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Burgess Safari Lite

Burgess Safari Lite

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Got this for Christmas. :) Mint in the box, with the original power cable, for $35 on eBay.

This thing is awesome, for several reasons. First of all, this is the FIRST commercially available battery-powered fluorescent lantern, introduced around 1966, and sold until around 1975.

Second, it's preheat. This is one of only two (that I've found) preheat battery-powered lanterns that have ever existed, the other being the much more rare Eveready Captain. It's not clear what this thing has inside it, but the general consensus is likely two ballasts - a standard magnetic ballast for AC power, and a resistive ballast for battery use. It's also a well-tuned ballast - if my Kill-A-Watt meter tells me right, this thing draws 10 watts of power on high, so I would guess the lamp is getting a full 8 watts. On low, the lamp receives about 6 watts. And holy crap, is this thing bright. Even on low it beats the Rayovac Sportsman 180. This is the first decent 8 watt lantern I've ever owned, so I've never been able to see just how terrible those GE 8 watt closet lights (for example) perform until now.

This thing takes batteries that have not been made for at least 25 years. Two Burgess Z46 batteries - large rectangular carbon-zinc batteries with a potential of 69V each - gave this lantern up to 80 hours of use. Eveready made an identical battery, the 646.

Notice how the power level switch indicates to switch it to high when starting the lantern. Before I got this lantern I always wondered what happened if you attempted to start it on low. Well, it's actually entirely possible. The power to both the lamp and the filaments are reduced, though, so it takes about 5 seconds of preheating to get it to start, and sometimes it will start, but rectify until you switch it to high. Get this though - when starting it on high, it draws 10 watts of power, similar to running it on high. When you start it on low, though, it draws over 11 watts, even though it only draws ~7 watts when running on low. Can anyone explain this for me? Could I be hurting the ballast by starting it on low?

Physically the build quality seems excellent. The body of the lantern is plastic, and many parts are metal.

These must have sold extremely well (quite a feat considering this was the first consumer product of its kind), because eBay is littered with them. You can pick one up for as little as $10 shipped. They use a standard nonpolarized stereo-style power cord, so no worries if you need a cord. Often times you can find these with the box and/or tags, and I once saw one that came with the original included batteries!

There were two generations of the Safari Lite, manufactured while Burgess was under three different companies. The first generation has the model number 165/2, separate on and off buttons, green labeling, and a mirrored reflector. It was manufactured under Servel in 1966 and 1967, and then under Clevite until 1971. The second generation (like mine) has the model number 165/3, a combined on/off button, yellow labeling, and a white reflector. It was manufactured under Gould from 1971 until 1975, and is the most common.

So that's about it, really. Out of all my fluorescent lamps, this is definitely the most unique, and my favorite. I assume that is has a standard magnetic ballast (I can hear a slight hum when it's running), but considering it can run on batteries, maybe that's not so? I don't have that much know-how in this stuff, and I don't want (and don't know how) to open this up to find out.

I believe mine was made in 1972 because the original Norelco bulb has "2U" in the etching.

You can also view this lantern's box .

IMG_3163.JPG IMG_2964.JPG IMG_2946.JPG IMG_2930.JPG

Light Information

Light Information

Manufacturer:Gould, Burgess division
Model Reference:Safari Lite, 165/3
Lamp
Lamp Type:F8T5
Fixture
Fixture Type:Portable fluorescent lantern
Ballast Type:Magnetic manual preheat
Electrical
Wattage:8 on high, 6 on low
Voltage:120V - mains or two 69V batteries (Burgess Z46 or Eveready 646)
Physical/Production
Factory Location:USA
Fabrication Date:1972

File information

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Date added:Jan 11, 2013
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rjluna2
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Jan 11, 2013 at 02:35 PM Author: rjluna2
If you are interested in somebody else's lantern collection, you might as well as look into my Lantern collection as well

Pretty, please no more Chinese failure.

themaritimegirl
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Jan 11, 2013 at 02:42 PM Author: themaritimegirl
Ah, yes, I've seen your pictures. I like the Eveready Commander - I'm going to get one in the near future and see how it stacks up against the Rayovac Sportsman 180.

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jercar954
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Jan 12, 2013 at 12:31 AM Author: jercar954
Very nice find! I have one too, mine is from the Servel years and has a GE F8T5/CW lamp with solder dipped pins and an inside etc. I thought the Safari Lite was introduced in 1961 according to what I've seen on the web. BTW- There was also a two lamp version of this in the later years. I'd love to get my hand on one of these.

