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steveparrott
10-18-2010, 03:39 PM
I just had a call from a contractor reporting an orange film forming on the inside of MR-16 bullet lenses with 50W lamps. I'm pretty sure the film was caused by out-gassing from the grease the contractor applied to the lamp pins.

This led me to do a little research on greases used for this purpose (incl. reading the many posts on this topic here).

One of the things that surprised me was the misuse of the term 'dielectric', and the fact that some contractors use dielectric (non-conductive) grease and others use conductive grease.

Most expert opinion seems to discourage the use of non-conductive (dielectric) grease on socket contacts because it can interfere with the socket/pin connection - in fact, the connection can only be made because pushing the pin in the socket scrapes away the grease. Some claim that the resultant connection has more resistance than when there is no grease, and that this resistance can result in voltage drop and excess heat in the socket.

It makes more sense to use conducting grease (if any) because this makes for a good contact and protects against corrosion. In fact, one popular grease used by our forum readers is the Sanchem No-Ox-ID "A Special" - a conductive grease (although many posts referred to it incorrectly as a dielectric grease).

Getting back to my intial complaint (orange film residue) - the contractor didn't know what type of grease was used, but regardless of it being conductive or non-conductive, I'm guessing the 50W lamp pushed the heat past its specs.

As you may know, CAST doesn't grease its sockets and doesn't recommend its use. We believe that our solid nickel pins mated to the solid nickel socket contacts are sufficient.

Comments on the grease issue welcome.

irrig8r
10-18-2010, 05:26 PM
Interesting observations Steve.

So, I did a quick search on "conductive synthetic grease" and got this list of manufacturers:

http://www.thomasnet.com/products/conductive-grease-35691401-1.html


Would a grease rated to 200 deg F be appropriate in lighting fixtures? Is 500 deg F overkill?

I'm assuming synthetic is better than petroleum-based, but that's just because I'm thinking of volatile compounds released by heating... maybe even depositing on the inside of lenses.

Keeping moisture away from the connection between pins and socket seems an obvious goal to me... grease is kind of a backup solution when moisture isn't completely excluded by the fixture design and construction....

steveparrott
10-18-2010, 06:46 PM
Would a grease rated to 200 deg F be appropriate in lighting fixtures? Is 500 deg F overkill?

Our sockets are rated for 250 degrees C (482 degrees F). You could shoot for that.

Prolightscaper
10-18-2010, 09:47 PM
I just had a call from a contractor reporting an orange film forming on the inside of MR-16 bullet lenses with 50W lamps. I'm pretty sure the film was caused by out-gassing from the grease the contractor applied to the lamp pins.

This led me to do a little research on greases used for this purpose (incl. reading the many posts on this topic here).

One of the things that surprised me was the misuse of the term 'dielectric', and the fact that some contractors use dielectric (non-conductive) grease and others use conductive grease.

Most expert opinion seems to discourage the use of non-conductive (dielectric) grease on socket contacts because it can interfere with the socket/pin connection - in fact, the connection can only be made because pushing the pin in the socket scrapes away the grease. Some claim that the resultant connection has more resistance than when there is no grease, and that this resistance can result in voltage drop and excess heat in the socket.

It makes more sense to use conducting grease (if any) because this makes for a good contact and protects against corrosion. In fact, one popular grease used by our forum readers is the Sanchem No-Ox-ID "A Special" - a conductive grease (although many posts referred to it incorrectly as a dielectric grease).

Getting back to my intial complaint (orange film residue) - the contractor didn't know what type of grease was used, but regardless of it being conductive or non-conductive, I'm guessing the 50W lamp pushed the heat past its specs.

As you may know, CAST doesn't grease its sockets and doesn't recommend its use. We believe that our solid nickel pins mated to the solid nickel socket contacts are sufficient.

Comments on the grease issue welcome.

an orange film forming on the inside of MR-16 bullet lenses with 50W lamps

some of the cheap straight from china MR-16 bulbs out there emit all sorts of funky stuff inside a small fixture like that.

I would never put a 50 watt in a small fixture body. It gets as hot as a branding iron and is not safe to the touch. What happens when a small child comes along?

