Simplex Lucidor

Lantern acquired in April 2007.

Thanks to Claire for this lantern, which is one of several which were removed from the A496 (Barmouth to Harlech Road) in Wales towards the end of 2006. This batch of Lucidors seem to have been a one-off - the lantern had already been discontinued by the time that the Relite/Simplex changeover took place; however, an internal label confirms that they were indeed made by Simplex Lighting Ltd. Presumably, there were sufficient spare parts left over at the Tipton works to allow them to assemble a number of complete lanterns. The Lucidor was never a popular lantern in Derbyshire, although a small number were installed on pole brackets on Street Lane, Ripley, and on columns on Baden-Powell Road in Chesterfield.

This is the gear-in-head version of the Lucidor; the evidence of this being the raised aluminium canopy. The original bowl had been damaged by vandals - the one seen here is, therefore, a replacement from another lantern. Notice the Revo logo in the bottom left-hand corner of the bowl.


The logo can also be seen on the canopy - the NEMA socket appears to have been fitted in such a way that the old logo would remain visible. This is a side-entry lantern; however, the position of the top-entry spigot can be seen in the centre of the casting. Notice the slightly raised spots to the left and right of the blanked-off entry - these are the positions of the threaded turrets that support the ballast inside the lantern. Over time, the weight of the ballast has placed sufficient strain on these points for the casting itself to be damaged.


The offending component is visible from the underside of the lantern. From this angle, the bowl resembles the sealed 'Opticell' unit on the Thorn Alpha 1.


Removing the bowl reveals that the writing on the Parmar ballast is almost illegible through corrosion. This ballast is slightly too short for it to reach the threaded turrets, requiring it to be attached to a small plate at one end, in order for the gap to be bridged. The four unused threads to the right, with the capacitor in the centre, would have been used to support the frame for a much larger capacitor when the Lucidor design first made its appearance in the 1960s. The capacitor in this lantern carries January 1979 as a date of manufacture.


Restoration of the lantern commenced in March 2019. The internal components were removed from the canopy, and it was only when this happened that I discovered the full extent of the damage incurred to the aluminium from the expanded ballast screws. Thus, the canopy was sent away for repair. In the meantime, the 'easy' part of the restoration was completed - the bowl underwent its necessary cleaning!


Some dirt had accumulated within the seam between the two sections of the moulding - this proved more difficult to remove in its entirety.


Still, the bowl looked far more presentable after its wash!


The repaired canopy returned on Friday, 7th June 2019. Specialist welding of the aluminium casting was required, owing to the aforementioned damage caused by the ballast screws.


The two repaired turrets are seen here.


As can be seen, the left-hand turret was the worst of the two, and required more welding than the right-hand equivalent did.


The components were reintroduced to the canopy - the ballast extension plate requiring a few deft hammer taps, in order for it to align with the re-worked turrets.


Later the same day, the lantern was attached to a wall bracket. Only in this view is the oversized canopy apparent. A slight design flaw with this lantern (another one) is that the lampholder support bracket must be removed, in order to access the grub screws employed to secure the lantern to the bracket.


The SOX lamp warmed up to its familiar colour within about ten minutes, once switched on.


The bowl refractors provided some interesting patterning when viewed from the side.


The tall canopy disappears into the darkness, making the lantern appear smaller than it really is.


Lamp warm-up video:

Testing with my energy monitoring device revealed the following (rather alarming!) 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
245.5 2.05 132 503 50 0.26 130.85 40.85 45%

Replacing the defective 20 F capacitor yielded (slightly) improved results; notice that the true power rating was little changed, despite the considerable reduction in current draw:

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
243.6 0.7 128 171 49.9 0.75 127.89 37.89 42%

Thorn Beta 7 | Urbis ZX1




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