Vandalite Skye

Lantern acquired in May 2004.

You have probably never heard of this lantern or company, but they specialise in, as you would gather, highly vandal resistant luminaires. The Skye was used in a number of parks and recreation grounds in the Derby city area up until recently, but is now being replaced with Thorn Civics due to a few being vandalised continually! How on earth this happened I'm not really sure, as the lantern is very tough so maybe our local vandals are superhuman or something!

The Skye is similar to the Gamma 6 at first glance, but the bowl is wider and the canopy is secured by two supposedly vandal proof screws. Once these have been removed, the canopy can be removed with a bit of force. Obviously if the lantern was mounted on a column it would be easier to remove, but would still be tight - this being one of the vandal proofing methods. The bowl is also quite difficult to remove, due to the high internal rim into which it slots. This is done to stop stones and other similar objects from knocking it out of place. At the foot of the photograph you can just see the metal bar onto which the terminal block is secured.

The lantern looks much smaller without the canopy and bowl. The gear is located underneath the white reflector and unusually comprises just a ballast and capacitor as the lamp uses an internal ignitor. When I first switched the power on, my RCD tripped, which surprised me but having had experience with lamps causing RCD trips in the past, I assumed that the lamp must have failed. The glowbottles did look a bit blackened, but I couldn't see any real faults with the arc tube. I tried again with a different lamp and the same thing happened, so obviously it wasn't likely that the lamp was at fault. I then took a look at the ballast and noticed that the paint was quite chipped and there was what looked like a heat mark to one side. I then took the lantern to bits and removed the ballast. Fortunately, the ballast in the 2015 was very similar, so I swapped them over and put the lantern back together again.

The replacement ballast - a two-terminal Parmar.

I plugged the lantern in and hoped for the best...

...and luckily all was well! The warm up was very similar to a standard SON lamp, however at the initial switch on, the glowbottles flicker into life, giving out a very red glow. Shortly afterwards, the main arc tube strikes up. I'm quite surprised that they use internal ignitor lamps as they take longer than an external ignitor lamp to restrike after a power failure. There has definitely not been an ignitor fitted in the gear circuit at any point.

Dreadful play-on-words of the day: DO NOT PHOTOGRAPH THE SKYE WHILE THE SON IS OUT!

Lantern warm-up video:

Testing the fitting with my energy monitoring device revealed the following results:

Test Voltage (V) Current being drawn at full power (A) Calculated wattage (W) Apparent Power (VA) Frequency (Hz) Power Factor True Power (W)
241.5 1.05 82 254 49.9 0.31 78.61

Notice that the power factor is very poor - this prompted me to replace the existing 10μF capacitor in order to see whether it was at fault; sure enough, this was the case. Re-testing the lantern once the replacement capacitor had been fitted revealed some far more satisfactory results:

Test Voltage (V) Current being drawn at full power (A) Calculated wattage (W) Apparent Power (VA) Frequency (Hz) Power Factor True Power (W)
236.9 0.37 76 88 50 0.85 74.51

Philips XGS 103 | WRTL 2015




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