Is that fixture rated for a 50 watt lamp. If so I still would never put a 50 watter in there. It's just pure common sense.

steveparrott
10-19-2010, 09:58 AM
an orange film forming on the inside of MR-16 bullet lenses with 50W lamps

some of the cheap straight from china MR-16 bulbs out there emit all sorts of funky stuff inside a small fixture like that.

I would never put a 50 watt in a small fixture body. It gets as hot as a branding iron and is not safe to the touch. What happens when a small child comes along?

Is that fixture rated for a 50 watt lamp. If so I still would never put a 50 watter in there. It's just pure common sense.

The lamp was a quality brand, so I don't think the lamp was the problem. The fixture is UL rated for 50W, but it does get very hot. We put heat shields on all our bullet sockets specifically to direct heat away from the socket for those who use 50W lamps.

Prolightscaper
10-19-2010, 07:42 PM
We put heat shields on all our bullet sockets specifically to direct heat away from the socket for those who use 50W lamps.

How does a heat shield installed inside a 3" X 2" closed oven direct heat away from a socket? :confused:

Alan B
10-19-2010, 09:59 PM
We put heat shields on all our bullet sockets specifically to direct heat away from the socket for those who use 50W lamps.

How does a heat shield installed inside a 3" X 2" closed oven direct heat away from a socket? :confused:
The same way a heat shield/reflector deflects heat away from anything else. It doesn't mean the socket is cool, but its reflects much of the heat. The body gets hot, but not near as hot as the lamp for example.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-19-2010, 10:11 PM
How does a heat shield installed inside a 3" X 2" closed oven direct heat away from a socket? :confused:

Hey "Prolightscaper", you seem to be quite the contrarian here on the forum. All this challenging, posturing and questioning and yet we don't know who you are. :confused:

So how about doing all of us here in the Lawnsite Family a small favour and tell us your name, business name, background and that sort of thing. Having some knowledge of, or reference to one's work and experience can go a long way to better understanding.

Thanks.

Alan B
10-19-2010, 10:12 PM
One of the things that surprised me was the misuse of the term 'dielectric', and the fact that some contractors use dielectric (non-conductive) grease and others use conductive grease.

Most expert opinion seems to discourage the use of non-conductive (dielectric) grease on socket contacts because it can interfere with the socket/pin connection - in fact, the connection can only be made because pushing the pin in the socket scrapes away the grease. Some claim that the resultant connection has more resistance than when there is no grease, and that this resistance can result in voltage drop and excess heat in the socket.

It makes more sense to use conducting grease (if any) because this makes for a good contact and protects against corrosion. In fact, one popular grease used by our forum readers is the Sanchem No-Ox-ID "A Special" - a conductive grease (although many posts referred to it incorrectly as a dielectric grease).

Comments on the grease issue welcome.

Steve,

Guilty as charged. Thank you for the correction. Volt uses "Conductive Grease" on all our sockets and choose Sanchem No-Ox-Id and are very happy with it. We have had zero socket failures and zeros issues with it.

It is not just a conductive grease but tolerates high heat and does less prone to liquefying and evaporating (wax based instead of petroleum based). We tested many greases and found it performed the best (sometimes I give out too much info!).

With my boating/marine experience I would strongly choose to have my electric connections greased, and Volt believes contractors should grease their fittings, including sockets, even when using good metals like nickel on nickel connections. We have never had one socket failure, however 2 years is not a long enough track record to draw much from.

Good luck to you, however for now Volt will stick with and believe in pregreasing our sockets and screws with grease.

Cheers!

Sincerely,

Alan

David Gretzmier
10-20-2010, 12:15 AM
grease is also not only for the springs and contacts within a socket, it helps prevent galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metals with electrical current involved of the pins and the sockets. many of you may have seen dry white powder on the pins of bulbs you have removed that have been in place far past thier useful life. This, over time, will rot stainless pins into the socket. I seem to see it more with the ultra 10000 hour bulbs that were pretty popular several years back, or bulbs that I replace that are 3 years old plus.

