AN/TVS-3 project

nealitc

nealitc

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
47
Location
San Francisco CA
This is all IgNITEor's fault.

So I found a collection on AN/TVS-3 lights and parts:
- 10 AN/TVS-3 lights: 2 complete, 8 with cut cables
- 3 60KW 400Hz generators (each powers 2 lights)
- 20 spare bulbs
- 10 spares kits
- many gallons of coolant
Too hard to resist.

I have warehouse/build space in San Francisco and potential project collaborators, with a target of building a serious light art installation (possibly taking it to Burning Man). I have power and electronics experience, but not at the scale of driving 465 A DC into a bulb with 1960s electronics. What I'm looking for is expertise and/or recommendations (I already got "seek professional psychiatric counseling") and/or participation interest...
 
BVH

BVH

Flashaholic
Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
Messages
6,822
Location
CentCalCoast
Do you have the contact info of the guy in the mid-west that put one of these on a Fire engine? I think I still have his email. From what I read and from a few emails back and forth, I would bet he's very sharp on these.

Looks like he's a member here: member "AN/TVS-3", appropriately. But he's not been on since Dec 2009. Here's the web page

http://www.brettpeabody.com/

Here's a thread he posted in:

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?249476-20KW-Xenon-Searchlight

Too bad I'm 230 miles distant! It would be a fun project to participate in.
 
Last edited:
nealitc

nealitc

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
47
Location
San Francisco CA
Thx! "AN/TVS-3" is actually the other guy interested in parts of the same lot, we're connecting by email.
Only 230mi away? You might see it...
 
BVH

BVH

Flashaholic
Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
Messages
6,822
Location
CentCalCoast
Yea, just let me know what night you're going to fire it up so I can walk outside and look up! Pick a moonless night, though.

Good luck!
 
P

PCC

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
2,292
Location
Sitting' on the dock o' The Bay...
Yea, just let me know what night you're going to fire it up so I can walk outside and look up! Pick a moonless night, though.

Good luck!

Definitely let us know when you fire it up. I'm in Daly City near the coast so I'll probably be able to see it from my living room. The front of my house faces SF.
 
get-lit

get-lit

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
1,216
Location
Amherst, NY
Wow that would be pretty sick at burning man! Must. Take. Pics.
 
nealitc

nealitc

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
47
Location
San Francisco CA
An update on the TVS-3 project: Hope to have one from the first batch lit up in 2 weeks, and cook the first batch of 20kW searchlight chicken! ("Look, up in the sky! The bat-signal! No, its turning chickens? WTF?")

Its been an exercise in education, research (thanks to member AN/TVS-3 for invaluable documentation) and cleaning corrosion and rodent nests.

Got the collection into a warehouse and dug in: 10 lights, 3 15kW 400Hz gensets (SP-HF-15) and a pile of spares. All of it rough and weathered, 8 of the lights had been vandalized by copper thieves, a lot of the spares in original kits which had leaked coolant cans or been wet, so some serious corrosion. Most of the extra bulbs in the lot were used or prototypes, as if they were on the shelf in a repair depot.

Starting on the 3 gensets. Only 50hrs of run time, 25 years of sitting in a field. Complete reconditioning, old coolant was thick mud, finding filters has been a challenge, hope I don't need parts (Hercules 198ER diesels, no longer made, local diesel shop laughed at me). Should be ready to restart the first one in another week.

2 lights are complete, cleaning radiators and cooling systems, will be working on testing dielectric coolants, incorporating a filtration system, then (very carefully) cleaning bulbs and removing corrosion from reflectors (I love HCl, but for these I'll use a chelating gel).

Expect that we'll get 6 of the 10 lights running with parts we have. Issue is replacing vandalized cables (from the base transformer to the rectifiers), 4/0 but made from 40AWG(!) stranding, stainless mesh over rubber over asbestos. Will evaluate if Class M welding cable with some extra sheathing will work, need to check bend radius. The remaining 4 cannibalized lights I intend sell to military collectors, first design an adapter for some other commercial (or VSS-3) bulb so they can have a working light, not 20kW but still bright, without the 400Hz and coolant headache. (That is unless one of y'all wants them.)
 
BVH

BVH

Flashaholic
Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
Messages
6,822
Location
CentCalCoast
If you end up needing more lamps and simply cannot find any, I know who will make you some. No idea of cost but it would be a source. Local to you also. Advanced Radiation Corp in Santa Clara. Working on my 3rd (quantity of 1 each time) custom lamp now from them.
 
nealitc

nealitc

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
47
Location
San Francisco CA
If you end up needing more lamps and simply cannot find any, I know who will make you some. No idea of cost but it would be a source. Local to you also. Advanced Radiation Corp in Santa Clara. Working on my 3rd (quantity of 1 each time) custom lamp now from them.
Definitely interested in the contact! OEM supplier will make them again, but price is unaffordable. We have the spec, and samples from 3 different mfrs.
 
nealitc

nealitc

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
47
Location
San Francisco CA
Just offloaded another 6 units, now have 16 of them (and looking for more). These 6 were in NASA units in operation until recently, they made some interesting mods including adding a lot of hose to reduce impact of coolant conductivity.

Project is (of course) behind schedule, more extensive than originally estimated, all of the aluminum radiators are severely corroded, working on identifying/formulating/sourcing inhibited dielectric coolant has been a challenge. Sourcing cables to replace the ones vandalized by copper thieves has also been interesting, measured and counted stranding to find that its 4/0 19x7x64/36GA stranding which has 2 suppliers, Cooner and New England Wire, stuff is expensive! Bend radius too tight for Class M welding cable with 34GA stranding. And the stainless sleeving isn't cheap either.

