Philips SGS 203

Lantern acquired in March 2017.

This lantern was removed from column 8208 on the A516 dual carriageway in Mickleover; the double-arm column being removed from service on Friday, 17th March 2017 as part of road realignments that would see the construction of a new roundabout providing access to a new housing development on the opposite side of the A516; the same scheme that saw the acquisition of five other lanterns for the Collection. Both this lantern, and the identical SGS 203 attached to the other limb of the bracket, were, presumably, replacements for a couple of defective Thorn Pilote T2 lanterns of equivalent wattage; the remaining double-arm columns in the vicinity supporting such lanterns. The SGS 203 is a very common sight on UK streets, and can be seen at a selection of mounting heights, owing to its versatile design that allows for a variety of different lamps and wattages to be accommodated. In Derbyshire, the lantern is perhaps more commonly spotted at taller mounting heights, owing to the abundance of SOX lanterns at lower heights, and was used from the late 1990s until the early 2000s, when the WRTL Arc began to be used instead.

This first picture was taken on the 28th January 2016; at the time, the trees in the central triangle formed by the curved eastbound exit and entry slip roads, and the bypass itself, were being felled. Not that there was any mention of this on the 'Roadworks' website at any point during the work...

The SGS 203 is on the right-hand side of the closest double-arm column to the photographer.


Almost a year later, this was the scene on the 17th January 2017; the westbound carriageway of the A516 having closed a day prior to this. Notice that the lanterns fitted to the columns on the single-arm columns on the exit slip road on that side of the carriageway had already been removed - the columns themselves were being removed whilst the pictures were taken.


Three days later, and much of the westbound carriageway had now been excavated, with the surface fragments having been piled up along the central reservation, in preparation for removal.


This view (taken on the 8th February from the over-bridge) shows the carriageway demolition continuing apace. The SGS 203 is located on the column in the approximate centre of the picture; the one that is immediately to the right of the concrete blocks.


Moving to the 6th March, and the westbound side of the new roundabout is beginning to take shape. At the time, contractors were on site digging the holes that would accommodate the new columns on the re-shaped entry slip road.


Looking the other way on the 11th March - this was the first day that the westbound carriageway had reopened, and the eastbound carriageway closed to non-construction traffic. Again, the column in the foreground is the one supporting the SGS 203 that entered the collection.


A mere seven days later, and the column lies forlornly on the carriageway. The 'westbound' SGS 203 has broken open from the impact of the column being lowered to the ground.


Fortunately, its companion (i.e. the lantern that was added to the Collection) appeared relatively unscathed, despite its ordeal.


The lantern's GRP canopy sports a slight graze at the point where it came into contact with the road surface.


Ironically, the scratch is now the cleanest part of the lantern's canopy - the rest looking desperately in need of a clean! The fibres are shedding heavily all over the canopy. For a close-up of the Hy-Lite HL10 photocell (dating from September 1998, and likely to be original to when the lantern was installed), please click here. I was surprised to discover that the cell still worked correctly when tested, even though it has never been needed; the supply to this lantern (and all others on the bypass) was group-controlled from a master photocell.


The Zodion-made NEMA socket dates to April 1998.


The lantern also exhibits a slightly discoloured polycarbonate bowl, as well as a heavily-corroded aluminium chassis.


Access to the lantern's interior is gained by releasing the clip at the front of the lantern; guarded here by an impressive amount of lichen.


With the lantern opened, the internal design of the lantern becomes apparent, with the wiring and gear being situated in the rear portion of the lantern, while the lamp being positioned near the centre. An aluminium divider (surrounded by a thick rubber seal) separates the lamp area from the rest of the lantern. This allows the optical portion of the lantern to be sealed to a tightness of IP65, whereas the rest of the lantern carries an IP23 rating. With the canopy opened, the bowl pops out of its frame, though of course, this would not happen ordinarily.


A similar view, but with the bowl removed completely this time.


A sprung, shaped rod slots into a space on the inside of the canopy. This prevents the canopy from closing accidentally whilst work is being undertaken on the lantern. This must have confused some operatives originally, as 'Unlock', and its equivalent in other languages, is embossed into the moulding, complete with a large arrow pointing towards the mechanism!


