52 in 52 – Design Twenty-Six
I’ve always like theatrical lighting hardware. Unfortunately, most of it uses huge wattage halogen sources with configurations that make retrofit to lower energy impossible. I’ve also found that in their stock form, efficiency is pretty poor in general. Often a 400W ellipsoidal (like the one here) consumes 400W, but delivers only 100Fc on a target 8 feet away. Most of the light from the lamp is lost in the housing to produce a clean beam pattern.
In past attempts to retrofit these types of products to LED, I’ve struggled finding sources with the power needed to produce a usable beam, without generating unwanted patterns from discrete LEDs projected on the surface being lighted. The Bridglux array comes pretty close, but the optics available for it do not have the center beam energy I need to project through the lens elements, and the field angle is so wide that too much light is simply lost inside the housing.
Xicato to the rescue. A few weeks ago, I received a Xicato sample kit with a 700lm spot module and an assortment of reflectors and a small heat sink. I spent some time with the spot module and reflectors. I like the module, it does an excellent job of delivering solid light output, with no color separation at its edges. I also found that the reflectors in the kit worked exceptionally well, controlling both beam and field angle very well. While the spot was not quite “narrow” by any real definition of the word, it did have very strong center power. “Could this be it?” I asked myself, and took to hacking some hardware together to test the Xicato as a light source in the theatrical light.
Kliegl Brothers made iconic theatrical lighting products for more than 50 years before closing its doors in the 90′s. This specific unit was rescued from a casino demolition in the 1980′s, and was installed sometime in 1967. Originally, this was lamped with a 400W halogen lamp, which is unsuitable for my use for interior accent lighting for many reasons. In this retrofit, I created a light engine with locating rings that uses a single Xicato 700lm spot LED module with a spot reflector. I also made a light stand from various tripod parts and adapters, and a housing for the driver/power supply with a toggle switch.
This fixture now produces 48Fc on a horizontal target 8 feet away, and retains the ability to focus as well as frame using the standard shutters.
This compliments a Kliegl fresnel I created using Cree MPE LEDs very well, and is an approach I intend to apply to a Colortran Zoom Ellipsoidal that has not been right since I retrofitted it to a lower wattage halogen lamp a few years ago. If you like these old theatrical products as much as I do, or have one you would like to see made practical for interior accent lighting, let me know. I now have several options for retrofitting these products to LED sources and making them much more friendly for every day use.