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Starlite Ballast


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I need advice..

The ballast capacitor (250v 35uF) on one of my starlites blew up!!!

I cant find any reason for this fault and don't want to replace the blown components for it to just happen again.

Has this happened to anyone else?

any help appreciated


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How old was the capacitor? and what was it's temperature rating


In my experience caps regularly blow beccause they overheat so I would recomed replacing it with one of a higher temperature rating.





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Could just be old age.

Capacitors do dry out over time, especially when they live in hot environments, such as moving light ballasts. The Starlites aren't exactly brand new, so it's not impossible that the capacitor has expired.

Can you tell us any more about what was going on when the capacitor died?



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In the venue I currently work at, we have 18 starlites flown, and in the six months they have been up there, I my self have swapped out three sets of pfc capacitors, and others have swapped out a few more.

They are old, and there is no further explanation offered from our resident fixer man (we have a guy ensconced in a workshop whose sole task is to repair things, mostly our 26 or so starlites...)

AFAIK they are quite a difficult part to source, we just rip them out of our sizable starlite graveyard, but it is just a simple swop it and rewire the capacitor cluster.

They are wired in parallel and consist of a cluster of 2x 30 microfarad and 2x 35 microfarad capacitors

This is not as far as I am aware an environmental problem, our venue is an ice arena and very damp.

When we replace the damaged one it is common to replace its pair also, and others may have been damaged in the messy gooey and smelly disintegration of the capacitor.

We are looking into replacing the starlites soon as they are becoming ever harder to source parts for, especially the motherboards.

Our stock has been extensivley modified to improve reliability and they still can't cope with their own heat, to get the CMY flags to do what we want at a certain critical point, we have to only turn some of the fixtures on just before the number in question.

In answer to the problem, it is fine to replace the caps, and not AFAIK symptomatic of something else.

If thats the only thing you've had go wrong with a starlit then you are a lucky lucky person.


Also look at the other thread about starlites here for reinforcement on my final comment above

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The death of the British TV , as in TV set industry , anyone remember Decca and GEC Starlines, silver push in buttons wooden box ,was caused largely by desperate unreliablity


Source of a lot of the unreliabilty was the use of modular construction and loads of plug in boards, the connectors get wobbly and kill the cards the Japanese simply hardwired everything together in the chassis.


As far as I remeber the Starfright, apart from a less than flat field that projects a noticable picture of the lamp, had loads of plug in boards....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Easy, stick some rated at least 105deg.


I've just had some JVC monitors come through with big problems caused by caps drying out. the side of the voltage regulator is blown out, 3 resistors are utterly fried and a sheet of blue flame jumps out the side of the monitor.


I assume you've checked that the caps going haven't affected anything else?


Needless to say they stop working. after that.

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Like I said above, I know from personal experience that the caps going pop, looks alot worse than it is, fills the base with a grey sticky smelly wax and causes no further damage.

I don't know whether you have had any other problems Sid, but if you PM me I can offer you some ideas from my now old job, where maintaining 20+ Starlites was always a part of life.

From what was said as I left, they are due to be retired from there, as finding spares is now too much like hard work for the co. in question.

They are far too modular, good in one way, as they break down so often they are a breeze to work on, bad because their modularity causes the breakdowns in the first place...

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