Cinema Product Reviews



ORC xenon lamps
Manufacturer:  ORC
Grade D-
Reviewed September 2000 by Gordon McLeod

This Blows (up sometimes)

ORC lamps are probably the biggest nightmare most engineers have to deal with. This is very surprising in a way as Optical Radiation was one of the pioneers in horizontal xenon lighting.  It is worthy of praise to remember that the HS lamps were a product of their engineering efforts. Also they were one of the first in North America with horizontal burning systems in all size applications. Regrettably some of there engineering designs were not well thought through.  Ask anyone with a M1000 lamp house.  Why they just canít make a reliable lamp really baffles me especially since they bought out the assists of one of North Americaís original lamp makers Canrad Hanovia.

What are my big beefs with ORC lamps?  Well the short and sweet is they just donít work out. I never seen one make it past its warranty by any sizeable amount, and still reliably ignite or not flicker

For one reason they are extremely difficult to get them to ignite on the first zap in many lamp house/rectifier combinations. The worst offender is the combo of a Super Lumex and a Switching power supply. I have often put that down to the fact that they require a much larger amount of inrush current to establish the arc and the switchers canít deliver that amount of energy/time relationship.  Even worse problems can be found with an older Xebex with an old Sanrex rectifier. These were designed for Ushio HTP lamps that ignite quite happily in the 60-75volt no load range. It is like beating a dead horse to get an ORC to light in one of these in time to make the changeover.

For some other unknown reason theses lamps almost always develop a flicker or wandering arc at around 300 hours that no matter where the magnet is you canít get rid of it.

Another beef with these lamps is the tendancy for the ribbon seals to fail. Why ORC has stayed with the ribbon design is beyond me.  As if that wasn't enough,their little plastic "protective" wrapper is an absolute joke

Bottom line: unless the bare cost of the lamp is going to break the bank, buy an Osram or an Ushio/Christie and get a good long reliable light source.

-Gordon McLeod
ORC does not have a website.

Gordon McLeod has attended booth courses at THX and DOLBY LABS etc. Has installed numerous theatres from Multiplexes to special venue 3D 70mm systems. Has a background in electronics design and many years of CAD experience. On a contractual basis is the head of engineering for Entertainment Equipment Corp as well as operating his own engineering and service organization in Canada to many theatres and other dealers.

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