A lot of cleaning required, reanimating a 400Hz genset, then building the rotisserie rack to cook up our first batch of searchlight chicken (in response to too many people asking for a bat-signal).
 
BVH

BVH

Flashaholic
Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
Messages
6,822
Location
CentCalCoast
Neal, what Voltage is output by the genset (input to the light) Is it 28V ? Trying to get an idea of the Amps flowing. And is 20KW measured at the lamp and then add in say, 25% more for "ballast"/other electrical accessories? So an estimate might be 25,000 Watts / 28V = 892 Amps? That seems like way too much current for even 4/0 so maybe the genset produces and feeds light with higher Voltage?

What is the reason for the 400Htz output?
 
nealitc

nealitc

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
47
Location
San Francisco CA
400Hz genset is 120/208V 3phase. Light has step-down autotransformer with 3 input taps to select power level, output (via the 3 4/0 cables) goes to a full wave rectifier (unfiltered) to lamp via igniter/boost transformer. Lamp draw for the 15kW, 20kW and 25kW source ratings is speced at 34V 295A, 38V 395A and 43V 465A respectively. No ballast, current limiting or fusing, there are voltage and current meters (one of the used lamps in the collection has a tag "draws 900A").
I would guess that 400Hz is used for 3 reasons: full wave rectified it has ripple at 1200Hz - allowing the arc to be sustained without filters, transformer and motor components are like 1/10 size/weight of 60Hz parts - affecting step-down transformer and coolant pump, its easily available for military equipment.
 
BVH

BVH

Flashaholic
Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
Messages
6,822
Location
CentCalCoast
Neal, send me your email. A.R.C. doesn't make nor never did make these. They passed me to **** Stockton whom I've had some contact with before. I'll forward his two emails then you can communicate direct.
 
nealitc

nealitc

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
47
Location
San Francisco CA
[Finally got around to setting up a photobucket account for images.]

IMG_0399_zpsd623c9eb.jpg

Light!

This is at 75% power tap (15kW), with a corroded reflector and focus stuck on wide.
Its still damn bright.

To do: focus fixing, reflector clean up (Optiforms doesn't have a 30" mandrel for these), new heat exchangers, coolant filters, and dielectric coolant... Then we'll have 8 units that operate.

We're going to motorize these, figured out some gear options, looking at using 250W geared scooter motors and position sensors for servo control, with DMX interface so that all of them can be controlled from a standard light board.

The other 4 (vandalized by copper thieves) need replacement connection cables 4/0 (8512/36).
And I need another generator.
Anyone have parts for a Hobart 90G20 72kW 400Hz diesel GPU?

If you're in the SF area, stop on by sometime, we're on Treasure Island.
 
Last edited:
nealitc

nealitc

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
47
Location
San Francisco CA
More photos of the TVS-3 project:

IMG_1008_zps7e187519.jpg


IMG_1020_zps7e639f55.jpg

My start at insanity - the first lot from Found Objects: 10 AN/TVS-3s, 3 SP-HF-15 400Hz diesel generators, 20 bulbs, bunch of spares boxes.
8 of the 10 TVS-3s had cables vandalized by copper thieves, most of the bulbs were pulls (used/bad) and most of the spares were corroded, and every cavity was full of rodent nest.

IMG_0121_zpsd3c0a19e.jpg

4/0 19x7x64/36GA or 8512/36GA - I need 120 feet of it. Compared to this, 34GA standing seems a bit stiff. Skip the asbestos wrap this time though.

IMG_1153_zpsda830972.jpg

Time to clean the cooling system. Maybe a coolant formulated more recently than 1965 will be more stable. Then again, maybe this just sat for 40+ years.

IMG_1157_zps9adca3c3.jpg


IMG_1168_zps60cda607.jpg

Bulbs, from spares kits, corrosion due to coolant jug which corroded through and leaked in the spares case. Dips in HCl and some chelating agent cleaned it up.

IMG_1355_zps2b4a3898.jpg

The next 6 units and generator I got through someone who found me on CPF.
These came from NASA, were in recent operation had various reliability mods.

IMG_0893_zps56411329.jpg

Chicken wire!
Turns out this was added for the Apollo program, when they used the TVS-3s to light the pad. A 20kW short-arc fed with 400Hz 3phase fullwave rectified unfiltered power produces lots of RFI at 1200Hz harmonics, and when nice and focused with a reflector it was enough to shut down the capsule. So they made a Faraday cage.
 
Last edited:
BVH

BVH

Flashaholic
Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
Messages
6,822
Location
CentCalCoast
Nice to see some pics! What a great and labor intensive project you've undertaken! It's good to see them being re conditioned instead of rotting away! Lots of pics of progress would be appreciated.
 
nealitc

nealitc

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
47
Location
San Francisco CA
What have you going on in the upper right corner of the pic??
That would be Peter Hudson's monkey zeotrope sculpture, it spins and strobes. The snake feeds an apple to the monkey, who also eats the snake.
 
get-lit

get-lit

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
1,216
Location
Amherst, NY
This PDF is an interesting read related to the light.

That was very interesting, thanks.

That would be Peter Hudson's monkey zeotrope sculpture, it spins and strobes. The snake feeds an apple to the monkey, who also eats the snake.

That's kind of freaky :duck:

Like this?



EDIT: I gotta stay away from this forum, there's always too much random cool stuff. The works at hudzodesign.com are incredible.
 
Last edited:

Similar threads

E
Replies
28
Views
6K
eyesonfire
E
E
Replies
0
Views
1K
eyesonfire
E
mr.squatch
Replies
3
Views
2K
JetskiMark
JetskiMark
M
Replies
6
Views
3K
BVH
M
Replies
10
Views
7K
Walterk
Walterk
Top