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 Post subject: Blackpool Illuminations
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:23 am 
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mazeteam wrote:
You're almost as bad as me! :lol:

If you can get your hands on them, what are realy useful are Encapsulite fluorescent tube covers... they're coloured tubes that slide over the fluorescent tube - it means you can use normal white tubes and get a coloured output.

http://www.encapsulite.co.uk/prod1.html

I got a batch from eBay, and still have about 10 2ft ones in green I've yet to use (gonna put some up in the cabin methinks!). The blue ones I have were bought with battens off ebay and collected from Huddersfield - they had been taken out from a shop refit.


These coloured fluorescent sleeves remind me of one of Blackpool's historic lighting mysteries... how they turned the old SON GEC post-top lanterns on the Prom from having an orange light to having a green or blue light when the Illuminations were on, without changing the colour of the bowl. I wonder if the SON lamps had some kind of coloured sleeve over them although that said, wouldn't the orange colour of the SON lamps distort this output anyway? It must have been a simple method in any case, because as soon as the Illuminations were over, all the lanterns went back to giving off an orange light again.  :?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:17 am 
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mazeteam wrote:
I would have thought that the plastic sleeves would have only had limited success in changing a lamps output colour. The plastic is designed to filter out light at certain wavelengths except that of which the sleeve is coloured... so with a white light, a blue sleeve will filter out everything except blue (though there may be a teeny bit of leakage of other colours) and thus you get a blue light. But put a blue sleeve over an orange light and the light source already emits far less light in the blue wavelength, so you'd probably end up with a greeny-yellow colour.


I know Mazeteam, it really is a mystery! The lanterns gave off a pure blue or green light during the Illuminations though but only during them not at any other time (for those who don't know, Blackpool Illuminations only run from the last friday in August until the first sunday in November inclusive). By using your knowledge of plastic filters it can't be the case that these were used! Is it possible to disconnect the SON gear and fit an ordinary (but high-powered) coloured tungsten bulb into the lantern and then reconnect the gear back up again afterwards and put the SON lamp back in? Although if this was possible it would certainly be a finicky task to undertake! To be able to do this every year and change the lamps over and back again it must have been some kind of simple and quick system anyway!

These lanterns below which came along after the GEC post-tops mimic the alternate blue/green theme although this is just provided by a blue or green ring at the top and bottom of the lantern which emits the usual orange sodium colour from it's lamp with a slight tinge of colour added at the top and base of the lantern by the coloured rings.
http://paulharris.fotopic.net/p54270345.html


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:07 pm 
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Gramma6 wrote:
mazeteam wrote:
I would have thought that the plastic sleeves would have only had limited success in changing a lamps output colour. The plastic is designed to filter out light at certain wavelengths except that of which the sleeve is coloured... so with a white light, a blue sleeve will filter out everything except blue (though there may be a teeny bit of leakage of other colours) and thus you get a blue light. But put a blue sleeve over an orange light and the light source already emits far less light in the blue wavelength, so you'd probably end up with a greeny-yellow colour.


I know Mazeteam, it really is a mystery! The lanterns gave off a pure blue or green light during the Illuminations though but only during them not at any other time (for those who don't know, Blackpool Illuminations only run from the last friday in August until the first sunday in November inclusive). By using your knowledge of plastic filters it can't be the case that these were used! Is it possible to disconnect the SON gear and fit an ordinary (but high-powered) coloured tungsten bulb into the lantern and then reconnect the gear back up again afterwards and put the SON lamp back in? Although if this was possible it would certainly be a finicky task to undertake! To be able to do this every year and change the lamps over and back again it must have been some kind of simple and quick system anyway!


Indeed. I highly doubt that if different lamps were used, that they were manually connected and disconnected for just a mere few weeks in each year. It could be that these lanterns were gear-in-base and thus no gear in the lantern - in which case there may have been manual switchover controls in each column base, and the lanterns had the non-sodium lamps fitted year-round with a plastic filter on but just switched off. So when it came to them being switched on and at dusk, the photocell/timeclock would switch on and the live out that would feed into the 'common' terminal of the switchover control and then would go straight to the non-sodium lamp instead of the control gear for the normal lamp.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:43 am 
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mazeteam wrote:
Indeed. I highly doubt that if different lamps were used, that they were manually connected and disconnected for just a mere few weeks in each year. It could be that these lanterns were gear-in-base and thus no gear in the lantern - in which case there may have been manual switchover controls in each column base, and the lanterns had the non-sodium lamps fitted year-round with a plastic filter on but just switched off. So when it came to them being switched on and at dusk, the photocell/timeclock would switch on and the live out that would feed into the 'common' terminal of the switchover control and then would go straight to the non-sodium lamp instead of the control gear for the normal lamp.


That must be it yeah! There must have been two lamps in the lantern rather than one, I never thought of that before! That seems like the only possible reason for the lanterns changing colour for nine weeks a year!  Well those columns (like their replacements) had two column doors, I presume one for the road lantern and one for the illuminations which are suspended from the column. Perhaps the switchgear for the other coloured lanterns was in the other door as well. They certainly had bulky bases so could have fitted plenty of stuff in there!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:59 am 
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If they were dual door columns that would certainly support my theory! :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:28 pm 
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Yeah. They were strange installations actually. They were just a very basic rough-looking blue metal pole with ther lantern on top and the base was actually more like two bases split in half which were made of fibreglass around the base of the column which had obviously been tacked on afterwards and had a door either side of the column. The columns were really old and I've seen pictures of them in use in the late 50s with different post-top lanterns on top but the same fibreglass base housing.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:11 pm 
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Just bringing this thread back to life again.

I wonder what will be used this year in the illuminations, I know that there are a few lanterns on the promanade which have a 'coloured ring' fitted to them whether its a 21st century version of the old 'magical colour changing GEC' I don't know but what I do know is that some of the lamps used are now colour changing LED which are manufactured in Mythomroyd at Lumalite.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:17 pm 
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Urbis Saturn Land wrote:
Gramma6 wrote:
Not sure if I've said this before but all the lanterns in the Blackpool PFI are using RF switching.


I take this is including the promanade from that mirrorball thing to Bispham, probably to somewhere below Cleveleys. I wonder if RF switching is used for the illuminations.


No, and no. The Prom has not been Evolo-ed yet apart from a short stretch between Coral Island and Central Pier which has a bizarre mixture of SON and CPO Evolos and a short bit where there are SON Evolos on one side of the road only outside the Imperial Hotel, also there is one casual replacement SON Evolo near Norbreck Castle which has a control node on it (but no other Evolos anywhere near it at present). Some Evolos have appeared around the Anchorsholme area now too, these are CPO. Only the new Evolo, Piano or Cabrio PFI lanterns have RF switching, no existing lanterns have been altered.

As for the Illuminations, these are switched on by a computer in the Blackpool Transport depot, believe it or not! When they are 'turned on' by Keith Lemon on Friday night an engineer will be in the depot listening to the countdown on the radio before hitting the button at the same time Keith does!  :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:48 pm 
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I thought it was some dude standing round the corner ready to flick a switch in the nearest column. So no exisiting lantern has been altered for RF, I understand now.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:18 am 
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I never did believe it was actually the person on stage that turned on the lights... more likely some bloke in a hi-vis in a portakabin or hut somewhere nearby!
But in the Blackpool Transport offcie seems a bit unusual, unless they use power from a parallel feed to the tramway.

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