Greetings from Amsterdam

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Greetings from Amsterdam

Postby Wunderkammer » Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:32 pm

Hello Forum,

My name is Michel and I have a small cabinet of curiosities in my office. There are taxidermy, tribal art, planetaria, models of steam engines anything that fascinates me that I can get my hands on.
IMG_3041.JPG (126.27 KiB) Viewed 5422 times

There are also a few electrical and electromechanical things like a collection of lighthouse bulbs, including an original lamp holder, a thermo flash relay, an inertial navigational platform from a Starfighter, including a custom made gimbal controller and since some weeks a small Nevelin mercury arc rectifier in its original box. The MAR is in working condition with its vacuum intact. The person who I bought it from, had made an installation to make it 'run' two phase, while in fact it is meant for three phase.
kwik start 20-12-2006 013.jpg
Two phase
kwik start 20-12-2006 013.jpg (80.17 KiB) Viewed 5422 times

Therefore I hope there is someone here who recognizes the type (see attachment), and can help me with its specs. I found an image on flickr of one in an abandoned cinema that I think is exactly the same (it's only facing the other way), just like mine it needs to be tilted to start it. I will include that image. Greetings, Wunderkammer
Nevelin arc small.jpeg
Nevelin in cinema
Nevelin arc small.jpeg (117.41 KiB) Viewed 5422 times
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Re: Greetings from Amsterdam

Postby Kevin Wood » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:56 am

Welcome, Michel. Some very nice curiosities you have there!

Kevin Wood
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Location: Four Marks, Hampshire

Re: Greetings from Amsterdam

Postby mcmurdo » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:08 pm

that's a nice cosy office! 8-)
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Re: Greetings from Amsterdam

Postby Lucien Nunes » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:25 pm

Hi Michel

Hello and Welcome. That is a nice bulb you have and it's great to see one lit up and working in someone's home. I like the Nevelins, they seem to be reliable and quite resistant to seal failures. Our 'home bulb' is a Nevelin too, in a bi-phase Unit-Arc-style Nevelector cinema projector rectifier.

The picture of a bulb in situ - I will have to check this but I think it was at Bexhill-on-Sea - shows one of two bulbs in a cabinet. I did hope to salvage that installation when the building was developed but it was not possible in the end. They used magnetostriction start, where a heavy transformer pumps a high current through the narrow neck of mercury, causing it to separate into unconnected pools between which the ignition spark occurs. It looks to me like your bulb uses the same layout but arranged for tilt-start. Our friend and collaborator Jeffrey has a somewhat larger 3-phase Nevelin with the same configuration.

I am afraid I can't help with specs at the moment. I have some brochures from Nevelin but nothing that gives specific data such as current and voltage ratings or decodes the part numbers. When I have a minute I will post some more Nevelin pictures where I do know the ratings, for comparison...

Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
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Re: Greetings from Amsterdam

Postby Wunderkammer » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:54 am


Thank you for your replies.
The MAR in the cinema was in the Glen Royal building in Shipley, which was demolished after a fire in 2013.
I believe that the photos in the following article were made in 2010: ... ipley.html
I think this MAR was started by tilting it, you can tell by its frame.

Together with a girlfriend I'll make a public-safe installation for my MAR and I'll keep you updated if you like?
The way the installation is now, is not safe (electric shock, UV and bulb-breakage), so I've stored the MAR in its original crate, until I have all the elements needed to run it 3 -phase.

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Re: Greetings from Amsterdam

Postby ppppenguin » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:27 pm

Lucien referrred to my bulb which is still sitting rather neglected.

I am still planning to make a 2 phase rig, using a welding transformer and a couple of hefty silicon rectifiers. Michel, what circuit did you use for 2 phase operation?
Jeffrey Borinsky
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Location: London

Re: Greetings from Amsterdam

Postby Wunderkammer » Wed May 23, 2018 8:17 pm

@ ppppenguin
For two phase operation you'll need a transformer with a center tap, to split your AC into two AC supplies that are 180 degrees out of phase with eachother.
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