GEC ZD10606

Lantern acquired in March 2006.

This is another lantern from John Thompson - it was used somewhere in Perth, Scotland. In many ways, the ZD10606 is the Z5680's big brother - 'big' being the key word! Although already rare by the time of removal, the use of a single 90 W SOX lamp within the lantern (instead of three 250 W SON-E or MBF lamps) makes this ZD10606 variant a little more unusual, though it was marketed with this option, and is not an in-house conversion.

Unlike the Z5680, the ZD10606's canopy itself does not unscrew. Instead, there is a threaded handle in the centre of the lantern - this unscrews and then the canopy lifts off. Additionally, the canopy was believed to be a light metallic-green colour when new, rather than being copper-coloured as with the Z5680. The pictures do not give a suitable sense of scale; the lantern measures 833 mm (33 inches) in diameter, and is 482 mm (19 inches) in height.


A base section was included with the lantern; however, it entered the Collection still fixed to a length of its column, owing to the grub screws having seized, and so was removed from the rest of the lantern, for ease of carrying. Ordinarily, the base section would be attached to the lantern by means of the three holes visible in the internal support frame in the centre of the bowl. The width of the base section can be determined by the paint line that surrounds the bowl hole.


Removing the bowl allows the frame to be seen. Unused holes on the three support brackets indicate the positions of lampholders on the multi-lamp version.


Unfortunately, the base section ended up being scrapped, accidentally, and for a number of years, the canopy, bowl and frame were put into storage, while I tried to decide if anything could be done to return the components to some semblance of a complete lantern. In 2019, I contacted TAS Engineering, of Burton-upon-Trent, in order to gauge their thoughts. With only limited close-up images of other ZD10606 base sections, and the witness mark of the paint on the bowl to go on, the company worked something of a minor miracle, and not only managed to replicate the hexagonal section in question, but also, produced an 1800 mm (6 ft) high stand for supporting the lantern. The stand is formed of three parts, allowing it to be dismantled for portability.


 The new base section is welded to the stand, instead of bolting to the column shaft, as the original would have done.


Three threads in the raised section of the base allow the internal frame to be fixed in place with suitable grub screws.


The bowl was placed on the stand, in order to determine how expansive the eventual width would be.


The inner fixings again but surrounding by a huge lump of Perspex this time!


Suitable control gear was sourced from a redundant 8 m column that ran a Z9454 - this comprised a Z1621P leak transformer (dating from February 1983), and a Z1716 25 F capacitor (from late 1982). After cleaning, the components were fitted into a steel electrical enclosure, again, for increased portability.


After the bowl was cleaned, and the frame secured in place, new wiring was introduced, and a lamp fitted.


The lantern canopy was treated to a (very) glossy black finish on its exterior...


...while the interior was repainted in gloss white.


With the canopy re-attached, the lantern was complete...Fred the Flour Grader, for those of a certain age!


Yes, the ceiling really is as close as it appears to be here!


The translucent bowl emitted the characteristic crimson glow of the warming-up SOX lamp.


After a relatively short warm-up, the lamp was operating at full brilliance, which was rather bright in this lantern, would you believe...


Lamp warm-up video:

Testing 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
249.1 1.12 122 279 49.9 0.44 122.76 32.76 36.40%

With a replacement capacitor fitted, these were the 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
241.3 0.74 115 179 49.9 0.64 114.28 24.28 26.98%

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