Field Problem at White House Room 350

Time was of the essence because the room was to be used for televised presidential addresses while the Oval Office was being remodeled

The project manager in charge of the remodeling project for Room 350 of the White House reported issues with mass lamp failures in the installed recessed luminaires.  We were contracted by the luminaire manufacturer to validate the issues and develop a solution.  With this project time was of the essence because the room was to be used for televised presidential addresses while the Oval Office was being remodeled.   We had three weeks to determine the cause of the problem and implement a solution.  Below is what we found:

  1. Arrived at jobsite and met with the general contractor in charge of the installation as well as the senior field tech for the dimming control manufacturer and the White House representative. 
  2. Fixtures in question were (19) 3 lamp AR-70 recessed luminaires, (2) 4 lamp square AR-70 luminaires, and (33) 1 lamp MR-16 recessed luminaires. All of the luminaires were  powered by the same model integral electronic transformer.  The luminaires were recessed in a drywall ceiling are wired to multiple 20A circuits of a dimming system.  The ceiling was approximately 12 feet in height and the space is climate controlled with excellent humidity control.
  3. According to the contractor, he had replaced 200+ AR-70 lamps since the fixtures were installed six months prior.  Lamps were burning out from the first day of operation in random order.
  4. Except for two of the 1 lamp MR16 luminaires, all lamps were operational at the time of the meeting.
  5. Due to the delicate nature of the ceiling finish, we only examined three luminaires. 
  6. Upon examination of the luminaires, we determined that the luminaires were constructed, wired  and installed properly. 
  7. We monitored input voltage to the luminaire and measured transformer and lamp envelope temperatures.  Voltage and temperatures were well within specification.
  8. Since the fixtures were wired & operating properly, we turned our focus to the potential compatibility issues with low voltage transformers and the dimming system.  While onsite we contacted the transformer manufacturer to see if they have had compatibility issues with this particular dimming system. The transformer manufacturer confirmed that they are aware of a compatibility issue with the model dimming system installed onsite. During shut down, the dimming system hits the transformer with a split second ring wave pulse voltage which stresses the transformer and instantly burns out the lamp. 
  9. With this information, we arranged a face to face meeting with engineers from the transformer and dimming system manufacturer to develop a solution which will not require the luminaires or the dimming system to be replaced and will not damage the room in any way.  We determined that the pulse can be eliminated by adding a choke coil at each luminaire feed.  This was a relatively low cost solution to the problem which was able to be accomplished in the control room.

Within two weeks time, we visited the job site, determined the root cause of the problem and had a solution implemented.   Once again, Wilger has exceeded our customers expectation. 

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