Author Topic: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A.  (Read 653 times)
merc
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Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « on: November 01, 2016, 08:02:08 AM » Author: merc
Many recent pictures posted here as well as in media show clear MV lamps still being used in the U.S.A. (I'm not sure about Canada.)
While most(?) European countries had left this concept decades ago and began to use DX-coated/MBF lamps, in the U.S.A. clear mercs have maintained their market share. I wonder why?
The colour rendition of clear lamps is much worse, their efficacy slightly worse, their lifespan about the same, also the price(?) - the only real benefit is better control over the light direction because the arc tube is much smaller than the outer envelope and the light can be focused well. So is it because of American lanterns, their reflectors and refactors that are optimized for clear MV? Or, is it rather a tradition – a typical light colour people are used to and don't want anything else?

(I heard a funny story about clear mercs here. Once there was a problem with prostitutes that used to gather near Central train station in Prague and offer their services there. Somebody came with an excellent idea: They put clear MV lamps into lanterns there which made the girls look unattractive to their customers so they left that place within a week.)

Btw. what about other continents? Are there countries that still use a significant ratio of clear MV?
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dor123
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #1 on: November 01, 2016, 09:30:14 AM » Author: dor123
I think simply that for unknown reasons, despite both the Germanate and the Vanadate phosphors invented in the US by Westinghouse and Sylvania respectively, the european manufacturers jumped on these phosphors and upgraded their MV lamps with them, while the americans and the japaneses manufacturers didn't (With the Yttrium Vanadate phosphors, within a year, all european mercury lamps moved to the Yttrium Vanadate and the Magnesium Fluoro-germanate lamps abandoned promptly).
I don't know why the european manufacturers jumped on the color correcting phosphors, and the americans and the japaneses manufacturers didn't. This is much like what happens with the LPS lamps: European invention (Philips) -> Distinct british lightsource (GEC and Thorn Atlas)
« Last Edit: November 01, 2016, 09:40:44 AM by dor123 » Logged

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wattMaster
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #2 on: November 01, 2016, 02:30:54 PM » Author: wattMaster
I would think that it's tradition. I would also think that it is because of the relative cheapness of the fixtures, so lots of them were installed.
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #3 on: November 01, 2016, 02:43:50 PM » Author: Ash
The Phosphored Mercury lamp is the improved one, no doubts there. Most luminaires made at the time had quite crude optics anyway, so the difference in distribution between the lamps would not be very noticable in most applications

What might have kept the clear Merc in the US is :

1
Mercury lighting was way more common with the home users than in Europe. In the US a Mercury bucket light is a common home-user accessory, while in Europe most home users dont have any HID lighting. Home users are not professionals, so traditionally many of them were looking only at cost of lamp and not at performance

(which was sorta correct to some extent - The difference in brightness between clear and coated lamp of the same power is small compared to the step between available power levels. Think for example, a place where 175W clear gives the needed amount of light. 100W will be too little even when coated. Nothing available between 100W and 175W. If allready using 175W, could as well use the cheaper lamp, because it is sufficient and the 175 with Phosphor does not use less power)

2
It is often ON full night, in a luminaire with quite bad optics, so a lot of light is spilled into windows and such. Maybe the light was considered as less obtrusive

3
Peeps liking the color ? i'd find it odd if significant number of the US population would actually like the color of clear Mercs. I can see this being sought after in a country like Japan, but not in an average western country where most home users want warm incandescent light..
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #4 on: November 01, 2016, 03:08:19 PM » Author: sol
They are fairly common in Canada as well. Most utility installed MV is with coated lamps, however they did install clear lamps if they came in the box with the new fixture. Come relamping time, they would have a coated lamp. Most privately owned fixtures have clear lamps. I believe it is a matter of tradition and the customers haven't questioned it nor have they demanded something better so the manufacturers continued with clear lamps which is cheaper and easier for them.

