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Enlighten me, please.


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#1 Tobias French

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 03:56 AM

Lowel/Arri lights sold in the USA run happily off a 120 volt power supply. Is it possible to run the same 120 volt lights on the UK's 240 volt system?
I realise the plugs and lamps would need replacing to suit the UK network, but would the wiring and fixtures of the US lights be able to handle the increase in voltage? Or would I be switching on the most expensive fireworks display in history?
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#2 Richard Andrewski

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 09:09 PM

No, you need to buy 240v versions of the bulbs to run correctly there as these kinds of tungsten bulbs run off line voltage and are rated for a particular type. The wiring should be the same except for whatever plug you need for UK but that's a physical adapter not a transformer. No need for transformer just a plug adapter if you buy the 240v bulbs.

The 120v bulbs would function for a while under 240v but there's no telling how long and their life would be quite a bit less than normal. So its not a good idea...

Edited by Richard Andrewski, 03 September 2007 - 09:10 PM.

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#3 Freya Black

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 04:23 AM

No, you need to buy 240v versions of the bulbs to run correctly there as these kinds of tungsten bulbs run off line voltage and are rated for a particular type. The wiring should be the same except for whatever plug you need for UK but that's a physical adapter not a transformer. No need for transformer just a plug adapter if you buy the 240v bulbs.

The 120v bulbs would function for a while under 240v but there's no telling how long and their life would be quite a bit less than normal. So its not a good idea...


I think when Tobias reffers to replacing the lamps, he actually means changing the bulbs out.
He seems concerned that the extra voltage will be a problem for the cables or the bulb holder things.

My guess is that it will be okay as long as he buys local bulbs because the wires don't mind so much what the voltage is but are more concerned with the current being drawn. In a similar way the bulb holders will be able to take a certain amount of heat.

I'm guessing that if he replaces the bulbs with ones that are of the same wattage but for 240volts then he will be okay. It's more of an issue if the replacement bulbs are of a greater wattage than the originals rather than a greater voltage.

However I'm not an expert electrician or anything, mains electricity is scary and dangerous stuff, potentially lethal even, so I would appreciate if someone with a really clear explanation could post a reply and make sure I'm not talking nonsense!

love

Freya
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#4 Tobias French

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 04:56 AM

Thanks, Freya and Rich. Your advice has helped steer me in the right direction.

The reason for my asking is that a friend of mine who works in the States has offered me his old Lowel Tota/Omni lighting kit. Of course, this runs off the US 120 volt network.

In trying to find out if it was possible to run the self-same lights on the UK 240 volt system, I visited the Lowel website and it appears that the lights are fully wired up to operate on either system. One simply has to purchase the correct extension lead with a UK plug attached, and then replace the bulbs with those rated for the 240 volt supply. (No transformers necessary!)

http://www.lowel.com/tota/
http://www.lowel.com/omni/index.html

In fact, I'm really impressed with the wide range of lighting controls and accessories (filters/flags/clamps etc.) that Lowel offers. I'm not exactly made of money so the Tota/Omni kit seems a really cost-effective way to get hold of a versatile lighting set up.
If there any members with first-hand experience of the Lowel lights in action it would be extremely useful to canvass their opinion.

Cheers
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#5 Freya Black

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 04:01 PM

Thanks, Freya and Rich. Your advice has helped steer me in the right direction.

The reason for my asking is that a friend of mine who works in the States has offered me his old Lowel Tota/Omni lighting kit. Of course, this runs off the US 120 volt network.

In trying to find out if it was possible to run the self-same lights on the UK 240 volt system, I visited the Lowel website and it appears that the lights are fully wired up to operate on either system. One simply has to purchase the correct extension lead with a UK plug attached, and then replace the bulbs with those rated for the 240 volt supply. (No transformers necessary!)

http://www.lowel.com/tota/
http://www.lowel.com/omni/index.html

In fact, I'm really impressed with the wide range of lighting controls and accessories (filters/flags/clamps etc.) that Lowel offers. I'm not exactly made of money so the Tota/Omni kit seems a really cost-effective way to get hold of a versatile lighting set up.
If there any members with first-hand experience of the Lowel lights in action it would be extremely useful to canvass their opinion.

Cheers



I was just eyeing up the totas in an ancient copy of American cinematographer.
At first they just look like a cheap cine light I have (tho I happen to like that light a lot!)
However then I saw all the little add-ons like umbrellas etc and was really impressed how versatile they seemed.

The reason they excited me was because they looked kind of portable to my eye too which would be really, really useful.

When you get them please do let me know how you get on with them as I'm really curious.

love

Freya
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#6 Ollie Bartlett

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 05:41 PM

lol... just entered a post and realised the answer had already been discussed (deleted and changed).... cheers guys

Edited by Ollie Bartlett, 06 September 2007 - 05:45 PM.

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#7 timHealy

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 11:20 AM

Just to clarify the thing about voltage and the ampacity of the cable.

When the voltage is increased the ampacity is decreased for a given load.

Also voltage by itself does not affect the actual copper cable. Seriously higher voltages require heavily insulated or double insulated cable but we are not talking about that kind of voltage.

The thing that affects the actual cable is the load and ampacity.

Given that American lights use 110 volts, an American light would have no trouble using a 220 volt system. In fact when the voltage is increased you can reduce the size of your cables by half given the same amperage for the bulb. A light made for an American market would have double the size cable for a given load.

The thing you may have to be careful of, and since I have not worked on a UK or European film set and am not an expert, is if you would bring a European 220 volt light may not have the right size wire to use on a 110 volt system given the same load. The cable would be half the size necessary requiring one to use a bulb with half the draw as normal.

Best

Tim
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#8 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 12:38 PM

I recently returned from a shoot through Europe and into Dubai, both of which use 240. I took a standard ARRI kit (two 650s, two 300s) and one 800w HMI. I went to Bulbtronics (in Hollywood) to get 220w bulbs for the ARRI kit lights. The HMI has a switch on the ballast to work with 220v.

I also used standard AC cables from the US (from Filmtools in Burbank) and put foreign plug adaptors on the ends to plug them in. No problems with the cables at all.

The only problem I ever had was with the HMI which at one point in the project, the ballast began to overheat. I think that it was a problem with the ballast itself due to age rather than the voltage that was going through it.
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