The lantern has a rather limited lamp focusing system - five notches are cut into the front of the reflector on both sides. Loosening a screw in the centre of the reflector allows this to be moved up and down the notches (position '3' is the default setting) - at least, in theory. With this particular lantern, the notches on the other side of the reflector are damaged and do not engage with the protruding section that is supposed to secure the reflector.


The divider between the gear and lamp areas also serves as the gear tray. The capacitor was made in March 1998.


The lantern's identification label is on the 'lamp' side of the divider - it appears to have been made at the company's Hamilton (Scotland) factory (HN) in May 1998 (8E). Coincidentally, my 70 W SGS 203 is also of 1998 vintage, although it is in better condition; having spent less time outdoors than this example did.


With the gear tray removed from the lantern, the full extent of the corrosion to the chassis becomes evident...wire brush, anyone?


The so-called 'ZGP' adaptor fitted to this lantern can accommodate bracket diameters of between 34 - 42 mm. The adaptor is an interchangeable component - different versions catered for different spigot diameters. The adaptors could also be removed from the lantern (by undoing the two 5 mm grub screws located on their corners and turned around), in order to allow the lanterns to be attached directly to the top of a lighting column.


Barely visible on the rear side of the bowl is this small pictogram demonstrating where the lamp should be situated in relation to the bowl - the problem is that the bowl can be placed 'backwards' within the lantern and will still fit, and so this little image tries to ensure that if the back of the lamp is facing in the direction of the arrow, the bowl is fitted correctly. I don't know whether fitting the bowl the wrong way around has a marked difference on the lantern's performance (I suspect not), but it does look 'wrong' when seen in daylight, as the bowl is slightly deeper to the rear than it is at the front.



Restoration of the SGS 203 commenced on Thursday, 31st August 2017. The canopy received a comprehensive clean, with help from a pressure washer; having first been removed from the chassis.


Around nineteen years' worth of grime was removed from the GRP.


Although relatively clean already, the inside of the canopy was also washed out as part of this work.


The shine was returned to the securing toggle at the front of the canopy.


A day later, and the canopy was repainted light grey, in order to prevent any further shedding of the fibres. This will not be the final colour; the grey being applied in order for me to see any parts that are missed when the final coat is applied.


Abrasive soap pads were used in removing much of the corrosion from the lantern's chassis.


Although this did not remove the visual presence of the oxidised aluminium (particularly, within the lantern), it did help to make these areas feel smooth again.


The bowl was cleaned at this time too, though the slightly discoloured sides of the polycarbonate remained.


With the bowl replaced, the chassis began to resemble a lantern once again.


I did check to ensure that the bowl was positioned the correct way around prior to re-fitting it!


The canopy was re-repainted on Saturday, 9th and Sunday 10th September 2017. A gloss cream spray paint was chosen, in order to match the original finish of the GRP as closely as possible. Several coats of this were applied (hence, the reason that the repainting took two days), and the result was a very shiny canopy.


Side view of the restored canopy. Although the carriageway scuff mark remains, the paint does a good job of concealing it.


Whilst reassembling the lantern, I noticed a handwritten date of 01/99 above the information label, meaning that the lantern would have been kept in storage for a few months prior to its being required on the A516.


The canopy was reattached to the chassis, and the NEMA socket reinstated. Just as the photocell was not required when the lantern was in outdoor use, it will not be required with the lantern in preservation either, though now, the internal wiring has been altered, in order to bypass the automatic control completely.


How the lantern would have looked (though the bowl would have been a little less discoloured) when removed from its box on that chilly January day 18 years earlier.


With its lamp visible within the optic, this lantern is ready to operate once again.


The lantern was attached to an AC Ford AC 872 Mk II wall bracket on Friday, 13th October 2017.


For the first time in approximately seven months, the lantern was powered up.


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
244.3 1.22 182 298 49.9 0.59 175.85 25.85 17.23 %

WRTL 'Arc 80' 2687 | Thorn Beta 79




2002 - English Street Lights Online