the lowest voltage reading I came up with was 10.3 volts. So.............I am just going to see how it goes for a few weeks with these lead a changes.

Thanks / Regards,

Ros

Terradek
11-24-2009, 09:44 AM
Ros,
Have you considered using a secondary side voltage regulator? This unit will protect your lamps from surges and spikes. It has a 75w capacity and will reduce voltage to 11.6 whenever voltage exceeds that. It can handle spikes up to 18v and has been one of my go to solutions whenever I have a situation like you are describing.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-24-2009, 01:53 PM
Gerry, those secondary side voltage regulators have been on the market for some time now. How are they standing up to the test of time? How reliable are they in the long run?

I have looked at them in the past but always figured they were just another thing to go wrong. Certainly not necessary for every installation, but I can see how, when put in a difficult repair/maintenance situation, they could come in handy.

Terradek
11-24-2009, 03:10 PM
James,
I came across them in '02 and now have hundreds in the field. I have yet to have one come back for warranty.

Originally they were being marketed as a way to simplify installations by eliminating the need to manage voltage drop. As such, I was not a fan. If you dumb down the skill set necessary to install properly then anyone will be able to do installations.

During the boom in housing many new developments were blowing lamps...as we looked into it we found very inconsistent primary voltages being supplied by the power companies. That is when I embraced the utility of the Voltage Regulator. The other reason that I like them is that during the winter months when transformers, and cable become less resistive and voltage increases, voltage regulators help to minimize the negative impact of this increased efficiency in the system.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-24-2009, 04:04 PM
:) Thankfully LED Lamps help avoid all these issues, what with their wide range of input voltages that they accept. :)

Thanks Gerry. Informative as always.

MEXANDME
11-24-2009, 04:16 PM
Gerry,

I am not familiar with the regulators. Can you elaborate on them a little. You say they will handle up to 75W. Most leads have more than 75Watts.....?????
Do they mount inside the transformer or is there one at each fixture, etc.? What is the cost?

Thank for your willingness to help!

Ros

Terradek
11-24-2009, 04:41 PM
James you are right...LEDs have on board voltage regulators...but LEDs also contribute to the "simplification" of the installation. This has both advantages and disadvantages to our profession and industry.

Unlike Voltage Regulators (VR), LEDs have a greater potential to reduce the technical knowledge necessary to install systems because they will soon be the predominate light source in this industry. When LEDs become mainstream and we begin to see them in Big Box Kit systems, we will all scratch our heads and say how did this happen to our industry?

The only portion of our business that can not be "dumbed down" is the design aspect. This is where future illuminologists will compete.

Ros,
I can't give prices here but PM me and I will quote you (they are not very expensive at all). The VR is put in line anywhere on a run that you want to regulate, they are direct burial rated, I generally put them at the base of the fixture where I am making the connection to the home run. In the event that you have more than 75w on a run then you will need more VRs. You will need one VR for every Two lamps (35w/ea) or every three lamps if (20w/ea), and so on.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-24-2009, 05:04 PM
James you are right...LEDs have on board voltage regulators...but LEDs also contribute to the "simplification" of the installation. This has both advantages and disadvantages to our profession and industry.

Unlike Voltage Regulators (VR), LEDs have a greater potential to reduce the technical knowledge necessary to install systems because they will soon be the predominate light source in this industry. When LEDs become mainstream and we begin to see them in Big Box Kit systems, we will all scratch our heads and say how did this happen to our industry?

The only portion of our business that can not be "dumbed down" is the design aspect. This is where future illuminologists will compete.


Although some think that the advent of LED lamps and fixtures will greatly simplify the design and installation of outdoor lighting systems, to the point that it will render the professional obsolete... well I don't share this view at all.

1: There have always been DIY-ers and there always will be DIY-ers. Similarly there will always be clients who require the services of trades and professionals. I dont see any of my clients about to design and install their own lighting systems.

2: The Art Factor: I have no competition. You cannot compare the output of one artist to the output of another. There will always be trunk slammers and one stop shop installers, but they do not have the ability to design and ultimately evoke that which a pro can. Ultimately the lamp choice is much like an artists choice of paint.... it is what you do with the paint that really counts.

