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GE 175 Mercury vapor luminaire

GE 175 Mercury vapor luminaire

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Got this off ebay. Spent a descent amountof money on it but I think its worth it. One of my favorite designs. The date code is EF. I have no idea on what that translates to. Still have to clean this up. It does work. The PC receptacle broke in shipping but still usable. The ballast is a 120/220 multi tap. I'm hoping its wired for 120 because I have no wiring diagram. Any suggestions? More pics to follow soon.

15164917415391988523902.jpg 1477075682424612826469.jpg 20161019_133955.jpg 1474041066127-549022327.jpg

Light Information

Light Information

Manufacturer:GE
Model Reference:?
Lamp
Lamp Type:Mercury vapor
Base:Mogul
Electrical
Wattage:175
Voltage:120/220
Physical/Production
Factory Location:Hendersonville NC
Fabrication Date:EF

File information

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Filename:20161019_133955.jpg
Album name:Cool white 79 / Lighting fixtures
Keywords:Gear
File Size:473 KB
Date added:Oct 19, 2016
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streetlight98
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Mike McCann


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Oct 19, 2016 at 12:27 PM Author: streetlight98
EF is May 1970, making this one of the very last M-250Rs produced. Is the ballast one of those 4-coil things with the capacitor in series with the lamp? If so, it's got the same ballast as a few of my GEs. They came from the factory wired for 120V. Wire it up and plug it into 120V. If that doesn't work then you know it's 240V.

Please check out my newly-updated website! McCann Lighting Company is where my street light collection is displayed in detail.

Cool white 79
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Oct 19, 2016 at 02:11 PM Author: Cool white 79
Thanks for the info. The ballast has a primary and secondary coil. Oddly, the cap is in series with what looks to be the screw shell of the socket and the ballast with a white wire and the other side of the cap has a bluish green wire going to the ballast. I would think the cap should go to the center of the socket and the screw shell direct to the neutral terminal. Maybe it has something to do with the 240 volt hook up
streetlight98
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Mike McCann


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Oct 19, 2016 at 09:04 PM Author: streetlight98
Yep that's the typical GE 120/240V ballast set-up, with the cap in line with the lamp. The ballast has four leads connected to the terminal block. Black, brown, white, and orange. Does this have a 5-position terminal block? If so, and if this light has a PC socket, this is how the light should be wired for 120V:

Far left: Black wire to PC socket. Connect the 120V hot wire to this far left terminal.
2nd from Left: Red wire from PC socket and the brown and black wires from the ballast should be connected to this screw. Do not connect anything else.

The 3rd and 4th terminals may be used or left unused. If they're unused, you can pick one and make a pigtail to a screw in the fixture to serve as a ground connection at the terminal block.

The far right terminal is where you connect the neutral supply line. The fixture should have the white PC socket wire and the white and orange ballast wires connected to it.


To wire the ballast for 240V, you connect the brown and orange wires together and connect one hot supply leg to the black ballast wire and one to the white wire (the brown and orange are just twisted together and capped). Here's the same ballast in one of my GEs. (open that link in a new tab if you can, since if you click the picture it will close the window...). Note that my M-250R1 has a 3-position terminal block. My 1965 M-250R has a 5-position block though.

Please check out my newly-updated website! McCann Lighting Company is where my street light collection is displayed in detail.

Cool white 79
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Oct 20, 2016 at 11:49 AM Author: Cool white 79
Ok. Yea. I have a 5 position terminal block as well. 2 of the center terminals aren't used. Thanks for the verbal wiring diagram as well. Basically this has 2 windings. At 240 volt they're in series. This is definitely wired for 120 volt. My only concern is, as the lamp warms up, it starts to flicker for about 20 seconds just before the lamp reaches full brightness. Then it stops and everything evens out. Ill have to check the cap. Maybe its going bad. Also, the ballast is somewhat rusty. BTW, it looks like a squirrel was living in this thing. Ill upload more pics when I really open this up and check everything.
streetlight98
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Mike McCann


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Oct 20, 2016 at 03:49 PM Author: streetlight98
The flicker is totally normal. You get it a lot more with reactor and HX ballasts since the lamp current isn't regulated as well (in fact, HIDs on reactor ballasts like 240V MVs and low wattage 120v HPS tend to flicker a lot even after the lamp is warmed up, but you really only notice it indoors if the lamp is exposed. Don't really notice it from the ground when the light is up on a pole).

These ballasts regulate the lamp pretty well once the lamp is warmed up. CWI ballasts regulate the lamp the best. They can also withstand a voltage dip better than other ballasts. CWA is like a happy medium. Lower cost than CWI and regulate the lamp better than a reactor/HX ballast. Reactor/HX ballasts are most sensitive to voltage dips and regulate the lamp the poorest, so you get that flicker, which can be annoying indoors. Some MH highbays use 277V reactor ballasts instead of the typical 120/208/240/277V CWA ballasts. When a place uses the 277V reactor ballasts the lamps appear more flickery. Typically only warehouses use the reactor ballasts since the flickering would probably upset shoppers in a department store, for example.

As long as the lamp appears normal brightness and warms up in a reasonable amount of time you should be fine. FYI, these ballasts make the lamps warm up more slowly than an HX/reactor ballast, so if you were to light a 175W HX NEMA head, for example, next to this light, the NEMA would light up faster. The NEMA would have a less steady arc though since the M-250R has a capacitor in line with the lamp.

