How to Get More Life and Light From Your Lamps
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Why you should replace your lamps even if they still light!
Your lamps gradually lose intensity over time. The gases and the special additives inside
the lamp become inert, resulting in longer startup time, while the ultraviolet (UV) output
diminishes. This results in longer, inconsistent exposure times.
You may not be aware of the change, because your integrator compensates
for the difference. I suggest that you make a weekly test of the number of seconds that
correspond to the number of "units" for your standard exposure. This will give
you a good idea of how much strength your lamp has lost.
When you first turn on the power to your equipment (cold-strike), it provides a high
voltage until the lamp lights. This strains the power supply, the starting circuitry and
the quartz (glass) of the lamp. If you allow excessive start time to cold-strike and
expose with old lamps, you risk equipment failure and even breakage.
Unreliable and inconsistent lighting causes makeovers and wastes time and materials.
I suggest that you replace your lamp before it burns out and save your
old one as a reliable spare. Your new lamp will give you faster exposures, and your
equipment will operate at maximum efficiency.
If you have a graphic arts camera or camera/platemaker, replace all the lamps at the
same time (most use four). You'll get more even lighting, not to mention saving
maintenance time, because when one burns out, the others are likely to follow.
Here are some simple steps you can take to
get the most from your investment in new lamps:
How to get the most value from your new lamps
- Clean the reflectors to obtain the maximum reflected light and benefit of the higher output
- Use the cotton gloves and alcohol wipes we
provide to install new lamps. If you handle them with the gloves, and clean them before
use, you'll avoid the oils and other contaminants that can cause premature failure due to
the high operating temperatures in your exposing equipment.
- Don't use lamps with bare wire ends. We install
the correct connectors to assure you of a proper electrical connection.
- Check for pitting or corrosion of the electrical
contacts, which can cause arcing and failure of the lamp or equipment. Tighten or replace
the mounting clips and/or springs to make certain that good electrical contact is made.
- When you insert lamps into clips, apply pressure
at the ceramic or metal ends, never to the quartz in the middle. The seals at the ends of
the lamp are its most delicate and easily damaged parts. If there is a filling tip, make
sure it points upwards or to the side, never downward.
- If the light head has a cooling fan, clean the
blades, lubricate the motor bearings as needed, and check that the fan is operating
properly. The vents must be clean and free of obstruction to allow for maximum ventilation
and unrestricted airflow. A cooler lamp lasts longer.
- Make sure that you are using the lamp that is
most efficient for the emulsion you are exposing. Many exposure systems let you use lamps
with different spectral output. If you change types, make sure your equipment has been
adjusted for the new lamp.
- Record the date, exposure time, life-hours and
part number when you change lamps. This simple record will help you to establish an
effective maintenance and replacement schedule.
- Don't be intimidated by equipment makers who
insist that you must use only their brand of lamp. The lamp simply "receives"
the output from the power supply, so it cannot harm your equipment. Just be certain to buy
from a reliable supplier who will make sure you get the correct lamp for your equipment,
and help you if a problem should arise.