400 watt metal halide sky beam


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Old 06-09-16, 09:30 PM
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400 watt metal halide sky beam

Im in the process of building a haunted house and inside the commercial building are highbay lights with 400w metal halide bulbs running off of 277v. Now because of code during an emergency these lights have to come on instantly so we are bypassing the ballasts and installing 277v cfls. Now to the good stuff, I have all of these left over 400 watt bulbs and ballasts and want to make a sky beam for the roof. now I know each bulb needs its own ballast (unless there is a multi bulb ballast i havnt heard of) but what about capacitors? Each highbay had a ballast and a capacitor or maybe its a transformer and a capacitor? I know for sure there is a capacitor is the other "brick" a transformer or a ballast? im pretty sure metal halides need a ballast right? anyway I want to build a box and mount 6 of these bulbs in it with heatsinks and ventilation and make a sky beam.

so my first question would be, what is absolutely necessary to running one of these bulbs?

from there it will lead to does every bulb need a capacitor or can I get one big one?

then... If its just a transformer and NOT a ballast can I use just one transformer?

I am very safe in what I am doing, I dont mess with anything that is energized and am very cautious and double checking connections so please dont worry or call me an idiot.
 
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Old 06-09-16, 10:48 PM
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A ballast is a transformer of sorts. Each bulb needs its own ballast, capacitor and ceramic bulb socket. You are talking about a lot of weight for not really a lot of projected light.

The bulb(s) need to be run behind or under high heat glass.

I'm guessing those are multi-voltage ballasts where you can connect them to 120v or 240v.
Each fixture will draw approx 4 amps at 120vac.
 
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Old 06-09-16, 11:46 PM
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well each bulb puts out 31k lumens and a $7k light I was looking at was 200k lumens so I was hoping it was going to be enough to see a beam of light at night.
also the only thing I have to buy is the sockets. all the material is already on site.

I know there is going to be some major heat involved but doesnt a metal halide require allot of heat to burn anyway? my intent was just to cool the transformers or should I think about cooling the air around the bulbs as well. im going to build a 2ft wide polygon box out of fire retardant ply. for the bulbs.
 
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Old 06-09-16, 11:50 PM
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also they were originally connected to 277v which as far as I know is completely different than 240v I will take a picture of them later today. they were in leviton highbay fixtures
 
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Old 06-10-16, 11:05 AM
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Here is a link to the image, I'm on my phone and didn't see a direct way to insert image to thread. View image: DSC 0274

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Last edited by ray2047; 06-10-16 at 12:33 PM. Reason: Add image.
  #6  
Old 06-10-16, 04:03 PM
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Can you explain what a sky beam is?
 
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Old 06-10-16, 05:17 PM
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A giant flash light that shines a huge bright beam into the sky to attract attention.
 
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Old 06-10-16, 05:22 PM
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So a search light.

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Old 06-10-16, 07:08 PM
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in the entertainment industry they are called sky beams, we are not searching for anything. in fact the 9/11 twin tower lights were also called sky beams.
 
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Old 06-10-16, 07:51 PM
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In addition to a huge amount of lumens you also need a reflector to direct the light. Any searchlight (or sky beam) I have seen has a parabolic reflector. Simply mounting several high output lamps in a box will NOT direct a beam of light.
 
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Old 06-10-16, 09:32 PM
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Okay, lets set aside what it will be built out of or how or why. Can I just get some simple help on the light internals. Can I use 120? Does it need a starter? Can I use a larger capacitor for the series rather than 1 per light. thanks.
 
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Old 06-10-16, 09:37 PM
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Your ballast appears to have multiple taps to allow it to be used on different voltages. There should be a wiring diagram or at least a legend stating what color wires to use for the different voltages. Since you did not post a picture of this diagram or legend we have no way of advising you which leads to use.

The capacitor MAY be for power factor correction and if so would not be absolutely necessary. I do suspect that you will need a capacitor for each and every ballast.
 
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Old 06-11-16, 12:28 AM
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there are only 4 leads, a nuetral that runs through it and 1 hot in and 1 hot out. there was no diagram. the bulb itself is a "Philips MH 400W-U" which claims to be a 120v bulb so my guess is the transformer is a stepper. any thoughts?
 
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Old 06-11-16, 01:51 AM
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The "transformer" is a ballast. Its purpose is to limit the current flow through the lamp. The lamp proper requires about 190 volts to strike the arc and then it "settles back" to about 120 during the run cycle.

There will be several different ballasts that will operate this bulb, some with a single input voltage and others with selectable voltage taps. I cannot see the ballast you have so I cannot be certain about whether or not it has multiple voltage taps. I do think you are wrong as far as it having only input, neutral and output connections although I also admit that it could be me that is wrong. You might try removing the ballast from the enclosure as some of them have a wiring diagram on the side where it would not be visible while in the enclosure. Check the links at the upper right-hand side of this page for more information on the ballasts.

https://www.platt.com/platt-electric...px?zpid=882680
 
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Old 06-11-16, 11:31 AM
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There are no other leads just the 4 and there is nothing inside the cover just a sticker on the outside that says 3.5 amps, 400 watt, 277v. Also earlier in this thread I got the manufacturer wrong it's Lithonia. 2 of those wire are white and it runs straight through. The other 2 are red and black, black is line in and red goes to the cap
 
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Old 06-11-16, 11:53 AM
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If it says on the tag 400 watt 277v chances every are it is a single voltage device,do you have any numbers on the fixture?
 
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Old 06-11-16, 01:08 PM
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In that picture.... that is not a multi tap ballast which is strange for a newer Lithonia fixture.

I've had the opportunity to work on some of those Skytracker units. Some of the larger companies are located here in NJ. The lenses are highly polished and reflective. The configuration and shape of the reflector is designed to send to project all the light outwards.

The awesome units are the single unit with the 6' or so reflector. Those are carbon arc. Picture welding in front of a giant concave mirror.
 
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Old 06-11-16, 01:44 PM
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Its not a newer fixture it came with the building so it could be as old is the building which I think is 30 years. I'll get a picture of it but it sounds like it has to be 277v.
 
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Old 06-11-16, 01:53 PM
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View image: DSC 0283
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Last edited by PJmax; 06-11-16 at 02:17 PM. Reason: added pic from link
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Old 06-11-16, 02:17 PM
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It's there in black and white.... 277v only.
If it was multi tap-able the other voltages would be listed on that tag.
 
 

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