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SOX Problem

SOX Problem

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I posted a few months ago I had obtained a NOS Philips 55w LPS fixture, it didnt come with a lamp so I purchased a few of these England-made GEC Super-SOX lamps for it. It runs fine, problem it it wont restrike after a power interruption. After a brief power on/off cycle, the lamp exhibits what you see in the picture indefinitely, if fact once the lamp has completely cooled an hour later, it wont reignite until the power in cycled off then on again. The capacitor still measures exactly its rated value 15uf. All three lamps exhibit this non-restarting issue...any ideas guys?

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BlueHalide
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Sep 21, 2017 at 09:02 PM Author: BlueHalide
Here are some specs, the fixture contains an Advance HX-HPF ballast rated for both 35w or 55w lamp, the capacitor is oil-filled, but still measures its value of 15uf. The lamp is a GEC SuperSox dated to 1981 by another member on here. Could the age of the lamp be the issue here? The lamp basically only lights when its cold.
LandryB
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Sep 21, 2017 at 09:27 PM Author: LandryB
Next time you light it, try leaving it on overnight. Perhaps some of the argon buffer gas has adsorbed into the glass tubing after many years in storage?
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Sep 21, 2017 at 09:48 PM Author: BlueHalide
I left it running (in hot restrike mode) all day while I was at work, (7 hours or so), and when I got home it still had not lighted, the faint pink discharge around the two electrodes was gone also. But as soon as I cycled power off then back on again it fired right up. There must be an inductive kick from the ballast at startup thats just sufficient enough to start the tube when cold, but not enough to start it when hot.
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Sep 21, 2017 at 09:51 PM Author: BlueHalide
I hope the rest of these GEC lamps on that listing dont get sold to a municipality, only to find out their streets will be in the dark for the rest of the night if a significant voltage dip, or brief transient were to occur extinguishing the lamp.
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Sep 21, 2017 at 10:18 PM Author: Lodge

Next time you light it, try leaving it on overnight. Perhaps some of the argon buffer gas has adsorbed into the glass tubing after many years in storage?


I'd try LandryB's suggestion first, leaving it in hot-restrike mode doesn't heat the glass which allows the absorbed argon to return to the inside of the tube and the argon will lower the ignition voltage of the lamp, but yes when you turn on a large magnetic ballast it does output an inductive kick allowing for easier startup..

And where is this listing so they don't all get sold to a municipality ?
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Sep 21, 2017 at 11:56 PM Author: dor123
In some situations SOX LPS lamps may not restrike instantly, like it used to be, similar to HID lamps. This is usually occurs if the lamp being operated on an autoleak transformer, and not from a ballast + ignitor combination.
I've even seen once a video on Youtube, of a hot restriking SOX lamps that actually cycles much like HPS lamp. I don't remember where it is located.

I"m don't speak English well, and rely on online translating to write in this site.
Please forgive me if my choice of my words looks like offensive, while that isn't my intention.

I only working with the European date format (dd.mm.yyyy).

I lives in Israel, which is a 230-240V, 50hz country.

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Sep 21, 2017 at 11:59 PM Author: Danny
Yeah when you first get GEC or Osram GEC lamps including any brand SLI/H SOI/H and SO/H you must give them a very long first run or they do this. I usually give them an all day run. Ill switch them on at 8am ish and leave them until i go to bed around midnight. That then gives them a good long run settling them in. However it can still happen but they are more cleaner and comeon quicker. So if they do do this and you get them running leave them on all day for as long as you possibly can.

Im not sure how you will get this to come up though. Maybe stick it on a sox ballast or sox gear that does not cut out EOL lamps after 20 secs or so like the GEC Z1616 or Eleco/Davis Thyractor ignitor ballast if you have those. They will keep the power flowing and it may clean up
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Sep 22, 2017 at 12:58 AM Author: dor123
Only electronic ballast, can shut down EOL lamps. Digital SOX ignitor can only see the lamp not ignite than shut down. It have nothing to do with EOL lamps that still hold a discharge.