Unless i'm lighting trees or vegetation of some sort, I prefer a coated lamp.
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #5 on: November 01, 2016, 07:02:07 PM » Author: BlueHalide
I am not sure why clear lamps have remained so popular here, however I can tell you that two of the largest power companies here in the midwest where I live used exclusively clear lamps for the NEMA head fixtures they rented out to customers that wanted large area lighting. I knew one service technician whose job was to install, service and relamp the customer-leased bucket lights. 250w Mercury was the most common, with 400w and 175w being used as well. All of these fixtures under ownership of the POCO only used clear GE lamps according to him. In fact he didnt even know what I was talking about when I asked about the DX coated lamps, he thought all MV lamps "were the same".
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #6 on: November 01, 2016, 07:55:58 PM » Author: wattMaster
Here, utility-owned bucket lights use clear HPS or coated MV.
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #7 on: November 01, 2016, 09:30:53 PM » Author: nicksfans
Clear lamps were used all the time here in utility-owned MV lights, and many still remain. For some reason, just within the last 10 years, they switched to DX coated lamps. Now they don't even relamp MV fixtures anymore; they just replace with LED.
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ace100w120v
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #8 on: November 01, 2016, 10:07:57 PM » Author: ace100w120v
I actually prefer clear over /DX, but that's just me.  But yeah, clear mercury is definitely still a thing in North America.
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #9 on: November 01, 2016, 10:24:20 PM » Author: dor123
The US and Canada, aren't the only countries that remained with the clear MV lamps. What about Japan, where the only reason for the popularity of clear mercury lamps there is their color and nothing else (Japaneses loves high color temperature lamps in their homes and generally, 5000K lamps and clear SBMV lamps are much popular at homes in Japan than the rest part of the world).
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #10 on: November 02, 2016, 01:41:42 PM » Author: merc
That's an interesting survey!
I actually like the #1 explanation from Ash. The use in US private backyards could indeed help them to survive so far.
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #11 on: November 06, 2016, 09:47:36 AM » Author: Lampenfreak
There is another reason for using coated mercs. The coating converts UV light into visible light, so that lumen outputs increases.
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #12 on: November 10, 2016, 10:02:31 AM » Author: dor123
The lumen output increases only with phosphors like ortophosphates or vanadate, as the main purpose of the phosphor in MV lamps, is to correct the greenish color of clear MV lamps to white, and not to increase light output.
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #13 on: November 17, 2016, 05:20:52 PM » Author: jrmcferren
Homeowner owned mercury lights usually shipped with a clear lamp and if/when replaced they are replaced with whatever is available which may be a clear or Deluxe lamp. Since color rendering is not too important in these applications the clear mercury is used. Most street lighting systems use deluxe lamps, but I have seen a few systems (prior to LED switchover) that had what appeared to be clear lamps installed in them, I have also seen privately owned cobra head fittings using clear lamps as well.

In my hometown when I graduated high school:

Metal Halide downtown post lamps (replaced cobra head HPS when I was in elementary school).
Cobra head HPS by the high school and maybe a few other areas.
The rest was mainly Deluxe Mercury

Now it is mainly HPS except for a large stretch of main street which has Metal Halide posts (one or a few may have been retrofitted to LED for testing)
A few mercury fittings that were not upgraded or missed.
A few LED test fittings.
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Re: Clear MV Lamps Popularity in the U.S.A. « Reply #14 on: January 01, 2017, 12:42:18 AM » Author: Cavannus
The popularity of clear mercury here in Canada was a (nice) surprised when I arrived ten years ago.
Here I suggest that manufacturers sell these low-rendering bulbs to promote the new led technologies, however the answer is probably the lower cost when the bulb is sold with a dusk to dawn fixture.

Some websites sell both clear and coated versions at the same price, maybe because clear mercury is better for parks (trees are not sensitive to the light and look better).

Merc's funny story is a good explanation as well: Montréal's métro (public transit) use clear mercury in some places, it would make sense that they want to avoid that beggars stay in those specific places.
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