This is especially important with the newer LED retrofit bulbs. without yearly bulb changes, those pins need to be periodically cleaned and sockets regreased.

we currently use a 3M clear synthetic grease that lists electric sockets on the label, purchased locally from Grainger. I am not sure of the 3m number. I believe it was reccomended a few years back by someone on this forum.

steveparrott
10-20-2010, 09:08 AM
How does a heat shield installed inside a 3" X 2" closed oven direct heat away from a socket? :confused:

The highly reflective surface of the heat shield reflects infrared energy (heat) in the same way as it reflects light. This is similar to home wall insulation with foil on one side. According to one mfg. the foil alone reflects 97% of radiant energy back into the house.

steveparrott
10-20-2010, 03:33 PM
Steve,

Guilty as charged. Thank you for the correction. Volt uses "Conductive Grease" on all our sockets and choose Sanchem No-Ox-Id and are very happy with it. We have had zero socket failures and zeros issues with it.

It is not just a conductive grease but tolerates high heat and does less prone to liquefying and evaporating (wax based instead of petroleum based). We tested many greases and found it performed the best (sometimes I give out too much info!).

With my boating/marine experience I would strongly choose to have my electric connections greased, and Volt believes contractors should grease their fittings, including sockets, even when using good metals like nickel on nickel connections. We have never had one socket failure, however 2 years is not a long enough track record to draw much from.

Good luck to you, however for now Volt will stick with and believe in pregreasing our sockets and screws with grease.

Cheers!

Sincerely,

Alan

I spoke with a technical person at Sanchem. He confirmed that the No-Ox wax could cause the orange film on the underside of the bullet lens - but only if too much wax is applied. He said many contractors make the mistake of globbing on the wax - only a very thin coating is needed - usually applied with a fingertip.

Keep in mind that this is a conductive material. If this wax spreads between the pins or socket contacts. . .

Alan B
10-20-2010, 03:53 PM
I need to put you on the Volt payroll. I wish I had time to examine the chemical properties of the white film that people complain about on the Cast fixtures (I "chaulk" it up to nuisances of sand casting over the more precise fit and finish of die casting) ...but frankly don't have the time. There is dilligence and then there is people who don't have enough work to fill their day. Lol! Keep up the good work Steve.

steveparrott
10-20-2010, 04:23 PM
I'd like to set the record staight about my posts in this thread.

The initiating incident was a problem reported with a CAST fixture. I suspected the problem was with the socket grease that was being used by the contractor - an out-gassing caused by the high heat from the 50W MR-16.

I realized I didn't know much about grease so I did research and shared what I found with the forum readers. What I did not realize (but should have) was that my mention of previous posts and the information presented in this thread was viewed as a direct attack on one of the forum sponsors.

This sponsor has always been careful to show respect towards other sponsors (including CAST) and I appreciate that very much. This sponsor considered this thread to be very disrespectful and I understand his view.

For the record, I never meant these posts to cast any negativity towards this sponsor and apologize for my lack of awareness and judgement.

Alan B
10-20-2010, 04:29 PM
Thank you Steve. It was nice talking to you and all is good.

Sincerely,

Alan

indylights
10-20-2010, 10:20 PM
I need to put you on the Volt payroll. I wish I had time to examine the chemical properties of the white film that people complain about on the Cast fixtures (I "chaulk" it up to nuisances of sand casting over the more precise fit and finish of die casting) ...but frankly don't have the time. There is dilligence and then there is people who don't have enough work to fill their day. Lol! Keep up the good work Steve.

You don't have enough time because you are too busy selling your fixtures to the general public at contractor pricing and undermining the professional group of contractors you pretend to support. One more reason why contractors are continually having to sacrifice their profits. But all's fair in a down economy I guess. And when someone takes the time to make themselves more knowledgeable about their or their competitor's product it makes them an extremely valuable employee, so you taking a personal shot at someone on here that does that lends itself to those shots coming right back at you.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

David Gretzmier
10-20-2010, 11:40 PM
Scott, I'd like you to take a look at the professionalism shown by the two above sponsors and learn a lesson. both are vying for the business of the folks on this forum, yet both are trying hard to treat each other professionally.

while you may blame Alan for selling contractor fixtures at contractor prices and publishing those, you need to take an honest look at the internet and ask yourself what any homeowner can find out with 10 minutes of googling any bid you submit to them. I just spent 3 minutes and found some pretty good prices for cast lighting products at various websites.

