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Purchasing used lights


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#1 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 05:13 AM

I am in the process of negotiation purchase of a small lot of studio 2K fresnels. The brand is Bardwell & McAllester. Has anyone used these lights and if so, are they reliable? I was offered a really good rate on 7 of them so I am considering purchasing the whole lot. They are all in good condition, so that is not an issue. I am only concerned with usability and reliability and the quality of that brand. Thanks.
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#2 JD Hartman

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 07:57 AM

If you are looking at the older Bardwell and McAllister 2Ks, the 12" fresnels, they work great. A little heavy, as they are all steel, but very well made. The newer lines of B&M lights are a little more refined, part steel, part aluminum, similar to the newer Mole.
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#3 Tim Tyler

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 11:53 AM

You mean the $100 relics from Pyramid?

They're neat lights, but they are heavy and bulky, and they require junior stands (no baby hardware).

They're not as efficient as newer lights, especially if the aluminum reflector has been cleaned so many times that it's not shiny anymore.

Not the kind of light you want to whip out on a corporate shoot, but it's a good bang for the buck if you need a bunch of 2k's.
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 01:51 PM

You mean the $100 relics from Pyramid?


Who are these Pyramid people anyhow? I've seen all the equipment they sell on eBay. I love how low their prices are for old but quality tungsten lighting equipment. But does anyone know where they get this stuff?
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 02:56 PM

Good lights but if real old they may have asbestos wiring. Asbestos wire is usually about 1/4 -3/8" in diameter, white (or white painted black) and obviously made of a fabric/cloth type material. I'd want a Hazmat and/or asbestos disposal team on the set before I'd use a light with asbestos wiring. I'd definitely pass on them if they've got asbestos wiring.

They may have old school large glass bulb tungsten bulbs in them, almost every old style bulb has a readily available modern tungsten halogen bulb replacement.
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#6 JD Hartman

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 04:06 PM

Good lights but if real old they may have asbestos wiring. Asbestos wire is usually about 1/4 -3/8" in diameter, white (or white painted black) and obviously made of a fabric/cloth type material. I'd want a Hazmat and/or asbestos disposal team on the set before I'd use a light with asbestos wiring. I'd definitely pass on them if they've got asbestos wiring.

They may have old school large glass bulb tungsten bulbs in them, almost every old style bulb has a readily available modern tungsten halogen bulb replacement.


May have.... Mine didn't. Modern high-temp wiring also has a cloth like appearance. Old Mole equipment could have asbestos covered wire in it also.

It's fine to share a word of caution, but since you haven't seen them, you're a bit "over the top" As for the globes, they use a modern Tungsten CYX. Regarding the reflectors, if they are dented or damaged beyond hope, Pyramid will do everything to set things straight.

Old and heavy, but a big lens with a wide beam spread. Not as impressive as a shiny new ARRI fresnel, but not $600 either.
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#7 Tim Tyler

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 05:13 PM

Who are these Pyramid people anyhow?


I suspect they buy in bulk from old studios, production companies, retiring gaffers and the like.

I've bought some used HMI's and stands from them and Pyramid delivered as promised. Call them directly if you're concerned.
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#8 Hal Smith

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 07:24 PM

May have.... Mine didn't.

I don't think it's possible to be over the top when warning someone about a very dangerous material. Are you aware of the fact that there are family members of people who worked in various asbestos industries who are also dying of asbesteosis from relatively low level secondary exposures? And would you like me to post a photo of the two Bardwell McAllister RedHead babies hanging off the beams in my shop that have frayed asbestos wiring?

Perhaps I should have described asbestos wiring as also looking "fuzzy" - I don't think I can remember ever seeing any that wasn't fuzzy. Admittedly the last time I saw any new asbestos wire was about 1965 when I built a dimmer board for a theatre and the Chicage Fire Department Inspector who mandated that new board required asbestos wiring.
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#9 JD Hartman

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 07:21 AM

A shot of your redheads showing the asbestos wiring along with a shot of modern high temp wire would be very helpful to those less knowledgable. It would also help to say that asbestos fibers are only a hazzard when inhaled. Asbestos if left undisturbed, does not present a heath hazzard. I'm sure that at one time all the manufacturers: Altman; Strand; Century; Kliegle; Mole and even ARRI, used asbestos covered wire. It was the best product available at the time.

Edited by JD Hartman, 14 November 2006 - 07:22 AM.

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#10 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 03:28 AM

So I bought the lights. All are in good working condition and only one needs a new globe. I am somewhat concerned about the wires though. Ill probably get them rewired to be safe, cause the wires definately look old and I am not sure about this asbestos issue. Also, they are not from Pyramid. I don't know what company that is. These came from a gaffer who retired.
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