Lamp Handling Tips and Remedies
When purchasing lamps, always check the manufacturer's specifications and UL listing for the lighting fixture. Just because a lamp will fit doesn't mean you can use it!
The following problems and suggestions cover some of the most common problems and solutions. This is not a list of every possible problem or solution. If you have questions not answered below or if you have suggestions please contact our technical support by phone at 336-882-2854 or by email.
Problems and Possible Solutions
Lamp burns out before end of life
Lamp turns black
Large bubbles swell up on the bulb
Lamp base cracks or breaks
White haze on the glass
Varying resistance across lamp
Changing lamps too often on large lamp installations
Variations in color across a series of lamps
Unexpected lamp burst
Broken or melted filaments
How to extend your lamp life
Shock and Vibration
Switching Projector On and Off
Line Voltage Power
Line voltage lamps may be subject to power swings. Check line
Minimize power swings to less than 10%. Try using a 130V version
of your bulb in 120V applications and using a 240V version in 220V
applications if you are having line voltage problems.
Low voltage applications will fail prematurely if the voltage
regulator is sending too much voltage to the socket. Check voltage with
lamp in place.
Oil from fingerprints, nasal tissue or other sources on the
glass will cause premature failure with halogen, xenon, and high
wattage incandescent. Use gloves or a clean cloth to handle lamps.
Under cooling caused by blocked or failed cooling systems.
Keep filters clean and area around equipment free from objects that
might restrict air flow or create heat.
Damaged sockets will cause short lamp life. If the socket
contacts have pitting or corrosion causing inconsistent lamp current it
will shorten lamp life. Replace damaged sockets.
Short on/off cycles can prematurely damage high wattage lamps.
For example, if you are running a slide or film projector a good rule
is that once you turn the lamp off, leave it off until it cools before
moving the projector, jarring the projector in any way, including the
applications of electricity. Filaments are more brittle, so easier to
break, when hot.
Is the lamp over cooled? Direct airflow on the bulb can cause the lamp to turn dark. Minimize cooling to match equipment design requirements.
Toward the end of a lamps life
some black is normal as the exhausted filament collects on surfaces.
May also be related to over cooling. Dark spots that
on the bulb will absorb heat then the quartz may bulge.
fingerprints on the glass can quickly cause glass to bulge when it gets
hot. Bulges are
fairly common with high wattage, incandescent projector lamps.
Often related to improper installation and removal of lamp or a damaged socket. Check and maintain the sockets. Are they oxidized, pitted, burned, bent and/or dirty? Periodically replace sockets.
May be silica haze or smoke. Generally not a problem and most
is silica left over from the production process.
If there is a vacuum
leak caused by improper installation, shipping damage or a failure of
the manufacturer to apply a proper vacuum the lamp will usually fail as
soon as oxygen gets to the burning filament. A vacuum leak failure will
leave a white or greenish-white powder in the lamp.
Most of time this is humidity related. Small amounts of
can collect in the base of some lamps.
It is very important to change all the lamps on large circuit
at the same time. Lamps all have some sort of average life. Should you
just change a few lamps at a time as they burn out, you may later find
a whole series failing, usually at an inopportune time. These
lamp failures may be simply related to the fact that they have reached
end of life. You can date lamps when you install them if you do not
change all the lamps as a group so you have an accurate idea how long
they are lasting..
Make sure the voltages to all the lamps or strings of lamps
Power variations can cause some lamps to operate above or below rated
Make sure all lamps are of the same design. Aluminum
reflectors will present a different color than dichroic reflectors. If
you have aluminum lamps and add a dichrioc you may say the dichroic
looks pink or if you have dichroic lamps and add an aluminum lamp you
may say the aluminum looks yellow.
Fluorescent lamps are available in a variety of color
temperatures. Make sure all lamps are rated for the same color
temperature and ideally replace all lamps as a group with the same
brand at the same time.
Never handle lamps with bare fingers. Inspect the bulb for
dust or dirt. Wipe the bulb as need be with alcohol and a lint free
Do no turn high wattage lamps on and off in short sequences. A
good rule is that once you turn the lamp off leave it off for at least
ten minutes with the fan running before you turn the lamp back on.
Make sure the lamps do not encounter serious vibration.
Filaments are more brittle when hot. Even if the lamp is off and still
hot a jar can break the filament. Jars to the filament include
physically jarring the projector or surface supporting the projector
and the applicaion of electricity.
When changing quartz lamps, be careful not to touch the quartz glass surface with your skin. This can decrease the lamp life and/or discolor the lamp during use.
When changing, hold a quartz lamp with the paper included with the lamp.Any bulb more than 150 watts has a CYCLE time, 10 min on then 10 min off.
Lamp failure occurs due to a mechanical break in the tungsten filament winding. As the lamp operates the tungsten filament becomes thinner due to evaporation and it eventually breaks. Failure may be accelerated by factors such as, mechanical shock, vibration, high line voltage and temperature.
Lamp failure in an overhead projector can be due to mechanical shock. This occurs when using the lamp changer or bumping the unit while the lamp is operating. A hot lamp filament is very fragile. You should always make sure the unit is turned off and the lamp is cool before moving the lamp changer or the unit.
Each time you turn the unit on, there is an inrush current that applies stress to the lamp filament. The more often this stress is applied the sooner the lamp will fail. For this reason, turning the overhead projector "on" and "off" frequently during presentations is not recommended. Some projectors have a "soft start" power supply that provides a gradual voltage increase which limits the inrush current shock. This results in extended lamp life.
Improper cooling can cause lamp envelope seal failure or lamp capsule swelling. Always make sure the fan is operating and the intake and exhaust vents are not blocked.
High power line voltage is a major cause of short lamp life. Using a voltage less than the rated lamp voltage will increase lamp life but, reduce light output. Higher line voltages will reduce lamp life but, increase light output. The table below shows an example where a lamp at normal 120VAC line voltage would have a 75 hour life, however, if the line voltage increases to 130 VAC it will only last 28 hours.
Power Line Voltage vs. Light Output and Lamp Life
Some lamps have a version for use
where the power line is
higher than 120 volts. If your projector is equipped with a" high/low
switch you can extend your average lamp life by using the "low lamp"
whenever possible. Also, some projectors are equipped with regulated
supplies that deliver the correct voltage to the lamp. This also
the lamp life.
When installing lamps, be sure the lamps are seated completely. The tendency is to stop at the first sign of resistance. Continue to apply force at the base of the lamp until you are sure the lamp is secure.
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