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Mercury Baths

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Postby beachbum1616 » Wed Jun 22, 2005 5:52 pm


Will someone attempt to explain how the mercury baths were in lighthouse operation?
Stephen

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Postby ron » Thu Jun 23, 2005 5:32 am


the mercury provided a more frictionless surface for the rotating apparatus. most of our baths contained about 2-14 liters, depending on the order or weight of light
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Postby mikev » Thu Jun 23, 2005 12:37 pm


This sounds like a reply job for Woody, who worked with these things so long he jokes that he has so much mercury in his system his height changes from summer to winter.

Lampist, you out there?
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Postby Terry_Pepper » Fri Jun 24, 2005 7:32 am


We published an extensive article on mercury suspension systems written by Woody in two consecutive issues of the GLLKA BEACON earlier this year.

While The BEACON is only available to GLLKA members, if you contact the GLLKA office between 9.00 AM and 5.00 PM Monday through Friday at (231) 436-8850, I am sure they would be willing to sell you copies of these two back issues. You could also email them at info@gllka.com
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Postby Fred » Fri Jun 24, 2005 4:46 pm


If you visit:-

http://homepages.manx.net/fredd/mercury.html

It shows how the mercury bath works at Maughold Head Lighthouse

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Postby Kevin vk2ce » Fri Jun 24, 2005 9:43 pm


beachbum1616 wrote:Will someone attempt to explain how the mercury baths were in lighthouse operation?


Stephen, fwiw the lens at Greencape is a 1st order and it used to float on mercury. The principle is that the lens in a resting position for cleaning etc. rests on several rollers or wheels so it can be manualy turned.

Underneath the lens is a metal trough on a threaded core to enable it to be raised and lowered. This trough is half filled with mercury and then is cranked up until the lens is actually floating on the liquid metal. Because there is little or no friction a small motor is able to turn the lens at its preset rate.
It was the presence of mercury which caused quite a few lights to be decommissioned.

I hope this answers your question to some extent. :lol:
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Postby beachbum1616 » Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:26 pm


So since the mercury is so dence, the lens was suspended or supported by the near friction less liquid so that it took less power to turn it?
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Postby Kevin vk2ce » Sat Jun 25, 2005 7:00 pm


Yep. I reckon that about sums it up. A contact I have who repairs lights for the USCG told me he has been working on a way of designing a system that will do the same thing but without the mercury. He has not had much success as all his ideas have proved quite expensive to build as the lenses weigh tonnes.

Interesting topic. :lol:
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Postby ron » Sun Jun 26, 2005 6:13 am


we've done this topic before. we use frictionless bearings and they have held up for the last three years since installed
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Postby Lampist » Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:17 am


I'm sorry that I hit the wrong button and started a new posting instead of replying. Please see my comments in Mercury baths.
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Postby Kevin vk2ce » Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:20 pm


Stephen,

The latest Lighthouses of Australia newsletter has an article on mercury baths:

http://www.lighthouse.net.au/lights/Bul ... gy_101.htm
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Postby plebetkin » Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:32 pm


many lighthouse books report that it would only take a fingertip push to get a light on a mercury bath to start rotating
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Postby ron » Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:39 pm


sure was nice to go to station, the diesels blaring and the hum of that little electric motor at the top turning the light
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