I"m don't speak English well, and rely on online translating to write in this site.
Please forgive me if my choice of my words looks like offensive, while that isn't my intention.

I only working with the European date format (dd.mm.yyyy).

I lives in Israel, which is a 230-240V, 50hz country.

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Sep 22, 2017 at 01:44 PM Author: AngryHorse
Could be the gear your running it on, I`ve only ever seen SOX do this, starting at 90watts, on autoleak transformers, 55s usually start instantly.
Sounds as if this HX-HPF gear doesn`t have the re-ignition power to restart hot lamps??
I bet it wouldn`t happen on separate ballast/ignitor gear as Danny says

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Sep 22, 2017 at 02:48 PM Author: BlueHalide
Are SOX ballast systems supposed to use an ignitor? If so, why wouldnt Philips include one in this fixture? I honestly never work with SOX as its basically extinct here, so I am unfamiliar with the ballast and components required. Im getting an OCV from this ballast of 487v, I have no idea if this is high, low, or normal. I googled the Advance part number on the ballast and its been de-listed/discontinued.
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Sep 22, 2017 at 03:15 PM Author: Solanaceae
By your description, it sounds like fill gas runaway. I'd try to get it to start and run it for around 12 hours.

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Sep 22, 2017 at 03:15 PM Author: Solanaceae
By your description, it sounds like fill gas runaway. I'd try to get it to start and run it for around 12 hours.

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Sep 22, 2017 at 04:39 PM Author: Lodge

Are SOX ballast systems supposed to use an ignitor? If so, why wouldnt Philips include one in this fixture? I honestly never work with SOX as its basically extinct here, so I am unfamiliar with the ballast and components required. Im getting an OCV from this ballast of 487v, I have no idea if this is high, low, or normal. I googled the Advance part number on the ballast and its been de-listed/discontinued.


Igniters in north america are not common for a SOX light (I have yet to see on in the wild) we primarily get autoleak transformers but in the UK they are more common where they use a reactor ballast because 240 isn't high enough to ignite some tubes but the autoleaks output 400 to 500 volts, which is, and 487 is normal mine are 485 and 492 OCV but reactors are more efficient and you can use them on 240 without much effort, but like others have said it does sound like a fill gas issue, just power it up and I'd run it overnight I might even be tempted to run it for 24 hours or more straight up and then see how it reacts over time the argon gas which is like 1% of the fill gas is absorbed in the glass which is why short runs are bad for a sox light, you need heat to drive it back out of the glass which you only get from running it for hours and hours and when you playing with such a small amount it doesn't take the loss of much argon to change the operating characteristics of the tube...
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Sep 22, 2017 at 09:36 PM Author: BlueHalide
ok, sounds good, its been running since this morning, and im leaving it on till tomorrow night (24 hours). Thanks for the info
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Sep 23, 2017 at 06:12 PM Author: BlueHalide
Ok, just an update, been 27 hours of runtime and it had no effect on the restriking (or lack thereof), still refuses to restrike until the tube has completely cooled and power is cycled on/off a second time. I honestly dont care about how it wont restrike as I am just using it as a garage light, just find it interesting that these lamps can "go bad" over time, if in storage/not used long enough.
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Sep 23, 2017 at 08:28 PM Author: dor123
This looks like the argon being cleaned up. If this lamp wasn't operated for long time, you need to run it continuously for several hours.

I"m don't speak English well, and rely on online translating to write in this site.
Please forgive me if my choice of my words looks like offensive, while that isn't my intention.

I only working with the European date format (dd.mm.yyyy).

I lives in Israel, which is a 230-240V, 50hz country.

BlueHalide
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Sep 29, 2017 at 09:45 AM Author: BlueHalide
Another update, this lamp has been running continuously since my last comment (on the 23rd), the color of the discharge has actually shifted to more yellow and less orange, I didnt know these had a "burn in" period where the color temp changes. However, after 150 hours of running straight, the restrike problem is completely unaffected. I just cycled the power off/on a little over an hour ago, and the same issue as described above, the lamp completely cools and wont restrike until I cycle the power off then on again a second time. When I stop at Graybar electric today im going to pick up a brand new 55w Philips SOX lamp and see if the problem is with the lamp or the gear.
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Sep 29, 2017 at 10:44 AM Author: Liam
To be honest it sounds like a weak ignitor, try a new ignitor it may solve the problem.