If you think smart, wealthy people cannot find out what you are paying, whether it be transformers, lights, wire, etc, you would be mistaken. The reality is most folks don't wish to take the time. the ones that do, probably are not your ideal customer anyway.

indylights
10-21-2010, 07:52 AM
If you call someone claiming that another individual has too much time on his hands or is wasting his employers time and resources while at the same time taking a shot at his product professional, then you and I will differ there. I'm well aware homewowners can find out what we pay for all of our products, but I do appreciate vendors who at least make an effort to give the contractors some kind of protection. And by the way, I did the same search you did for Cast, nowhere near what I pay. I did the same search for Unique, outside of a few outlets, again, nowhere near what I pay.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-21-2010, 08:01 AM
You don't have enough time because you are too busy selling your fixtures to the general public at contractor pricing and undermining the professional group of contractors you pretend to support. One more reason why contractors are continually having to sacrifice their profits. But all's fair in a down economy I guess. And when someone takes the time to make themselves more knowledgeable about their or their competitor's product it makes them an extremely valuable employee, so you taking a personal shot at someone on here that does that lends itself to those shots coming right back at you.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

First. I am not here to pass any judgement regarding how any manufacturer, distributor or contractor operates their business.

The issue that Scott is commenting about has been around almost as long as the industry. Kichler dealers have aggressively advertised and promoted their fixture line and pricing direct to the public for years. Even before the internet, many distributors were selling product direct to the public, over the counter, at discounted prices. So be it. As a contractor you have to develop systems within your business to deal with this.

One idea I have found to be very effective is to remove ALL references to product brands from my designs, specifications and proposals. I do not installl Hunza, CAST, Auroralight, Vista, HK, Vison3, Nightscaping, CopperMoon, Volt or any other brand of lighting. I only install lighting systems by INTEGRA Works. This has worked very well, simplified my sales presentations and to my surprise has smoothed the entire sales process. I am rarely asked any questions about the materials we use. This year I have been working at an 'in-house catalog'. Everything in the catalog is branded INTEGRA.

Another reason that you need to focus on your business and not worry so much about what is being sold to whom and at what price, is that the people who look online for costing and those who are DIY'ers are NOT your market. You will rarely get a DIY'er to pay a professional for their time, overhead and experience. Similarly, those customers who do not value your knowledge and experience are not your market either.

Have a great day.

emby
10-21-2010, 09:08 AM
James,

Excellent point of view and suggestion !

irrig8r
10-21-2010, 01:06 PM
....I only install lighting systems by INTEGRA Works. This has worked very well, simplified my sales presentations and to my surprise has smoothed the entire sales process. I am rarely asked any questions about the materials we use. This year I have been working at an 'in-house catalog'. Everything in the catalog is branded INTEGRA....


It sounds to me like maybe what you're saying is that you can set yourself apart by focusing on the effects and not the equipment used to achieve them...

Or, OTOH, are you hinting that you will be, like Mr. Gambino, getting more fixtures and transformers designed and manufactured to your specs and branding them as such...?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-21-2010, 01:37 PM
It sounds to me like maybe what you're saying is that you can set yourself apart by focusing on the effects and not the equipment used to achieve them...

Or, OTOH, are you hinting that you will be, like Mr. Gambino, getting more fixtures and transformers designed and manufactured to your specs and branding them as such...?

The former as opposed to the latter.

emby
10-21-2010, 02:12 PM
James,

Just wondering how you deal with maintenance for your customer? You must include specifications that stem from the manufacturer so that the customer can obtain parts or replacement.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-21-2010, 02:19 PM
James,

Just wondering how you deal with maintenance for your customer? You must include specifications that stem from the manufacturer so that the customer can obtain parts or replacement.

We handle all maintenance for our clients. I do not provide them with specification sheets for all of the components in the system. I used to offer this to my clients but 0.0 % of them were interested. The only technical info I leave behind are instructions on the control systems. Other than that they have the information that is contained in their installation agreement and system plan and call me if anything requires attention.

I would suspect that most design/install/maintain companies are similar. There are a few Design only firms out there that leave behind binders of technical specifications on the components, for good reason. Once the system installation is contracted out they have little more to do with it and certainly do not offer post sale service or maintenance.