Simplex Aries

This lantern was removed from column 98934 on Brierfield Way, Mickleover, in April 2010. (Therefore, rather coincidentally, the lantern was removed during the time of the Aries sign of the Zodiac!) The original plan had been for the existing columns along this road to be replaced under Derby Street Lighting PFI in February/March 2010, however, in the meantime, the road was designated part of a diversion route due to road works on nearby Corden Avenue, and so the relighting was postponed until mid-July, in order to minimise disruption to traffic using the road to reach Littleover; pictures can be seen here. I was keen to rescue a 55 W Aries for the Collection, as the design is relatively uncommon in Derby, and would only become rarer/extinct as a result of the PFI, and so it was agreed that one of the six Aries installed on Brierfield Way (the final six in Mickleover, as it happens) would be replaced prior to the installation of the new columns.

The following is the inventory record for this installation. This record is as it was in 1997, when Derby City Council took control of its own street lighting repairs from the County Council. Therefore, any changes made after this date are not shown.

Unique Number: 98934 Location: ON GREEN AREA
Postcode: DE3 5ST Road: BRIERFIELD WAY
Road Number:   Parish: MICKLEOVER
Sequence Number: 28 Patrol: Y06
Lamp Type: SXPL3 Wattage: 55  W Control Type: PE2
Lamps/Lantern: 1 Lanterns/Unit: 1 Control Setting: 3
Lantern Type: SE Lantern Manuf:   Control Gear:  
Height: 6  m Support Type: TS TUBULAR STEEL - PAINTED
Bracket Proj'n.:    m Support Finish: P PAINTED COL/SIGN/PILL/GANTRY
Bracket Type:   U/G or O/H:    
Board Code: E76 Status Code: 0 USUAL / NORMAL
Service Owner: A Is this lamp/sign an Isolation Point ?: N
EB Order number:      
No-supply sheet: 0 Isol Pt:   / Circuit:   / Seq:  


The following couple of photographs show the column that was once fitted with this Aries. A second-hand Thorn Beta 2 (possibly recently removed from the adjacent Kipling Drive) was used as a replacement lantern.

The next column along, 98933 (logically), still retained its Aries. These photographs show how my lantern would have looked when installed. The lanterns along this stretch were group-switched from column 98938; hence the lack of any sort of photocell to the original lanterns.

The columns on this stretch were group-switched from column 98938, further along the road.

Few differences exist between this, the 55 W version of the Aries, and the 35 W version, apart from the overall length of the lantern, of course. The most noticeable difference in the style of the bowls on both versions is that this lantern incorporates a series of vertical lines into the rear of the bowl; these are absent in the shorter bowl. The bowl seen here is identical in design to that of the Simplex Gemini lantern, however.

The canopy is in a typical condition for its age, though this dirt can easily be cleaned off using a pressure washer. Slightly more concerning is that the rear of the canopy (near the bracket entry spigot) appears to be cracking; a downside to GRP-canopied lanterns. Whilst the internal grub screws do appear to be seized, there is no evidence to show that the lantern had to be forcibly hammered off in order for it to be removed, so the cracks are probably due to expansion of the internal steel support tube because of corrosion. As mentioned above, these lanterns were group-switched, and so this lantern had no control of its own fitted. A small bung plugs the hole in the canopy, in which a two-part cell detector would be fitted if the lantern needed its own method of photocell control.

No refractors are moulded in to the underside of the bowl, allowing for a clear view of the lamp inside the lantern (if one were fitted).

Opening the bowl reveals that the passage of time has not been kind to this lantern: unusually, the inside of the canopy is in a similarly grubby state to that of the outside. The block connector linking the lampholder with the lantern's supply cable has become brittle, and heavy corrosion is present on the lantern's main earthing terminal. At least the 'Simplex Lighting' sticker has survived!

A close-up of the radiator-like vertical lines moulded into the bowl reveals that they are not prismatic - they merely diffuse the light produced around the cap end of the lamp.

The lamp control gear was installed within the column base. As the replacement Beta 2 would be fitted with its own integral gear, these components were removed, along with the lantern. The GEC Z1616 ballast is in good condition for its age, but sadly, the BICC capacitor's case is corroded from being installed in the damp column base. It probably still works, however. The capacitor carries a date of July 1979, which would be concurrent with the age of the installation.

The canopy was stripped of all components, cleaned, and then sent away for painting (in order to freshen the surface up). It returned from this treatment on Friday, 23rd July 2010 - approximately 31 years after the capacitor was made.

The painting company was keen to ensure that the stainless steel hinge pins were not painted when the rest of the canopy was - lengths of masking tape were carefully wrapped around the pins during the refurbishment work. The tape was removed before this photograph was taken.

Turning the canopy over reveals that the gasket and Simplex label had already been refitted. Several of the bungs used to plug screw threads during the painting are still fitted.

The rest of the internal components (including the photocell hole plug) were then reinstated. A new block connector replaced the existing cracked example.

The bowl was then reunited with its canopy, and a lamp fitted. After being wired up, the lantern was installed on an AC Ford AC872 wall bracket.

With the gear connected, power was applied, and the Z1616 ballast buzzed into life.

Lantern 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 (W) Percentage Difference
241.1 0.23 48 55 49.9 0.94 52.13 -2.87 -5

This showed that the lamp was actually under-running. I then noticed the wiring to the ballast...some very stupid person had connected the incoming supply to the 35 W tapping, as opposed to the 55 W tapping to which it obviously should have been connected. Swapping to the correct tapping produced slightly different 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 (W) Percentage Difference
242.1 0.32 59 77 49.9 0.75 58.10 3.10 6

Thorn Beta 5 | Philips FGS 103




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