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Sep 29, 2017 at 10:51 AM Author: Ash
A capacitor was mentioned, so maybe the gear in the question is autoleak gear without ignitor (for ignitor gear the capacitor value does not affect lamp starting)
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Sep 29, 2017 at 10:55 AM Author: BlueHalide
The gear is Philips 55w HX-HPF ballast with 487v OCV, no ignitor. Capacitor value is 15uf, I tested the cap and its capacitance is still at 15uf.
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Sep 29, 2017 at 05:19 PM Author: AngryHorse
Definitely sounds like the gear, theres nothing wrong with the lamp, the gear just wont start it hot without a power off.

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Sep 29, 2017 at 06:09 PM Author: Lodge
I don't think it's a gear problem, in North America we use auto-leak transformers and the capacitor is only to adjust the power factor, the ballast will work just fine without it in place.. There is not much to fail in an auto-leak transformer they basically either work and you have light or they don't and you have nothing or lots of smoke, And if the ballast is outputting 487 OCV it is well within range for an advance 35/55 watt ballast like a 71A0490-001D they range between 430 to 530 OCV, and we never see LPS ballast here with an igniter, as much as I would like to it never happens unless someone imports one, and I would like to see one of those HF electronic ones as well...

I'd still be going with it's a gas fill issue and I would run the lamp for more time, I've left tubes like this on for a hundred plus hours (it only takes about a week of nightly service to hit that, and they light up the yard nicely) and then see how it runs, and in reality 100 hours on an LPS lamp is really nothing, mine clock about 4800 hours a year, and I would also check the input voltage to see if your mains are not on the low side, and make sure your not running it on a 16 or 18 AWG cord, and make sure the base and socket contacts are nice and clean..
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Sep 29, 2017 at 08:48 PM Author: BlueHalide
Lodge is correct, I removed this NOS GEC lamp tonight and replaced it with a much newer Philips lamp, and it restrikes nearly instantly after running at full intensity, theres like a one second delay and its back on. So it is these GEC lamps from 1981 that are the problem.

Lodge, the fixtures is NOS, and never been unpackaged before I got it, so I figured it couldnt be the gear like you said. My mains voltage is 127v, and usually rises to 130v at night, I am the first house on a 55KvA transformer, and the only house on that secondary with a 200A service, I really dont mind the higher voltage, some stuff runs a bit more efficiently
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Sep 30, 2017 at 09:46 AM Author: AngryHorse
Yeah, fair point, I keep forgetting our gear is totally different to yours , like I say, I have only ever seen SOX do this on the 90watt lamps and above running on autoleak transformers from hot here, there use to be duel wattage transformers, (35/55watt), for the smaller lamps, but since the early 80s 35s and 55watt lamps were mostly on low loss ignitor circuits as standard.

I`ve never seen a 35watt lamp do this in the above picture, even on autoleaks here, (only the odd one from new that NEVER starts due to a manufacturing issue), even my 1960s SO/H lamp will instant start after a long running on an ignitor circuit.

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Sep 30, 2017 at 10:29 AM Author: Ash
Autoleaks would be more prone to this, 500V Voc and thats it vs 1..1.5kV available with ignitor. So a hard starting lamp might not propagate the problem with ignitor gear
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Sep 30, 2017 at 11:14 AM Author: Lodge

Autoleaks would be more prone to this, 500V Voc and thats it vs 1..1.5kV available with ignitor. So a hard starting lamp might not propagate the problem with ignitor gear


Ash what is the maximum voltage you can apply to an external igniter, do you think it would be possible to rig up a MH or HPS igniter or a superimposed igniter on an auto leak ballast with a 500 volt OCV just to give it a bit of a kick ?
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