Preheat and T-12 fluorescents forever! Down with LED's and instant start T-8 fluorescents.

dor123
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Jan 12, 2013 at 02:09 AM Author: dor123
I think that this lanterns is a manual portable version of our commercial dual-purpose emergnecy fluorescent/LED lighting. It have two ballasts: Preheat magnetic ballast + starter for the 120V, 60hz, and a battery operated inverter. The lamp can be operated either from the 120V preheat ballast, or from the battery with the DC inverter. However unlike our dual-purpose emergency lighting, where the switching from the mains voltage preheat ballast to the battery operated inverter, is automatically done by a relay during a power interruption, here this is done manually by a switch which selects between the AC operation and the battery operation.

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.

themaritimegirl
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themaritimegirl themaritimegirl themaritimegirl
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Jan 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM Author: themaritimegirl
jetcar954 - Cool, do you have a photo of it on here? (And how do you get to a particular member's gallery, anyway? When I click someone's name I can only go to their profile.) Yeah, you probably read 1961 on the Flashlight Museum. I might have said this to you before, but that website is full of it. Great pictures, but horribly incorrect information for most of them. And a two-lamp version of the Safari Lite!? I've done so much research on the Safari Lite and have read many advertisements, but I've never even heard of it! Are you sure you're not confusing it with the competing two-lamp Ash Flash Discoverer V? If it's true, though, that would be awesome (and super rare)!

dor123 - You may be right, as I have read before that this lantern probably contains two ballasts - a standard magnetic ballast for AC power and a resistive ballast for DC power.

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Ash
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Jan 12, 2013 at 12:13 PM Author: Ash
Dor - All exit signs i seen with 2x8w t5, one lamp is for Switch Start only and one for emergency only. I only seen the same lamp to be used for both circuits in "normal" fixtures that have emergency module

As for this unit - It makes sense if it have 2 ballasts, but i think it could do with just one - the wire in the magnetic have some tens ohm resistance, it might well be used as the resistive ballast as well for the DC (if the voltage is appropriate) - the magnetic ballast is still required in the DC circuit for the starting, so its there anyway

Besides, if there is more resistive ballast needed for DC, it would be waste to heat a resstor in the lantern with it. Better add incandescent lamp to get some light out of the wasted power too
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Brian TheTellyman
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Jan 12, 2013 at 05:25 PM Author: BG101
I should think that the ballast will be some sort of inverter based on a HF magnetic design, the reason it draws more power attempting to start on the "low" setting probably being due to a frequency shift meaning the circuit draws more power with the resistive filament load but less when the lamp is operating in normal (hot cathode) discharge mode.

Even at 25% underdriven the tube is still being run FAR better than the vast majority of lanterns I've encountered, either in person or via the internet. Still, it should have a good life expectancy. Do you know if there is some electrode heating in this mode? I wouldn't be surprised, given the care taken with this design.


BG

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Jan 12, 2013 at 05:37 PM Author: themaritimegirl
Ah, that makes sense. As long I'm not actually hurting anything by starting it on low. (Not that there is any reason to anyway, outside of sheer boredom. )

Electrode heating while running? I thought that was only for rapid start?

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Jan 12, 2013 at 05:52 PM Author: jercar954
TheMaritimeMan- Unfortunately, my lanterns have been packed away for two years since I moved. Someday, I'll get around to pulling them out of storage. As mentioned, I have an early Safari-Lite and an Eveready Captain which is their version which operates on the high voltage batteries as well as AC line voltage. This is not to be confused with the Eveready Commander which operated on two 6V lantern batteries like your Sportsman.
I have seen a two lamp Safari-Lite on the Bay before.

Preheat and T-12 fluorescents forever! Down with LED's and instant start T-8 fluorescents.

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Jan 12, 2013 at 06:05 PM Author: themaritimegirl
Ah, I see. And cool, the Eveready Captain seems to be quite rare. There's actually a mint one really cheap on eBay right now. I plan on getting one and a Commander someday to see how they stack up against the Safari Lite and Sportsman. And I guess I'll have to keep looking at Safari Lites once in a while to see if I ever find a two-lamp one!

Whoops, I forgot to update the description. I have since uploaded pictures of this lantern's box and original Norelco bulb for anyone who is interested.

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Jan 12, 2013 at 06:19 PM Author: jercar954
If you get a Captain< I'll be interested to see about the red and black power buttons. On mine, The black turns the lamp on and the red turns it off. I've never seen this before even on fluorescent desk lamp that have these buttons. It's always red/on black/off. Perhaps it was assembled of a Friday afternoon at 4:59. Lol!

Preheat and T-12 fluorescents forever! Down with LED's and instant start T-8 fluorescents.

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Jan 12, 2013 at 06:21 PM Author: themaritimegirl
Well, on the one on eBay, the button colors are the same! Black on, red off.

