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I have eight (8) floodlights on my tennis court. I didn't install these, they came with the court.

Floodlight just switched on Floodlight fully powered

Questions: Recently, in the evening when it was cold I switched them on and only 3 of the 8 came on. A few days later in the middle of the day when it was warm I switched them on and all of them came on. The normal functionality of the lights is that they slowly get brighter and brighter (as you can see from the attached images) until about 5 minutes has passed when they are fully "powered."

What type of bulbs are these that illuminate slowly? Is it normally behavior that these lights might not work when it's cold (a few degrees above freezing)?

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If it's temperature-related, the problem might be that the bulbs just aren't screwed in firmly. These bulbs have the same screw-in base as a regular lightbulb (just bigger!), and - like regular lightbulbs - can work loose over time; the metal of the bulb's base (and of the socket it screws into) may be shrinking in the cold and not making contact. You'll need a TALL ladder to check... As for the warm-up time: yes, that's normal. –  MT_Head Jan 18 '13 at 3:52
    
+1 That makes sense - contracting in the cold and not connecting. I'll experiment some more. Thanks! –  Guy Jan 19 '13 at 0:02
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Those look like Metal Halide bulbs. It is normal that they take upwards of 20 minutes to get to full brightness. They can be affected by cold temperatures, but this could also be a failing ballast or igniter (sometimes part of the ballast). There could also be some poor electrical connections.

These should not be turned on and off frequently - you have to let them cool for 20min before restarting.

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Thank you! I have tried to switch them on again immediately after switching them off and they failed to come on. I figured that there was a time-to-wait but didn't know the 20 minutes - thanks for that! –  Guy Jan 19 '13 at 0:01
    
Yep, that's a standard Halide start. Highly efficient, long time to come to full brightness, need for long cooldown before restart. We hate it when the power goes out, our warehouse goes dark and at night, the emergency exit lights are the only thing visible. Old weak tubes and dieing ballasts cause poor start in cold weather. –  Fiasco Labs Nov 18 '13 at 16:44
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