Relite Hyperion 'C'

Lantern acquired in July 2007.

Thanks to John Thompson for letting me have this lantern. The Hyperion range was originally brought out by Revo (as the 'A' and 'B' types) but the name lived on into the days of Relite and finally Simplex. The 'C' is very similar in appearance to the GEC Z9554/Z9564 range (and was probably intended as an alternative to the GEC offerings) - the real difference being that the Hyperion has longer bowl refractors. Prior to the commencement of Derby's Street Lighting PFI, a few 135 W examples existed, but all were removed during the mass-replacement programme of the PFI's first few years. 180 W examples, of which this example is, may have existed in even smaller numbers, though I do not recall ever seeing any.

The lantern measures 1200 mm (4 ft) long, by 190 mm (7.5 in) wide and 180 mm (7 in) deep. The width and depth dimensions remain the same for both this, and the shorter 135 W version. The lantern's bowl is hinged along one of its long sides (the hinges are screwed to the bowl, preventing it from falling away from the lantern), with the other side supporting three equally-spaced stainless steel clips (two on the 135 W version).


The die-cast aluminium canopy starts flat at the far end, gradually becoming more banked towards the rear of the lantern, in order to accommodate the bracket spigot. Provision for NEMA photocell control is included on the casting; something that wasn't present on earlier versions of the GEC equivalent - this highlights the fact that the Hyperion C was a newer design; by the time that it came to market, photocell-controlled lanterns were becoming popular, to the demise of time switches.


When new, the section of the bowl located beneath the lamp would have been white, as a way of diffusing the luminous flux. This coating has since worn away, although the panel remains.


The inside of the canopy is also painted white. Thankfully, this has survived to a much better extent. With the lantern being designed to have the lamp control gear situated remotely, two porcelain terminal blocks are provided towards the rear of the lantern - one, for the NEMA socket connections; the other, for running the lamp itself.


The paint finish at the front of the lantern is slightly more flaky, owing to this area of the lantern running 'colder' than the rest would. The identification label helps to provide a rough estimate as to when the lantern was made - the Relite Electic Ltd. factory is listed as being in Tipton, Staffordshire - today, the area is in the West Midlands; much of it became part of West Bromwich County Borough in 1966, and then part of the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough in 1974. The British Standard referenced (1788) was published in its original form in 1951; the 1964 date shown here is an amendment, but the Standard was superseded completely by BS 4533-2-2.7:1976. Positioned below is a British Standard 'kitemark' safety sticker.


After over a decade of lying dormant in the Collection, the Hyperion was given a much-needed cleaning in September 2017. The bowl was detached from the canopy, and both components were washed in hot, soapy water.


Some flecks of brown paint from the lantern's bracket (when installed in Edinburgh) remained at the rear of the canopy, but these have been left.


The section of the bowl that had been white originally was left transparent; with the bowl cleaned, this area now appeared slightly yellow.


The wires supplying the NEMA socket were found to be burnt and corroded, and were removed. No replacements were fitted as the lantern will (of course) not need to operate automatically in preservation. The wiring supplying the lampholder was safe to re-use, however. The two sprung brass contacts within the lampholder had been damaged by the relatively high arc voltage of the lamp over the years, and were replaced, but the porcelain lampholder itself was retained after being cleaned up as well. The four grub screws employed to secure the lantern to the bracket were all free, but were given a coating of grease all the same. Surprisingly (given the apparent age of the lantern), these screws were metric - I was expecting them to be imperial.


The Hyperion was attached to an AC Ford AC 872 Mk II wall bracket on Saturday, 7th October 2017. The combination of a Relite lantern and AC Ford bracket is interesting, historically - both companies are linked to Revo; had a certain Arthur Crawford not left this organisation to set up his own rival company, this wall bracket may never have been made. As it is, both the lantern and the bracket were made within a few miles of one another; albeit, a few decades apart.


The lantern was wired up to a contemporary GEC Z1634X ballast and modern 15 F 440 V capacitor shortly afterwards. Although the Z1634X states that a 17 F capacitor is required, the tolerances are lenient enough for the lower-rated capacitor to be employed instead. As soon as the circuit was powered up, the familiar blood-red glow of a cold SOX lamp filled the room.


The lamp warm-up was lengthy; it took around fifteen minutes for full brightness to be attained.


Lamp warm-up video:

Testing the lantern with my energy monitoring device revealed the following results:

Test Voltage (V) Current being drawn at full power (A) Measured wattage (W) Apparent Power (VA) Frequency (Hz) Power Factor True Power (W) Difference to rated wattage Percentage Difference
239.6 1.18 248 283 49.9 0.87 245.97 65.97 37 %

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