Re-lamping the ESLA

After two years and three months of part-nightly operation (Saturday, 1st November 2003 - Monday, 6th February 2006), the first lamp to be fitted in the ESLA after restoration finally stopped working. At about 6pm on the last night, I noticed that the lantern appeared to be a lot dimmer than normal. At first, I thought that it might just be a slight under-voltage; however, I then noticed that one section of the filament was glowing a lot more brightly than the rest was - this was certainly not normal behaviour, and so I knew that the lamp would not hold out much longer. It still worked at a quarter-to eight, but had stopped working by twenty-past eight.

(828 days)

This photograph was taken soon after this time - the nearby XGS 103 was nowhere near powerful enough to light the darkened void left by the failed lamp! (The outline of the lamp can just be seen above the lit window towards the middle of the photograph)

Re-lamping took place the following Friday (10th), at about 2:15pm. Jeremy used the bucket van to gain access to the lantern - I reckon that it was probably the only ESLA he repaired that day!

I thought that the mirrors would be covered in dirt, but this was not the case. They were simply wiped with a damp cloth, and all was well.

The old lamp was removed - it had indeed failed. The lantern looked very odd without a lamp fitted!

A new lamp had its installation date written on the cap before being installed into the lantern. I pressed the manual switch on the time switch and the lantern lit up once again.

On close inspection of the old lamp, it appears that the filament snapped in one place, but the lamp stayed lit for a short time due to an arc being produced between two of the filament support rods.

The area of the brass cap which was surrounded by the lampholder shows virtually no corrosion. In fact, even the part that had been exposed had minimal amounts of corrosion on it.

This picture shows the break in the filament quite clearly.

I wonder how long the new lamp will last...only time will tell!

Well, time did tell - the lamp finally stopped working on Tuesday, 28th April 2009; which, for those who care means that it had been fitted for 3.211 years / 167 weeks, four days / 1,173 days / 28,152 hours. Lamp number three was duly fitted a day later - though this time a more 'traditional' approach was taken in gaining access to the lantern: all work was carried out from a ladder.

Having removed the old lamp, I set about cleaning the mirrors.

I then fitted the new lamp - another 'Derby 100'...what else? With this in place, the job was a good 'un!

This lamp lasted until Sunday, 22nd July 2012; meaning that it lasted exactly a week longer than its predecessor did. Once again, I started by removing the old lamp, and giving the mirrors their obligatory clean.


The new lamp was then fitted.


With the new lamp fitted, there was just time for me to take on a statuesque persona before descending the ladder.

The ESLA Project
Preliminary Photographs Restoration Choosing and installing the Column Being fitted to the Column Wiring up and Working An ESLA for all Seasons Five Years On Ten Years On




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