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Jan 12, 2013 at 06:28 PM Author: jercar954
Yes, I just looked at it. I like the cord storage compartment over the Safari-Lite.. you can't lose it.

Preheat and T-12 fluorescents forever! Down with LED's and instant start T-8 fluorescents.

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Jan 12, 2013 at 06:30 PM Author: themaritimegirl
Is the cord detachable like the Safari Lite, or is it permanently attached? Also, does the Captain have a separate battery compartment that snaps on the back or something? Cause looking at the one on eBay, it doesn't look thick enough for two Z46 batteries!

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Jan 12, 2013 at 06:39 PM Author: jercar954
It's cord is attached with a strain relief, not intended to be removed. The battery compartment is detachable and has leakage damage from a long time ago. Interestingly, The lamp is an Arc-Ray lamp. I'm not sure if it's the original as it's a Duro-Test product and probably cost more than GE and definitely more than a Norelco.

Preheat and T-12 fluorescents forever! Down with LED's and instant start T-8 fluorescents.

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Brian TheTellyman
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Jan 13, 2013 at 03:15 PM Author: BG101
The electrodes may be supplied with some current when the lamp is in its low-power mode. Worth checking with a meter to find out


BG

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Jan 04, 2014 at 10:27 AM Author: themaritimegirl
Someone on YouTube recently contacted me about this lantern. He bought one and dissected it to see how it works inside, and found out some pretty interesting stuff. I've summarized his finds in the forums here.

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Jan 04, 2014 at 01:23 PM Author: Medved
The extra power for the start come from the series resistor (used for the "Low") losses. As the lamp is effectively shorted, the ballast current dissipate a lot there. Now on High setting, where the resistor is shorted out, there is large phase shift, so even when there flow even higher current, the power "bounces" back and forth between the ballast coil and the mains, so in fact the real power delivered from the mains remains low.

For the running power, the ballast losses at low setting are not the same ~2W as on the high setting, but due to the resistor losses they are way higher, I would guess about 4W, so the lamp get only about 4W or so.

And for the initial power calculation discussing the battery life:
he statement you make the lamp in the theory not needing any ballast when powering from the battery is totally wrong. You, in the theory, still need something to regulate the current. But in the theory it could be without losses.
The lamp have voltage drop around 68V, so for the full power it need 0.16A. In a series circuit it mean the current stay the same 0.16A.
When powering from the batteries, the current stay the same: 0.16A for full power, so the ballast actually loose another 8W, without giving off any light. With about 4Ah battery that would mean about 25 hours, assume the battery keep it's 4Ah regardless of the load (in the reality lower the current, usually higher the real capacity, the rating is made for 10hour discharge).
In the low mode it would mean (my guess) about 60mA, so 4W for the tube and 4W for the ballast losses. Given the battery would have higher than the 4Ah rated capacity on this lower current, the 80..100hour service could be feasible on low setting (mainly when it is used only for shorter periods and the battery get some rest to recover between the uses; with ZnC that can nearly double the real battery capacity).

No more selfballasted c***

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Jan 04, 2014 at 11:39 PM Author: themaritimegirl
Who said no ballast would be needed on DC mode? Me? Where?

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Medved
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Jan 05, 2014 at 01:05 AM Author: Medved
I was responding to (I guess yours) YT video you link from [http://www.lighting-gallery.net/index.php?topic=3280.msg21078]here[/url] (and as I understood, pointed to this thread for comments...), the channel was subscribed as "themaritimeman" (so I suppose it were you)...
It was said "in the theory...", but what I wanted to point out, than mainly <in the theory> no device enforcing the voltage (so no discharge lamp, LED,...) could be fed from a constant voltage source (<in the theory> a battery), as <in the theory> there is nothing to control the current.

It sounds like I want to nitpick on words, but I'm way too often confronted by kids (and sometimes their parents) burning expensive LED's and sometimes their fingers just because they have read somewhere "In the theory you do not need..." and have connected a "9..12V" (3-series) LED module directly on a 12V SLA battery...

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Jan 05, 2014 at 01:12 AM Author: themaritimegirl
Oh yeah, that was the other guy who said you didn't need a ballast if the lamp voltage matched the power source voltage. I corrected him on that.

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Jan 05, 2014 at 01:44 AM Author: Medved
I see...

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Dec 26, 2015 at 10:46 PM Author: subway5411
Interesting, I got myself a Burgess safari lite and it looks EXACTLY like yours... only mine has a metal reflector. I thought they only put metal reflectors before Gould became part of burgess?
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Dec 26, 2015 at 10:51 PM Author: themaritimegirl
So yours is made by Gould, but has the mirrored reflector? This is very intriguing!

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