Tower Lighting

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Tower Lighting

Post by JustMe » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:05 am

For a number of years, I used Duro Test bulbs for tower lighting. I was getting superior service out of these bulbs. However, Duro Test seems to have gone out of business, or am I wrong? If they are out of business, what brand of bulbs are others using. The present incandescent bulbs I am using don't seem to be lasting any time at all.
I am also curious if anyone is using FAA approved LEDs for incandescent replacements. If so, are these direct replacements, or does the tower lighting system need need to be modified in order to accommodate the LEDs. Any suggestions would be helpful.

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Re: Tower Lighting

Post by RGORJANCE » Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:15 am

I just googled Duro and their web site is still up. Try contacting them direct.

Additionally, there are numerous other companies listed that say they sell those bulbs. If memory serves me, the side lights in particular are the same used in traffic lights. Can't speak, however for the beacon bulbs. I think they are 620PS40, or something like that. Been too many years since I looked at those thingys.


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Re: Tower Lighting

Post by TPT » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:37 am

Available from a variety of sources, just google mogul base bulbs. I am told these bulbs are also used for stadium lighting--or were. Many venues going to halogen or other lighting sources. Haven't noticed much difference in life between brands.

There are LED top beacons that can be run by the 110 at the top of the tower. Will be required to file for change with FAA. Another problem is the LED beacons don't draw very much current so the alarm circuits in your present incandescent lighting system probably won't work. Usual new installation of LED's puts the AC supply and different controller at the base of the tower, and feeds DC to the LED's.

The LED side markers are available various sources. Dialight side lights are available for around $350/each from Digikey and Allied, among other suppliers.

Haven't checked carefully, but I suspect FAA would want the sidelights flashed with the top beacon to keep the green idiots happy. All those thousands of birds piling up at the base of the tower, of course. Since the load is minimal, simple change by connecting both sets of lights to the flashing output on the controller.

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Re: Tower Lighting

Post by kkiddkkidd » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:13 am

I just had a tower retrofitted to LED top flashing and steady side lights. The tower crew removed the 300mm beacon and replaced it with the 120vac top beacon (complete with IR beacon) and replaced the side light fixtures with the new LED fixtures.

I built a new controller / alarm for the new lights (the old system had no alarm) and had to loop as many turns of small wire thru the sample toroid as would physically fit to get an acceptable amount of adjustment.

There are screwin replacements for the standard bulbs but my tower guy wasn't very impressed with them. On this tower, part of the problem was that the existing fixtures were junk anyway.

As far as I know, Duro is still in business but I haven't supplied any lamps for years.

Last edited by kkiddkkidd on Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tower Lighting

Post by rfn » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:54 am

It's pushing 15 years since I converted the 230 foot tower from incandescent to LED. I still have 3-4 of the beacon lamps hanging around and feel pretty sure management would part with them for a nominal price but wonder about the cost of shipping and possible damage. They're in Nome, Alaska. PM me if you want to pursue. The original replacements were made by Honeywell - the beacon had what they called a "dual light engine". It was still working well last summer but got replaced anyway with a new, smaller, more efficient setup. Not because it had to be; rather because the cost of the fixtures and new wiring were tiny compared with the money that had to be spent to bring in a crew to inspect and paint.

When I changed to LED I had to modify the (then) 10 year old H&P controller by adding turns to the torroids used for sensing current but that only took a couple of hours and worked perfectly. The new setup (shifted from 2 side-lights to 3; single level) and a new controller with alarms was included in the package price. I liked the H&P better but would have to modifity it again for the still lower currents. The original set paid for itself in reduced power costs within 2 years (power ain't cheap here). The further reduction with the new setup should pay itself off in about 3 years. If you find the money to go LED.....a good thing to do.

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Re: Tower Lighting

Post by radio_guru » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:52 pm

American operated/manufactured Duro-Test went out of business about 15 years ago. The name, IP, and other assets were bought by a Mexican company. They try to represent and produce the same product as the original Duro-Test and I am unclear where they're made or as to their success as I have not used them. When I heard Duro was going toes up, I bought 20 cases of blubs at a fire sale and have simply used them over the years enjoying two year bulb cycles in the mean time. I'm finally down to my last case.

I have been trying with some limited success H&H Bulbs to see how they play. The beacons seem to work well lasting two years for the most part. The marker lights they sell are junk and fail early. No comparison to the old Duro side lights which also lasted two years. So...climber gotta go up, you change them all.

With the above stated, do NOT assume the present day Duro is selling the same exactly manufactured bulbs with the Pyrex glass and tough filament as the USA version from years ago. All I can say is to try them and see how they work...and report back to us.

Side light bulbs are the same as the classic A16 116W traffic bulb...which is getting harder to find with so many traffic lights having converted to LED as well. They're still made, but one needs to dig a bit farther and order in opposed to getting from stock.


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Re: Tower Lighting

Post by rfn » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:08 am

Possible source:
Perhaps a long shot but certainly worth a try. In my younger days I voluntarily maintained a rotating airways beacon. It used the same Duro lamps we've been talking about here. Almost all such beacons have long-since been converted to LED. There is a good chance that there are pretty close to countless Duro lamps sitting in storage. Certainly worth a little time to check with nearby airports - if you can find out who's responsible for lighting - to see if they have stock they'd be happy to get rid of. Sadly the airport where I did that stuff was closed some 15 years ago and what was left of the stock was either plundered or bulldozed to make way for an industrial park.

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Re: Tower Lighting

Post by ChuckG » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:14 pm

radio_guru wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:52 pm
American operated/manufactured Duro-Test went out of business about 15 years ago. The name, IP, and other assets were bought by a Mexican company.
Duro Test got in a bit of hot water some years back with the FDA.
The feds took issue with the medical benefits claimed for their full spectrum "vita light". Some were a bit outrageous.
The FDA issued warnings, the product (which brought in some 80% of Duro's profits) crashed...and that was the beginning of the end.
Chuck Gennaro
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Re: Tower Lighting

Post by Joe Friday » Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:31 pm

I have had great luck with Maintenance Engineering lamps. H&H had a period back a few years were their marker lamps had poor life, in some cases as little as 3 months. I have a tower we used the Maintenance Engineering lamps on, and 2 1/2 year later, all the lamps are still burning.

Good luck!


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