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Halogen Lights Unreliable

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Ralph Stewart
Halogen Lights Unreliable
on Jun 16, 2010 at 6:37:59 am

Hi there,

Some time ago I bought a 3 piece kit of 800 watt redheads off ebay, shipped from China. They were much cheaper than what they would have been in britain but then some of the details were simpler, like no switch on the actual wire from light to plug.

These lights have not always been reliable; they often burn, blow or break the bulbs (which are not cheap as I'm sure you'll know) and I find myself highly stressed every time I need to use them on a shoot as I never know when they'll fail. Sometimes they can remain on for more than an hour but chances are one will fizzle and die before the end of any given shoot.

Does anyone have any recommendations for making these lights more reliable? I understand there should be a concern about the fact that they were cheaper than usual but it looks quite simple inside them and if there's something wrong surely no problem for a lighting professional to fix. Why are they killing my bulbs at such a rate? (I should just add that I'm pretty careful with handling the bulbs these days and don't touch them directly when inserting them.)

Many many thanks!

Ralph


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Halogen Lights Unreliable
on Jun 16, 2010 at 1:25:27 pm

Did you check to see if the bulb seats tightly in the holder. If there is a slight gap with the contacts you could be getting a bit of arcing. Check to see if the contacts on the fixture look burned or have a carbon build up.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Halogen Lights Unreliable
on Jun 17, 2010 at 4:47:37 pm

"Stepping over dollars to pick up dimes". Those are not real redheads, they are knockoffs. Being from China, the extra lead content in the wiring is probably to blame:-)

Sounds like you need to re-wire them and maybe upgrade the sockets. Also, if they didn't make proper provision for cooling, or used the wrong, cheaper materials, the heads may be overheating and that also shortens life.

"The cheapskate usually winds up paying twice".
And I say that as a cheapskate myself. But the best value in video is a good pro light; it never goes out of style, never lets you down, and if you divide the cost into many the years of service you get out of them, it's less than pennies to do it right the first time.


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Lloyd Morgan
Re: Halogen Lights Unreliable
on Jun 29, 2010 at 4:29:19 pm

Mark is probably right, they are probably knockoffs. Thats not to say they arent a good cheap alternative. Bulbs often break, especially if moved when hot, and always avoid knocking. Im sure youre aware of this, but its good to look at the basics. Also when changing bulbs, depending on the type of bulbs make sure you dont touch them directly with your hand as this can shorten the life of the bulb.

Im in a similar situation; im from a lighting background, and am used to using high end quality lighting. Unfortunately starting up on my own has been a considerable cost as it is, and things like editing suite and camera you cant really go cheap on. Now looking at purchasing a basic lighting kit myself I am in a dilema whether to buy what I know is good and spend £1500+ or look at the cheaper alternatives, where i could get a 3 piece lighting kit with stands for around £300. Something I have read recently is using construction site halogen lights, these lights are 500w with stand and can be purchased for >£30. Ok, these wont have barn doors, and will not be able to be directed, but for broadly lighting a scene these could be a great, cheap, alternative.

If you have the cash, purchase a 3 piece arri set, 2x300w & 1x650w, grab some filters and scrub, and youll be sorted.

Good luck.

Lloyd Morgan Productions
http://www.lloydmorganproductions.co.uk
Video Production Dorset UK


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