Tamlite Tamcourt

Lantern acquired in February 2019

This lantern was removed from column 99905 on Laurence Close in Old Whittington, Chesterfield, owing to LED replacements taking place in the area; in this case, the replacement lantern was an OrangeTek Voyager lantern rated at 13 W. The use of the Tamcourt lantern on a public road in Derbyshire is, itself a rather uncommon occurrence, but the fact that it runs two 36 W lamps makes it even more unusual; however, as some of the properties along this short cul-de-sac are the responsibility of a Housing Association, the lantern may have been fitted by their own in-house electricians prior to the road's ownership being taken over by the Local Authority. Google Street View imagery shows a dayburning ELECO GR 535 35 W SOX lantern installed on this column in September 2008 (indeed, an ELECO Thyractor ballast dating from 1982 was found in the column base; this was saved separately), but by April 2012, the Tamcourt was in place.

This screenshot from Google Street View shows the installation in April 2012. The Tamcourt looks somewhat out of proportion at this (relatively low) mounting height - approximately five metres.


The Tamcourt lantern is sold by Tamlite for the UK market, but is known as a V-Lux LPX in Belgium. The lantern comprises a GRP canopy, hinged polycarbonate refractor bowl and aluminium bracket attachment section. Two stainless steel clips hold the bowl in place in normal circumstances, whilst a third, situated at the front of the lantern, doubles as a hinge. The lantern measures 760 mm (approximately 2 12 feet) in length, 185 mm (7 516 inches) in width and 210 mm (8 14 inches) in height.


Typically, the canopy has developed a rather weathered appearance during its time in outdoor service. Two bolts protrude through the canopy - at the other end of these are the plastic toggles that hold the lantern's control gear tray / reflector in place.


Refractor prisms are moulded into all sides of the bowl (save for the back). Unfortunately, in this lantern's case, the proximity to trees when in operation has allowed dirt to gather within the bowl, and become trapped along the refractor grooves.


The aluminium section bolts into place - different mounting methods are available for this lantern, including post-top and wall, with the only change to the overall lantern being the rear section. Notice that there are two separate cables entering the lantern - the twin-and-earth provided the supply to the lantern, whilst the three-core-and-earth cable is a legacy from when the GR 535 was fitted to the column (this being wired to the lantern's photocell, owing to the separate lamp control gear) and no longer serves a purpose with the Tamcourt - I am surprised that it wasn't removed when the lantern was replaced.


As mentioned earlier, the front bowl clip doubles as a hinge, allowing the bowl to hang forward, out of the way, during maintenance.


Opening the bowl reveals the twin-lamp arrangement. Tamlite literature states that 55 - 90 W SOX lamp options are available, along with a single 55 W PL-L lamp version. The presence of fixing holes for a starter switch at the front of the reflector suggests a switch-start option for the fluorescent versions too; however, this example features a single ballast that runs both lamps. Notice that a length of the lantern's sealing gasket is missing - this explains the filthy condition of the bowl, along with the lantern interior as a whole.


The gear tray hinges open in the opposite direction to that of the bowl, though there is no proper hinge mechanism this time - the reflector / gear tray pivots on a short flat bracket at the rear of the lantern. Both the supply and photocell wiring can be unplugged with ease, allowing complete removal of the gear tray, if required.


This view reveals the plate to which the bracket attachment connects. The other end of the redundant three-core-and-earth cable is visible here.


The electronic ballast takes up very little of the available space on the gear tray, with an assortment of other fixing holes for alternative components (depending on the lamp type) positioned at other points around the tray. A small fused connector is positioned alongside the ballast.


This close-up of the ballast reveals that it was manufactured on the 11th February 2009...spookily, or coincidentally, almost ten years later, the lantern entered my Collection! According to the ballast, it is designed to run two 40 W lamps, rather than 36 W, and this is stated in Tamlite literature too; however, I cannot see there being much of a difference in running voltage and current between the two wattages.


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