3: Pro materials: No matter what lamp source, the quality of the fixtures and the supply chain that separates the average from the pro-grade will exist for a long time to come. If off-shore knock-offs and retail level producers want to install LED light sources so be it... their products will still be lower quality than those that Pros have access to. You get what you pay for... in the past, now and in the future.

"illuminologists" - I like that one! I might just use it!

Terradek
11-25-2009, 11:44 AM
Although some think that the advent of LED lamps and fixtures will greatly simplify the design and installation of outdoor lighting systems, to the point that it will render the professional obsolete... well I don't share this view at all.

1: There have always been DIY-ers and there always will be DIY-ers. Similarly there will always be clients who require the services of trades and professionals. I dont see any of my clients about to design and install their own lighting systems.

2: The Art Factor: I have no competition. You cannot compare the output of one artist to the output of another. There will always be trunk slammers and one stop shop installers, but they do not have the ability to design and ultimately evoke that which a pro can. Ultimately the lamp choice is much like an artists choice of paint.... it is what you do with the paint that really counts.

3: Pro materials: No matter what lamp source, the quality of the fixtures and the supply chain that separates the average from the pro-grade will exist for a long time to come. If off-shore knock-offs and retail level producers want to install LED light sources so be it... their products will still be lower quality than those that Pros have access to. You get what you pay for... in the past, now and in the future.

"illuminologists" - I like that one! I might just use it!


James,

"Obsolete", never...less technically relevant, definitely.

1) The DIY segment is not any of our target markets...my point about "big box kits" is that this will be our first signal that LEDs have reached market saturation. Product quality and performance will still be defensible sales strategies, as it is today with halogen. Also, I am not proposing that this will change consumer (client) behavior, my point is that more "non specialists" will be able to do this work with less visible distinction in the technical quality of their installs.

2) I think that you will agree that the "art" portion of this business is highly subjective. What I think looks good and what you think may be totally different.

The term "pro" is not a determinant of one's design capability. Just because someone is willing to pay a contractor for services does not necessarily mean that the contractor's design will be spectacular. Having seen some of your work I would agree that you are exceptional, and that you probably have very little competition in that regard; but being a "trunk slammer" does not preclude someone from producing excellent designs. The two are not mutually exclusive.

I like and use the "painting a portrait" (thanks Nate), analogy in my training classes. It is a very appropriate visual representation of the process that we go through. I recently heard a spin on this concept that I really like; that is that unlike a portrait artist who paints on a white canvas, a lighting artist paints on a black canvas.

3) I agree, lets hope that it always stays that way.

Before you use the term "illuminologist" in any print material I need to tell you that it is a Service Mark of Touchstone Lighting Inc. But as a descriptive term used in communication, no problem.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-25-2009, 12:17 PM
Before you use the term "illuminologist" in any print material I need to tell you that it is a Service Mark of Touchstone Lighting Inc. But as a descriptive term used in communication, no problem.


I googled it right away and found that out. Interesting, although I am not familiar with the details of what a "service mark" is. Is it like a registered Trade Mark? I am pretty sure they would have to register that term as a trade mark here in Canada (or any jurisdiction other than the USA) in order to protect it internationally.

Got to love wikipedia... Seems that sm is a form of unregistered mark and as such is only 'protectable' within the geographic territory in which the user operates.

"A trademark is designated by the following symbols:
* ™ (for an unregistered trademark, that is, a mark used to promote or brand goods)
* ℠ (for an unregistered service mark, that is, a mark used to promote or brand services)
* ® (for a registered trademark)

The owner of a registered trademark may commence legal proceedings for trademark infringement to prevent unauthorized use of that trademark. However, registration is not required. The owner of a common law trademark may also file suit, but an unregistered mark may be protectable only within the geographical area within which it has been used or in geographical areas into which it may be reasonably expected to expand."[


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_mark

Terradek
11-25-2009, 12:58 PM
In my experience, I have only ever dealt with Trade Marks. So I am not sure what the legal distinctions, if any, are for Service Marks.

You are right though in making the point that in order to protect Intellectual Property (IP) you must register it in all locations where you wish to limit it's use. That is why US companies that have patents must also register them in foreign countries (e.g. China) to have any legal standing in that country. Manufactures who do not do this run the risk of having their patents violated, and that is how so many of the "knock off" products make their way back to the U.S. market.