The Dangers Of Unprotected Metal Halides
Posted by adventurelightingblog on April 9, 2010
I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff in my 20 plus years in the lighting industry.
For those who are on the outside looking into this business we love, it might seem a bit crazy to associate “crazy” and “lighting industry.” Sort of like associating “comedian” and “CPA.”
But one thing that isn’t funny but is crazy is when lights start to explode.
This can happen, we’ve discovered, with metal halide lights.
First, let me make it clear – of all the lights in the HID (high intensity discharge) family, metal halides bring the greatest number of positive qualities to the table.
They’re more energy efficient than mercury vapor lamps and offer better light quality, and we sell a lot of them at Adventure Lighting, where our clients – and we – swear by them.
But they have their drawbacks.
Metal halides are notoriously slow to turn on. They also have color shifting issues more pronounced than other lamps and put out a lot of UV radiation.
And they can explode.
Not all the time or even most of the time or, to be honest, even some of the time – in fact we’ve only seen it a couple times with a few clients with the thousands of MH’s we’ve sold over the years.
But when anything blows up that isn’t supposed to – and I can think of a long list of examples here - that makes people nervous, and rightfully so.
MH light manufacturers are working on this issue and have made great strides. Yet the best solution at this point is also the simplest – using a protected metal halide.
Unlike the unprotected version, the protected MH has a tubular piece of glass around the arctube that prevents glass breakage, should the bulb, on those rare occasions, explode – usually toward the end of the bulb’s life.
The protected metal halide can then be safely used in open fixtures and in areas where people and combustibles are present.
The protected MH costs a little more than its unprotected brother – but the peace of mind it brings seems totally worth it. Plus it also exposes more businesses to the wonderful qualities of the MH lamp.
And not using it, because of a little blow-up, is just crazy.
Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to www.adventurelighting.com