Please check out my newly-updated website! McCann Lighting Company is where my street light collection is displayed in detail.

Cool white 79
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Oct 20, 2016 at 05:22 PM Author: Cool white 79
Now that you mention it, it did take roughly 3 minutes before this got to full brightness, but when it did, it was bright. The lamp is either a philips westinghouse lamps or a plain westinghouse clear MV. Unfortunately, the etch has worn off so I'm not sure. Another thing I like is the way the latch is recessed... Really
streetlight98
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Oct 20, 2016 at 08:51 PM Author: streetlight98
Yeah these latches are the best. The latches before 1965 on the GEs were like this too, but they lacked that little tab protruding out. They looked sleeker but those totally-flush latches are impossible to open. In order to open a GE without the tab on the PUSH TO OPEN latches, you need to push the button in and then pry the door open with a screwdriver. Otherwise you'll never get the door open. So, it's not rare to see those old pre-'65 GE cobraheads with little bends and nicks toward the front from screwdrivers being used to pry the light open. But they sure never inadvertently opened, and if they did, the hinge tab on the rear of the door would protect the door from falling off, something GE abandoned with the M-250R1 series, which rolled out in 1970. Westinghouse never used a hinge keeper. American Electric used hinge keepers until the 80s. AEL still offers it as an option but no one else does.

These M-250Rs are (IMO anyway) the best cobraheads ever built. Super robust and high quality. The M-250R1, replacing the M-250R, looked nice but was way inferior to the M-250R. No hinge keeper, the latch was more prone to coming unlatched, and the hinge pins were severely undersized, so they often binded and snapped off like a twig if the door is not closed carefully. Another thing is when the doors accidentally open (either by tree branches, vibration, etc.) the doors will swing open and either fall off or if they don't fall off, when they swing back toward the closed direction, the hinges would bind and snap and the door would fall off that way. A terribly designed hinge IMO. The slipfitter was whacky on the 70s GEs too, but that actually started with the introduction of the M-250A and M-400A Powr/Door lights in 1966. The M-250R and original M-400 used a weird slipfitter that's overly complicated but really cool looking and uses a total of six bolts. The M-250A, M-400A, M-250R1, and the 1970-1985 incarnation of the M-400 (often called the M-400 split door) used a two-bolt "rocker" slipfitter. Basically, you'd loosely bolt the light and pull-push it to level it, and crank down on the bolts. They were a PITA to level so, as a result, most linemen just shoved the light on the mounting arm as far as it would go and bolted them down like that, which would leave the lights tilted upward.

In the early 80s GE rolled out a revolutionary fixture called the M-150, which was GE's first fixture to use all of GE's modern features, such as the tool-free PC socket, street side socket and advanced reflectors, squared plastic refractor, and stainless steel bail latch. In 1985, GE rolled out the M-400R2, M-400A2, and M-250R2 and the M-150 was renamed the M-250A2. These lights used 4-bolt slipfitters, but in 1993-ish, the M-250R2 got the current 2-bolt fitter with leveling steps and in the late 90s or very early 2000s the M-250A2 was redesigned with a rounded off housing and the same 2-bolt fitter. The GE M-250R2 has essentially remained the same since 1993. The only differences are very minor, such as the placement of the GE logo on the door (the 90s GEs did not have any logo on the door with few exceptions). The M-250A2 has undergone the most drastic changes over the years.

The original M-150 design looked like this. When they changed the name to M-250A2, nothing in the design changed except that they increased the max wattage to 250W. the 250W M-250R2s and M-250A2s use a modified reflector with an added-on well for the socket to recess into, as the longer lamps will not fit in a standard R2/A2 reflector. In late 1987 or early 1988, they rounded off the front of the top housing but kept both doors the same. That incarnation of the M-250A2 survived until the late 90s (2001 the latest; the year escaped me at the moment...) when they introduced the current design, which has a further-rounded top housing and a rounded refractor door. The ballast doors between all three generations are interchangeable though.

Please check out my newly-updated website! McCann Lighting Company is where my street light collection is displayed in detail.

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Oct 20, 2016 at 11:02 PM Author: don93s
The longer warm-up time was the first thing I noticed when I got my first M250R. The ballast had 4 separate coils (which I gave to J-frog); but I wanted a 175w MH ballast instead for more lamp flexibility. Hot restrikes on CWA with a Westinghouse Lifeguard lamp tend to 'strobe' shortly before actually re-striking, which is cool. But yeah, series caps regulate/limit the lamp current during the warm-up cycle, whereas the reacter ballast doesn't; so lamp current is a bit higher which makes it warm up faster. I think reactor at start up has lamp current (175w) between 2 and 2.5 amps. A CWA ballast usually starts somewhere below 2 amp.
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Oct 21, 2016 at 05:37 AM Author: streetlight98
Yep that's the same ballast that I put in my M-250R and the same ballast in my NOs M-250R1. I assume this is the same ballast in the light above. My M-400 has a 400W MV version of the same ballast. Seems to have been a pretty common ballast for GE (and when they get old they're horribly noisy, some of them...)

Please check out my newly-updated website! McCann Lighting Company is where my street light collection is displayed in detail.

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